Letters from the Issue of June 10, 2004

Steel guitars, the Sambo Syndrome, scofflaw politicians, and Scullyís Tavern

William Delgado

And While We're on the Subject of Bad Raps
Here's a modest proposal for our hip-hop friends: To the whining, talentless hip-hop "artists" who are incessantly complaining about this alleged surveillance by The Man: Who gives a shit if they're building files on you? You built your farcical lives around your tough talk, wannabe-gangsta attitudes, ten-pound gold chains, and tricked-out, tinted Navigators, being oh-so-smoove holding that pistol sideways on your album cover -- and now you're surprised you actually got the attention you so craved?

Shut the fuck up about it. Or better yet, shut up entirely and spare us any more of your shitty music.

Aaron Merriman
Miami Beach

The Laws of Love
If Jay Love were county mayor, first thing he'd do is nix every law that cost him a penny: I just finished reading Tristram Korten's column on county mayor candidate Jay Love ("To IRS With Love," May 27) and would like to bring an omission to the attention of Mr. Korten and his readers. Mr. Korten's coverage of Jay Love's IRS problems gives Miami-Dade County voters a small taste of what to expect if Love is elected mayor. While ignoring the United States Code by not paying taxes is noteworthy, it is not the only solid example of Mr. Love's willingness to skirt the law for his own pecuniary benefit. For another prime example all you have to do is take a sniff of his well-known Kendall-area restaurant, Hooligan's.

You may not know this, but Hooligan's is one of the only restaurants in Miami-Dade County that serves food and allows cigarette smoking despite a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants. How is this possible, you might ask? Is Mr. Love's establishment exempt from the law that was passed by an overwhelming majority of Florida voters, many of whom are residents of the very county that Love seeks to lead? No, he is not exempt, although he meritlessly claims to be. This great state has repeatedly advised Mr. Love to disallow smoking in his eating establishment and he has repeatedly ignored the state's demands.

Since banning smoking in restaurants is not good for business, Mr. Love has decided to ignore state regulators and the voters who gave them authority to ban smoking in restaurants. This sort of logic seems to be par for the course for this mayoral candidate, who, according to the IRS, is also unwilling to contribute his rightful share of income taxes. Hell, if it isn't good for Love's bottom line, why should he comply with the law? If banning smoking in Hooligan's is going to decrease sales and business, then smoke up. Who cares what the voters want, anyway. If paying taxes means you will have less money to spend playing politician while getting free press for your restaurant, then don't pay 'em. This seems to be Mr. Love's take on things.

I for one will not be complicit in putting a scofflaw into the county's highest position. I can only wonder what this place will look like if Jay Love is elected mayor. Who knows, perhaps we would be better off. Hell, who wouldn't be better off if they didn't have to adhere to state regulations or pay their share of federal income tax?

Jason Setchen
Coral Gables

Love and the Law
So what if Jay Love filed for bankruptcy, so did Abraham Lincoln: I must say that I was both shocked and disappointed by Tristram Korten's unabashedly biased and sensationalistic article (rather, hatchet job) about Miami-Dade County mayoral candidate Jay Love. A few observations, Tristram:

Jay's allegedly questionable record as a businessman: Apparently Jay was savvy enough to arrive in Miami virtually penniless and subsequently build up a successful four-restaurant chain. Doesn't that require just a tad bit of business acumen?

Jay's tax issue with the IRS: Thousands of individuals and businesses in the U.S. are audited each year by the IRS. Many of these audits result in discussion and negotiation between the taxpayer and the IRS. Many of these issues represent differing interpretations of the tax code and/or arcane accounting technicalities. Many such audits and negotiations end up in favor of the taxpayer. Jay's case was settled out of court, as are many such tax cases. So what? Get over it. You might be audited one day, Tristram. Are you certain you're "on good terms with the IRS"?

Lien on Jay's house: IRS liens on taxpayer property pending resolution of tax issues are not uncommon. When the Miami Lakes Hooligan's began to fail (not of Jay's doing but rather after he sold the business, it might be reiterated), Jay was placed in the difficult position of trying to save it. He was, after all, the guarantor. In doing so, he put his personal assets at risk. Again, so what? The case was settled out of court.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing: It's called "damage control," idiot. Many capable and successful people have been placed in untenable financial situations not of their own making. It's important to point out, for example, that Abraham Lincoln filed for bankruptcy in 1833, but subsequently became one of this nation's greatest presidents. Would you accept Lincoln as a viable candidate for public office?

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