Letters to the Editor

From the issue of June 28, 2001

Some members of the planning board spoke of the melting pot you find here in South Beach, where people from different races mingle freely. This is not a melting pot, and people don't mingle. They merely walk on the same streets together. If you pay attention you'll see that most public events are segregated by race, ethnic background, or sexual identity. It's actually a lot of people just sharing the same space but not involved in activities together.

What does the future hold? I can't predict that, but this city has a long way to go toward making all people feel truly welcome and creating a true melting pot. How about a more diversified planning board with guest representatives to discuss the promotion of various events and with input from various communities, not just the ones living here in South Beach, mostly white and Latin. At the very least the city must play fair and treat all visitors equally. Deal appropriately with those who disturb the peace and treat all others with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Juli Kempner
Miami Beach

Try Out This: Tottering Tyrant

The bearded one and his affectionate nicknames: When I was a young Cuban American I too enjoyed the comedic genius of Guillermo Alvarez Guedes ("Cuba's Jackie Mason," June 7). But I cannot believe that Lissette Corsa in her article referred to Fidel Castro as "president." There has never been a free and democratic society that voted for him as president. He is a dictator. We should all refer to him as the comediante en jefe. Or better yet, communist killer. That is much more suitable than president.

Elena Rodriguez
Miami Lakes

Someone There Is Who Doesn't Love a Wall

In which San Francisco puts Miami to shame: I was simultaneously amused and ashamed after reading Kirk Nielsen's article "Pooch Putsch?" (May 31). But I wasn't surprised. Is the $30,000 Ralston Purina gave to the City of Miami really worth it in light of the divisiveness caused by the dog fence in Coconut Grove's Blanche Park? I haven't seen the fence but I have seen the Kennedy Park fence that separates people from pets. A park is no place for a fence.

When I visit my friends in San Francisco, who live next door to Dubose Park, my morning routine is to take my coffee out to the park and sit on a bench and watch the dogs run and fetch while children run with them or play on playground equipment. Adults, children, and dogs of all races, cultures, and breeds all get along with no ugly fences.

The Dubose Park neighborhood consists of three-and four-story apartment buildings. Lots of people and cars, even a busy trolley line, run right by the park -- and still no ugly fences. Dogs and children don't run into the busy streets. I can't help imagining what these two parks say about their cities and how different they are. Miami is divisive. San Francisco is together and friendly.

So how about it, Miami? Let's tell these corporations like Ralston Purina to butt out of our business and leave us alone. Give them back their money and tell them to stick the cash and their ugly fence where the sun don't shine.

Wally Bray

$18 Million Is a Mere Drop in the Bucket

A truly professional daily newspaper would have known that: As a community-development professional and an avid reader of New Times, I was appalled at the lack of journalistic standards shown in Susan Eastman's recent article "With Enough Money" (May 24). Conclusions were drawn that were not substantiated by the facts presented.

No independent community-development professional was quoted or even consulted in drawing the article's conclusions. Had a professional been consulted, New Times would have learned that $18 million will not make West Perrine "look like a country club," as absurd a comparison as that is. And one should not "expect this one square mile of Miami-Dade to shine as a beacon of vibrant growth, smart planning, and snappy design." Unfortunately revitalizing low-income communities requires much more funding than that outlined in the article.

While I don't expect from New Times the journalistic standards of a major daily newspaper, I do expect more than something out of a gossip tabloid. If that is your chosen genre, then you should stick to the personal lives of celebrities and stay away from serious issues like community development. There may or may not be improprieties or inefficiencies at the West Perrine Economic Development Corporation led by Ed Hanna. But the facts presented in Ms. Eastman's article are inconclusive. By failing to present an informed picture of community development, she has damaged low-income communities in South Florida and the legitimate efforts to revitalize them. Shame on her.

Steve Graziani

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