Letters to the Editor

From the issue of June 14, 2000

This controversy on the Beach was not about race. It was about violence and misogyny being actualized.

Lee Williams
Miami Beach

South Beach Manifesto: Money Talks
More runways, more models, more color, more cash: I attended Urban Fashion Week on South Beach and it was a classy, elegant, upscale event like no other fashion event I have seen in Miami. It featured the work of at least twenty designers. To me it was like New York City's Seventh-on-Sixth fashion shows.

Leaving the Beach was daunting because of the lack of police control over crowds and cars. But as for unacceptable behavior, I have seen far worse during White Party week and other big events.

Those who are having fits and think the world is coming to an end obviously never have been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans or to the Beach during Super Bowl weekend. The world is not coming to an end. It is coming to South Beach, and it includes people of color with m-o-n-e-y. Get over it or move to Idaho.

Lyndajoy Fomlar
North Bay Village

South Beach Manifesto: The Whole World Is Welcome
Well, maybe not those annoying teenagers: There has been considerable discussion in the community about Memorial Day weekend in Miami Beach. It was one of the busiest weekends in recent years, rivaling the last Super Bowl. Many residents and some business owners expressed concern over the impact of the massive number of visitors. Others, including many outside Miami Beach, have taken offense at comments about the weekend visitors.

It is important for all to understand that the City of Miami Beach is an internationally famous tourist destination. It's where people want to go when they come to South Florida. The city cannot say it's okay for one group to come to town but not okay for another. The city cannot and should not admit one group but deny access to another. Whenever an extremely large crowd of young people visits our city, there are bound to be a few troublemakers, and such was the case Memorial Day weekend. The majority of visitors, however, were well-behaved tourists who spent a lot of money.

It is also important to note that the only city-sanctioned event, Urban Fashion Week, was not raucous and out of control. There were many private parties and performances in clubs, hotels, and other venues, including across the bay, that helped attract the throngs of visitors. The city cannot prohibit these events on private property.

As a policy the City of Miami Beach does not permit or encourage mass events geared toward teenagers at any time during the year. We focus on events that are cultural, sophisticated, and fashion- and media-oriented. But anyone is free to come and stay in Miami Beach and enjoy our restaurants, clubs, and public spaces. At the same time the city continues to work hard to maintain the high quality of public events. Since Miami Beach is the premier attraction for visitors to and residents of the region, enhanced planning and government services provided by the city and the county for major holiday weekends should result in minimal disruption in the future.

I regret the intemperate remarks about our weekend visitors made by certain individuals associated with city government. Please be assured that they do not represent the sentiments of city government. The comments and actions of our city administrators, police, and most business leaders have been uniformly thoughtful and responsible.

Miami Beach is a tolerant and open community. Embracing diversity is a hallmark of our city. We have had a tradition of leadership in both the civil-rights and human-rights movements in this county for many decades. In fact the African-American boycott of Miami-Dade County tourism was ended in large measure due to the city's receiving Nelson Mandela and subsidizing construction of a major African-American-owned hotel. We will continue to work to accommodate visitors while at the same time preserving the quality of life in our community.

Mayor Neisen O. Kasdin
Miami Beach

Encrypted Daily Defies Comprehension
Get your free-weekly decoder rings right here: Last week's issue of New Times was an absolute gem. The Crazy Joe piece got behind what everyone has been wondering about regarding the mayor. The Guillermo Alvarez Guedes article by Lissette Corsa ("Cuba's Jackie Mason") told us about the guy who defines Cubanness to a whole generation born and raised in America. And Tristram Korten's article about South Beach on Memorial Day said what everyone else has been afraid to say. A person needed the Authorized Guide to Political Correctness and Sensitivity to decipher what the Miami Herald was talking about when they did the story.

Thank you. New Times has done a great service to the community.

Richard de Villiers

Editor's note: A Miami Herald executive has objected to this phrase in Tristram Korten's story: "The concept of race was so problematic that the Miami Herald didn't use the words ďblack' or ďAfrican American' until its followup stories, a week after the action." In fact on Wednesday, May 30, a Herald article included this phrase: "predominately black crowds who came to the Beach." Regarding the elapsed time, we stand corrected.

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