Letters from the Issue of July 7, 2005

Heavy-handed cops, heavy-hearted drag queens, heavy-walleted hip-hoppers

Democracy, Department: They Both Start with D

But the similarities end there: Regarding Tristram Korten's "RIP for the CIP?" (June 23): The Miami Police Department's unwillingness to provide the documents requested by the CIP surely indicates the police are trying to hide something. Otherwise, what reason would they have to withhold them? Confucius say, "He who denies all confesses all" (and he's in the hospital with multiple contusions suffered when the MPD caught him philosophizing on NE Second Avenue).

That this CIP request and the very entity itself are perceived with intense disdain and met with arrogance at every turn is not surprising given the MPD's well-documented history of corruption and abuse of power. Why would the cops jeopardize this lucrative sideline? What is surprising is the lack of a proper method for the CIP to obtain these documents from the MPD. Forget the lawsuits and other legal maneuvering -- simply find the person in charge of documents and adhere to the payoff policy: Money talks and bullshit walks (which the police appropriated from the Panamanian ex-general as their own motto).

Even the photo of Chief John Timoney is representative of the MPD's attitude toward the hard-working public that gives his staff jobs and pays their salaries. What a face. Miami might as well issue Nazi swastika armbands to the police if the CIP vanishes. Vanish I will too.

Name withheld by request

Miami

Editor's note: See Tristram Korten's related column this week.

What Are You Doing Reading This?

Get back to work! Squirrelly? I think I am a stud! Hey, this is the founder of Recess at Work Day. Contrary to what Lyssa Oberkreser's article in Night & Day (June 16) states, I ask for no money from anyone regarding "supervising" Recess at Work Day activities. If you had contacted me (or read the Website closely), you would have learned this was free advice and an opportunity for companies to take a close look at employee morale -- which is a big issue in this business climate. But thanks for the publicity. We received several e-mails from people in your market who went out to play last week. Keep up the great work.

Rich DiGirolamo

Marion, Connecticut

So Funny I Forgot to Laugh

Then I remembered Mr. Haka: I picked up a copy of New Times from a co-worker's desk and read "Legend-to-Be" by Fernando Ruano (June 16). I give him credit for writing an entertaining article, but I must mention Mr. Haka is a joke. He thinks he is a pioneer of this music, but he is not even the dust on top of the pyramid. The Latin hip-hop style has been around since the early Eighties, when a few DJs clashed sounds and rhythms.

The new sound gave MCs the freedom to express street lyrics and real-life stories through what we called "música de barrio" (music from the hood). These mixes and practices spawned a richer sound and allowed MCs to control the tempo of the music, creating reggaeton. After the recent explosion of the style and success by artists such as Daddy Yankee, Tego Calderon, Hector & Tito, and others, a new generation of rappers has risen. The new generation does not know about the origin of the style, the persecution and social rejection suffered in the early years. I can respect Mr. Haka for following his dreams, but talking bad about other rappers such as Pitbull and Don Dinero is not the way to get to the top.

Alexander Martinez

Miami

Hello, Kitty

Imperial claws come out: In response to the letter to the editor "Best Time Warp" by Anastasia Beaverhausen (June 16): Let's see -- so you make Rocky Horror and Will & Grace references -- you Broward drag queens are clever indeed. We know the rent is cheap in Lauderdale (Hialeah my ass), and shoplifting at the Galleria Lane Bryant keeps you clothed since you are unemployed. But why so bitter, fatty? Adora was working in Paris while you were still learning how to um ... tuck. "Best Of" means just that. Adora is by your own admission the most popular and employed "drag performer" in town. That would fall into the category, no? And I do go out to nightclubs -- haven't caught your act yet, Anastasia Beaverhausen, haven't been to "The Copa," whatever that is. Maybe there will be a category for you next year: Most Bitter Drag Queen in Broward. Best of luck.

Ladyfingers

El Portal

FIU a Joke: I'm a Junkie and I Should Know

My hands are shaking as I write this:I remember saying farewell and shaking hands with Kevin Hall in his soon-to-be-vacated office at FIU's School of Journalism. "Too bad you boys can't play nice together," I said. Little did I realize he was resigning in defense of me (or at least what I wrote) and the others -- the FusedOnline.com "gang of three." Just a slight correction to Edmund Newton's story, "Newsroom or Classroom?" (June 9): The heroin-addicted honors student was not in high school. I ought to know because I wrote the piece. He was a heroin-addicted Honors College student with a 3.9 GPA. (I remember thinking, The Honors College isn't going to like this, especially since they gave me a scholarship to FIU.) The Honors College is another disaster area at FIU, and at the time I would've put my heroin-addled work up against any of those so-called "honors students," who are credited with academic achievement more for being good citizens than any serious critical thinking. Professors have left there too.

