Letters from the Issue of July 27, 2002

Out from under a rock: Lots of hearts go out to the homeless

Ol' Scraggy Blue Eyes

Not everyone in my building hates the homeless: I own a condo here in the Helen Mar and I just wanted to tell you that I thought John Lombardi's "The Heart Goes For a Haircut" was a great story (June 13). I rarely read the New Times. I just flip through it, but Eby's blue eyes caught my attention. Good pictures and great story. You made my day.

Ana Mettola

Miami Beach

Heartfelt Reply

Let's talk about the real exiles: Kudos to "The Heart Goes For a Haircut." A mere perfunctory review of the cover might lead you to believe that Heart was the man's name depicted on the cover. But on further consideration, the better interpretation calls for the understanding that "Heart" is both a characterization of one not sullied by the superficialities of wealth and power, as well as what we, as a society, have failed to become.

These people are not getting the "good news" preached to them and they know it; they are merely getting a system of "salvation" whereby the additional procurement of monies can be legitimized. One system competes with the other. It's no wonder many of them, upon being confronted with a Jesus they know has on a little too much makeup, probably say to themselves, "Let me get the hell out of this place."

The homeless are our first and foremost exiles, the most simplistic, and the ones closest to nature. They are the ones who should have the right to tell the rest of us to get the hell out. Many await to be restored to their original status as "human being," yet because of greed and other broader factors not exclusively within their control (such as the ludicrous and highly inflationary prices of the housing market), they find themselves where they are. I don't know of anybody who one day wakes up and says to himself, "Oh, today I think I'll be homeless."

Unlike some institutions in Miami-Dade County, whose main aim is to keep money circulating so that palms can continue to be greased, the poor have no one to represent their interests, no fancy lobbyist dressed in a $1500 suit who keeps saying, "But think about the people who will get hurt if you don't ..."

I hate to say it but despite Mayor David Dermer's comments about wanting to help the poor (and I am, at present, attempting to refrain from laughing), the poor bastard on the cover better count his blessings because a haircut and a Bud is about all he's going to get, and this only because of writer Lombardi's compassion or Heart.

Manny Losada

Miami

Paulina Comes Alive

All that pop stardom just jumped off the page: I just wanted to congratulate Celeste Fraser Delgado on her Paulina Rubio story ("¡Tequila Time!" June 20). It was thoroughly entertaining and full of imagery, drama, even a little suspense. It was very creative and I hope you continue expanding on that style because it adds life to what could have otherwise been just another "hotel room rented for interviews all day" type of article. Awesome, it totally put me there. Keep on making it come alive.

Raul Ramirez

Miami Beach

Rights, Schmights

You lefties are all the same: Laurence Gartel in his June 13 letter "Wake Up and Smell the Suppression," responding to Alfredo Triff's "Anatomy of Suppression" (May 23), displays the same tired, worn-out nonsense that many of his whining, complaining ilk espouse. I should have known that not too long after September 11, he and his fellow travelers would be crawling out of the woodwork.

First of all, Mr. Gartel, enacting "extra measures" in a time of national emergency has been done before, during the Civil War, World War II, and so on. Really, these measures are minor when you compare them to some of the laws in other thriving democracies that put more limits on human behavior. I'm talking about Great Britain, Sweden, France, and Italy to name a few. These are hardly jackboot, storm-trooper dictatorships we are talking about. Second, in case Mr. Gartel wishes to pull his head out of his bubble, I don't know where he has been since September 11. We clearly need to enact measures to shore up our nation's security, or has he already forgotten the images of people jumping from the burning World Trade Center building? Is he human or doesn't he feel the anger and anguish suffered by those who lost loved ones on that day, or the emotions felt by us Americans as a people? Did it ever occur to him the reason America has been blessed with such rights is also because we have been a strong nation militarily? Many of these rights would be no more if this nation were to fall apart. It would fall into total chaos if we did not act to ensure our strength and some degree of security. This is the foundation that our republic and rights are set upon.

Finally it bothers me that so many of your "my rights, my rights" crowd take advantage of this great country and enjoy your rights, yet when it comes to the difficult task of standing up to fight and protect them, you stick your head in the sand and complain. Grow up and smell the coffee, these people are intent on destroying us, you included, unless you consider yourself so high above the rest of us that you can't be touched. And I wonder how many in your whining, complaining crowd are full of crap, because you would probably be out there with the rest of us waving flags if you had suffered as many did on that horrible day. In conclusion, if you and your kind can't be supportive, then maybe you can keep your opinions to yourself. In other words, put up or shut up.

Paul E. Czekanski

Cutler RidgeBasta Ya!Meanwhile far, far away in a land called Miami: As you wrote about in "Anatomy of Suppression," somebody shot out Maxoly Art Cuba gallery's windows. What did it mean? It means when you enter a southern city called Miami you have reached the outer limits of the twilight zone. Anything is possible. Don't try to adjust your thinking, it has already been done for you.

Clyde Cates

South Miami

There's No Place Like MIA

Theft isn't the only reason flying is utterly unpleasant: I read Kathy Glasgow's article "Ramp Rats' Revenge" with much dismay, but little surprise (May 30). I've always resisted checking bags. But in light of recent security increases, it has become more difficult to carry on luggage. This leaves me often deciding not to travel at all, since I'm not willing to take so little I can't enjoy myself, or miss my flight while a bag is unpacked, or exhaust myself running to gates with bag in tow, or, if checked, have it all missing upon my arrival.

The plight of baggage handlers, while grievous, gives them no right to steal from passengers. I work hard and pinch pennies to get by. For international flights, the airline will only pay me seven cents per pound for lost items or bags. The airlines have no incentive whatsoever to demand reductions in baggage damage and theft.

For years I have resisted Miami International Airport for several reasons. The personnel are rude and, even when speaking English, difficult to understand. The lines are always ridiculously long, and the crowds make it difficult to move.

But don't bother to install hidden cameras in cargo holds and increase supervisory personnel at airports. Give all employees an annual lie detector test. Reward the honest ones with a big raise, and fire all the crooks. This would efficiently and economically close the security loopholes and stop crime. But then the attorneys would come pouring in with civil rights violation suits. In order to protect rights, I guess we will have to learn to love criminals and enjoy being victimized!

Sara Sommers

British Virgin Islands

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