That Mermaid Means War!
Robert Andrew Powell's article regarding Pow Wow ("Miami: See It Like a Pampered, Sheltered, Spoiled-Rotten Tour Operator from Munich," June 10) was enough to make me explode. As a Miami Beach resident I know I have rights, and that I should not be shut off from a major public road. It seems unconstitutional that these travel agents should come in and take over Lincoln Road (which for many of us is like our living room) as though we didn't exist.
My girlfriend and I were sitting at Score at 5:30 p.m. when a Miami Beach Police officer came over to escort us off public property. After repeating himself several times, I snarled, "We heard you already!"
I disagree with Pow Wow delegate Rosemary McCormick (from Napa, California) and her comment that tourism is an instrument of global peace. In this case tourism was not bringing people together; it was segregating them, replacing locals with Ken and Barbie clones. Shutting regular people off from our own city will not bring global peace, it'll bring war.
Tourism professionals want to make South Florida look like Disney World because of the previous attacks on tourists. But how can you mislead people by bringing them to a city that does not exist? I have yet to see a mermaid on Lincoln Road.
Jessie L. Malig
That Fence Means Money!
I had to write and thank you for pointing out yet another absurd moment. As a resident of Miami Beach since 1986, I've enjoyed every minute of the circus. It is never boring. But for police to tell me I cannot use a public road because the city has once again sold out to somebody waving green under its nose -- that really pisses me off.
If Miami's tourism officials were so concerned about their fantasy version of Miami Beach, they should have kept their fake Pow Wow atmosphere inside the convention center, where they would have had plenty of room, and air conditioning, too!
This disregard for real people goes right along with attitudes like those of Michael Comras and his development plans for Lincoln Road. I've got a couple of suggestions along the lines of Jim Mullin's recent article ("Lincoln Road Miracle: From Scruffy Derelict to Enchanting Shoppers' Paradise," April 29). Let's get rid of all those bohemian places like Cafe Papillon, where local residents waste so much time, and put in a Checkers. I think we could attract a lot more tourists if we evicted that artsy New World Symphony and stuck in a Ripley's Believe It or Not like the one in Key West.
Maybe the whole fence thing was actually a good idea. We could charge admission to Lincoln Road, just like Disney World. Of course when I called the mayor's office and asked for an explanation, I got no reply. But then we little residents who keep Miami Beach going after the conventions leave town don't really count. Yes, I guess you could call me a muscle-boy kamikaze bike rider with a dog, but I live here.
By the way could you please tell me the difference between businessman and politician? I can't seem to tell them apart anymore.
Cuban Racist, Yes; White Supremacist, No
Alex Salinas kept using the term "white supremacist" in his article "A Mind in Exile" (June 10). How can a Cuban be a white supremacist?
Andres Orta and his Alianza Nacional group are racists, nothing less. This is a case of Hispanic aggression toward Americans that runs rampant in this town.
So It's a Jewish World After All
Alex Salinas's article shows only too well the emotive nature of the fascist mind, a mind filled with hate and void of rationality. First, Miguel Angel Aldana's comment that "Everyone is Jewish" should not be entirely written off. Jewish migrations out of ancient Mesopotamia, then Egypt, then Babylon (having probably mixed with and/or having been a mixture of other races), not to mention Hellenic-European, Ethiopian, and Spanish Jewry (I am part Jewish also), makes the term "Jewish" virtually universal. In fact Orta himself may have Jewish blood running through his veins.
But suppose for a moment that the Jews had been a peculiar race, standing out there on their own, all by themselves, ruining everything, as Orta vividly and conveniently imagines. Had it not been for our Jewish brethren, there would have been no search for the one god within, and hence no Renaissance. Likewise idealism, also a search within, would have been taken for granted, and hence no Kant, Nietzsche, and others. We wouldn't have needed them. And there would be no need to bridge the gap between good and evil, and thus no hope for a better world through a coming messiah.
I have one word of advice for Andres Orta and his virtuosos should they decide to write or say anything in the future: Think.
The Swine Syndrome
I choose not to address Andres Orta's allegations because if you wrestle with a pig, you become just as dirty as the pig.
I would much prefer to help someone to the top of a hill, because as you do so, you grow closer to the top of the hill yourself.
