Letters from the Issue of July 18, 2002

Read all about it: Republicans conspire to ruin public education!

I was appalled by "Bleeding Stierheim" and hope that in the future New Times includes actual facts in its stories.

Joe Arriola

Miami Lakes

Out with the Old, in with the Ugly

And while we're at it let's talk figs: I wholeheartedly believe in historic preservation. And as a South Florida native, I have been repulsed by the demolition of a once-familiar skyline in favor of a grotesque new façade. After reading Jeff Stratton's article about the recently demolished Mediterranean Revival home on Miami Beach's North Bay Road ("A Tree, a House, a Sign," July 4), I want to applaud the efforts of Colleen Martin, attorney and member of the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board. (I formerly resided a few blocks from the demolished home.)

Regarding Ms. Martin's battle to save the large banyan tree next to her property, as a biologist I must state for the record that the majority of our fig (ficus) trees are nonnative. In fact the common banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis L.), as its scientific name suggests, is native to India and Pakistan.

It is indeed important to protect and promote the planting of native species, which are adapted to this area in terms of water-use efficiency and bird habitat. It's the coastal and dry-hammock species such as live oaks, gumbo-limbos, sea grapes, and royal palms that need our help if we are to preserve a few shards of the once-vibrant ecosystem that is our most valuable heritage.

John Barimo


Voice of an Angel, Bedeviled by Home

Nicole, it's time for you to bust out: What a wonderful article by Nina Korman about my favorite local singer, Nicole Henry ("Far From Blue," June 20). Nicole is the latest in a long line of South Florida female vocalists. Local music professionals (musicians, DJs, record producers) would agree she is currently the best voice in town.

I've been in the music business in Miami for three decades and remember many others who were just as talented and just as underappreciated in their day. The first who comes to mind is Addie Williams, the nicest and sexiest vocalist I've ever met. Wanda Williams, now teaching school, was the closest Miami ever came to having its own Natalie Cole. Carol "Koffie" Kaufman was a skinny Jewish girl with a voice so powerful she could almost outshout Aretha (almost). Donna Allen had hits in the Eighties ("Joy and Pain," "Real") and still performs locally.

Now I'm hoping, along with her fans, that Nicole Henry will break out of the mold of "best local singer" and show the rest of the world her extraordinary talent.

Bo Crane, president

Pandisc Music/StreetBeat Records


In Pursuit of the Elusive Weekly Wiener

May I suggest more rat excrement, the occasional sliced thumb, some judicious euthanasia, and a bit less white-trash porno: My name is Fernando Paredes Velasco. I am an attorney, a Mexican citizen, a resident of the United States, a senior citizen, and homeless. I feel compelled to write because I spend a lot of my time reading New Times. I believe it is almost a good paper. Your writers, however, keep missing "the wienie." Let me cite some examples.

Kathy Glasgow's article on the baggage handlers at Miami International Airport ("Ramp Rats' Revenge," May 30) was sympathetic to the point of disgust. Where was the objectivity? Those fellows are nothing more than thieves. They should be thrown headfirst into a vat of rat excrement and have their left thumbs cut off -- or at least threatened with it. In Mexico, where corruption is accepted, if these fellows had managed to steal bags from the wrong person, they would have had their asses straightened out quick. They should not be made into Robin Hoods because they are immigrants.

John Lombardi's article about the homeless in Miami Beach was good -- from a distance ("The Heart Goes for a Haircut," June 13). But if your writers are going to be "investigative," then damn it, investigate. I saw no real definition of those who are "career" homeless and those who are "temporarily displaced." Three-quarters of the indigent residents in Miami Beach should be given proper clothing and shelter, then put to work. The other quarter should be euthanized.

Brett Sokol's article about the local pornography industry gave me no direction ("The XXXstasy Biz," June 27). What happens if South Beach becomes the porn capital of the world? Will they be selling fourteen-year-old girls on Lincoln Road? Will they legalize prostitution? Will it be as rampant as the Puff Daddy videos filmed on Ocean Drive? I don't care that a redneck couple from South Carolina is such white trash that they decided to get into porno movies -- and then she gets jealous. This is of little consequence. I could go on, but I won't.

As it stands, I'm homeless. I sleep on the porch of the Speedo shop on Collins Avenue near Eighth Street. I have no phone. I use the Internet in the public library and the South Florida Workforce/Hispanic Community Center. But I am a real person. Check with the people who issue food stamps or ask around Lummus Park for verification.

Fernando Paredes Velasco

Miami Beach

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