Letters from the Issue of October 21-27, 2002

Porn merchants, freedom fighters, park advocates, and your waitress Tiffany

Porn Defined

You are holding it in your hands right now: The American Heritage dictionary describes "pornography" as "lurid or sensational material." Under that definition, Kris Conesa's one-sided hatchet job on Bangbus.com certainly qualifies as pornography ("The Ride to Perdition," October 14).

Please don't misconstrue my comments. I'm no fan of the Website, nor am I a supporter of the business practices of the Miami company that operates it, Ox Ideas. But the profile of "Lori" is the story of a woman in a bad position who made it worse by making bad decisions and allowing herself to be manipulated by a man who clearly never had her interests at heart. This is hardly Ox Ideas's fault.

Not that I'm attempting to blame the victim per se. Certainly we live in a society where a young woman in her position is left with no option but to resort to the sex trade. But neither of these notions was presented in Conesa's piece. Instead he used a sympathetic profile to vilify a private business.

If New Times disagrees with Ox Ideas's content, write an editorial decrying it. If New Times is curious about how the porn industry in Miami stacks up against the porn industry in Pasadena, any number of knowledgeable authorities are available for interviews on the subject.

But don't grind your own axes and call it journalism. That practice is no more honest -- and no more moral -- than the carefully orchestrated fictions of Bangbus.com.

Rich Pizor

Sherman Oaks, California

Porn Promoted

Thank you for all that good information on local porn sites and Bangbus.com. It's too bad so many young ladies in need of money don't realize that for a "model fee" of perhaps $500 to $1000, it just is not worth it.

You don't suppose some of these "models" learned of Bangbus.com through advertisements in this newspaper?

Alan Rigerman

Northwest Miami-Dade

Museums in Bicentennial Park? Bad Idea

You want architectural behemoths? Build them yourself somewhere else:On November 2 I will vote against bond issue number 8, the cultural-facilities component of the massive $2.9 billion plan Miami-Dade government has slapped together.

According to your columnist The Bitch ("Museums to the Max," September 30), Nancy Liebman of the Urban Environment League objects to the amount of land the Miami Art Museum and the Museum of Science would demand in Bicentennial Park should the bond issue be approved. It is true that 16 acres out of the total of 29 is excessive.

I don't wish to entertain talk of the museums by Lake Michigan in Chicago, or the Sidney opera house in Australia. These are set in public coastlines 30 miles long, while in Miami we can barely count on 300 yards of such an amenity, with a shopping center and bridge to a seaport bisecting them. Besides, not even counting their bulk, why would anyone want to place inward-looking facilities in an area next to the wide-open bay? Isn't the American Airlines Arena enough? (Developer Marty Margulies also makes an excellent point: The art museum has no collection, so why does it need such a large building?)

That the siting of the museums is faulty cannot be denied, but not only for the reasons Ms. Liebman points out. Out yonder, beyond Biscayne Boulevard, no facility located in Bicentennial Park can possibly foster any kind of civic life. Sitting there in splendid isolation, the museums will create dark and foreboding leftover spaces for the homeless to inhabit as soon as they close for the day (not that I'm anti-homeless). On the other hand, if a major sculpture park were to be installed there, it would be so transparent as to negate this problem, and would actually be an added asset to the park.

The focus should be on a policy or program rather than grandiose architecture funded by hundreds of millions in public money. But if the boards of these museums suffer from an edifice complex, let them construct their own buildings on their own land.

George Childs

South Miami

But Enough About Me...

...Let's talk about my incompetent accusers: There were a few errors in Forrest Norman's article about the panther that killed livestock owned by brothers David and Jack Shealy ("Wild and Crazy," October 7).

First, the Everglades Institute was not something I "envisioned." From 1980 until Hurricane Andrew in 1992 the Everglades Institute facility housed 30 participants for overnight and longer programs, including summer science camp. Day field trips of 120 students were also accommodated. After Andrew, a 99-percent open-space rule was imposed to block rebuilding.

I developed and taught for a number of years my socio-ecology program in Miami-Dade County Public Schools -- middle- and high-school levels only, not elementary. Other courses I developed and taught were undergraduate and/or graduate level.

I have been qualified as an expert witness on Everglades ecology and have testified as an expert witness on Everglades ecology in federal court. My papers have been presented before national and state scientific conferences, and I have advised members of congressional committees regarding Everglades matters. Describing me as an "amateur" scientist is inaccurate, to say the least.

I have wrongly been accused of animal cruelty by state and federal agencies for videotaping a Florida panther attacking a tethered goat -- a panther collared and tracked by those agencies. I'm being accused because I forced the agencies to do their job -- protect small children, the community, penned and helpless animals, and their own panther.

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