Letters from the Issue of August 1, 2002

Just because you can shake it doesn't mean you're a dancer.

Some see this issue as a sacrifice of other interests to an "uncharismatic species." In truth fixing the mistakes of an ill-conceived and outdated water-management system can allow people to live in balance with a restored Everglades, which would surely be poorer if we lost the Cape Sable seaside sparrow. A number of ongoing restoration projects, including the massive $7.8 billion comprehensive restoration plan, are attempting to reach this goal. Actions taken to protect the sparrow are not in any way impeding these goals. In fact, what's good for the sparrow is good for Everglades restoration. I believe that our fates are tied together.

Maureen Finnerty, superintendent

Everglades National Park



Birth of a Politician

Don't say I didn't warn you about Joe Arriola: I was very impressed with the letters concerning Joe Arriola, who resigned as volunteer business manager of the Miami-Dade Public Schools following his criticism of superintendent Merrett Stierheim. I was also impressed with the letter Arriola himself wrote, which was titled "Free Weekly Twists Truth, Aspires to Tabloid Status" (July 18). I have known of Arriola for about ten years. I am too small a person for him to know me, though. I have no political or monetary clout. In other words, I cannot benefit him or his ego. I will say this, though: Arriola is one of the lowest forms of man I have encountered.

Years ago, while at a Catholic concert at a South Miami Catholic church, Arriola walked through a barricaded line set up to protect the sound equipment. When the young sound engineer confronted Arriola in the most respectful way to explain why the section was cordoned off, up jumped Arriola and said words to this effect: "Who are you to speak to me like that?" When other parishioners confronted him, he said the same thing. That says a lot about the holier-than-thou Arriola, who seems to get into many verbal altercations. Suffice to say he was not told to leave the concert.

I am not bashing Arriola as a businessman. He didn't become one of the nation's top Hispanic businessmen for nothing. His skills are plentiful. And no, he does not need monetary compensation. Avanti Press made Arriola tens of millions of dollars. Case-Hoyt made him millions more. So why does he try to defend himself as the caring citizen who gave up a paycheck? He worked for free. Sure. But what's better than money? Political power.

In an e-mail I sent Mr. Stierheim I warned of the ramifications of having such a person in his school district administration. In Mr. Stierheim's defense, he was probably doing what he considered to be in the schools' best interest.

In conclusion, this is not an "I told you so" letter to Mr. Stierheim. This is a warning to all voters in Miami-Dade County who stick by the words of such entities as the Latin Builders Association, certain Hispanic politicians, and the like. Arriola's reign is just beginning in the political field. He has the cash. He has the backing. But let's not give him the vote. Let's leave that up to the committees that place him on their boards, for example the state oversight board that is holding back a few dollars from our schools.

Forget the Republican-Democrat crap and let's realize we need to vote for what is best for the general public, not some wealthy businessmen.

Antonio Herrera


Don't Call Me a Rabble-Rouser

I'm irritated enough as it is: Referring to Kirk Nielsen's article about Miami Commissioner Johnny Winton ("Mission Man," July 11), I'd like to ask why New Times described a group of Allapattah activists as "rabble-rousers." This was in regard to the failed attempt to move the Camillus House homeless facility to an Allapattah neighborhood.

Why are we rabble-rousers? That's a pejorative term. People in other neighborhoods don't want any homeless institutions at all. We in Allapattah already have many institutions that cater to homeless people -- Beckham Hall, Better Way, and more. There is also a Camillus facility near us on NW Eighth Avenue. As taxpayers we only want to be treated with equality, respect, and dignity.

No, we're not rabble-rousers, just angry taxpayers.

Mariano Cruz


Just One Small Error

But of the worst sort: I enjoyed Jeff Stratton's story "A Tree, a House, a Sign" (July 4). One small problem, though: My name was spelled incorrectly.

Mitch Novick, chairman

Historic Preservation Board

City of Miami Beach

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