Letters from the Issue of June 10, 2004

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

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?

Jay's ideas: Gee, imagine a candidate who actually has ideas, who, as Tristram wrote, makes "refreshing comments amid candidates who dance around hot topics," who "vehemently refuses to take lobbyist contributions," and who "seems to sincerely care about things like the state of our public schools and promoting affordable homeownership." Isn't this election about ideas and issues? It seems that some journalists are more interested in tabloid-style character assassination rather than coverage of issues that might require sound, balanced analysis and writing. (By the way, drop the gratuitous sarcasm and blatant misrepresentations, such as "he loves children!" "rejigger[ing] his finances," and "skirting taxes.")

Jay's never having held public office: Isn't about time we have someone represent the people who isn't a career politician beholden to lobbyists? There are many capable individuals with varying career backgrounds -- businessmen or educators, for example -- who can and do serve in public office and bring fresh ideas to government.

One final recommendation for you, Tristram: I recommend for your reading pleasure the Society of Professional Journalists' code of ethics.

Michael Elder
Miami


Solution to Miami-Dade's Lack of Affordable Housing
Abolish the bureaucrats:The horrors suffered by affordable-housing developers Jerry Flick and Ed Gorman, as described in Forrest Norman's "House of Horrors" (May 27), unfortunately aren't isolated incidents. They are just two examples of how Miami-Dade County government itself has become the biggest impediment to increasing the supply of affordable housing.

The path to creating more affordable-housing stock does not lie in myriad government programs accompanied by an army of make-work, clueless, and arrogant bureaucrats drunk with power. The only way to ensure an increase in the stock of affordable housing is to drastically streamline the process for permitting, bring impact fees back down to earth, and curb some of the exorbitant fines levied by the county, which make many inner-city lots unbuildable. As if all that weren't enough, the zoning in some areas looks as if it was fashioned by Timothy Leary while on one of his acid trips.

Unfortunately the political leadership in Miami-Dade County seems to be devoid of knowledge and/or courage when it comes to this issue. Large developers can count on all sorts of concessions and tax incentives, while small developers don't find county government quite as cooperative. Unless changes are made (and quickly), affordable housing in Miami-Dade County will go the way of the Edsel.

Normally I'd sign my name to a letter like this, but as a small developer I am having my own frustrating experiences with the county. I don't want to be identified and risk retribution.

Name Withheld by Request
Miami


Somewhere in Kendall Stands a Great American Institution
A place where the bartenders know when to cut off soccer moms: Hey, what's going on here? I wasn't going to say anything, but this is the second week in a row I see some print in this paper that just doesn't seem right. I remember reading somewhere recently (I think it was Bill Moyers interviewing famed mythologist Joseph Campbell) about journalists having to face the task of writing about something as if they knew all there was to know about that particular something. It must surely be a challenging job.

Anyway, to the point: I would like to compliment New Times nightlife writer Humberto Guida for the thoroughness of his "BuzzIn" column about the restaurant One Ninety ("190 Degrees," May 20). Anyone who truly loves good stories knows that there are plenty in a good nightlife hangout, especially one that's been around awhile. However, I would like to invite Mr. Guida to pursue the same thoroughness with what many long-time Miamians consider a local treasure, namely Scully's Tavern, listed under the pop/rock category of the New Times club listings.

I can certainly understand that the pressures and time constraints placed on a journalist can be prohibitive when it comes to preparing all those listings. I might recommend, though, that Mr. Guida and the other writers who contribute club listings start in their own back yard with two New Times articles, dated January 31 and May 16, 2002, that will at least introduce Scully's owners, who have built the place, literally, with their own four hands, into as fine an example of American small business as you will likely ever find. This is not to mention the fact that Scully's is one of the few places in Miami where you can still hear live pop/rock music every weekend, just as it has been for nearly twenty years.

I won't belabor the point, but a club listing that begins "Drunken soccer moms and the guys who love them..." is not a particularly flattering way to present an establishment that has patronized this paper for a great many years. The most polite thing I can say in response to this myopic view is "shame on you." A prominent Scully's patron puts it another way: "Pull your South Beach head out of your South Beach ass!"

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