Letters from the Issue of March 10, 2005

Now a Word from Elvis Costello

And we mean that literally: Thanks to Mosi Reeves for trying -- I guess. I'm sure his chat with Elvis Costello ("Mighty Like a Rose," March 3) was far more discursive than his editors would allow him to replicate in print, but his alluding to how eloquently self-analytical Elvis can be and then limiting his quotations to 125 words is emblematic of why I find New Times papers in general to be so fucking frustrating.

Does Mosi have a blog or something similar where an interested reader could read the interview in its entirety? That would be great.

Chuck Fields

Miami Beach

Cash In, Cash Out

And forget about tomorrow: Regarding Forrest Norman's "Ags to Riches" (March 3), it's high time this county stops greedy developers from raping our economy. While the west coast of Florida spends seven million dollars per year promoting the Everglades, we boast the main entrance to the park, as well as the most diverse agriculture/horticulture/aquaculture in the world. Yet we allow developers to damage our number-one and number-two economic generators (tourism and agriculture) by making all their money upfront and not planning for a sustainable economic future.

Tourists do not travel here to see tract homes and strip malls. They will, however, nourish us if we'll wear our natural and cultivated tropical treasures like a "royal robe" (as Napa Valley does) instead of treating them like a pair of dirty shoes.

Paul Mulhern

The Redland

Editor's note: Owing to a reporting error in Forrest Norman's story "Ags to Riches," Tom David and a company he represents were identified incorrectly. David, ex-chief of staff to former county manager Steve Shiver, was misidentified as the president of Charter Schools of America. In fact Charter Schools U.S.A. is a client of Alliance Companies, where David serves as vice president of business development.

A Farewell to Crops

Goodbye green beans, hello strip malls: I had to chuckle when I read Katie Edwards's response (February 24) to Francisco Alvarado's article "The Redland Menace" (January 27). It would appear that perhaps Ms. Edwards, executive director of the Dade County Farm Bureau, needs to pull her nose out of Commissioner Dennis Moss's ass and take a look around at what the county is allowing to happen to our precious farmland.

We keep hearing about how the farmers just want to be able to sell their land. I haven't seen anyone tell farmers they can't sell land. As a matter of fact, many farmers are selling their land to developers for ungodly sums of money, and yet they continue to cry about the plight of the poor farmers. Give me a break.

The folks in the Redland who are seeking the right to vote on incorporation have no intention of "regulating agriculture." We merely want the right to vote.

Arthur Avalos

The Redland

Britto Battle: Madness

Where's the art community when we need it? I read "Britto's Republic" by Kirk Nielsen (February 24) and wanted to say it's time people stood up and set things straight when it comes to our public environs. If Miami Beach developer Jeffrey Berkowitz takes so kindly to Romero Britto, let him populate his "private places" with Britto's art, not our public ones.

Art will always be controversial to some extent. Public art, however, by its very nature must meet more stringent criteria. If the public negotiates with a private businessman like Berkowitz, and rewards his investment in the community by subjecting everyone to his whims, then we have failed. Government has also failed in its duty by not interceding on the public's behalf. And in choosing to be silent in the face of such nonsense, the art community only aids and abets the madness.

Name Withheld by Request

Kendall

Britto Battle: Shakedown

Art snobs as autocrats: I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Romero Britto in Tallahassee when he was honored for his many contributions to the arts in Florida. Mr. Britto is both unpretentious and brilliant. Before I met him, I was a huge fan of his work, but after meeting him I became a huge fan of Romero as a person. As an amateur art lover, I always thought only time would tell if we contemporary fans were "right" in our assessment of his talent.

Then along comes Miami Beach's Art in Public Places committee to set us amateurs straight. Though we believed the Art in Public Places law was designed to promote artists by placing their works in public spaces where people gather, we were wrong. AIPP is just another mechanism to shake down the community. This well-meaning legislation seems to have mutated into a star-chamber decision process in which a small group determines what art is "acceptable" for public placement.

I guess we should be thankful for the critics. Now we don't have to wait around for a century to find out what is art and what is not.

Thomas M. David

Palmetto Bay

Editor's note: Yes, this is the same Tom David mentioned above.

Okay, What's That on Your Head?

Thought you'd never ask: It's refreshing to see New Times finally promoting the small businessman in The Bitch's "Feminine Protection" (February 24) instead of the usual nightclub-restaurant-real-estate consortium. It's sad when God gives someone jock itch but no scratch. Leave it to The Bitch to get out the big, front-page story.

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