Letters from the Issue of December 6, 2001

Two Views from Club Space

The officers still made us wait about 45 minutes. To make things worse, it began to rain! They drew up a declaration and passed it to our detained friends to read and sign. I did not read it, but from what they said, it stated that we had gathered a mob outside Club Space and were trying to force our way in, that we had threatened the officers and disobeyed orders. Of course they just signed and got out of there and we went home. The party was definitely over, except for the first group that arrived. They were happily enjoying themselves inside the club, thinking we were lost on one of its many dance floors, totally unaware of what had gone on outside.

My friend from New York later filed a complaint with the Miami Police Department. He provided my name as witness. A couple of weeks later, after returning from a long business trip to Latin America, I had a call on my answering machine from an internal-affairs officer regarding the event. The message was less than a week old. I phoned immediately to give my account, only to be told that the investigation was over and the file was closed.

In the light of Ms. Wakefield's article and the accounts in it, I consider ourselves pretty lucky. After all, we had no injuries, no blood, no jail time, and no criminal charges. But we certainly had the rudeness, violence, and humiliation, which was totally uncalled for. Also, like your interviewees, I now have a fear and mistrust of police officers in Miami.

I was appalled by Sgt. Gene Kowalski's reference to his men having pulled out bodies at the World Trade Center catastrophe. The women and men who have put their lives in danger by assisting in the rescue have earned our respect and admiration for their brave actions. The women and men who throw insults, punches, kicks, and handcuffs outside a nightclub deserve neither respect nor admiration.

I am grateful for your article, which I'll be sending to my friends in Spain and New York so they'll realize they suffered from just a few rotten apples and that the whole of Miami is not like that. Also, with recent changes approved by voters, I will slowly start rebuilding my confidence in the Miami Police Department and its officers.

Javier Marquina
Miami

Club Space from the Inside Looking Out
It was nasty and unjustified, but what do you expect from a flaky free weekly? Rebecca Wakefield's article "Thump, Thump, Thump" was informative, but it contained various slanderous and degrading remarks. The following excerpts have nothing to do with the police or their alleged aggressive behavior:

•"They've navigated the maze of empty one-way streets, found a parking spot, paid a petty extortionist -- either parking attendant or entrepreneurial homeless person -- to “watch' their vehicle."

•"Its allure among young urbanites with the cash for nonstop music, alcohol, and drugs (and later, maybe, for posh restaurants and apartments) is what municipal planners and schemers had in mind last year when they created an entertainment district saturated with 24-hour liquor licenses within walking distance of downtown's two sports arenas."

•"And you have 2 have a multiple roll night to make it till 10am. SPACE ROCKS."

Management, staff, and patrons are baffled by how such an article could be published, considering the relationship we have had with New Times and the amount of business we have shared -- more than $100,000 in advertising one year and approximately half a million dollars over a seven-year period. These remarks have nothing to do with the police. They have no relation to their alleged aggressive behavior. Nor do they add any value to the story. These remarks do, however, imply that unless you pay some extortionist or a homeless person, you won't be able to park. They also imply that everyone who dances until ten in the morning must take "two rolls," and that all patrons are into "nonstop music, alcohol, and drugs."

I understand it is New Times's duty to create awareness in the public. On the other hand, I believe the article was a direct attack on Club Space, an attempt to tarnish an otherwise spotless reputation with the public. This type of slander and false interpretation isn't something new for New Times. For as long as I can remember, negative and controversial stories have graced the front cover. Our city's politicians, business owners, and influential individuals are constantly suffering from articles that contain little or no foundation as a result of poor investigation and unreliable sources. This particular article states that "Space co-owner Luis Puig is said to be buying ... the currently closed Fuel," when that venue has been under new ownership for the last three months and is currently operating as The Living Room.

Instead of focusing on the negative things in our community, maybe New Times could write something positive to alleviate some of the turmoil recently caused by the terrorist acts of September 11. Did you know that Club Space had a fundraiser and donated $23,500 to Operation Helping Hands and to the police officers and firefighters' families affected by the terrorist attacks? Did you know that the police officers who worked off-duty went to Ground Zero in New York to help out? Did you know that as a result of Club Space's success, more than 300 jobs have been created? Did you know Club Space has revolutionized the quality of nightlife in the U.S.? Did you know that property values within a two-mile radius have doubled and tripled since we opened? These are the things that are not only worth mentioning, they should be highlighted in stories.

Until we receive a dignified and just response as to why this story contained such blasphemous remarks, Club Space, Club 609, Club Spin, and our associated companies will cease all advertising in New Times.

Emi Guerra, marketing and PR director
Club Space
Miami

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