No Class and No Response
I want to thank Ted B. Kissell for keeping the William Clarke scandal alive ("No Class," May 27). Following his first informative article, I launched my own campaign to have this parasite removed from the school-district payrolls. I have been met with complete indifference at all levels of the school-district administration, despite the fact that more than one million dollars in taxpayer money has been spent to protect this sexual predator, money sorely needed in our public schools. To think that more taxpayer money would be spent on his attorney is just adding salt to the wound.
I have sent letters to all the school board members and have yet to get even a slight response. When I called yesterday, two weeks after sending the letters, I was told they were still in "transit" by the office manager. If it takes two weeks for letters to be transported from a fax machine to the desks of the board members in the same office, it is no mystery why our school system is in its present condition.
I did manage to get a response from Nelson Diaz, deputy superintendent. In his response he states, "Mr. Clarke's defense of record presents a plausible case of retaliation by employees with performance concerns." Obviously the courts, which represent an unbiased opinion and cannot be swayed by the evil eye of board chairman Solomon Stinson, found otherwise. If this was Clarke's excuse and the school board bought it, then why did they pay so easily? I have proposed this to Mr. Diaz and am awaiting his reply. It would suggest that the school board will roll over and pay any such complaint that comes before it, and allow a person found guilty by a court of law to remain on the payroll.
Mr. Diaz continues in his letter: "Please be assured that Mr. Clarke's performance is currently being monitored and the district is making every effort to prevent any such incident of perceived harassment from occurring...." Do they have Mr. Clarke tied to a chair or something? I am of the opinion that the only sure method of ensuring that this doesn't happen again is to not provide Mr. Clarke with any employment paid for with our tax dollars.
I have been equally puzzled by the lack of response from Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, despite numerous letters sent to his office. I realize he has no direct power over the school board, but as our local supreme leader he has an obligation to address such issues when it is so obvious the board is throwing away taxpayer money. He has been given the political clout. He should use it to address Mr. Stinson's stranglehold on the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
One last suggestion for those who take the time to vote: The apathy of the school board members is an endorsement of sexual harassment in the workplace and a giveaway of public funds to those who engage in this type of behavior. This is an endorsement voters should keep in mind, especially those who voted for Mr. Stinson in the last election.
Let Me Tell You a Few Things About Purvis Young
Judy Cantor's article on Purvis Young ("From Outsider to Insider," May 20) begs a response. While I fully expect to be misquoted (and I was), I do not expect to be dissed as an art dealer. Having been in this business for more than 30 years, I have enjoyed a fine reputation among my peers, collectors, and artists. I must take exception to the implied conclusions drawn by Ms. Cantor.
Purvis Young is an exceptional talent whose reputation and recognition in the art world owes much to my gallery's diligent work in bringing him to the public's attention. While under exclusive representation, I was able to place his work in museums as well as in some of the finest galleries in the United States, including the first Purvis Young donated to the Museum of American Folk Art.
I have curated and lent work to many museum shows. The most recent was the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lake Worth, Florida, this past January and February, which exhibited more than 140 Purvis Young works from the Joy Moos Gallery. This is all part of my continuing effort to further the career of the artist, a position any responsible dealer would take whether or not he or she represents the artist exclusively.
Mr. Young received his 50 percent share of sales at all times (as do all artists who consign works to our gallery). He never asked for "more than his share." He and his advisors simply wanted higher selling prices so he could make even more money, certainly a common wish by all artists, even when realistically only time and public acceptance can legitimately increase an artist's price.
In response to Silo Crespo's "she took 3000 or 4000 paintings" and "made a million dollars," I can only say, Ha! Wrong on both accounts. If I hadn't suffered years of financial stress to prove otherwise, it would be laughable.
To set the record straight, Mr. Young, in deposition, asserted that Silo Crespo always was his partner and received one-half of all his money from sales. Their on-again-off-again relationship is not new. Selling and emptying his warehouse is also not new for Mr. Young. His desire is to paint, not accumulate. So when it becomes impossible for him to move around in his studio, he lets it be known that he is eager to sell the lot. As Ms. Cantor noted, after the Rubell purchase it is already being filled with new works. Mr. Young makes it clear he has much more to create.
The fact that I personally acted as a friend and accompanied Mr. Young for both eye and dental exams, shopped for him, and helped to set up his first-ever bank account as well as a money-market account, has only helped to lay a blueprint for other persons who later became involved with his career.
My feelings regarding not putting Purvis Young "on display" have historical references. Were Picasso or Rembrandt seated on chairs at an exhibition with a sketch book so the public could watch them? I think not. To preserve a certain mystique about an artist, it is wiser to allow the works on display to speak to the viewer rather than have the viewer observing the artist.
