Letters to the Editor

From the issue of April 5, 2001

 Miscreant Miami
A few bad cops, many good cops: I had to write after hearing that officers at the Miami Police Department's north district substation felt demoralized because of Tristram Korten's article "Under Suspicion" (March 1). I also write as a former Miami Police Department lieutenant and as a sergeant once assigned to that district. I read Mr. Korten's article with sadness and interest -- sadness because it unfairly cast blanket suspicion on the many good officers assigned to the north district, and interest because hard as it is to admit, Mr. Korten was on target when he talked about the problems surrounding discipline and certain officers.

We need to look at this from a broader perspective. We live in a heterogeneous society, so like it or not, when it comes to dealing with various cultures, every form of "ism" is bound to come into play. Loyalty to one's own race or cultural background is almost expected, regardless of circumstances. The Miami Police Department does not have the exclusive on this phenomenon, and it is in no way restricted to the north district. It's something you see in any major organization. The key, though, is for those in charge to take responsibility and see beyond these "isms" in order to run an effective operation. In the case of a police department, this is the only way to root out bad cops, support the good ones, and do justice by the community it serves.

Unfortunately part of the problem when I worked in the north district stemmed from the command. Sergeants left the district because of lack of support from their commanders when it came to disciplining certain officers. Some of us wrote reprimands that never quite made it up the chain. It was under this very regime that I, for one, was accused of being "mean" and having an "ego problem."

By now some of your readers may have envisioned me as an embittered white male. Wrong. I am a black female, quite focused, and as I said, a former police sergeant and lieutenant; former because I found simpler ways to make a living. I write because of the many good officers in the north district. The majority of these officers are hard-working and honest. All they need is strong, ethical, and impartial leadership. Commanders looking past a problem officer simply because of that officer's race, culture, or social affiliations inevitably create some of the problems Mr. Korten pointed out. It also causes dissension among the good ones.

Likewise good supervisors, whether black, white, or Hispanic, deserve full support from their command staff. How the hell else can they make a difference if brass constantly undermines them by coddling bad apples? Last but not least, the citizens of Model City, just like any others, deserve the best and nothing less.

Johanna Kemba Davidson

Miscast Miami
If it's so repressive, why is Neil Rogers rich? I address this letter to Brett Sokol: You, sir, are a liar and should be ashamed of it. In "Austin Chronicles" ("Kulchur," March 29), you wrote, "Obviously Jorge Mas Santos's powerful magic hadn't yet kicked in, despite his recent song-and-dance trip to schmooze Grammy officials in Los Angeles, not to mention his ludicrous assertion to the Miami Herald that “if [the Latin Grammys] are held in Los Angeles or New York, this community cannot show itself as the bastion of freedom of expression that it is.' It also appears Mas Santos conveniently has forgotten the 1992 Americas Watch report that not only cited Miami as having a “repressive climate for freedom of expression' but also singled out CANF as being substantially responsible for that “lack of tolerance.' Almost a decade later, the human-rights observers at Americas Watch still conclude that in Miami, “the atmosphere for unpopular political speech remains marked by fear and danger, while government officials maintain a conspicuous silence.'"

Yup, it is so repressive here that we have Neil Rogers blasting the Cubans just about every day on his radio show. Then we have Castro-lover Francisco Aruca talking crap about how bad pro-democracy Cubans here are and how great Castro is in Cuba every day on his two radio shows. Then again, it may not be so repressive because those guys are alive and well and do their nonsense every day.

Please, sir, stop spewing your crap and propaganda lies. But since I believe in freedom of speech, I suppose you can continue to lie about us pro-democracy Cubans. I have the right, however, to protest against you and call a spade a spade, just as Cubans or anyone else here has the right to protest against something they don't like.

May Cuba be free soon!

David Blanco
North Miami Beach

Maniacal Miami
Fair enough -- you can call us Homestead inbreeds, and we'll call you dumb Marielitos: In reference to Cristina Moreno's letter titled "Our Town in a Nutshell: Pugnacious Cubans and Redneck Mouth- Breathers" (March 22), Ms. Moreno shows the same ignorant bias she attributes to other people. She blames Anglos for the opinions they hold of the Cuban community as a whole, which she says is framed by those two politicians fighting in the parking lot of Radio Mambí.

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