Letters from the Issue of May 9, 2002

It's classics vs. jazz on public radio

No Brahms, No Alms

If you don't play it, he won't pay it:I don't understand how Rebecca Wakefield could use terms such as "hodgepodge" and "misguided mishmash" in referring to WLRN-FM's pre-1999 programming ("The Battle for Bach," May 2). Perhaps her head was filled with some real "misguided mishmash" by the station's managers.

WLRN's previous schedule was in fact varied and delightful. I was a big fan of such excellent musical shows as Drums of Steel, Afro-Pop Worldwide, and Music from the Hearts of Space, all of which were victims of the January 1999 massacre. The hatchet job on classical music at WLRN began more than a year prior to that, when Sunday afternoon's broadcast of the St. Louis Symphony was replaced with a rebroadcast of the previous evening's Prairie Home Companion. My e-mail complaint to the station brought a response from Joseph Cooper stating that "no one listens to the St. Louis Symphony."

The 1999 massacre eliminated the final remnant of classical music from WLRN, the excellent Performance Today, which had been running two hours per night, five nights per week. Musically the station became virtually all-jazz, with five nights a week devoted to four hours of jazz. I have nothing against jazz, but it is, to put it mildly, not the music of choice for a majority of the listening population.

The disgraceful demolition of WTMI-FM last December failed to inspire WLRN to make an effort to compensate by putting classical music back on the air. As Ms. Wakefield reported, only community pressure brought back two hours a week. As Judy Drucker said, "Big deal!"

I was a loyal member and zealous fundraising volunteer at WLRN for ten years. But this "no one" no longer supports the station. I resort to my records, tapes, and CDs, and if I want classical radio, my computer can pull it from all over the world.

Richard H. Rosichan
Miami Beach

Forgive Me for Being Blunt

But let's be frank about what happened to Joe Podgor: In response to Mike Clary's article about Joe Podgor, former executive director of Friends of the Everglades ("Adrift on a River of Grass," April 18), Alan Farago wrote a letter to the editor (April 25). Farago, a current champion of the local environmental movement, stated, "Fundamental changes within Florida's environmental movement in the early Nineties primarily account for Joe's absence from the front line...."

To that I respectfully say, "Bullshit!" Joe's absence from the front line is actually due to a group of mean-spirited people who took over Friends of the Everglades sometime around 1990, then actually locked Joe out of his office. He devoted his life to that organization. He was there for anybody who needed him. His expertise was not only used by the organization, it was available to academics, students, environmentalists, and all who sought him out. Joe Podgor is responsible for the declaration of the Biscayne Aquifer as a "sole-source aquifer," which has protected it to some extent. He also was the Miami-Dade project coordinator of the group publishing the Handbook on the Biscayne Aquifer.

For many years the board of Friends of the Everglades was able to rest easy and let Joe do all the work, while they and Marjory Stoneman Douglas took the accolades. Not to diminish Marjory's role as the actual champion, but as she grew on in years she often relied on Joe. There was some jealousy on the part of a board member or two. Then one day after years and years of devoted free labor and approximately $18,000 of his own expenses, he was out! Marjory, who was "not all there" by then, could not help her friend and ally. Joe was devastated. Thus began his travails so ably described by Mike Clary.

Alan W. Rigerman
Palm Springs North

Forgive Me for Being Sappy

But I'm kind of enjoying the peaceful serenity: Mike Clary's "Adrift on a River of Grass" spawned a big, warm reaction from far and wide in my world. Even my mother loved it, and that's the acid test! Folks I hadn't heard from in years checked in and wanted to go to lunch. For my part, I am most grateful to a beneficent God for putting me together with the best writer and soul on the planet.

The article seems to have stimulated neurons out there in the enviro-ether, for a job offer came floatin' in. I declined for the moment, allowing that the story's subtitle said it best: I have found a little peace. After mulling over the offer, it occurred to me that I am protective of that state and zealously guard that bit of serenity I now have.

My forays into the greens' world are calculated and measured these days. I think I'll choose my battles more carefully from now on. For now I am content to learn jazz, fix my teeth, work hard, and please my girlfriend.

Thanks for showing me that I mattered. That's the kind of reason we all need to continue.

Joe Podgor
Miami Springs

Once Upon a Time I Voted for Ana Alliegro

That was before I knew she was such a misguided Cuban: In response to the letter (April 18) written by Ana Alliegro, former Republican, former candidate for state representative, former candidate for Miami-Dade County Commission, and niece of Alfredo Duran, I have some comments.

The Cuba embargo was established when Fidel Castro, at the beginning of the revolution, arbitrarily and against all international laws expropriated the legally acquired properties of American citizens and corporations, worth millions of dollars. While Castro was milking the Russians for millions of rubles, he laughed at the embargo and said he didn't give a damn about it.

Now bankrupt, sick, and owing billions of dollars to almost every country in the world, Castro puts his only hope for remaining in power in his ability to obtain credits from American financial institutions -- millions of dollars that ultimately will be paid by U.S. taxpayers since Castro never pays his debts. Castro could have the embargo lifted if he would allow freedom of expression, free all political prisoners, hold open elections, and allow all Cubans to travel freely. But being blinded by his own thirst for power, he will not do those things. Ending the embargo would be a great disservice to the Cuban people, for it would keep the tyranny alive for many years.

If my memory does not betray me, I once voted for Ms. Alliegro. Now I think we are better off that she did not get elected. I tell you, Ms. Alliegro, your uncle Alfredo, along with Francisco Aruca, Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, and others are very, very lucky they are not Palestinians defending Ariel Sharon in Palestine, or Jews defending Yasser Arafat in Israel. They are lucky they are Cubans, or should I say ex-Cubans, lobbying to obtain bank credits for Fidel, and doing so among Cuban exiles, who happen to be very much against violence and vengeance.

Adolfo Costa
Miami

Speaking of Misguided Cubans

Can we please just give it a rest?As if South Florida needs more news about Cuba and the exile issue! New Times has joined the Miami Herald as a puppet paper. The Cubans have had their fifteen minutes of fame. It's sad that in this country senior citizens can't afford medication but we still have Radio and TV Martí. What a joke.

There are plenty of Cubans in Tampa, but the papers there don't rehash the same issues. What other city would give up the Grammys for a small group of people who can't liberate their own minds?

Come on, New Times, let's all say it together now: ¡Cuba sí, Castro no!

Ralph Tatum
Miami

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