Letters from the Issue of March 11, 2004

Art and ethnicity and cops with nothing better to do

No Time for the Whine

Professional protesters like Bork need to get a job -- and a life: As long as Kirk Nielsen is the acting head of the Jamie "Bork" Loughner Fan Club, perhaps he can enlighten everyone as to what this professional complainer does for a living ("No Rest for the Weary Agitator," March 4). Why does it seem that most folks "well known in activist circles" piss and moan for a living? I'd love to see what would happen if they ever did a hard day's work.

While I'm all for the right of any productive citizen to protest any subject he or she feels strongly about, people who protest for a living seem like maladjusted social misfits who majored in Marxism. And no, Mr. Nielsen, I'm not impressed with anything they do. There are far too many good people, working hard for little money, to leave room for my heart to pump purple over a 39-year-old whiner with no answers but plenty of rhetoric.

Glenn Suarez

South Miami

Art and Ethnicity

Yes, he appears to be the most qualified candidate in the entire universe but -- oops! -- sorry: Congratulations to Brett Sokol for exposing Miami Beach Commissioner Matti Herrera Bower for what she is -- a racist ("Culture Snob Alert," February 26). In addition to Marlo Cáder-Frech and Alan Randolph, both highly qualified to serve on the city's Cultural Arts Council, she also chose to ignore another individual of impeccable credentials.

Barry Oliver Chase is an attorney specializing in intellectual property and entertainment, represents numerous Hispanic artists, and speaks Spanish. Chase is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School and, before moving to Florida from Washington, D.C., he was vice president for programming at PBS, where he was responsible for a host of national cultural initiatives, including a Civil War documentary, the series Dance, and the establishment of the Frontline documentary series, among other projects. All of this was obviously of no interest to Bower -- because Chase is not Cuban.

It is truly a shame that, in this new millennium, we have an elected official who still tries to divide a city solely on the basis of ethnicity.

Juliet Barnes

Miami Beach

Make Art, Not War

Me? I'm a pacifist with conscientious objections: Brett Sokol was looking for a story about the concern expressed in the past few weeks by some people within the Miami Beach community over the recent appointment of three candidates by Commissioner Matti Bower to the Cultural Arts Council. He called me twice and I spent more than an hour talking to him about important issues we're facing in Miami Beach. I explained that decreased funding, along with improving the advocacy role of the Cultural Arts Council, are the important issues for arts organizations. It is unfortunate that he used my words out of context and in a way that fueled his inflammatory article.

I did not agree with the method by which the three individuals were appointed to the CAC, but my comments referred to process and procedure, not to the appointees or the commissioner who appointed them. It is simple: If the City of Miami Beach has a process for the selection of Cultural Arts Council members, then all candidates should be required to go through that process, not just some of them. Otherwise the integrity of the procedure is compromised.

Mr. Sokol's article made it appear as though I am personally ready to "go to war" over the issue of these appointments by Commissioner Bower. I am not. I don't believe in war, and I wasn't making a frivolous remark. I said that it appeared to me, based on comments I've heard, that "people seemed ready to go to war over this." It was an observation about the intensity with which many members of the arts community were reacting -- not an expression of my feelings, my opinion, or my plan of action.

I spoke with respect and accuracy, and I would have hoped Mr. Sokol could have reported the same way.

Beth Boone, artistic and executive director

Miami Light Project

Miami

Brett Sokol replies: Beth Boone's letter restates her comments as accurately published in my column: "I think people want to go to war over this, because oftentimes Miami Beach doesn't act like a big city. It acts like a small town. Why do we have processes in a democratic system if they're ignored?"

Me and Miami's Only Daily

I'll buy an ad if that's what it takes to tell my side of the story: I've always enjoyed Max Castro's columns in the Miami Herald. I also enjoyed his article in the February 26 edition of New Times, in which he discussed his column being dropped by the Herald. Nothing he wrote surprised me. My only question would be this: Why does the Herald, which enjoys constitutional protections, practice censorship while allowing the extreme influence by right-wing Cuban fanatics?

Editorials say a lot about a newspaper -- and the community it serves. In this case, the Herald has been the "daily education" for one of the poorest, most ignorant, and most corrupt areas in the nation.

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