By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
Prepare for the end: Like more than 95 percent of the articles about the increase in "preppers" readying themselves for doomsday, your story ("Fallout Fanatics," Stefan Kamph, April 26) attempts to paint preppers as crazy people afraid of the Mayan calendar's alleged prediction the world will end this year. I have never, ever met a real prepper worried about the Mayan calendar. The vast majority are simply being responsible by preparing their families for any unexpected natural or manmade disaster. A certain segment of society seems to take offense to preppers' lack of faith in the government's ability to help Americans postdisaster. Feel free to wait for help if a disaster hits your area rather than ensuring your family can deal with the circumstances, but you aren't fooling most people with these hit pieces against preppers. The number of preppers grows every day.
New Times Blockbuster
Respect the extras: In your column about the making of Pain and Gain, Michael Bay's new movie based on a Miami New Times story ("Blockbuster Born in Miami," Chuck Strouse, April 26), a location manager complains about how hard it is to get extras to show up in Miami. Speaking as one of the extras who didn't return, there's a good reason why. I was booked and confirmed for four days of work. I turned down bookings on the two TV shows filmed here to take this gig. Considering I'd be working with Mark Wahlberg, who wouldn't? After one long day poolside baking in the sun, I left at 8:30 p.m. I was confirmed to return at 7 a.m. On the train, 20 minutes later, I get a cancellation call. "Michael has changed some things around. We don't need you," they said. No matter that I was already confirmed. There was no concern for my missed work and no concern that I had canceled another confirmed booking. Certainly, there was no compensation for canceling three days of booked work. That is how extras are often treated, and it is why some extras come and go. Sadly, this is life at the bottom of the acting food chain.
Talk to the victims: I marvel at how nothing is ever mentioned that author Pete Collins got a lot of material from interviewing me. I was a kidnap victim of the criminals in the story. It is also interesting that the makers of the film never contacted me. As I told Pete recently, I have 200 pages I wrote in 1995 on what occurred in the warehouse that would have made the movie better and brought the characters to life. Nonetheless, I've written a book and I'm in the process of trying to get it published. It has material that no one has heard before and makes the story and the characters more bizarre.
Shady business: Your story about how a gang of criminals using a white van has stolen dozens of motorcycles from around downtown thanks to lax garage security leaves me with unanswered questions ("Motorcycle Mayhem," Tim Elfrink, April 26). Considering the volume of thefts and continued ineffectiveness of the increased security, shouldn't we be inclined to think this situation goes deeper than just a "white-van gang" showing up and taking the bikes?
Continuing crime wave: This isn't a new crime spree, unfortunately. I've heard about motorcycles thefts since the last building boom in 2005, yet nobody has done anything about it at the condo buildings.
Quit yer bellyachin': I have lived in condos my whole life, and crimes like this pop up every once in a while. It's easy for ignorant people like the guy whose bike was stolen to point the finger at a building's management instead of accepting that crime happens in major cities. This guy is probably just a self-important asshole who needed to cry to Mama.
Park shortage: Regarding Commissioner Marc Sarnoff's creation of a "pop-up park" in Shorecrest to prevent sex offenders from moving into the area ("Pop-Up Paradise," Michael E. Miller, April 26): It's worth pointing out all the parks that haven't been built yet. According to city planning rules, based on the insane development that's happened while Sarnoff has been in office, about 120 acres of city parks should have been built by now. This little pop-up park is peanuts and is ultimately just window dressing when the inventory of parks is very low based on the city's population.