Letters from the Issue of January 5, 2006

Readers get their war on

As a border patrol officer with a vast knowledge in immigration law who has presented many cases before both an immigration judge and our U.S. attorneys and courts, I know for a fact that — through random checkpoints or patrolling of the Miami River, Port of Miami, and the many marinas that line South Florida from Monroe to Broward and beyond — almost one out of every ten people interviewed is in our country illegally. We also find those who have already committed crimes, and these folks end up right back out on our streets.

There are far too many of these incidents, and if we as a nation are going to protect our borders, it is everyone'sresponsibility, from the federal government down to the local officials, including police departments. CBP could place detainers on those arrested during raids that require their presence before an immigration judge, which would more than likely result in deportation. This method alone would save taxpayers millions of dollars in healthcare benefits paid to Jackson Hospital.

To clarify, however, you do nothave to be illegal in the U.S. in order to be deported and lose those benefits taxpayers contribute to. If you are a lawful permanent resident and are arrested for committing certain crimes, you could stand to lose your LPR status in the U.S. and face deportation. This has been done and it's no secret.

Just something to think about and perhaps mention to brass at the Miami Police Department, whom I (along with many other officers) think are doing a stellar job with such limited funding and personnel in attempting to maintain order in our ever-growing city.

Kudos to Chief Timoney and his command staff. I would be proud to serve on his force or with his team any day.

Name withheld by request

Miami

Seeing No Stars

It's not a very appetite-whetting image:Your insightful misconception that Miami is home to A-list epicurean establishments hints at the probability that a very small percentage of the population can actually afford such establishments given the demographics of this mostly Third World denizens' transient tourist trap. Lee Klein did a "fine dining" job in "What's the Matter with Miami?" but he may have inadvertently overlooked a couple more extrapolations and/or deductions as to why this town is rated No Stars.

It is a poor man's delight in contrast to getting a real piece of grilled red snapper, all four ounces of it, for just $38 at the latest nouveau eatery — naturally snobbish wait-service with plenty of attitude d'sniff included ("Only the $780 bottle of our '95 Night Train Express?") Add a few spears of asparagus, a spoonful of soup, and a miniature potato washed down with a glass of house select wine and — viola! — you'll gladly have to "fork" over $300 for the two of you. Which brings me to the other consideration — greedy landlords or not, legend in their own minds (or not!), hot spot or not, these restaurants fail to placate the indigenous population that could and would support them when they are sucking wind from May to September by offering reasonable fares for largely unreasonably small and mostly passable food, no matter what the nomenclature of the moment. If you want epicurean excellence, go to Pierre Gagnaire in Paris (if you can get a reservation sometime this century). If our local restaurateurs seek patron loyalty, stop insulting us with the assumption we will pay tourist fares. We won't. No, not even $18 for a tuna tartare (which one can get at any sushi bar for $8), $12 for a palmful of iceberg lettuce, or $58 for a steak at the hottest new prime poser palace.

One can only remain incredulous at paying $12 for a pear, $42 for a quarter-pound of Nova, $3.50 for a spoon of cream cheese, $39 for one giant shrimp — and get the calculator out for major purchases such as meat, fish, and fowl down at that other five-star-audacity gold-plated rip-off joint — Epicure.

Zip on over to Casa Casuarina, fork over $53,600 for your first year's membership, and pony up to the new Caviar Creator Lounge, where you can get a whole lot of nothing for a whole lot of money. Stay out all night and then slide on into the Raleigh for an $80 breakfast; be sure to order an additional piece of white toast for the absolutely most gracious giveaway price of $10. Chew slowly. No wonder there is more often than not the ambient sound of shutters flapping across empty spaces.

Ernesto Sandoval

Miami

We're Here, We're ...

Well, not everybody is used to it:Regarding Melissa Levine's film review, "Spent" (November 24): I read it and agree with everything you said, but I am troubled by something you wrote, which was: "Neither is queer, but almost everyone else is." I don't know why so many otherwise intelligent people think it is acceptable to use the word queer when referring to homosexuals. It isn't. It is still an insult and an attack word, which I am sure you didn't intend.

How would you feel about a review that said, "Neither is a kike, but almost everyone else is"? Or "Neither is a nigger, but almost everyone else is"? I don't believe in censorship. I think you should you use any words you choose, but I thought you'd like to know that, despite a popular television show, this word is still boorish.

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