Letters from the Issue of November 10, 2005

No Hobos Here

Get it straight, free weekly: I read Francisco Alvarado's "Charity and Checkpoint" (November 3). There were clearly serious problems at Camillus House under Dale Simpson's tenure. The decisions to hire and initially defend him reflect poorly on the Little Brothers. When they saw the error of their ways, they made a change.

Good people inside the agency — including administrators neither cited in your report nor engaged in legal actions — sought the help of authorities to bring about that change. Does New Times have any substantive evidence that Camillus president Paul Ahr has misrepresented his and the board's efforts to remedy the problems? Alvarado's citation of two donation acquisition staff members who were laid off is misleading. Their valid comments as well as those of the former development director deal with Simpson's actions and administration. But Alvarado uses them to cast shadows on Camillus's current administration and even seems to discourage donations. These men held neither positions nor neutral stances. That strikes me as either poor argument or biased reporting.

Moreover the insinuation that the Brothers are living extravagantly in Morningside seems strained. Did New Times either investigate their compensation or the cost of buying property in Highland Park or Overtown (the neighborhoods closest to the new Camillus facility)? I suspect that the Brothers draw little salary and that the property values in Overtown and Highland Park are suffering from serious inflation. Again, I am led to question the objectivity of your lens.

Given these concerns and the way in which Alvarado disparages poor persons struggling on the streets as "hobos" and "hookers," I hope the editors of New Times will offer him future assignments in which he has less of an ax to grind.

Steven Porter, former resident of Overtown

Kansas City, Missouri

Spaghetti Squash

Einstein he ain't: Regarding Mariah Blake's story "Starry Fight" (November 3): The source of all earthly life is certainly a great mystery, and whether we evolved from a mass of protoplasmic slime or were intelligently designed previously remained unanswered for me. But I am now convinced, after reading the exhilarating facts at www.venganza.org, that the universe was created by none other than the fabulous Flying Spaghetti Monster. I predict that the FSM will become the new mass religion ... er, science, or whatever.

Nicodemus Hammil

South Beach

Juste-ice Now!

A friend writes...: Thank you for the recent info about Gerry Jean-Juste, "Free This Priest" (October 27) by Chuck Strouse. He and I lived at a cathedral rectory in Boston in the mid-Seventies. I found him a most genial and cooperative person and a very good friend. Please keep up any effort you can to free him. I last saw him in Haiti at least seven or eight years ago.

Gerry was long ago forced to leave Haiti because of his anti-Duvalier preaching (I believe) and ultimately landed with us. I found him to be genuine in his views and very much a gentleman.

Rev. Wendell Verrill

Waltham, Massachusetts

Grass Stained

No pity here: Thanks to The Bitch for the illustrative outlay of Grass, "Buzz Killed" (October 27), and its inappropriately snobbish "owner" Laurent "Derriere." A real asshole. Once when I was a banker and had a table reservation at Nikki's for six German banker friends (who dropped an average of $2000 to $3000 per night), I was ignominiously snubbed at the door by Miss Laurent. When he decided to let us in, they tried to charge us a $40 per person cover. Fortunately, though, I got in and had a great time.

Shortly thereafter Mr. Derriere left for greener pastures: "Aym getng de plase of maye own-ah." He later invited me (when he learned how many people I brought down to Nikki's) to visit Grass but, delightfully, I never once went. What's that dish they say is best served froid? I'm ecstatic to hear that Grass might be closed for good. Although I dislike stooping to symbolism, I found many French businessmen in Miami to have foolish attitudes toward the very people who keep them in business and used to promise all kinds of commercial loan money from the bank — right up until the day they needed it. At that time I decided they were too risqué and canceled the loans. C'est la vie? Perhaps he can reopen in Phuket, where the grass is dried out and smells bad.

Dean Corso


Nine Days Without Power

Stinks: Regarding "Hurricane Voyeurism" (October 27): The debacle that has occurred in South Florida with a minor hurricane was predicted by many, including this writer. When Katrina swiped us, it looked like we were not prepared, and it proved to be so.... The important thing in all of this is accountability. If we don't pursue a good quality control program in the ensuing months, we will endure this fiasco countless times. FPL should respond to why there was power failure in some areas rather than others — and by the way, it was windy for all of us! If we pursue a constructive quality control program, future damage will assuredly be minimal. As I write this, I am nine days without power.... Next time, FPL, give us all a break and do the job right.

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