Letters from the Issue of , 2002

He Comes to Praise

Michael, Not to Bury Him

Others tried to bury Kosnitzky -- he wanted to put the trust back in Public Health Trust: Approximately $70 million in taxpayers' money going from the Public Health Trust (PHT) to University of Miami's medical school? In a single year? As Tristram Korten pointed out ("Welcome to the Brawl," March 20), that's not pocket change. Looks to me like some members of the PHT treat that money as if it were theirs to spend -- and to hell with any oversight.

Michael Kosnitzky, a Public Health Trust member, then its chairman, and now a member again, decided that backroom deals needed to come into the front room, that financial matters between the PHT and UM needed to move from the shade to the sunshine.

As I read articles and columns and opinion pieces about Kosnitzky in the Miami Herald, I thought he might be getting the shaft from those who believe public money is their own private money. I made a phone call and spoke to Kosnitzky's secretary, saying, "Please tell your boss thanks for giving a damn."

Now, after Tristram Korten put it all together, I can say it in print: Michael, thanks for taking all that crap. Thanks for putting up with those bullshit charges of racism. And thanks for caring about how my money is spent. There are too few people like you.

Alan Rigerman

Palm Springs North

Cartoonist As Meathead

With dingbats like Derf running around, it's no surprise the world hates us: I don't have a clue who this cartoonist named Derf really is, but after his "The Muslim World: The Average American's View" (March 20), he shouldn't be wondering why everyone is talking about Americans. He is an insult to our intelligence and integrity! Who gives him the right to interpret the average American's view of the Muslim world?

He is the one who just fell off the turnip truck.

Lorne Salzer


The Hidden Secrets

of MIA

They're a mystery to most, but great rewards await those who investigate: I am tired of reading highly critical, negative articles about Miami International Airport -- articles like Francisco Alvarado's "MIA: A User's Manual" (March 13). Most of us chose to live here in Miami-Dade County, in contrast to Fort Myers or Naples, because we seek the diversity and cultural mix that speaks of the real world. MIA mirrors our global city in its size as well as the fact that perhaps not everyone speaks English as a first language.

While improvements in service and user-friendliness will always be in order at any large, complex facility like MIA, I can assure everyone that changing planes on a budget of twenty minutes is no longer possible anywhere. I do agree with Mr. Alvarado that MIA's outside, lower-level arrival area is like a dungeon devoid of oxygen, especially during the summer months. If at all possible, it should be avoided. I am sure this is being addressed by the new arrival/departure facility currently being designed across Le Jeune Road from the current terminal. In the meantime, perhaps something like large, trailer-mounted, portable air-conditioning units could be employed, similar to those used for outdoor tented circuses or prayer meetings.

The truth about MIA is this: If you're going to use it, you must take some time to learn how to get around. I used to fight it until I took time to learn about the extremely underutilized "moving walkway" around the terminal horseshoe. To this day I usually only see airport personnel on the walkway. And the fact is, the walkway is the key to MIA and the world beyond this fantastic place called Miami.

John Robert McCord III


The Quiet Joys of MIA

The fact that they're rare makes them all the more precious: I have felt frustrated at Miami International Airport many times. (Latest problem: The Transportation Security Administration doesn't seem to know which end is up.) But here is one bright story.

This past fall I was taking a quick trip to a friend's wedding. I had just moved to Miami and many of my belongings (and personal documents) were still in transit. Somewhere on the upper-level moving walkway my wallet and passport fell out of my bag -- which I realized only upon reaching the ticket counter to check in. After running ragged for an hour (and missing my flight), I went to the customer service desk one last time to fill out a report. Lo and behold, an airport security officer came up to the desk to turn in a wallet and passport another passenger had just given him. They were mine! Everything was there, and everyone I dealt with was very helpful and comforting. Imagine being in a strange airport in a new city with no credit cards, driver's license, ATM cards, or federal ID of any sort!

Yes, there are a lot of crappy people out there, but there are many kind ones as well. Special mention should go to the people at the US Airways counter. They were very cool and helpful. I even made the next flight home in time for the wedding!

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