Letters to the Editor

From the issue of January 25, 2001

 Knight Ridder Confidential Action Report #01-47
Miami simpleton strategy exceeds projections; prepare to roll out in all KR Latin markets: I stopped getting the Miami Herald because it neither understands nor represents me. And I don't read El Nuevo Herald despite having free daily access to it and being part of its target audience. As Jacob Bernstein reported ("Sex! Sin! Sensation!" January 11), El Nuevo Herald merely tries to get my business through pandering. Besides that, both papers have the same parent, Knight Ridder, and I don't go for good cop-bad cop routines.

Still I respect El Nuevo Herald editor Carlos Castañeda's brazen candor more than the pious but hollow platitudes of others in his position. In any case he's just doing what he was hired to do, and his superiors are obviously pleased with his performance. If there was ever any question of high-minded journalism, which is doubtful, the profit motive was clearly far stronger. Maybe Knight Ridder feels Hispanics are too stupid to realize they're being sold shoddy goods.

I find it very odd that your article highlights the Venezuelan-backed El Diario, a struggling newcomer that may not survive, yet never once mentions the Diario Las Americas, which has been around for nearly half a century and is a respected institution within the Spanish-speaking community. Unless he simply didn't do his homework, Mr. Bernstein cannot be unaware of that, yet he ignored it. Why? Diario Las Americas, in my opinion, has considerably more integrity than El Nuevo Herald because it is based on the courage of its convictions, not some contrived marketing strategy that is largely about making money.

I regret that the local newspaper situation is no better, but it won't change as long as enough people keep buying papers just because they're there. I don't.

Beatriz Lopez

I Remember the Days When One Took Pride in Being an MDCC Faculty Member
Yes, that was before Padron: I am responding to Gaspar González's story about Miami-Dade Community College district president Eduardo Padron and the MDCC Foundation ("Power Play," January 4). I have been retired for about four years after having taught at the college for nearly 35 years. I was proud to be a member of the faculty. As you know, back in the Seventies MDCC was judged to be the best community college in the United States. Former president Robert McCabe acknowledged that the faculty played a significant part in achieving such an esteemed position in academia.

One can no longer make that statement. The quality of life there has deteriorated. The faculty's reward has been a steady erosion of academic freedom and of their economic base. Two years ago 70 percent of the faculty chose to have a union represent them because Eduardo Padron refused to acknowledge the role and value of the faculty. Now as payback Padron has violated numerous established policies and rights of the faculty it took 30 years to develop and establish.

As a result fear reigns. Although 70 percent of the faculty voted for the union (that should tell you something about the grievances), working conditions are so tense that some members of the faculty have simply withdrawn, have refused to get involved because of potential repercussions.

You have heard the expression "one step forward, two steps backward" in reference to progress. In this case the faculty was forced to take three steps backward and are now working to take one step forward. For instance, the faculty senate has disappeared, and its historical role to provide advice and consent is no more. The psychological, educational, biological, and other abstracts, which have been used in research for years, have been trashed, depriving both faculty and students of a vital educational tool.

I find it difficult to comprehend how Padron and his minions can cause such disruption without some recourse. The faculty and union appear to be powerless in countering these negative actions. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has placed sanctions against Miami-Dade Community College because of these documented abuses, which considers them to be serious infractions of academic freedom.

Gabriel Read
Avon Park, Florida

Padron? No Surprise There
More tales of MDCC await: I enjoyed Gaspar González's article, but sadly I am not surprised. As a faculty member at Miami-Dade Community College I know what has been happening in the academic arm of the institution for the last few years. You might be interested in writing a companion article on that topic.

Name Withheld by Request
via the Internet

Portman Pooh-Poohs Park Proponents' Position
Miami is not Manhattan and back yards work better than waterfront parks: I can't help but get annoyed every time I hear someone tell us we must not have a baseball stadium in Bicentennial Park because it should be used as park space, and as reader Peter Rabbino put it: "Every great city has a great urban park" ("Letters," January 4). It seems these people simply don't understand the nature of Miami compared to other great cities, or what the effect of having a stadium in that area downtown would be.

To put it in a nutshell, Miami is not an "urban" city. By that I mean we are not like New York City or Chicago or London, where a great deal of the population lives in a congested urban center with little access to the outdoors other than through their parks. In Miami, similar to Los Angeles, we live in essentially a series of suburbs where most people have back yards, or in condos with waterfronts. Even in Miami's poorer areas, most housing still has access to yards or common areas that are outdoors.

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