Letters from the Issue of December 15-21, 2005

More on the great suicide debate

Teele Again

Free weekly sells out: I was hooked on the New Times after reading it for the first time. I believed it was a refreshing change from the Herald. The New Times has the cojones to report what the Herald will not and will go deeper into the story to give us complete and neutral views.

To my dismay, I read Chuck Strouse's December 1 column about Art Teele's widow, "Widow Speak," and saw something very disturbing, quote: "Art's felony conviction, the never-proven charges of corruption that followed, and unsubstantiated allegations of drugs-and-sex parties with a transvestite have dogged the Teele family for months."

New Times was the one who reported about all of those "unsubstantiated allegations" before Mr. Teele took his life. I'm asking you: What is the difference between a tabloid (who also reports unsubstantiated allegations) and the New Times? For me, none.

Arturo Lacayo

Miami

So good you should sell it: The content of the December 1 issue prompts me to submit a brief correction and a compliment.

Regarding Jackson Rip Holmes's letter: You can read editions of the Herald going back through 1983 for free at any good-size public library, either by using the microfilm (which go back much further at the downtown branch; copies are fifteen cents) or, more conveniently, by using the computers to go to Online Resources, and scroll way down. You can do this only from the library, not from home or office. But you can e-mail the articles to your home or office computer.

Chuck Strouse's piece about Stephanie Teele, "Widow Speak," was sensitively done and very moving. Art Teele, whom I knew fairly well and who once tried to help out one of my family members, was a very good yet seriously flawed man. His death left me with a sadness in my heart. I never met Stephanie, but my sympathies go out to her.

Richard Rosichan

Miami Beach

Waiter, There's a ...

Flight in my food: I just read an article regarding Miami restaurants — Lee Klein's "What's the Matter with Miami?" (November 24) — that a friend e-mailed to me and wanted to commend you for stating what we have been saying for years. What is it with Miami? The difference between eateries here and any other major American city is amazing. It is very sad, and I can only hope that someday we will catch up so we don't have to arrive at good dining establishments via airplanes.

Ani Diaz

Miami

Sell-out verbiage: Lee Klein could not have summed up Miami's dining scene better in "What's the Matter with Miami?" This is exactly what happened to Norman Van Aken after he opened at Merrick Park with a menu that had no rhyme or rhythm. And the Miami Herald recently had a food-and-dining centerfold about a housewife turned baker! What a waste of time and energy. This is where Klein's last comment is relevant: Sometimes writers are driven by PR agencies or personal relations. He wrote a great article. Everyone should read it.

Sonia Kazaz

Coral Gables

What's Code for Cleanup?

Racist, maybe?: Emily Witt's article "21,000 Code Violations Can't Be Wrong" (November 24) was in-depth, unbiased, and very informative. My wife's parents are immigrants from China who came here eighteen years ago with no money. They now own a Chinese restaurant in Little Havana, Fat Yin Chinese Restaurant, which keeps them afloat. Their restaurant was raided like others Ms. Witt mentioned. My mother-in-law was cursed at, arrested, handcuffed, and taken to jail, all the while she did not know what was happening (she knows no English or Spanish). These people were never treated like this in communist China. They were humiliated.

The restaurant is not one of those bars that has waitresses selling beers for ten dollars-plus. They don't have money for a lawyer; they simply want to know what their rights are and be treated just like other Chinese restaurants. Rules are made to keep everybody playing fair. My in-laws would love for those establishments that have prostitution and drug sales to be shut down. They would love for the officers to concentrate on the crack being sold on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.

New Times's journalism is a benefit to the community, and I thank you.

John Stebbins

Via the Internet

Good enforcement, perhaps?: I take exception with the tone and conclusions of Emily Witt's article about the code enforcement efforts made by the Miami Police Department.

My wife and I owned a home in the Flagami section of the City of Miami for more than 25 years. With a great deal of sacrifice, we improved our home over the years — bathroom addition, kitchen expansion, landscaping, pool, et cetera — as many of our neighbors did the same.

Then, after the original owners died or moved on, new owners came in and converted spare bedrooms into "efficiencies," without permits, inspections, and in violation of city building and zoning codes.

We endured years of problems as the tenants engaged in public drunkenness, sold drugs from their homes, engaged in gang activity, had fistfights and arguments on the front lawn, and, in one exceptional case, ran a house of ill repute from an efficiency! I called, wrote, faxed, and e-mailed every single city employee I could find — all with the same result: zip, zilch, nada.

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