Letters from the Issue of April 26, 2007

"It never ceases to amaze me how we sell our integrity for so little when it is the only thing we have."

A Hero Among Chickens

Give that bird a hand: Thanks for running the article on Mr. Clucky (Riptide, "Chicken to Ride," April 12), South Beach's luckiest resident. Most of Mr. Clucky's kind are either ground up alive at birth, incarcerated in battery cages that allow each bird less space than the size of a half -sheet of paper, or hung upside down at six weeks of age and slowly bled to death after having their throats slit by a conveyor belt machine in a slaughter factory.

When Mr. Clucky visits our factory farming information table on Lincoln Road on Saturday nights, people are drawn to his good nature and absolute dedication to his guardian. These people always then leave with a greater understanding of the torment and suffering of the nine billion farm animals slaughtered every year in the U.S.

Mr. Clucky has helped us to convince hundreds of people to remove animal products from their diet, improving their health and the environment, and subjecting fewer animals to lives of pain and misery.

In the world of chickens, I suspect Mr. Clucky is a hero.

Brad King

Miami Beach

Fro and Behold

We've been through this before: Thank you so much for the writing this article ("Frotesters," April 5). I appreciated your reporting! The policy of the new director of corrections is completely racist, and there is no if, and, or, but about it! Black people in this country went through this mess in the late Sixties and Seventies, and now here it is again looking us in the face 2007! I am so tired of this backtracking when it comes to black people in this country, and in my community, South Florida, especially! First of all no Jewish person would ever be made to take off his little cap, and no Muslim would be told to take off his head attire. So yes, this is racist. It's also racist because the majority of the inmates in any correctional facility in this country is black! (I truly believe they are the new plantations for black men in this country.) And they are going to jail at much younger ages, so who better to reach a misguided person than someone who looks like them? If new director Timothy Ryan really wanted to make a difference he would hire more black officers, instead of creating another obstacle for young black men to get a job because they have gold teeth, braids, cornrows, etc. This is institutional racism condoned by the government of Miami-Dade County, and they should be ashamed of themselves!

Odessa T. Simmons

Miami Gardens

Not so fast: The New Times has always been known for providing articles to the public that are well-researched and impartial. That is until Emily Witt's article, "Frotesters" (April 5). From the very beginning of the article, it was obvious that Ms. Witt had not done her homework. Now I personally believe that anyone in a position of leadership should expect ridicule and criticism along with praise and the perks. However this article, from the onset, was intended to represent one point of view for the sole purpose of generating hype and giving the impression that Tim Ryan is so focused on the uniform policy that he does not have time to focus on the more serious issues. Nothing could be further from the truth. A few phone calls to the mayor's office, the county manager's office, or the chair of public safety would have revealed that resources are being provided to address all the problems and complaints that have plagued the corrections department for years. More importantly there were two employee surveys conducted where staff overwhelmingly expressed that morale, professionalism, and safety were top priorities. Had Ms. Witt approached this story more objectively and done her homework, her story would have given readers a more accurate picture of the situation.

When former interim director Lenny Burgess took the helm, he convened several committees to provide feedback and make recommendations on various issues. One of those committees concerned employee appearance standards, which was comprised of officers from almost every rank. A phone call to Lenny Burgess would have given her a more accurate picture of how the policy evolved. In addition some comparative analysis of other South Florida law enforcement agencies' uniform and appearance policies could have strengthened or weakened the argument that the policy in Miami-Dade Corrections discriminated against black men. But since law enforcement agencies all over the country have established uniform policies similar to the one Miami-Dade Corrections is enacting, that would not have supported the arguments of her complainants or given validity to her article.

What disturbs me the most is how Tim Ryan's picture is portrayed in this article. It would have been more tolerable if he was just given the Afro. That lends itself to the title of her article. But when you added the Afro pick, the gold chain, the gold tooth, and the tattooed teardrop, she gave credence to racist stereotypical images and reinforced the fallacy that the black professional is nothing more than a dressed-up thug.

With that said, Emily Witt not only embarrassed you and her readers with this article, she embarrassed herself. It never ceases to amaze me how we sell our integrity for so little when it is the only thing we have that will live on long after we are gone.

A.J. Melton

Pembroke Pines

Correction

Brandon K. Thorp's review of Samson Et Dalila ("They Call it Grand For a Reason," April 12) misidentified the actor playing the role of the Philistine High Priest. The actor in the role is Jason Stearns.

 
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