In today's economic climate for baseball, Loria will do what he can to put together another good team, with or without some of the current stars. Unfortunately, to run his business effectively, he has no choice but to make difficult decisions. Maybe the People's Pudge Fund proposed by Korten could be used to redesign the entire Major League Baseball system. If not, then baseball may be heading down the dark and dangerous road taken by the National Hockey League. This baseball fan hopes not.

Dan Jardin

South Miami

Outside the Box, Inside the Park

Yes! The People's Pudge Fund will work! Tristram Korten's "Power to the Pudge!" was quite simply the best outside-the-box thinking I have read in a very long time. Every last one of his People's Pudge Fund suggestions would work: court-ordered ticket purchases, a Miccosukee casino partnership, tax surcharges on Hummers, federal asset-seizure participation, hip-hop subsidies, Ecstasy bulk-sales taxes, and market-specific fundraisers.

It's a shame we can't get the powers that be to use their heads so creatively. Thanks for the G.E.N.I.U.S. piece.

Ralph Wakefield

Miami Springs

Design District: Elitist Playpen

There's no neighborhood there: As an architect and urban designer and a resident of the neighborhood around the Design District, I appreciated Alfredo Triff's article "Designs on the Future" (October 23) and his interview with Craig Robins. I also appreciate Mr. Robins's efforts in the area. His buildings played a large role in my decision to invest and live there. He is also quite correct in his citing of Miami's zoning regulations as a contributing factor in the dismal state of our urban landscape. I teach at the University of Miami School of Architecture, birthplace of New Urbanism, so I am quite familiar with this subject.

I would, however, like to comment on the issue of neighborhood exploitation. The buildings Mr. Robins owns and operates are within a seven-block area between Federal Highway west to North Miami Avenue, and from NE 38th Street north to NE 41st Street. Ninety-five percent of the businesses in this zone sell very high-end design services and products to a high-end clientele who come to enjoy the refined, renovated buildings for a few hours and then go back to their lives in South Beach, Coral Gables, and Kendall.

It seems as if this is no more than the same elitist concept of the high-rise condo in commercial form, just spread out in the best commercial spaces in the neighborhood. Some of these spaces could be used for businesses that would make a neighborhood more real -- bookstores, midpriced ethnic restaurants, a movie house, nonvelvet-rope nightclubs (see "The Grass Menagerie" by Lee Klein in the same issue). So the question is: Has the neighborhood really benefited beyond a superficial level?

To the majority of residents in the area, the "Design District" may as well be as far away as Mt. Olympus.

N. Campbell

Miami

Why Hip-Hop Is Driving Me Crazy

Because it's simple and stupid and everywhere all the time: In response to Nick Weidenfeld's "The Ying and the Yang" (October 16), I can appreciate only about ten percent of Southern hip-hop. Sometimes Trick Daddy is good, but sometimes he's just plain ignant! Outkast is too good to be associated with the stigma that Southern hip-hop has. I can't stand Lil' Jon.

Sometimes all that music sounds so simpleton -- simple and stupid. I don't mind crunk and other mindless creations, but I can't stand the fact that the airwaves are saturated with so much garbage. I mean, too much of anything is bad. There is no balance on the radio. Just garbage after garbage. Let me not call it garbage because it might be another man's treasure, but the airwaves are just bombarding us with the same old same old. It literally numbs my brain to the point that I shut off the radio scrambling for something to hear. Hip-hop is now in a state of hoes and pimps. I can appreciate when people are creative about it, but some of these songs bring audio pollution to my ears and I find myself getting a headache. I wonder if music really affects the soul or something.

Nobody is trying to rap good because they rely so much on hooks and beats and the ladies just suck this up. No sense fighting, though. Hip-hop has sort of always been this way. But I just wish there were more nourishing songs to the mind. I don't like Talib Kweli but his song "Just To Get By" is so damn refreshing to the mind.

Nick Weidenfeld did a good job with the Ying Yang twins. I hate their music, but at least the article wasn't about their music. They've got hooks and something resembling rhythm that command women to be stupid and shake their asses. But it was good to read about Eric Ron "Kaine" Jackson's cerebral palsy. Good insight.

Wil Delgado

Miami

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