Letters from the Issue of November 25-December 1

Intelligent voters, outspoken readers, and a downtown dining oasis

Only a Fool Would Say People Were Duped

Voters knew perfectly well that $275 million would go to two museums in a waterfront park: It is ludicrous to suggest, as Kirk Nielsen did in "Vote for Culture" (November 18), that Miami-Dade County voters were "lured" into passing bond issue #8. Give us voters a little more credit. The reason it passed, thus allowing two museums to be erected in a waterfront park, is obvious: The people voted for it. Plain and simple. Anyone who cared enough looked carefully at the issue and voted in favor of it.

As one of those who attended weekly meetings to get out the "yes" vote for #8, I can only say that all involved, especially Miami Art Museum director Suzanne Delehanty, worked diligently for hundreds of hours and should be congratulated, not accused of underhanded misrepresentations, as New Times has done.

What is so wrong with taking an unused piece of waterfront land and placing two beautiful museums on it? Perhaps you would rather see another massive structure like the American Airlines Arena on it.

Twenty-one acres will be open green space. The sculpture park will be open space. People will now have a reason to go to the park and enjoy the water view, visit the museums, and take advantage of what is now a wasteland for the homeless.

My suggestion to Kirk Nielsen and New Times: Stop being a sore loser and start working together to make sure these projects are completed with input from all of us.

Paul Orofino

Miami Beach

Hiaasen: Loud and Clear

The Miami Herald has been in decline since the day its competition died: As a lifelong Miamian who moved to Washington, D.C. three years ago, I found Carl Hiaasen's comments to Brett Sokol about the Miami Herald ("Story Line," November 11) to be right on target. Over the past twenty years, the quality of the Miami Herald has steadily declined in just about every section of the paper, with the exception of Jim Morin's cartoon.

In my view, the depth given to important stories has diminished since the demise of the Miami News [on December 31, 1988]. Since I moved to D.C., I reconfirmed this theory: Competition makes daily papers better. Miami Herald readers are clearly losing out on the serious, in-depth coverage of news provided by papers like the Washington Post.

While I still read the Herald online, I do so only to keep up with local issues, politics, and sports in South Florida neighborhoods -- plus Jim Morin's cartoon.

Carl, muchas gracias for saying out loud what many have been saying quietly for years.

William A. Ramos

Washington, D.C.

Hiaasen: Doing Battle with the Boss

When I saw the word "bitch" spelled "b - - - - ," I finally dropped my subscription: Thanks for Brett Sokol's article "Story Line," and thanks to Carl Hiaasen for being candid about the stodgy old Miami Herald, for which he writes. It's a good thing he's arrived at a place of prominence from which he can be honest and do battle with the editors and publisher of Miami's only daily.

I have taken the Herald to task on numerous occasions for its politically correct editorial policy, which makes the paper insipid, especially considering the major metropolitan area it's supposed to serve. As Hiaasen points out, the Herald is so afraid of pissing off one faction or another in this mixed salad of cultures that it has become pablum. It is because the Herald is so afraid of reporting what is actually happening in South Florida that New Times is always scooping it on local stories.

My particular gripe concerns the paper's politically correct word usage. I come from the George Carlin school of speech, where there are no bad words. It is ridiculous and journalistically dishonest to play games such as replacing commonly heard words with euphemisms. When a Herald columnist recently referenced a John Lennon song lyric and changed it to "Woman is the [N-word] of the world," I informed him that even the AP Stylebook lets you print objectionable slang if it is in a quotation.

Then there was the article this past October by Herald music writer Evelyn McDonnell (this should amuse New Times's The Bitch). The article, about David Byrne, opened with this line: "Change is good, but it can also be a b- - - -." Unbelievable! They even say bitch on television, where virtually anything controversial is censored.

Shortly after that I decided not to renew my subscription. So thanks Carl (and New Times) for telling it like it is.

Rob Boyte

Miami Beach

Hiaasen: That Moment of Clarity

Offend the Cubans? The Anglos? The African Americans? The Haitians? The Colombians and Venezuelans and Nicaraguans and Jamaicans and Canadians? Heaven forbid! I enjoyed Brett Sokol's profile of Carl Hiaasen, and was particularly intrigued by Hiaasen's "moment of clarity" at the Herald, which came when he was writing about former county manager Sergio Pereira. The paper's managing editor asked Hiaasen if there might be another way to say "Fire the guy," which is what Hiaasen had written. The editor feared the column might offend Cuban readers.

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