Letters from the Issue of March 18, 2004

Civic demons, bad dentistry, and hip-hop culture crash

An Angel's Blessing

Free weekly praised for publishing potty-mouth cartoons: I want to thank Francisco Alvarado for his journalistic aggressiveness in reporting the latest chapter in the sick saga of North Bay Village's political chaos ("The Avenging Angel of North Bay Village," March 11). The two disgusting cartoons that were purportedly sent to me by North Bay Village Police Chief Irving Heller, who is still under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, reflect a city government that has spiraled out of control. These profanity-laden and offensive cartoons, which New Times had the guts to print, tell the raw truth that no other paper in South Florida had the journalistic courage to do.

Francisco, whom I have nicknamed the hangman for his take-no-prisoners reporting style, would have made a great public-corruption prosecutor, given his ability to dig out the facts in a timely fashion and succinctly describe them. The head of the State Attorney's corruption unit, Joe Centorino, could take a few lessons from him.

The impact from his stories has been invaluable in the fight against public corruption. I continue to receive numerous e-mail messages at my Websites (www.dumpdugger.com and www.ditchdorne.com, which concerns Mayor Alan Dorne) from New Times readers who have been motivated to come forward with new information regarding not only questionable activity by politicians and employees in North Bay Village, but also in other parts of Miami-Dade County.

Fane Lozman

North Bay Village

Secret to Global Improvement in a Word

And the word is -- cloning: Congratulations to Francisco Alvarado for having the courage to write about Fane Lozman and his fight against those North Bay Village characters. I'm sure sooner or later justice will be served and they will pay for everything they've done.

If we could have more individuals like Mr. Lozman and the people at New Times this world would be a better place. Thanks for a great job. May you continue to have the courage to denounce the bad things that happen in Miami.

George Palmas


Open Wide

This won't hurt a bit (heh, heh): I think Rebecca Wakefield's article on the new dental HMO for kids on Medicaid only scratched the surface of what is wrong with the system ("Cavity Depravity," March 11). Once again a politically connected businessman, Michael Fernandez, stands to gain at the expense of the very patients the system was designed to help. The explanation given -- that the change was mandated to reduce fraud -- rings hollow when no effort was made to include providers such as Dr. Luisa Utset-Ward and Children's Hospital, who have served this population for so long.

As Medicaid is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, I suspect this "pilot program," which has no built-in review except for that performed by Fernandez's own HMO, will be coming under some federal scrutiny.

The tragedy of this is that the children who do not have the option of using the private system will ultimately pay for this experiment.

Malcolm M. Major, M.D.


Rotten Deal, Rotten Teeth

But what do you expect when politics mixes with health care? Thanks to Rebecca Wakefield for the disturbing article reporting HMOs taking over the dental health care previously administered by Medicaid.

Consequences: Children are neglected and HMO honcho Michael Fernandez buys huge mansion on the waterfront. She could not have said it better.

I agree with Dr. Alan Friedel, first vice president of the Florida Dental Association: This only means adding another layer of administration, which means another useless layer of wasted money. Sad, and nothing we can do.

Matthias Muenzer

Brookline, Massachusetts

Can I Vote Twice?

Because I'd like to see twin county mayors: So, as Tristram Korten reports ("Who's That Man Behind the Badge?" March 4), Carlos Alvarez is saying bye-bye to the Miami-Dade Police Department, where he's served as director for these past several years, to enter the mayoral contest. So he's served the public in the role of police officer for 28 years total. Good record as a cop. Good record as chief: Didn't use any credit cards he shouldn't have; didn't use his position for personal gain; and not afraid to go head-to-head with this town's political machine. Not a bad choice.

Korten mentions his competition: County Commissioner Jimmy Morales; businessman José Cancela; attorney and former county Commissioner Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, who has just played a principal role in opening up to development what's left of South Miami-Dade farmland -- and with no infrastructure in place. Is anyone missing?

Isn't Jay Love, another businessman, also running? And what, pray tell, has happened to school board member Marta Perez? From time to time Perez takes positions that aggravate some of her fellow board members. She is something of a loose cannon, the kind of person political professionals don't want to see in office.

If the voting public wanted to stick it to the lobbyists, the entrenched interests, and those who want to use public money for their own gain, Carlos Alvarez or Marta Perez would be a hell of a choice.

Alan Rigerman

Northwest Miami-Dade

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