Letters from the Issue of December 27, 2001

Embrace the Nightmare: And while we're at it, let's pray for really,really bad weather

 Editor's note: We greatly appreciate receiving letters from our readers, and we try to publish as many as possible. Predictably, though, some of them fall victim to space limitations or time constraints. In this final issue of the year we will try to make amends. Following is a sampling of correspondence we've been saving in hopes of it someday seeing print. That day has arrived.

Airport Would Draw Blob
But as we now know, ain't no airport: "There is no quiet place in the white man's cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insect's wings." -- Chief Seattle, 1854

In response to Jim DeFede's cover story "Collision Course," I live in Miami Beach and my home is under one of Miami International Airport's flight paths. Planes fly over my neighborhood throughout the day. Sometimes the noise is so loud I have to go into a room without windows when I'm talking on the telephone.

If Homestead Air Force Base is redeveloped as a commercial airport, then Biscayne National Park, Miami's wilderness and refuge, will have the same type of airplane noise. In fact the Homestead air base is closer to Biscayne Bay than MIA, so Homestead planes would be even nearer the water when they take off and land. Having a quiet, natural experience on Biscayne Bay would be impossible.

As it drowns out the quiet sounds of nature in two national parks, an airport in Homestead would also spawn great sprawl, because new airport jobs would stimulate residential and commercial development near the airport. The urban blob of Miami would race south. The low-intensity urban and agricultural atmosphere of South Miami-Dade County would disappear.

I am convinced a mixed-use development on the site would be better for Homestead's economy in the long run. It would provide homes and jobs at a pace driven by existing demands for residential and business growth. An airport, on the other hand, would be a huge sellout to land speculators and merchants who stand to gain the most from sprawling urban growth. I hope our leaders have the wisdom to see past the parochial whining for new jobs, mainly drummed up by speculators, merchants, and the myopic politicians who want to curry their favor.

Stuart Reed
Miami Beach

The Capitalist Conundrum
How do you feed the beast when the food runs out? Regarding the push for a commercial airport in Homestead, one need not share the dogmatism of the Socialist Workers Party in order to ask how capitalism, which depends on infinite growth, plans to sustain this growth in a finite environment with limited resources.

As the complaints of the disinherited and dispossessed grow louder, capitalism must inevitably resort to fascism to quiet them and keep the economy expanding.

But as Barry Commoner observed, nature bats last.

John Gorman
North Miami

Embrace the Nightmare
And while we're at it, let's pray for really, really bad weather: Reno, Reno, Reno! Hasn't Florida been put through enough already? Butterfly ballots, kids from Cuba, midnight fed raids. And now you in the media think having a governor with a name better suited for a hurricane weather warning is a good idea?

Duh! Why not ask for higher tides while you're at it?

Gary Chase
via the Internet

Oxymoron of the Year
"Miami quality of life": I just wanted to express my pleasure reading Kirk Nielsen's articles on Miami billboards.

It is amazing the crap people get away with because the community is not paying attention. I hope Kirk can wake people up and also embarrass Miami's city commissioners and other local government officials over issues like this.

The City of Miami is notorious for its lack of commitment to code enforcement. It really shows. The majority of the city is a ghetto, a ghetto in paradise. Residents and government officials do not know the meaning of "quality of life." No parks, overdevelopment, bad zoning, lack of code enforcement. Billboards all over the place is just another step in the wrong direction.

I think the articles Kirk has been writing help in exposing the problems, which can lead to positive results. Keep up the heat!

Glenn Amoruso

Give the Crooks a Message
You can't hide behind an ethnic shield: The recent arrest and conviction of former Miami Police Chief Donald Warshaw is bittersweet. Bitter because he used to be one of Miami's most respected public officials, yet after 25 impeccable years of service, he turned out to be a crook. Sweet because justice has been served.

Warshaw's downfall should send a strong warning to all those corrupt individuals in Miami who think getting into public service is a self-serving, get-rich-quick scheme. Public money, taxpayers' money, is off-limits for private use and should be respected accordingly. Anyone who doesn't get the message should be voted out of office, and the criminal-justice system should consider them crooks. Public integrity is an issue that transcends race, ethnicity, seniority, and popularity. Anglo, Cuban American, and African American should all be treated equally under the law, and if they're corrupt, they belong in jail.

When we Miamians finally find the courage to overcome our racial and ethnic barriers and begin showing these corrupt public officials that their complexion will not spare them after committing a crime, believe me, they will get the message. The message is that your race or ethnicity will not get you off the hook, that you will not get away with corruption in Miami.

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