Letters from the Issue of March 30, 2006

“An up or down vote is all we ask”

Here we go again: Arriola worked at the right hand of former Miami-Dade School Superintendent Merrett Stierheim. We can't say Arriola bit the hand that fed him, 'cause he took no salary or gave it away to some charity as he does currently. A question: If Joe is so wealthy, giving up hundreds of thousands of dollars of salary, why enter into any real-estate deals, let alone this one with its political or criminal stink? In business, isn't the fire fee fiasco called crime? Here we call it politics.

I believe it's time for fumigation. There is too much of an incestuous relationship here among all the connected folk: politicians, high-level bureaucrats, lobbyists, developers, wealthy businessmen and women. Perhaps it's time for fumigation at the federal level, as in a grand jury investigation.

Oh, and that was a great photo of radio raconteur, City of Miami Commissioner Tomás Regalado calling on Joe to leave the city. Perhaps Joe can gas up at Regalado's house — that is, if the commissioner has any of the 2000 gallons of gasoline around that he used in one month on city business.

Alan Rigerman
Palm Springs North

Soapy Response

In Rio: Regarding Emily Witt's article "Never Forget You" (March 2) about the telenovela Olvidarte Jamás: A monumental and fundamental distinction has to be known by all — both Florida Latinos as well as curios "Anglos." The despicably dreadful telenovelas made by Mexicans and Venezuelans are a numbing repetition of doll-face bimbos and slick gigolo-"executives." The Latino dream is to be a wealthy gentleman rancher with lots of mistresses. Of course, there are no actors involved, only "personalidades" — relatives of producers or TV general managers, or grandchildren of mid-twentieth-century movie stars.

The Brazilian-made TV-drama series are totally different. They include stunningly talented actors and directors and genius script writers. Of course, Brazil has a larger demographic pool and a wider variety of ethnic types.

It's almost as if Shakespeare were reincarnated in nineteenth-century Venezuela and wrote the lyrics to Venezuela's unofficial anthem, "Alma Llanera" ("Soul of the Prairie"): "I sing, I love, I dream, I weep." It's human life explained in one sentence — as profound as the Bard's "To be or not to be."

John Raspey
Hallandale Beach

Ban on the Run

Nude should not mean sober: Regarding "Booze Ban in Babylon" by Forrest Norman (February 16): As a world traveler, I'm perplexed regarding the drinking laws in Miami Beach. On one hand, the city is promoted around the world as the international hub of nightlife, nightclubs, restaurants, and of course its annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Yet within Miami Beach city limits, there is only one adult club (Club Madonna), and that club is not permitted to sell its adult patrons an alcoholic drink.

As a single, adult Miami Beach resident, I finally began to inquire as to why I cannot enjoy a beer while visiting Club Madonna (sometimes with visiting business associates), and I learned that the Miami Beach City Commission seems stuck on the very odd notion that "grown-up" patrons visiting an adult club will automatically become out of control and break laws if they are to have a drink while being around nudity.

Frankly I'm stunned to hear such an unsupported reason. Is the City of Miami Beach actually suggesting we (the adults who live in and visit Miami Beach) are too irresponsible to be able to handle having a drink while seeing a girl dance topless? Does the city commission view us as borderline rapists or thugs, or simply as children who can handle going to only so-called upscale and expensive Miami Beach clubs that constantly promote sexually charged theme nights on their flyers?

There must be a more sinister and perhaps corrupt reason at play — someone in some way must be making money keeping Club Madonna from conducting an honest and accepted business. Perhaps it's someone in the real-estate-speculating business who has the power to repeatedly deny Madonna a license. Maybe our city commissioners do in fact view their voters and tourists as dangerous, unstable sex offenders.

Salvatore Capozucca
Miami Beach

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