Letters from the Issue of October 13, 2005

Brett, Brett, Brett

You're no car guy: Regarding Brett Sokol's article, "Perception Is Reality" (October 6): First paragraph, "Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, nonchalantly striking a cooler-than-cool pose in all their pastel-jacketed, Lamborghini-driving glory."

It was a Ferrari, not a Lamborghini. Well done, though.

Matthew Winer

Miami Beach

Try walking: Crockett didn't drive a Lamborghini! In the beginning it was a Dino Ferrari and later, when that car got blown up in one of the episodes, he switched to a Ferrari Testarossa. Tubbs drove an old Cadillac convertible. Get your facts straight, man!

Raymond Coté

Key Biscayne

Nuts About Philbert

Save him: "Exit Philbert" by Mariah Blake (September 29) was disappointingly sensationalistic. There was simply no need to expose every last detail of his "criminal" past. The title and the "Armenteros ain't crooning at Krome" caption were taunting and demeaning. In the eight years since I first met Philbert, he has always conducted himself in the most professional manner. Philbert is dedicated not only to his art form but also to his children and to his religion. When I asked him to volunteer his time and talent for a benefit for low-income pregnant women, he did not hesitate to lend support. His community looks to him as a source of inspiration and motivation both artistically and as a human being.

The author's reference to the details of a police report alone ignores the fact that he is in proceedings because of his plea. My understanding is that people accept pleas all the time that make them deportable. I don't condone stealing, but what happened so long ago has no bearing on his current moral character and certainly doesn't warrant deportation.

Ultimately tearing Philbert away from his fiancée and three kids will only lead to yet another fragmented, fatherless black family and emotionally dysfunctional children. I hope he is granted a second chance to stay in the United States. His family and the community need him. I also hope Congress enacts more realistic immigration laws so money is not wasted on detaining people like Philbert.

Corina Fitch

Miami

Toss him: Philbert Armenteros has been given many opportunities for a good life, not least the opportunity to stay in the United States with a green card. From the beginning he has chosen to thumb his nose at the system and country that has given him those opportunities. Now we should feel sorry for him? And then there is the question of how he got his status in the first place — asylum maybe for fear of persecution in Cuba? Funny considering he has gone back voluntarily and without negative consequence. Cuba refuses to accept its criminals back — but when they do, I hope Mr. Armenteros is on that first plane.

Teri Tremper

Washington, D.C.

Send him away: So long, Philbert Armenteros. Good riddance. Have a nice life back in Cuba, where theft, apparently, is a socially acceptable phenomenon. Here in America, stealing five cents, five shirts, $5000, or $500,000 is a crime against society. It is an unfortunate reality that we nonimmigrants pay a heavy price for the disregard immigrants largely have for our social standards and laws. If Mr. Armenteros's family doesn't like his deportation, then bon voyage to them too. Finally, the comment that "so many people in this country do much worse things and only get a slap on the wrist ..." is insulting to all of us who abide by the laws and social expectations. I suppose if Armenteros committed armed robbery, that too would be okay because he did it seven years ago and, after all, there are those who actually commit worse crimes. Ted Bundy was an accomplished pianist and probably played Mozart as he strangled and then chopped innocent girls into little pieces. Fortunately he was not from another country.

Perhaps bartender Anna Bryant should accompany Armenteros back to Havana, where they both can engage in larcenous activities during the day and music en la noche. I say spill some chicken blood on him, tie a cock's foot around his neck, give him ten dollars, and throw his ass out of here — and anyone else who flaunts a disrespect for the law and commits crimes against the rest of us.

Ernesto Sandoval

Miami

Racist Northerners

Minnesota vs. Miami: Regarding the September 15 letter to the editor, "Tourists vs. MTV." Hardly. The letter is more like one Minnesotan vs. blacks on South Beach! Branding a collective of people as hoodlums because they happen to be associated with or attendees of the Video Music Awards, a rap concert, or a black film festival, or are themselves black is beyond rude and unjust. It is — yep — extraordinarily racist.

Don't misunderstand me; I also find the activities described in the letter disrespectful, disruptive, and disgusting. I do not condone any of it, and I agree that no person anywhere should be subjected to this sort of behavior at any time — whether on vacation or simply trying to enjoy living in one's community. Yet the letter-writer's view of Miami's "changing environment" comes off as little more than a blaring condemnation of all things black instead of, more pointedly, and rightly, finding fault with those individuals who behaved so badly. And to suggest that all things black (or, if you prefer, 90 percent) will be the ruin of South Beach does a disservice to those of us in the black community (many of whom live and work with civility in Miami and cater to area businesses year-round, thank you) who never engage in rowdy and raucous behavior. Sadly, that kind of commentary does little more than promote the us-versus-them syndrome.

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