Letters from the Issue of , 2002

Some people must think there are happy humans with good attitudes out there just waiting to drive a bus all day through insane Miami traffic for ten to fifteen dollars an hour. That's funny! It is just like when you go to McDonald's and they always get your order wrong, can't speak properly, and have a bad attitude. What the hell do you expect? If they had any redeeming qualities at all, they could get a better job!

Carlos Arean

Miami

Bus People: Don't Count on Improvement

Great cities have great transportation, but not corrupt Miami: As I walked through the Graham Center at FIU you can imagine my surprise when I happened to glance at the stack of New Times papers featuring a smiling bus driver on the cover. As a regular (every day) rider of most forms of public transportation in Miami for several years, and one of the few students at FIU who opts not to drive to school and instead makes a two-hour bus/Metrorail journey, I am very definitely interested when there is any news about the dire circumstances of our public-transportation system.

As Francisco Alvarado pointed out, I fit right into the shoes of the average consumer of public transportation. I am an Hispanic female who is part of the lower socio-economic bracket in Miami. I have suffered through years of public transportation, which some might argue is self-inflicted, but I have chosen different priorities for my life, holding food and school higher than having a car. I do believe, however, my complaints have merit, because if Miami is to become the metropolis it wants to be, it needs to have an efficient way for people to get around the city.

I spent this past summer studying in Prague and was amazed by the clean, on-schedule trains and the routes that made sense, taking people to the universities, the urban centers, the museums, the concert halls, the airport, the malls. I almost didn't want to come home.

The corruption in Miami will never allow there to be any sort of real change in this area, which is sad because efficient public transportation is something that would change Miami for the better and make it a true, living city. It would also allow tourists more mobility, in effect improving our economy.

As it stands, Miami is merely a bunch of suburbs linked together by overcrowded highways. The public-transportation system consists of a rail system that goes virtually nowhere, is frequently is late, and breaks down; and buses that are never on time, run at odd hours, and also go virtually nowhere. The reason nothing is done about this is because the majority of people choose to drive and frankly couldn't care less about their bus-riding counterparts. Don't get me wrong, I love Miami, and it's because I love Miami that I wish the city had a better transportation system.

New Times deserves credit for caring enough to write about the issue and being brave enough to actually try out Miami-Dade Transit. Now imagine doing it every day of the week for most of your life! On behalf of all my frustrated Hispanic female bus-riding compatriots, I thank you.

Sara Rivera

Miami

Editor's note: Owing to a reporting error, the number of MDTA bus drivers was misstated. The correct number is 1885.

Who Says Joe Arriola Doesn't Have a Sense of Humor?

Certainly not Joe Arriola himself: Although I was mildly amused by The Bitch's self-described "far-fetched" conspiracy theory in her August 26 column, allow me to put to rest her game of six degrees of separation [in which school board candidates Evelyn Greer and Michael Kosnitzky both hired consultant, lobbyist, and alleged co-conspirator Steve Marin].

As with any civic-minded citizen, I do have preferences when it comes to candidates for public office, but much to what I imagine will be The Bitch's chagrin, they do not always coincide with those of my alleged co-conspirators. For instance, I supported Carlos Gimenez for the county commission and Ana Rivas-Logan for the school board, both rivals of my co-conspirator's clients.

Also, with regard to the city's contract with state Rep. Ralph Arza, through his advocacy the city was able to obtain several grants, including a $100,000 Reader's Digest grant for education programming, and another from the school board for more than $700,000 that allowed more than 1100 city children to obtain reading remediation in our parks over the past two summers. With that return on investment, I would make the same deal any day of the week.

The Bitch certainly has an overactive imagination. In her mind, my support for two candidates went from coincidence to conspiracy to pseudo-journalism. Yet in this case, reality makes for lousy copy.

Joe Arriola, city manager

Miami

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