Letters to the Editor

From the week of February 13, 2002

Maybe she was trying to be cute and write a lighthearted article, but she really made herself look shallow by making fun of how badly people on the Beach dine and implying that they need to work on their eating habits to appear more normal.

For all the other intriguing articles you guys publish, you could definitely have left this one on the chopping block.

Rachel Starner
North Miami-Dade

Steve Shiver, Meet Kenneth Lay

Hey, kid, let a pro show you the ropes: Having observed from a distance and only vicariously the repartee sparked by Jim DeFede's column "Introduction to Ethics" (January 31), I was fascinated by Robert M. Levy's explanation in a February 7 letter that County Manager Steve Shiver "only requested that we [Mr. Levy and perhaps Gov. Jeb Bush] keep our eye on the [clemency] proceedings" relating to Shiver's personal friend William Chaney. (Shiver was Homestead mayor at the time.)

Mr. Levy's characterization and rationalization of such an inquiry from a highly placed public official surely begs the point. By its facetiousness it rests comfortably between Mrs. Kenneth Lay's claim that Kenny Boy and his troops are financially destitute and Ronald Reagan's claim of ignorance of the Iran-contra affair.

The difference between Reagan, Kenneth Lay, and Shiver is that Reagan's persona facilitated his storytelling and Lay's persona -- now open to public scrutiny -- is more and more looking like that of a dishonest, corrupt, arrogant, and self-serving greedmonger. Mr. Shiver, on the other hand, has not yet developed the skills of an accomplished storyteller, nor has he fully developed attributes of public corruption, dishonesty, arrogance, and self-service. But he sure pushed the envelope of propriety when he clearly invoked the influence and status of his public office in seeking the "inside scoop" on the issue of clemency for his friend Chaney. Does the average Miami-Dade citizen have access to such an opportunity? Unlikely!

Maybe Mr. Shiver can avail his fellow citizens of all those Tallahassee telephone numbers from his personal phone book. These might ensure similar access and immediate gubernatorial response to similarly pressing issues: trash collection, air quality, death-row meals, crowded highways and byways, and Mrs. Jones's barking Doberman.

Ted Baker

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