The real Cuba, the indie scene, the bombshell barfers, and how Cubans made Miami

Letters from the Issue of July 21, 2005

I'm proud to call Hall my mentor and my friend. But I think Kopenhaver is right about "revitalizing" the FIU J-school by censoring students, dumbing down the curriculum, and running off all the professors who actually care about quality journalism. Maybe if she had been in charge of things while I was a student at FIU, I wouldn't have had to waste all that time actually learning stuff.

If it weren't for Hall and his insistence on providing me with an education, I could be making the big bucks, firing off error-plagued press releases for some big company instead of being a real working journalist with integrity and passion. Damn you, Kevin Hall. Damn you to hell.

Brett O'Bourke

Miami

Saintly Scribes

My FIU experience was divine: I'm a senior at FIU's School of Journalism and I've witnessed the changes described in "Newsroom or Classroom?" I was lucky to have Kevin Hall and Mike McQueen as not only professors but also mentors during my first years at FIU. Kevin Hall is an extraordinary professor who genuinely cares about the students. Like McQueen, he inspired us to write. I remember leaving class feeling like I had just walked out of church on a Sunday morning. We will never be able to replace him.

Correction: Lyn Millner has taught on and off at FIU for years and she is an excellent writer and educator, one of the few we still have.

Sue Arrowsmith

Miami

Elvis Spotted on South Beach!

With a degree from FIU, you too can get the big scoop: I recently earned a degree in print journalism from FIU, and at a time when journalists are being thought of in the same way as used-car salesmen, ambulance-chasers, and columnists from supermarket tabloids reporting about UFO babies performing open-heart surgery -- well, it makes me wonder what my future will hold.

I personally learned a great deal from both professors Hall and McQueen during my time at FIU, and I lament the fact that future students will not get a glimpse of life through their eyes.

But regarding academic credentials and letter-writer David Walters's suggestion that the alternative press (or mainstream press, for that matter) should hire "good thinkers and writers regardless of their credentials," that would be like hiring an unlicensed, uninsured architect, plumber, or electrician. By the way, I have a neighbor who loves adding and subtracting and recently began doing tax returns. Maybe Mr. Walters should give him a call next year when it's time to prepare IRS returns.

Silvio Herrera

Miami

Lessons I've Learned

Sometimes restaurant critics are helpful, sometimes they're untimely: I appreciate you taking the time to send your dining critic, Lee Klein, to our restaurant. Although the review "Tasty Tequila and Bad Burritos" (June 9) was not favorable, we did take a few of his suggestions to make us better. We have updated our menu and feel we are now one of the top Mexican restaurants in South Florida.

The one thing I feel was unfair was to rate a restaurant within its first few weeks of opening. Like any business, it takes a few weeks to get things right. In our business, if things are not right, we always make sure the guest leaves happy.

We would really like the opportunity for your critic to come back and try some of our new menu items and let us know what he thinks.

Buzzy Sklar

Jalapeño Jax Cantina

Miami

Please Shop at My Store!

But what? You actually want the address? So Hinsul Lazo claims to The Bitch that he isn't getting enough people into his record store, Museo del Disco, to buy his music ("The Incredible Hinsul Lazo Interview," June 9). But his Website doesn't even list his street address! I had to contact the store personnel by e-mail to obtain it and permission to divulge it. People write to me all the time from all over the world asking where they can find good salsa music, or they tell me they will be visiting Miami soon and want to know where they can go. It seems to me that if you want more people to go to your store, you would list your address prominently on your Website -- for starters!

But truly, folks, if you want to find Cuban salsa in the U.S., this is one of the few places that carries it. So what I want to know is this: If Cuban music is exempt from the embargo (which it is), when will local radio stations get the cojones to start playing it? I saw in your letters section that one of the DJs from one of the local radio stations, Salsa 98.3, buys his music at Museo del Disco. We are sick of reggaeton and want to hear timba from Cuba!

Jacira Castro, president

SalsaPower.com

Davie

Boasting Can Prompt Roasting

Especially when a Cuban brags about creating modern Miami: This may be unusual, but my letter is not in response to one of your stories. It's in response to a letter published in response to Brett Sokol's column about Luis Posada Carriles ("Terror Alert, Miami Style," June 2). The letter was written by Alfredo Garcia.

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