Letters to the Editor

From the issue of May 03, 2001

 DeFede Takes the Bait
And Shiver takes the heat: Mayor Alex Penelas's political strategy -- employing a county manager with even fewer ethics than he can claim -- is paying off. Jim DeFede is now focused on Steve Shiver, his lies and scams ("A Friend in Need," April 26). As long as Shiver the Scum deflects attention from Alex the Slime, the mayor's position is secure.

Stephen Karlan
South Miami-Dade

The Manager Is Doing a Great Job...
...of making Penelas look good: As a loyal county employee, I gave Mayor Alex Penelas the benefit of the doubt regarding his appointment of Steve Shiver as county manager. But after reading Jim DeFede's accounts, I think I can report that Mr. Shiver's star seems to be falling faster than the NASDAQ.

But despite Mr. DeFede's constant criticism, I think Shiver is doing exactly what he was hired to do, and doing it quite well, thank you very much. Remember, the key in the plan to have the public buy into the strong-mayor proposal and make Penelas the boy-king, is first to discredit the manager form of government. (Merrett who?)

Name Withheld by Request

Watch Your Back, Amigo
You could be next: As I read Chuck Strouse's article about INS agent Ricardo Ramirez ("Elian Plus One," April 19), I was saddened but not surprised by what went on at the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The blatant Cuban/Hispanic-bashing was coming from the top -- Clinton and Reno. Why do you think so many anti-Cuban protests were held in Miami? Because that bashing was condoned at all levels of government and indeed in our society generally. I still encounter some of this hatred, which I can only assume was previously hidden under the surface.

What surprised me most was the partnership between Anglos and blacks. I found the situation extremely distressing. The hatred was palpable. How blacks in this community could team up with whites carrying the Confederate flag in order to bash Cubans was astonishing. It just goes to show that some people have no real sense of justice and only scream when the heat touches them. Such people don't understand that when you make evil your partner, it can just as easily turn on you.

Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics at the INS should watch themselves. The next time their racist buddies turn on a group, it could very well be their own. I congratulate Mr. Ramirez for his exceptional courage and will be praying for his safety.

Maria Salvador

Big Brother Will Smother
And you call this the land of the free? I am writing to commend New Times on its willingness to expose the tactics used by the government against its own employees when they dare to speak the truth about what is going on in federal agencies. It is worse than a shame that in our country, which holds itself out to be the world leader in human rights and which was founded on the premise of free speech, our very own governmental agencies are intolerant of cultural diversity and actively seek to destroy the lives of those employees who stand up for what is right. Discrimination is rampant in all federal agencies.

My heart goes out to Ricardo Ramirez and his family. I know of far too many cases in which federal agencies have destroyed the lives of employees and their families who have spoken out. Please continue to expose the tactics used by government to silence the truth so we Americans can move our country and our government to a point where cultural diversity is honored and we truly achieve our forefathers' vision of free speech.

Helen Phillips
Blowing Rock, North Carolina

I Applaud Those Who Don't Back Down
But I must do so anonymously: As an employee of a federal government agency, I commend Ricardo Ramirez for his willingness to stand up to the corruption in the INS. I also greatly applaud New Times for publishing this story. Most elements of the so-called media have done their best to hide such incidents of corruption and lack of ethics in government agencies.

God bless those who refuse to back down from the bad guys!

Name Withheld by Request
Buffalo, Wyoming

Shooting and Writing
Guns and journalists don't mix: Chuck Strouse says Ricardo Ramirez carries a ".45-caliber semiautomatic Beretta pistol." I don't think there is any such gun. He is probably thinking of the 9mm Parabellum Beretta semiautomatic, which was adopted by the military about a decade ago in place of the .45-caliber M1911A1 pistol.

This may seem a trivial point, but it suggests a sloppiness regarding details. Media people rarely get anything right about guns.

Roger Gathers
Pleasanton, California

Miami to Monarch: It's All About the Cleavage, Mi Amor
No shame, no modesty, no class: Praise to Rebecca Wakefield for her honesty exposing some truth in writing about the dinner for the king and queen of Spain ("You Are Cordially Invited," April 19). We sometimes admire politicians to the point that we forget they are just that -- politicians. As unjust as it may be, we shouldn't be surprised that the royal couple's visit was used as a payback party by our county mayor. I have to admit, though, that I was surprised by what Ms. Wakefield exposed. One would assume that key figures from the fields of academia and the arts would be appropriately represented, the presidents of our local universities, leaders of the ballet, opera, and symphony. And as Ms. Wakefield mentioned, certain public figures certainly deserved a seat at such an event, Sen. Bob Graham among others.

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