Letters from the Issue of September 9-15, 2002

MTV's cattle call, Miami's bigotry, free weekly's big dis

The Teele Inaccuracy

A phone call would have been nice, but I didn't even get that: My name was wrongly inserted in your article "The Teele Conspiracy" by Francisco Alvarado, Kirk Nielsen, and Rebecca Wakefield (September 2).

At no time did I speak to anyone at New Times or anyone at Miami City Hall, for that matter, regarding Commissioner Arthur Teele's incident involving the police. Nor did I talk about actions that should be taken against elected officials. On the contrary, I was the first activist to discuss this incident on Haitian radio, criticizing the way the police officers in this case acted toward Commissioner Teele. I spoke in support of Commissioner Teele.

I find it very disturbing that your writers and New Times would use my name in such an article without proper research. By doing so, you have violated the three fundamental principles of journalism: accuracy, accuracy, and accuracy -- the first topic covered in any journalism class.

Commissioner Teele is a personal friend of my family and a friend of the Haitian the community. I expect that New Times will make the proper retraction. Next time, have the courtesy to call me or my office before printing my name without my knowledge.

Ringo Cayard


This Park for Rent

But make a good offer and we just might sell it: In response to your coverage of the MTV Video Music Awards ("Can the VMAs Still Shock or Are They 21 and Over?" August 26), we can now say that thanks to MTV coming to town, the county, after four years of stalling, did $450,000 worth of improvements in 30 days to the vacant land east of the American Airlines Arena (known as Parcel B). But don't hold your breath hoping to enjoy it as parkland. It will be marketed as a film set to make a buck for the county. Thus the reason that the water's edges are paved with two lanes of blacktop to accommodate trucks instead of pathways for baby carriages. And don't look for restrooms; film crews bring their own. And don't expect to spend much time there (if it is ever open to the public), as shade trees don't exist.

It is because of this insensitivity to the needs of our residents by elected leaders and the boards of two local museums -- the Museum of Science and the Miami Art Museum -- regarding our scarce and poorly kept parks that I will be voting against Bond Issue 8 on November 2. The bond measure will ask voters to finance construction of these two huge museums in Bicentennial Park, at a cost of $275 million.

The two museums will take up 50 percent more land than the overdue, over-budget Performing Arts Center. These buildings, which could be placed west of Biscayne Boulevard, would consume up to 16 acres of a 29-acre park -- in a city that ranks last among all major U.S. cities in terms of park space per resident.

Steve Hagen


My Life as an MTV Seat-Filler

In a word, mooooooooooo: I was selected to be one of the seat-fillers for MTV's Video Music Awards. Before the show, we were told to wear upscale club clothes, bring food, water, and wear comfortable shoes because once we were inside we would not be able to leave. The times were from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. No cell phones, cameras, and so on.

I'm thinking: Not bad. I can do this, because it was a chance to see all the stars go down the red carpet, even though I would not be able to get into the event itself. Only thing could hold me up: You had to be at least 18 years old and under 30 -- and look it. Well, I look as if I'm somewhere between 26 and 30, but really I'm 48 year old. So I took a chance. The person I was getting e-mails from said, "We can't really say, all we can do is see what you look like." So I went.

I arrived on time at the corner of North Miami Avenue and Eighth Street. My ID was checked and then another woman came over and said, "She was the person I was getting e-mails from, and wow! You do look young." So I was in.

I forgot to bring water, and no one was on the streets selling it, but after an hour went by, a van pulled up and someone started selling water and Cokes for three dollars each. I took one of each and got back in line. They gave us numbers. Mine was 633, so I guessed I was the 633rd person in line. Then a woman called out: "Take the labels off your bottles of water if they are not [insert brand name]." Mine was not, so I took off the label. That was strange, I thought.

Finally at 4:30 they loaded us on buses and took us to the American Airlines Arena. We passed through a security checkpoint and then they herded us into a corral, offering us bottles of hot water.

Looking around, I proceeded to the red carpet area, but a guard said it was full and that because I was here for the preshow, I had to go back with the other seat-fillers. So from 4:00 to 6:30 we were in the hot sun, standing on grass and dirt. No chairs in sight. I looked down at my $80, twentieth-anniversary Nike gym shoes. People had stepped on them. I could see other girls whose high heels were halfway in the ground. This was not good.

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