Free weekly predicts cost savings, no content change: To make the New Times more profitable in these difficult times, I suggest the following simple cost-cutting measure: Fire Kathy Glasgow and in place of her "Metro" stories, such as "Bolita in Havana" (December 19), run a weekly article consisting entirely of the following words, printed over and over: "Castro Good, Exiles Bad."
This would improve the bottom line while maintaining the same editorial content. Actually, this could work for the entire paper.
Oscar A. Sanchez
But Golden Beach officials blew the whole thing: After reading Tristram Korten's article about Golden Beach Police Ofcr. Michelle Santinello ("Officer Trouble," December 12), it seems he did not have enough room to relay a number of pertinent facts, among them the fact that this very sad situation is being allowed to continue by the mayor and town manager. In fact they seem to condone it. Only one councilman, Dr. Stanley Feinman, has had the backbone to try to find out what in the world is going on and why this officer is permitted to carry a gun -- if not for all the other reasons, at least for the liability factor, which could severely damage the town. However, Dr. Feinman has been chastised for his questions and concerns.
I hope that it became clear to your readers that Officer Trouble was used as a pawn for her storytelling abilities to help Town Manager James Vardalis with personnel and monetary cutbacks. These stories forced out personnel who would not lie for the manager. An officer complement with a total of 54 years of police experience was wiped out in a matter of two months by Vardalis. These officers were the most highly paid and also were the senior members of the staff.
I am sure the fact that I was a whistleblower who filed complaints with the Florida State Commission on Ethics against Vardalis, Mayor Michael Addicott, and one member of the town council for their numerous violations in some way made me a marked man. But even that does not justify believing the stories told by Officer Trouble.
Now Officer Trouble has been promoted for her trouble, so to speak. Is the financial savings worth it? What about the years of police knowledge and experience the town has lost? Don't the residents of Golden Beach deserve better?
Soon I will be getting my day in front of a fair and impartial arbitrator as I seek to gain back my job. This will not be the same kangaroo court that took place at my dismissal, and the hearing will not be based on the fabricated stories of one Officer Trouble.
Robert G. Nieman, former chief
Golden Beach Police Department
You guys make me want to puke -- all over your worthless paper: It makes me sick to my stomach that New Times would print lies and half-truths about Michelle Santinello. Yes, she is the mother of my kids. She is a great, caring woman and a wonderful mother -- something that her mother, if you can call her that, is not.
But what it all comes down to is New Times's right to print lies. Her mother and stepdad are abusive and sick. They still are and always will be, just like your cheap newspaper.
Require outsiders to hire locally: In support of New Times editor Jim Mullin's campaign to bring Miami's poverty crisis to the attention of city officials ("Poor Miami: More Good Ideas," December 12), I'd like to point out that those officials themselves are allowing jobs on city property to be lost to imported labor.
In the year 2003 at least six major trade shows, including Tigers of Asia and the Miacon Construction Equipment exhibition, are being produced at the Coconut Grove Convention Center by a company that imports labor from Atlanta and Orlando. At least two other shows have already been lost this year.
The city commission should take steps to guarantee that labor for events and projects on city property is supplied by local citizens.
Bet you didn't know we're here to help: I read with great interest Mike Clary's article regarding the parking situation at the Miami-Dade County Jail ("County Jail's #1 Problem?" December 5). The data from the article showed that this problem has worsened and certain solutions are not yet sticking. Our agency, South Florida Commuter Services, specializes in Transportation Demand Management (TDM) solutions for public and private businesses in the tri-county area. Based on our experience, we have a few proposed solutions.
Solution one: The county as an employer, under TEA-21 IRS tax code, could offer these employees a tax benefit on parking and transit costs. This would save the employees money and provide an incentive for a greater number of employees to ride public transit to work, leaving their cars behind.
Solution two: Commuter Services could create a plot map of where the employees are commuting from (all information remains confidential and no names are required) and then hold van-pool formation meetings. It's a little-known fact that Miami-Dade County provides a $400-per-month subsidy for any group of five individuals who would like to commute together using a van provided by South Florida Vanpools. There is no liability for the county, no insurance or maintenance costs, and riders can save up to $2500 per year in their reduced commuting costs!
Hypothetical: If only three van pools were started with different shifts of workers, that would eliminate the need for 15 to 45 parking spaces. (The vans hold from five to fifteen passengers.)
Solution three: The county can also decide to do what the EPA terms a "parking cash out," which means they pay each employee a nominal fee not to park at work. In Fort Lauderdale, Stiles Corporation has used this process effectively to manage their parking shortage, and a number of employees now ride transit and get paid $50 per month not to park at Stiles.
We at Commuter Services are proud of the free services and consulting we offer, paid for by Florida taxpayers as a program of the Florida Department of Transportation. Any commuter or business can call us at 1-800-234-RIDE to learn more.
Maggie Cortez-Kirkpatrick, project director
South Florida Commuter Services
I really, truly, honestly do not give a hoot: What kind of restaurant article opens with the reviewer's litany of complaints about her health problems ("You Wish!" Jen Karetnick, November 28)? Who cares? As I read on, I truly did not care. Snide, petty complaints are not the stuff of reviews. Tell Jen Karetnick to read the New York Times column or even the one from the Washington Post and use them as a guide.
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Restaurant, movie, and other critics are allowed more license, in my view, to be "folksy" with their readers. But Ms. Karetnick is incredibly arrogant if she thinks inflicting the reader with fluffy paragraphs of "I," "my," "me," and "mine" is what the reader expects to hear or cares to hear, or that it makes her credible.
You should send her to review a profession she should well understand: proctology.
Takoma Park, Maryland