Letters from the Issue of November 14, 2002

Welcome to the great Rosie O'Donnell controversy

The letter to the editor we issued, which was signed by our board president, was sent in order to correct several points in Mr. Sokol's column. What transpired afterward was a shock to all of us. It is our responsibility to make sure correct information about the foundation, its officers, and staff is disseminated. We are always available for comments.

This alternative paper only fills the void if its readership can trust the information printed. Certainly that was not the case in this incident. I think every reader is entitled to know how New Times plans to earn back our trust.

Alicia Apfel, vice president

Gay and Lesbian Foundation of South Florida

Editor's note: Prior to publication of "The Political Dance," Brett Sokol in fact did speak with a representative of the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of South Florida. Lisa Palley, serving as a spokeswoman for the foundation, provided Sokol with information that appeared in his column and in his response to Joe Guerrero's letter. In the response, however, Palley should have been identified as the source of the information regarding Rosie O'Donnell. Although New Times stands by the integrity of the original column, we regret any misunderstanding caused by the lack of proper attribution.

Reefer Badness

Parents, here's one way to ensure your child's future as a drug-addled criminal: Thanks and kudos to Humberto Guida and New Times for the provocative and troubling story on the culture and business of marijuana in suburban South Florida ("The Preppie Pot Papers," October 24). Additionally thanks are in order for the article's substantiation (perhaps unintentionally) of the anti-drug community's effort to reduce if not eradicate substance abuse, beginning with marijuana.

Mr. Guida's article, albeit anecdotal, makes abundantly clear at least three points the prevention leaders in Miami-Dade have been making for the past several years:

By volume, drug use is predominately a suburban, not an exclusively urban or minority, problem. The existing stereotype is pure myth.

The sheer lack of accountability, responsibility, awareness, and moral direction from parents like the mother of "Razz," coupled with the dysfunctional and aberrant influence of fathers like his, are sadly among the most common predictors of drug use and crime in youth. In other words, parents, you want your kids to enjoy the "high times" and life that is drug dealing and using, and all the sociopathic behavior associated with it? Then simply ignore your children or fail to communicate important traditional values to them and that's precisely what you'll get. After all it was Razz's mother who made the story's most revealing statement when she said, "What my son does with his life, I have no control over. Kids today can do what they want, they know what's right and wrong."

The article also proves that marijuana does indeed serve as a gateway to using and dealing harsher drugs like Ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin, the results of which will continue to prove disastrous for this community.

Thanks again to New Times for its clarion call to leaders, elected officials, and families to rise up and take responsibility for drug abuse in South Florida.

Bernie Diaz, director of communications

Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community

Coral Gables

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