Letters to the Editor

From the week of February 13, 2002

Don't Be Unspooled As a Fool

As someone who never knew Nat Chediak, I can tell you: The film festival was a wreck! Thanks to Brett Sokol for covering some of the problems associated with this year's Miami Film Festival, but please don't let festival director David Poland fool you into thinking the problems were the result of a personality clash ("Kulchur," February 7). This year's festival was radically different, but it was because of a complete lack of planning and organization on his and FIU's part, not sentimentality over previous director Nat Chediak.

The change was evident from the first time we festival members were e-mailed the schedule of films (a "schedule," as you know, that changed constantly throughout the event). It was incomplete (year of film? country in which it was made? shown before? no f***ing idea?) and illiterate (my four-year-old spells better). The kicker was Poland announcing on the third day of the festival that he was just then "getting some phone lines put in." Seriously.

By the way I'm a gringa, and I don't know Nat Chediak personally.

Melissa DeVolentine
Miami Beach

Gold Digger's Delight

Try taking your act to the Riviera, amigo: What a pile of crap! Why do people resort to this kind of activity? I refer to Juan Carlos Diaz and his charges of sexual harassment against Emilio Estefan, as reported by Celeste Fraser Delgado ("Shake," February 7). Personally, whether Estefan is a cocksucker or not is of no importance to me. I don't think I stand alone in this view either.

Looking at the world today in the situation it's in, only a moron like Mr. Diaz would get in front of a camera and disclose sexual advances made to him, when in reality -- judging from his looks -- he should be grateful any advance at all was made to him.

I don't know, but perhaps if I were into gold digging (or into the wild life), I'd do it in Cannes or Monaco, not South Beach. Perhaps Mr. Diaz should relocate his efforts.

Eduardo Leiseca, Jr.
Miami Beach

How Commies Communicate

It's sneaky, it's simple, and it's right there on your radio dial: Congratulations are in order for Kirk Nielsen. He wrote a very good article about internal propaganda in Cuba ("Live from Havana, It's Mesa Redonda!" January 31). I make it a habit to listen to Cuban radio stations from Cuba during my trips around Florida, and I can assure you they violate Federal Communications Commission rules when it comes to broadcast transmission power.

Last week I was in Ocala and I was clearly listening to Radio Rebelde's Mesa Redonda and Felipe Perez's diatribe. The frequency they use is 1180-AM, which, coincidentally, is the same for the U.S. government's Radio Martí. Maybe someday Mr. Nielsen will tackle this issue of Cuban transmissions and explore how they communicate with their followers in the United States.

Michael J. Perez II
Miami

In Florid Praise of Lord Ricky

He's not just an inspiration, he's a friggin' deity: I commend Jacob Bernstein from the very fiber of my soul for shining a spotlight on the Miami Heat's Ricky Charles, a fiery gladiator in the sky ("Come on Ricky, Light My Fire," January 31). Ricky is a testament to human ingenuity and perseverance. The brief biography of this marvelous daredevil, who has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of poverty and physical impediments, has inspired me to read New Times more often for reporting that appeals to the dulled palate many of us have developed from a diet of flavorless stories offered by other sources.

I am not a basketball fan, though I am a competitive basketball player. Miami Heat basketball does nothing for me. But Mr. Fire Starter has certainly singed my eyebrows and earned my respect. I think I'll catch a game if the Miami Heat front-office suits haven't done away with Ricky's opening act.

It is inconceivable to me that Ricky's reward for his prowess as an amazing entertainer and prime athlete pales in comparison to the salaries of the so-called professional basketball players who perform feats I've seen bettered on the playgrounds of New York City projects.

Let's analyze our appraisal skills for a moment. Who deserves to be paid more, really? Do you estimate unimpressive (save in height, of course), pampered basketball players to be worth more than Apollo in the flesh himself, wielding and breathing fire as he bounces high into the air off a trampoline and somersaults to a breathtaking slam dunk? If you do, please remove your polarized lenses and see the magnificence of the sun. At the very least see the lack of brilliance of the ballplayers on the court.

Oscar Rodriguez
Coconut Grove

Gag Me with an Essay

These entrails never should have made it to the table: New Times must have been pretty desperate to have published Jen Karetnick's piece-of-crap writing in her recent "Café" column ("Eating Disorders, Miami Specific," January 31). What started out as an interesting article about obnoxious "granola crunchers" (I can completely understand the annoyance toward these people) turned into an essay on how many unique terms she could create to describe every type of irritating eating habit on Miami Beach. These might be amusing terms to forward in an e-mail but not to publish in an alternative newspaper.

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
Kendall

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