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

I understood that it was very unlikely any Cuban musicians would be invited to perform at this event. I also read that Castro had declined to allow any musicians to attend if they were invited. It was unavoidable that angry crowds in Miami would plan to make a big ugly protest either way. I heard Debbie Ohanian recommend that the Latin Grammys move out of Miami. She is indeed a prophet. Miami was not ready for her Los Van Van concert last year. At that event more than 3000 out-of-control protesters demonstrated their true colors to the point of civil disobedience.

This town is the unofficial capital of Latin music, culture, and finance. But this town is not yet ready for the Latin Grammys. This town does not deserve the Latin Grammys. This town does not even deserve people like Debbie Ohanian, people who care about freedom. After 40-plus years, there is still too much anger and polarity here to take a middle ground and celebrate some of our greatest accomplishments.

Will our citizens be less angry and more tolerant of others after the tyrant Castro finally dies? We can only pray they will. But don't count on it.

Harry Emilio Gottlieb
Coconut Grove

South Beach Manifesto: At Last a Lesson Learned
We made it party hearty all over again: My hat goes off to Miami Beach city officials, the Miami Beach police, the city's goodwill ambassadors, the Miami Beach Fire Department, the Fruit of Islam, and most of all to our hip-hop visitors for a job well done.

I don't think we were overprepared. I think we were well prepared and justified in being so. This shows we quickly rebounded from Memorial Day weekend and we learned a valuable lesson. This lesson gives us the opportunity to open our city to all who want to party or throw a party and feel comfortable about it. We have now grown and earned the title as number-one party mecca in the world.

Maybe the Source magazine can take some suggestions from us next time they come. Then they too can be successful.

Tony Billingsley
North Miami

South Beach Manifesto: Beware Buckhead
Lucre? We don't need no stinking lucre: Still fresh in our minds are those hip-hoppers who came to Miami Beach -- white, Latin, mostly black -- and raised hell in our lovely town over Memorial Day weekend. We must ask ourselves what we want the Beach to do.

First, I recommend that Miami Beach stop prostituting itself to every stinking event that waves some green in its face. Second, that the club owners, promoters, and everyone else accept the fact that the Beach is just not as popular as it once was. Don't get me wrong. We are still a force abroad. I was in Europe not long ago, and people's eyes lit up when I said I was from Miami.

But face it, things get old, stale, and tired. People are going to go to other places. So what if we no longer have a trendy new club opening every week? So what if no new fashion designer buys a mansion on Ocean Drive? So what? These people will come back eventually. They will look for a place to spend their money and we'll be ready for them.

Let's give it a rest for a while. Let's recharge our batteries. And let's learn the lesson of a formerly trendy spot called Buckhead, in Atlanta. Buckhead was cool streets, pretty neighborhood, phat clubs. Then slowly and painfully the Puffys and the g-boyz started turning the area into a real-life hip-hop video -- violent, low-class, dangerous, and dirty. I used to go there every other month. Now I'm disgusted by it.

Why did the Beach on Memorial Day weekend get so full and so out of control? The Buckheaders arrived, that's why! They finished destroying what's up there and now they've set their sights on us. Now is the time, people, to sound the alarm. When the Europeans and the rich Latins who used to come here call their friends on their cell phones and tell them what a piece of shit Miami has become, they will never return. Ever!

I am not racist. I have nothing in my heart but love for the whole human race, so don't make this a race letter. I just want to see Miami and the Beach succeed and thrive like it should. This is our paradise, and we should protect it. So next time, fewer party people and more police.

Fernando Martinez

Admirably Tenacious if a Bit Shrill
But free weekly savaged for exclusionary intern program: I was all set to write you a congratulatory letter for another fine piece, in this case the article about Daily Business Review editor Edward Wasserman, "The Last Iconoclast." As with recent articles on Alex Penelas, New Times asks the difficult questions and pulls no punches. It is for this reason I read the paper, even when I find myself in disagreement with it, and why I no longer bother with the useless Herald. You practice truly progressive journalism; they don't even try. Sometimes you're a bit shrill and over the top, but that can be a useful counterpoint to the familiar "everything is basically fine here in paradise" approach.

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