Letters to the Editor

From the Issue of February 21, 2002

I Know a Thug When I See One

And they don't always have criminal records: As a former member of the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board and a former police officer, I found Jim DeFede's attack on county police director Carlos Alvarez and Police Benevolent Association (PBA) president John Rivera to be unjust ("A Wasted Life," February 7).

The Miami-Dade County Police Department is considered to be one of the finest in the nation. That is due to its leadership. We cannot allow the death of a criminal who attempted to run over and kill one of our police officers to be spun into a victim of police abuse. The leaders who are attempting to do that are acting irresponsibly, grandstanding for their own benefit.

Director Alvarez has always conducted himself and led his department in the most professional and respectful manner possible. We must support the director and the PBA president from undue pressure and influence from the real thugs in our community. Police officers must not be afraid to defend themselves when confronted by criminals who attempt to take their lives.

Thank God we have Carlos Alvarez and John Rivera.

Alfredo Hidalgo-Gato
Coconut Grove

Editor's note: The "criminal" referred to by Mr. Hidalgo-Gato is Eddie Lee Macklin, who last month was shot and killed by Miami-Dade Police Ofcr. James Johns. Official inquiries into Macklin's death have not been completed, and so his motives and intentions have not been established.

Thugs? I'll Show You Thugs

Too often they're the ones carrying a badge and a gun: Despite John Rivera's opposition, Miami-Dade County must have a civilian review board with the power to stop abusive cops from hurting and killing people and getting away with it. It's going to happen sooner or later, regardless of Rivera's lobbying power. Remember, there are more citizens who vote than cops, and the voters know bad cops from good cops.

It's not that we hate cops. We hate abusive cops whose attitude is that they own the streets. They don't. We do, we the people pay the cops. They work for us, and if they don't like that arrangement they should find something else to do. We are going to get them out. We are going to expose them and reveal what they really are: thugs with badges.

Don't let the good cops who do their jobs pay a price for the bad apples.

Miguel Fernandez
Hollywood

Psssssst! The Film Festival Reeks -- Pass It On

Oh yeah, and let's try to fix it: I'm pleased to see that Brett Sokol's "Kulchur" column is keeping alive the debate over the Miami Film Festival debacle ("Before the Lights Go Down," February 7). I'm in agreement with self-described "gringa" Melissa DeVolentine, who wrote a letter to the editor last week: The festival was a wreck. From the moment the film schedules were e-mailed, my disaffection with this year's festival snowballed.

I'm a transplanted New Yorker, seven years now, and I looked forward to each season with excitement. It was the highlight of the cultural year for me. I'd been a festival member for three years but decided I wouldn't renew this year. I boycotted and spread the negative word. I don't want the festival to end, but I would like to see it move in a more positive direction.

Michael Rivera
Pinecrest

Emilio and Gloria and Me

Sorry, but no tabloid fodder here: This is in response to Celeste Fraser Delgado's "Shake" column ("The thin line between pop and adult entertainment," February 7). For the past seventeen years I have worked in a professional capacity with Emilio and Gloria Estefan and their incredible music empire. I saw the days when their offices were run out of a garage. I have seen them on days when the pressures of touring and keeping a family together nearly engulfed them. But at no time did they ever succumb to anything less than completely stellar conduct in maintaining the values they hold dear.

There are many critics of Emilio's business tactics, and they are entitled to their opinions. But the Estefans' faces have never been smeared across the tabloids. There never were any sordid stories to be written about them. There still are none.

Jeannette Delisa
Miami Beach

Emilio and Gloria and Shameless Bootlicking

And just because they're Hispanic: This is the last straw. New Times used to be the cutting-edge paper in the Miami area regarding music and nightlife. It used to represent the multicultural melting pot of Miami in a fair manner. Well, not anymore. In my opinion the quality of reporting reached an all-time low with Celeste Fraser Delgado's column concerning Emilio Estefan and Juan Carlos Diaz, his escort-advertising accuser.

I was under the impression that reporting was supposed to be unbiased and accurate. Professional journalism goes out of its way to be fair and impartial. But this article was totally one-sided, an obvious attempt to suck up to Mr. Estefan. The entire piece focused on Mr. Diaz advertising himself in the escort section of your paper, not the substance of his allegations.

I have no idea whether the charges made in Mr. Diaz's lawsuit are true, but I would surmise that a person who places male-escort advertising occasionally is solicited for sex. Ms. Delgado did not explore the possibility that something might have happened between the two men. Mr. Diaz's attorney, Ellis Rubin, seems way too smart to file a lawsuit without having evidence that some sort of illegal activity occurred.

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