Letters from the Issue of February 13, 2003

Is Miami Beach secretly racist?

I did what anyone would do to protect my home and the safety of my family. I got involved, spoke out, contacted the appropriate government agencies, requested and ultimately demanded protection from environmental hazards. After four years we finally got the "protection" guaranteed under law, but I was sued in the process, a legal assault intended to silence, punish, and financially devastate individuals like me.

The most recent article mentioned the effect this lawsuit has had on me. I can only add that it has been overwhelming, both financially and emotionally, not just for me but for my entire family -- my husband, my 16-year-old daughter, and my 85-year-old mother. It has impaired my ability to function in our business at a time of great economic uncertainty.

This story is mine, but in truth it could have been anyone. And it never should have happened. We all deserve the right to live in safety, to feel that our neighborhood, city, state, or nation is free from danger, and we expect that our government, at every level, will ensure that basic right.

Let's all work to assure this can't happen to anyone else. Get involved, speak out, contact your local government, your senator, representative, governor, president. Be informed, voice your opinion, and never ever give up.

Ellen Perez



The caption accompanying the photo for "First Amendment, Schmirst Amendment" (February 6) misidentified the building in the background as the Miami Herald. It was the Univision compound. New Times regrets the error.

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