By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
Crazy Like a Condo
A smokin' condo: I enjoyed Gus Garcia-Roberts's December 4 article about the $6 million condo, "Recession Special," featuring Sildy Cervera, a real estate agent and specialist in "pump[ing] you for all sorts of information" — mostly info that will direct her to pumping your wallet bone-dry. Anyone who lays out $6 million for a South Beach condo when he or she could buy a number of brand-new 5,000-square-foot waterfront homes less than a mile away, on the Venetian Islands, for less than $3 million (without the mechanical nightmares we know as Italian sports cars) must be smoking some good stuff.
Rich squat: Regarding Natalie O'Neill's November 20 story "Squatters": There are also "wealthy" squatters in brand-new foreclosed condos throughout South Florida. The banks can't foreclose fast enough, so the owner/investor, still in possession of the keys, rents the gorgeous unit. The owner gets some money, the bank gets zero money, and the tenant gets a nice place to live at a significantly reduced rate for a short period of time. Criminals always figure the angle.
Poor squat: Squatters, listen up — this is not your home! There is plenty of help out there that is legal. So stop freeloading off the unfortunate and get a life!
Via web commentary
An Exceptional Girl
Not just a stripper: I want to thank Natalie O'Neill for her November 20 article about Jeanette Ann Smith, "Drop-Dead Sexy." I knew Jeanette for just a year. We met at a Borders bookstore. For the short time I knew her, she was truly a kind and sincere person. She had a goodness about her, a childlike quality, and was a bit naive. That's amazing, especially with all that she went through in past relationships. I can't believe it has been 10 years since her death — and that the individual responsible for it is still breathing.
I can only imagine what her family must feel. I wasn't aware of the details of Jeanette's final hours until I read the article. I have been remembering my friendship with her and how truly good and genuine she really was. I feel some remorse for taking our friendship for granted; if I had been more accessible, maybe things would have turned out differently. Some people will pass judgment and not be sympathetic to her story. But she was an exception to the type of women who work in that profession. She is missed.
Via the Internet
Being gay is a choice: In response to Bob Norman's November 13 story, "Fear of the Queer," and the letters that followed: I am ;of mixed race and was raised in a black American household. I voted for the ban on gay marriage. Why? Because I think it is unfair and wrong to use the word marriage to describe two people from the same sex committing to one another. I also think two people of the opposite sex in a domestic partnership should be married in order to receive the same benefits as married couples.
A gay couple will never be equal to a straight couple. No matter what law passes, marriage has always been between a man and a woman. It began for the simple act of reproduction — something gay couples cannot do.
Society provides benefits to married couples because they are a strong foundation. Banning gay marriage is not about being afraid or closeminded. Being gay is not like being black. Being African-American or dark-skinned is something you wake up with every day. So don't compare a flashing neon sign (that can't hide) to something one chooses (in the closet or out of the closet whenever they feel like it).
News flash: No one chooses to be gay and be subjected to society's prejudices. By denying the acceptance of being gay, you are not influencing children to be straight. You are telling your gay child it is not okay to be gay and that he/she should feel guilt and lie to him/herself about his/her sexuality. This is not okay.