Letters from the Issue of June 6, 2002

Freedom of expression -- what a concept!

Got a Gripe? Take It Elsewhere, Pal

Yes, I know this is the land of free expression, but give me a break, okay? Regarding Alfredo Triff's article about the vandalism at Maxoly Art Cuba gallery ("Anatomy of Suppression," May 23), I would encourage all foreign militants to take their wars away from these shores. Their protests and violence belong in the old country, not in the faces of their hosts.

Cubans, Haitians, Jews, Palestinians, and other foreign-cause sympathizers choose the streets of Miami as their stage because it's safer here than in their homelands. They are cowards who bring their misery to the rest of us. America is a place of new possibilities but everyone is looking backward to old worlds.

I would also ask protesters and other militants to check their anger and resentment at our American shores and leave us in peace. The great melting pot is boiling over into factions of pure hatred. Why can't we, each and every one of us, learn to live free and let be?

David Melvin Thornburgh

Miami Beach

First Batista, Then Castro, Now Mambisa

No doubt Thomas Wolfe would be very very confused: I am Cuban by birth and I have lived under Batista's and Castro's dictatorships. Reading Alfredo Triff's article about Miguel Saavedra and Vigilia Mambisa's despicable behavior, I can't help it but ask: Who the hell said you can't go home again?

Name Withheld by Request

Coconut Grove

The Colossal Conflict Between Rationality and Irrationality

Only in Miami would you hedge your bets: Bravo to Alfredo Triff on behalf of myself, my wife, artist Cesar Beltrán, Maxoly Art Cuba gallery, and rational people everywhere. Thank you very much.

William Nute

Sunny Isles Beach

Our Neighbors the Taliban

Fight intolerance with tolerance: Thanks to Alfredo Triff for "Anatomy of Suppression." Those who would use violence to suppress an artist's work are no better than Fidel Castro or the Taliban. In America we have the right to say what we want to say and to create the art we want to create. It's called freedom of expression.

Has the arts community made any effort to support artist Cesar Beltrán since his exhibit was closed? I hope the community will stand up for him. And has there been any more information about who fired shots into the gallery?

Trina Collins

Coconut Grove

Editor's note: In this issue Kathy Glasgow reports on the police investigation into the shootings at the Maxoly gallery. See page 11.

How Do I Love Thee, Miami Beach?

Let me count the mayor, the cops, and Luther Campbell: I would like to sound off to those two unabashed and misinformed racists whose letters about Miami Beach's Memorial Day weekend were published May 23. Wayne Howington and Rick Gonzalez, why don't you two get one-way tickets to Alabama! I hear the KKK has really nice, organized street parties there. Sounds like a place you'd fit right in.

In my opinion, the City of Miami Beach has done and continues to do an excellent job taking on the many issues it faces, and Mayor David Dermer should get a standing ovation for his leadership. This year's Memorial Day weekend was a success and it's all thanks to the will of the city to pull together all its resources.

I am grateful to the many blacks and Cubans among the folks making up for the lost tourist dollars after September 11. So what if a Mardi Gras crowd hit the streets? We hit them back with our finest -- our great Miami Beach cops. Congratulations to Luther Campbell, too, for organizing such a good venue.

As for me, I'm calling my realtor today and moving to South Beach!

Beatriz Reyes

Coral Gables

How Do I Love Thee, New Times?

Let me, Luther Campbell, count to ten before unloading: I was not very pleased with the things Brett Sokol had to say about me in "Kulchur" ("Can't Knock the Hustle," May 16). He did a very bad job with the facts then and with his earlier column "As Nasty As He Wants To Be" (May 9). As he is aware, I have worked very hard for the First Amendment, as well as the constitutional rights of others, something New Times has failed to print. Brett brought up the negative aspects of my life but has yet to truly push the fact that I have fought for the rights of myself and others.

In my opinion he and New Times have been attempting to cause a problem. Why would he and his newspaper want to do something like that? Why would a newspaper have me, the City of Miami Beach, the county, and everyone else involved in this [Memorial Day weekend] project against each other? Neither I nor anyone else wants to see a major racial problem, nor do we want to see the City of Miami Beach destroyed. This newspaper has constantly placed me on the attack against the city and the city against me.

Brett called me on numerous occasions telling me lies about what people such as [Miami Beach assistant city manager] Christina Cuervo have said in order to get a reaction. We all know that if you tell me something negative, you'll get a negative response. Ms. Cuervo and myself worked numerous hours, on and off the clock, trying to make Memorial Day a successful event. Brett was attempting to divide and conquer. He painted me as a villain, Ms. Cuervo as a villain, the City of Miami Beach as a villain, and my organization Pro, Inc. as a villain. Everything he wrote was negative.

Every day I worked with Christina Cuervo, police Chief Donald De Lucca, the county's Larry Capp, and Tom Battles from the Department of Justice. We all worked very hard to make Memorial Day weekend a success. Brett and New Times tried to undermine that process, and in my opinion that was wrong. I would like to go on record as saying that I felt the plan that Christina Cuervo and the City of Miami Beach put together, in conjunction with our original plan, was a good one.

Why didn't Brett like the fact that a good plan was coming together? I just don't get it. Maybe he wanted to have a big melee, a big riot. That is not what I was trying to do. I am bringing the hip-hop generation and the R&B generation down here. People are spending a lot of money to enjoy Miami Beach and have a good time. There was no reason for New Times to hype up the residents over something that did not need hype. You acted like these people were terrorists about to flip the Beach over. That wasn't the case. These people have credit cards, jobs, and are paying the highest rates for hotels and events. They spend cash money in our malls and restaurants.

New Times has done nothing but try to cause tension between the African-American community and the City of Miami Beach. That needs to stop.

Luther Campbell

Miami

Erratum

Owing to an editing error, the photograph accompanying Kirk Nielsen's article "Insurgent Billboards" (May 23), featuring lobbyist Dusty Melton, was not labeled as a photo-illustration as it should have been. New Times regrets the error.

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