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
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Bank on It
Seeing green: The U.S. has become a paradise for Venezuela's corrupt bankers ("Hugo's Hostage," Michael E. Miller, September 1). They come looking for political asylum with multimillion-dollar bank accounts, and they get the green cards. Not all Venezuelan bankers are corrupt, and some of them have made a legitimate fortune, but most of them are bandits and their money is not legal. But who cares? The U.S. still gives them green cards.
Buying power: I have no sympathy for bankers, especially after the bailout here in the U.S. at taxpayer expense. It is the bankers who have caused the global economic crisis. These criminals basically robbed us taxpayers so they can continue to play casino with our economy and the economies of other countries. It is not socialism, capitalism, or any -ism. It is power purchased with money in corrupt hands, which has ruined the world.
Uncle Sam wants them: Many corrupt Venezuelan bankers are granted visas not because they apply for asylum. They're granted visas because they have millions of dollars and investment properties in the U.S. and they pay Uncle Sam every year.
SOP: I agree that North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre is corrupt and should be removed from office ("Indict Andre Pierre Already," Tim Elfrink, September 1). Anywhere else, the combination of blow, money, politics, strippers, and a hefty dash of corruption would seem out of place. But not here, folks. In good ol' MIA, it's standard operating procedure.
Mistaken identity: It seems Andre Pierre made the mistake of being a clean-cut black dude with a law degree from the University of Miami. I guess he should put a gold tooth in his mouth, ditch the Porsche for a '64 Impala, and sag his pants — then we'd all be happy. I'm sure every white guy who had the job before him never had any alliances with anybody who came into city hall. I'm not seeing where Pierre is corrupt. Maybe he lacked proper judgment in showing his wealth. Then again, so did George Bush.
Wrongly charged: Thank you for the column defending City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones against charges she stole money ("Luke's Gospel," Luther Campbell, September 1). Like you, I maintained that she would be vindicated if she just persevered. It was my professional pleasure to have worked with the commissioner on a special assignment through the city manager's office. I believed then, as I do now, that the commissioner always had the best interest of her constituents in her heart and her mind. I look forward to her return and wish her renewed success.
Other people's money: The criminal justice system protects the innocent. In the case of Michelle Spence-Jones, she was not found innocent, but rather there was insufficient evidence to proceed with prosecution. Big difference! She took taxpayer money to better her community and gave it to a relative for a restaurant. She does not care about her constituents. If this is what Luther Campbell calls supporting your community, no wonder he was defeated in the mayoral election. Charity begins at home, but not with taxpayer money.
Still guilty: Our justice system is simple — you are presumed innocent from the start. The state has to prove your guilt. That doesn't mean you didn't do the crime. Think about all the illegal drugs you have used in the past 30 years. No conviction doesn't mean you didn't commit the crime.
She has clout: This is an isolated event. Lots of other public servants, those not connected either by cronyism or politics to State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, get arrested for less-than-bogus charges, and most of them do not have $100,000 to pay an attorney to defend them. So, yes, in this great country of ours, there is due process — in theory. In practice, it all comes down to who has what and who knows whom.
Double standard: The State of Florida has made it impossible to convict someone of political crimes. If Spence-Jones had done the same thing in a corporate setting, she would be in jail right now. If you want the black community to stay down, keep turning a blind eye when your leaders steal the money earmarked for improvements. Or is the biggest thief the best one to get the job?