Clean Up This Dirty World? Sounds Like a Job for Jack Thompson
Tristram Korten ("2 Live Screwed," June 3) didn't care to mention a lot of good things that came out of my efforts against Luther Campbell and 2 Live Crew: 1) Parents were warned that a pornographer was selling obscene records to their children behind their backs; 2) a nation was informed as to how record companies, run by men, target women for objectifying degradation; and 3) because of my efforts against Luther, I am now representing the parents of the three girls murdered in the school shootings in Paducah, Kentucky, in their lawsuit against the entertainment entities whose products, including violent video games, helped cause the murders.
Luther Campbell is thus the reason, by God's cleverness, that I have been able to talk about the nexus between entertainment and sociopathic behavior in the past month on 60 Minutes, Today, ABC World News Tonight, and the NBC Nightly News. Thanks, Luke.
The only person who hasn't learned much from all this is Luther himself. He is still a pornographer; he still talks about God and acts like a demon; and he still doesn't know how to hire a good lawyer.
Luther, if you need one, let me know. I know a counselor who can keep you out of trouble.
What's a Little Sexual Harassment Among Friends?
I recently read Ted B. Kissell's article on Pedro F. Fonteboa ("King Leer," June 3) and was shocked. The fact that this man had seven complaints of sexual harassment levied against him, was investigated by Florida International University because of these allegations, came to an agreement that required him to leave the university, and was then hired by the Miami Herald to report on high school sports is absolutely disgusting.
As a female I can say it is humiliating to be subjected to a moronic individual who thinks he can speak with his libido in the workplace, or any other place for that matter. The fact is that sexual harassment is still taken lightly. Too many times the woman making the report is the recipient of a backlash or is labeled a troublemaker or as being too sensitive.
How sad it is that we can't always feel comfortable just going to work and doing our jobs, but must have our guard up for people like Pedro Fonteboa. For a high school-age girl, however, the effects can be devastating. High school-age students are at a very difficult stage in life. If a young female athlete were to be subjected to sexual harassment, it could scar her for years.
How can the fact that an individual repeatedly acted so inappropriately toward fellow employees and students be overlooked when hiring for a job description that includes being surrounded by student athletes? The Herald's attorneys must be having a fit with this one.
The only saving grace is that New Times brought this hiring screwup to the surface. Should Fonteboa harass again, at least the victim will be able to sue the Miami Herald. It's not like they can claim they were unaware they'd put the fox in the chicken coop.
Mallingly Bad Taste
I thought Robert Andrew Powell's article about shopping malls ("Cuckoo for CocoWalk," May 27) brought out what many of us have already recognized: South Florida is steadily evolving into a tasteless, homogeneous entity devoid of uniqueness and style. Like Coconut Grove before it, South Beach (with its new multiplex on Lincoln Road) is rapidly losing the unique style that made it popular in the first place.
It is a sad commentary on the greed, corruption, and lack of vision of the developers and civic leaders who do not seem to comprehend the value of neighborhood identity and quality of life.
500 Parents Can't All be Wrong
I'm writing in response to Ted B. Kissell's article "A Lesson in Mismanagement" (May 20). I am a second-year teacher at Henry E.S. Reeves Elementary School who has twelve years' experience in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. I am concerned the article suggested that five teachers were speaking for the entire 69-member faculty.
I knew when I accepted a job at Reeves that there would be longer hours and a longer school year. It's part of the Edison Project design. In other schools where I've taught, I also worked hard. Reeves has been no exception. I believe that if I didn't work hard, my students would not achieve. So yes, teaching is a "high-pressure situation" at Reeves -- and at any other school.
I am in support of our principal, Diane Dyes-Paschal. You can't ask for a finer, more professional person. Mrs. Paschal works hard and is very sincere about her job. Her number-one concern has always been the children. The question she seems to ask constantly is, Will the children benefit?
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The school is making progress. Our test scores have increased yearly. Our students have participated in and received recognition in several activities such as math bowls, global awareness, and oratory contests; and submitted more than 900 entries to the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and a science fair, all under her leadership.
Our first "Evening of Excellence" recently was a huge success; more than 500 parents came to school (in inclement weather) to celebrate their children's excellence and achievement. That should indicate something good is going on at Henry E.S. Reeves. I believe Mrs. Paschal is leading her staff in the right direction after only two years at this school. The beautiful new building cannot teach the children. The Miami-Dade County Public Schools-Edison Project partnership cannot teach the children. And the principal is not there to teach. So whether the principal is in or out of the building, it is my responsibility as a teacher to work with our children so they can achieve.
North Miami Beach