Letters to the Editor

From the issue of May 10, 2001

  The Municipal Equivalent of Being a Little Bit Pregnant
Either you're a city or you're not: Though a rose is a rose is a rose, the seeds of what is being planted in the Redland may bear a prickly, poisonous plant. And though Jacob Bernstein highlighted personal feuds and conflicts between farmers and developers in his article "We Built This City" (May 3), he did not discuss the heart of the problem, which is the deadly flower in the Redland's incorporation.

Unlike the 30 fully empowered cities of Miami-Dade County, the Redland is well on its way to replicating Miami Lakes, the first toxic "dual-rule" city in the county. In a dual-rule city, the county keeps control over many of the new city's functions, including police, fire, solid waste, and library, while residents are in charge of whatever remains. Unfortunately the Redland is in even worse shape than Miami Lakes because it cannot wrest from the county control over its land use.

Sustaining agriculture and resisting development are the main reasons for the Redland to become a city, as Mr. Bernstein correctly notes. The dilemma is that the Redland is entirely outside the urban-development boundary, and unlike all the other cities, its master plan must conform to the county's plan.

Mr. Bernstein mentions the proposed bare-bones budget of the Redland. The reason it's so tight is that the cost of the Miami-Dade police would be an astronomical 75 percent of the budget, in contrast to the fully empowered cities' average of 40 percent. Police cost is just one example of how the new dual-rule cities are shells in which the county maintains its expensive and inefficient operations while satisfying demands for incorporation.

Unlike the rose, in Miami-Dade County a city is not a city is not a city. The citizens of the Redland should sniff, touch, and thoroughly examine their county-engineered flower before planting it in their soil, lest they reap its thorns.

Marsha Matson
Palmetto Bay

When Caring Really Counts
Free weekly encouraged to perform reproductive act on self: Very interesting to see New Times publish Chuck Strouse's article "Elian Plus One" (April 19), about anti-Cuban racism in the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

A year ago, when hysterical rednecks were in Homestead waving Confederate flags and a few very ignorant African Americans were yelling out their hate for Cubans and Latinos, New Times didn't seem to care. When resentful white people were riding around the city with American flags on their cars (not to show their patriotism but using the flag as a symbol of racism) and dumping bananas at Miami City Hall, New Times didn't seem to care.

In fact New Times has been one of the main instigators of anti-Cuban racism for the past year, even going so far as publishing an article that was nothing more than a timeline of every violent act committed by a Cuban exile in the past couple of decades ("The Burden of a Violent History," April 20, 2000). This is evident in the countless letters New Times publishes praising the paper for "exposing those disgusting Cubans."

My heart goes out to INS agent Ricardo Ramirez for putting his career on the line to reveal the truth. As far as New Times is concerned, vayanse todos a chingar.

Pico Prado

Well, Someone Has to Do the Dirty Work
Might as well be Reagan's UCLAs: Once again I've read a fascinating and well-prepared article in your first-class publication. This time it was Jefferson Morley's "Revelation 19.63" (April 12), about Cuban exiles and their involvement with Lee Harvey Oswald and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Recently, while in the middle of reading Gary Webb's book Dark Alliance (contras-CIA-cocaine), I also came across the June 1995 Baltimore Sun series by Gary Cohn and Ginger Thompson regarding U.S. complicity in human-rights abuses in Honduras when John Negroponte was our nation's ambassador to that country. (Negroponte is now President George W. Bush's nominee to become U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.)

One compelling fact and theme rings true in all the above, as well as in countless other materials I have seen: Yes, Cuban exiles have gained enviable levels of economic and political power, but over the past 40 years they have also continually popped up as contract agents for the CIA and other "shadow-government" agencies, involved with all kinds of dirty stuff in the name of patriotism and the "freedom-fighter" struggle against communism.

The theme certainly held true under Ronald Reagan, who wanted the bad stuff done "primarily through non-Americans" or "UCLAs" (unilaterally controlled Latinos). Reagan, it seems, never really saw Cuban exiles as Americans.

Given the skilled and persistent researchers available at New Times, why don't you consider stringing together all this stuff in a superrecapitulation of everything these folks have done over the years? You would need a truck to move the awards you would receive.

Fernando Alvarez-Costa

Do You Hear What I Hear?
Pop, pop, pop ... pop? In her letter responding to Jefferson Morley's "Revelation 19.63," Melissa Ruth claims knowledge and expertise regarding the House Select Committee on Assassinations and its "flawed" acoustics study of the shooting at Dealey Plaza. In truth it is Ms. Ruth's analysis, dismissing a conspiracy to kill Kennedy, that is flawed (Letters," April 19).

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