Letters from the Issue of November 23, 2006

"You are sanctioning further police corruption"

Good Cop

Bad cop = big money: In reference to Carl Jones's "A Snitch Seeks His Money" (November 9): If you castigate a police officer who — for whatever reason — came forward to tell the truth about police corruption, then you are sanctioning further police corruption. You are warning honest officers against standing up for truth, honesty, and ethics. Bill Hames did the crime, pleaded guilty, and accepted his sentence. But now you criticize him for trying to keep his pension — though his sentence did not dictate he would lose it. So you are telling other police officers: "Don't dare break the code of silence and do the right thing, or we will take away everything you own and put you in the poor house." Don't expect to clean up corruption with that kind of message being sent.

Bill Henderson
Chattanooga, Tennessee


Blame It on Lee

Or at least give him credit: Lee Zimmerman's "Rio Return" (November 9) was a great story, man. I saw the band at Bang and they looked and sounded great. Good work ... great article.

David Rousseau
Miami


Vote for Marc

You just like the guy?: We read the story called "District 2 Dustup" (November 2) and were quite surprised that Francisco Alvarado half-heartedly suggested Frank Rollason might win. Rollason is a very skilled public servant and an honorable man. (If Marc Sarnoff had not made the runoff, we would have happily endorsed Frank.) Sarnoff brings a completely fresh perspective to District 2. In fact he came in first in the general election by defeating the second-place candidate by 600 votes. Perhaps your paper would like to do a story explaining why so many people voted for the populist candidate. Readers might be interested to know how a candidate running on a quality-of-life platform could do so well. Please remind people the runoff is November 21.

Peter Ehrlich
Lemon City Taxpayers Association
Miami

Let's do the math: Regarding "District 2 Dustup": The vote count is still unofficial owing to provisional votes and absentee ballots. The numbers gathered as of November 9 are as follows:

Linda Haskins votes: 3734
Marc Sarnoff votes: 4323
Total votes for top two candidates: 8057
Percentage of registered voters who cast ballots for top two candidates: 22.36

As of November 3, records indicate the following:

Linda Haskins: $405,595 (funds raised), $388,243 (monetary expenditure)
Marc Sarnoff: $77,800 (funds raised), $74,976 (monetary expenditure)

Amount of money invested by the candidates to win each vote:

Linda Haskins: $103.97
Marc Sarnoff: $17.34

Conclusion: It is a sad fact that there were so few voters. It is amazing that the average cost per vote is $60.65. It is bewildering that so much money is being spent to obtain a job that previously paid only $7000 and now pays around $50,000.

If the job is worth so much to the candidates and their many financial supporters, perhaps they should be paying us taxpayers for the honor of serving the community!

Harry Emilio Gottlieb
Coconut Grove


Abortion Can Be Good

Even if you're poor: As an advocate for safe healthcare for all women, including those terminating pregnancy, I was horrified to read about local abortion clinics operated by unlicensed and unqualified staff in Joanne Green's "In the Bag" (October 26). Unfortunately the article did not address the fact that there are high-quality medical facilities in Miami-Dade County providing abortion as part of a broad range of reproductive healthcare services in a safe environment. These facilities are accessible to all women, rich and poor alike.

Clinics such as A Choice for Women in Kendall are staffed by board-certified obstetrician/gynecologists who are assisted by trained, licensed professionals. They provide not only termination of pregnancy but also other vital services. Before even asking a woman to undress, they offer unbiased counseling to help her sort through her feelings and explore her options. For those who choose to continue the pregnancy, they provide referrals for needed social services and/or adoption. These clinics also provide their patients with education about sexual health and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, diagnosis and treatment of any existing sexually transmitted infection, and education about the successful use of birth control and emergency contraception (the morning-after pill).

By implying that women without financial resources who seek an abortion have no alternative but to turn to clinics like those you described, you did a grave disservice. Women throughout the country who need help paying for an abortion can seek that assistance from one of 108 member organizations of the National Network of Abortion Funds. In 2005 these organizations together spent more than two million dollars subsidizing abortion and related healthcare for 22,000 women. In Miami women needing help paying for an abortion can turn to Women's Emergency Network (www.wen-online.org), which makes referrals only to first-rate clinics.

To find a safe, licensed, accredited abortion clinic, contact the National Abortion Federation (www.prochoice.org). Accredited clinics must participate in periodic quality-assurance site visits, register employees involved in abortion care, and comply with policy guidelines.

I applaud you for helping to expose the fraudulent, unscrupulous abortion providers in our community. Now your readers need to know we have some first-rate providers as well.

Carol Cohan, executive director
Women's Emergency Network
Coral Gables

If you get the bad guys: "In the Bag" by Joanne Green shows how unscrupulous persons take advantage of patients. Whether it be abortions, plastic surgery, or dental care, we need oversight of the medical community so that all persons have access to safe healthcare. Abortion is legal, and women should be assured that if they so choose, the procedure will not be performed by an unlicensed person who pretends to be a doctor.

Noel Cleland
Miami


Judges Can Be Good

Tough to be fair: I recently came across Emily Witt's article about immigration court in Miami, "Mock Trial" (October 19). I have practiced immigration law for nearly 29 years and have appeared before immigration judges in Miami, Orlando, Houston, and Baltimore. There are more than 200 of these judges in the United States. Most of them are capable of making the life-changing decisions required by the harsh rules Congress has enacted during the past twelve years without demeaning those people who appear before them to seek refuge. But there are judges who are less kind to immigrants. In regard to asylum cases, a great number of claims are referred to immigration court after having been considered and rejected by the Miami Asylum Office. A good percentage of the referred claims might not merit relief.

I have known Judge Bruce Solow for nearly twenty years and can tell you that he is a skilled jurist who is compassionate in every instance in which the person presents a truthful claim to lawfully remain in the United States. Judge Solow has a quick wit and self-deprecating humor that enable him to examine the plausibility and veracity of the stories he hears each day.

The immigration laws today are no longer as generous as they were before 1996. Judges serve a critical role in the administration and enforcement of these laws. In today's environment it is certainly a challenging position.

David Berger
Miami


Here Come da Judge

He really should be going: Regarding Trevor Aaronson's "Religious Conviction" (October 12), I think one has to evaluate Judge José Martinez in this fashion: He is the Banana Republic appointment to the bench.

First, he sat on a case involving the Archdiocese of Miami, did not disclose he is a Eucharistic minister, and subsequently threw out a jury verdict. We are in America, and the jury is supposed to have the last word. Judge Martinez elevated himself above the jury. We know from sordid historical events that the Vatican was a strong supporter of Mussolini and didn't say much about Hitler. What does that say about religious hypocrisy? Today the problem with the Vatican is covering up allegations of child abuse.

Second, Judge Martinez is a sports broadcaster for a commercial radio station that was in bankruptcy, even in his own courthouse. It's inconceivable that a sitting federal judge would continue to broadcast baseball, football, and basketball games. In truth he should be listening to and thinking about the people who come to his courthouse for justice, instead of babbling on the radio about sports. I have no way of knowing whether Coca-Cola advertises on that radio station, but he threw out that case in favor of thuggish behavior.

Third, Judge Martinez actually appeared at Department of Homeland Security headquarters, received an award, and posed for a photograph while sitting on at least one case against DHS.

Just what does Judge Martinez stand for other than Judge Martinez? Perhaps the newly elected Congress might ask him a few questions.

Eugene Cavicchi
Miami Beach

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