The only thing in "bad taste" is the fact that a bunch of awfully incompetent student writers at The Beacon (which I like to call "The Bacon"), who incidentally do not know adjectives from nouns, probably get less money when the J-school funds something as reprehensible as FusedOnline, where some real writing might happen. In the end, all of this is about money again -- the root of all bad taste -- and FIU's continuing tighten-the-screws, MBA School of Bidness (whose students' average grammar scores are consistently dismal) administrative attitude toward its own faculty. Ask any English professor, who will no doubt request anonymity. Apparently the effects of "no child left behind" have reached the university level. The strategy? Leave them all behind, so no one will know the difference. Then we can moralize about what they're writing. Journalism? Don't make me laugh. Want to be a journalist? Go online.

Ricky Smith

Dania Beach

FIU Is Preparation for the Real World

In print I found it:After graduating from FIU's School of Journalism in 1994, I spent several years working for daily newspapers, where I realized I was much better prepared than my peers because I had been taught by professors with actual newspaper experience. Many young reporters, I learned, had been taught by academicians who had never set foot in a newsroom. These reporters knew all about academic theory in journalism -- whatever that means -- but they had no clue how to write a story on a tight deadline and make it sing.

Now I realize my professors had taught me a craft that has become obsolete. In today's newsrooms, it is no longer acceptable to be a government watchdog. It is no longer acceptable to write hard-hitting stories that might anger a few corporate bigwigs. "The wall" that has traditionally separated the newsroom from the advertising department, ensuring unbiased and uninfluenced journalism, has been demolished.

Thanks to the hundreds of corporate mergers over the past decade, most newspapers are owned by a handful of companies that prioritize stockholders' profits over true journalism. So if FIU's School of Journalism is now censoring stories, it is only preparing its students for the real world.

H.C. Miller

Miami

FIU Protects First Amendment

Teaching, speaking, being:I am proud to say Kevin Hall's guidance twenty years ago at FIU's fledgling journalism school was the finest point of my college career. It was not a secret back then to students that there was animosity between the professors and the administration. Nevertheless, Professor Hall and several others encouraged us to become credible, creative, professional journalists with a lust for the craft.

Now, twenty years later, in my fifteenth year teaching journalism and English to high school students in Miami-Dade County, not a day goes by that I haven't envisioned Professor Hall teaching us about integrity and passion for writing. To him I give my highest praise for standing up for journalistic ethics, unswayed by politics or policy. By God, we sure could use more of that.

To FIU administration: The First Amendment doesn't end at the schoolhouse doors.

Lisa Grebin Borden

Dania

Art Scenesters Bite Back PersonallyA post from the Peach State:I love what you guys printed about me. It's truly sad that a city growing as rapidly as Miami needs to turn to my personal life for content. You guys are doing a great job with your new format as a gossip paper. I will be sure to keep you posted on my ever-changing fast life, that is if my ego doesn't get in the way first. Which, according to Karen Genetta (who by the way was never a "gallery collaborator," and has proved she was not a "friend" either), it probably will.

Now just so I can defend myself here. Objex Artspace did not close because of my ego; I decided to take a hiatus and regroup for a few months over the summer. My workload became very heavy, since I was the only person running and maintaining the space as well as paying for it each month. I decided it would be best to take a step back and re-evaluate my business plans as well as my workload.

I am not in rehab; I am visiting my mother in Georgia. I am still planning on continuing with Objex, and when I am ready, I will do so. Until then, you guys keep on printing what you're told, even if the source is obviously strung out, and continue with the new format. You guys are totally supportive and really know how to kick someone when they're down. All my best from the forests of Georgia.

Dustin Orlando

Miami

Give Carlos Alvarez Respect and a Scepter

A strong mayor is much needed:The article by Brett Sokol "Double Speak" (June 16) is very critical of Carlos Alvarez and insulting to the thousands of people who signed the petition for a change in government. Mayor Alvarez has not been able to do more, given that his power is limited. He needs to have the authority to hire and fire department directors in order to properly guide this county to its destined grandeur. We cannot be in the hands of a commission that is elected by districts; the mayor is the only person elected countywide and has to respond to all segments of this community, not only commissioners. Mayor Alvarez is leading a fight against special interests and cronyism that deserves our respect and support. Mr. Sokol apparently prefers our county to continue on its path of destruction. Just look at all the scandals we have had lately: MIA, Jackson, Water and Sewer, Transit, and so on and so on. For someone to be able to correct these issues, he needs the authority. And yes, Mr. Sokol, Mayor Alvarez is that person -- hundreds of thousands of our voters said so this past November, and the voters also deserve the respect you have failed to give them.

Alfredo Hidalgo-Gato

Miami

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