Concerning my son Howard Davis, he was not, nor has he ever been, in the business of selling or promoting Purvis Young's work to "major collectors." What he did, besides introduce me to the artist, was to be a trustworthy friend who cared for Mr. Young and acted only in his interest. His admiration and concern for Purvis both as an artist and a human being were appreciated by Mr. Young for many years.
Finally, and most important, I am outraged and appalled at the fact that of the ten photographs reproduced in the article attributed to Mr. Young, eight of them were from my gallery. Yet New Times and Ms. Cantor chose not to have the journalistic courtesy to give the Joy Moos Gallery our deserved credit line. Even the painting on the cover, which is now part of an exhibition at ArtServe Gallery in Fort Lauderdale, was not recognized with a proper photo credit.
In the future, Ms. Cantor, when you are a guest in my gallery for an hour-and-a-half interview, and when you send your photographer for another hour and a half of shooting paintings, with my assistant and me dragging out and showing dozens of works, please remember this: While you may slant your articles as you choose, you cannot reproduce photographs of works without giving credit where credit is due: "Courtesy Joy Moos Gallery."
Joy Moos Gallery
Let Me Tell You a Few Things About Body Odor
Kirk Nielsen's article "A Vicious Cycle" (May 20) was of particular interest to me because I bike seven miles to work every good-weather day. Although I enjoy biking (it makes me feel good and keeps my half-century-old legs in better shape than most people half my age), I also do it as an "alternative mode of transit."
Unlike Commissioner Javier Souto's politically motivated joy ride to work, I'm out there with the cars in the morning, seriously trying to be on time like other commuters. As a serious biker I'd like to see less showmanship from members of the Metropolitan Planning Organization and have them show me the money that's going into alternative transportation.
Where are those buses with bike racks? Bicycles are not as sturdy as autos, get flats much more easily, and there's no roadside service. If I get a flat or throw a chain, it sure would be comforting to know that I could get me and my bike home on a bus instead of facing a seven-mile walk.
It appears that members of the MPO are not very familiar with the needs of cyclists. Bicycle parking racks are nice, but signposts and meters work fine with a U-bar lock. Bike routes would be fine, too, but do it like Gainesville. Don't give us some scenic meandering bike path. We don't have the luxury of a two-hour joy ride when trying to get to work. Put bike routes on the major thoroughfares, the most direct and fastest way to get around.
Also don't worry about showers; sweat dries and doesn't stink! An explanation for those who haven't studied sweat: Eccrine sweat, the kind that comes from exertion and heat, is basically salt water and can be dried off and is odorless. Apocrine sweat, the oily sweat in the armpits that bacteria eat and gives us our peculiar odor, is stimulated by sexual arousal or anxiety and is not affected by exertion or heat. In fact the eccrine sweat in the armpits actually removes some of the apocrine sweat, reducing the odor if wet clothing is changed.
So the need for showers is just an imagining of someone who doesn't bike to work each day. I just polled my co-workers to see if they've ever noticed an odor from me and I got a clean bill of smell from a couple of women who would not be shy about telling me the truth. I never shower. I just get the sweat-soaked shorts and T-shirt off, wipe down with paper towels, throw a little rubbing alcohol in the pits, and put on my work clothes. Of course I don't have to lug a suit around, but many people work in slacks and shirt sleeves.
I was very glad to see New Times address this shameful neglect of alternative transit. I hope the federal government's bike money is earmarked so it can't be wasted on lighthouses and road beautification. The MPO should be forced to make a bike path on that road. Now that would be beautiful.
Lincoln Road: Outta Control
Great article by Jim Mullin regarding Lincoln Road ("Clues for the Clueless," May 20). I think the whole issue of the Road is totally out of control on both sides, as evidenced by the recent Pow Wow event for travel agents. I was very dismayed that a city could have such a cavalier attitude toward its taxpaying citizens by closing a public venue for a private event.
Beach residents must take a more active role in government. We all need to get involved and find some sort of balance when it comes to further development on Miami Beach.
Lincoln Road: No Room for Satire
Geez. Jim Mullin was surprised when people didn't get his satire? I peed my pants when I read "Lincoln Road Miracle" (April 29) and figured there'd be many, many readers who either didn't get it or who would spend the next hour scratching their pointy heads trying to figure out the meaning of it all.
I guess Mullin and the rest of the New Times crew need to stick to good old-fashioned reporting the facts. Leave the satire to what transpires at city hall and other outposts of hilarity.
Best Description of Miami
On behalf of Marcia Zerivitz, executive director, and the board of directors of the Sanford L. Ziff Jewish Museum of Florida, I would like to thank you for the honor of being selected the Best Museum in Miami ("Best of Miami," May 13).
Not only did you honor us, but New Times's description was one of the best we've ever seen, capturing the essence of our institution. Thank you and please know we are very proud to have received this recognition.
Best Abuse of Defenseless Animals
I can't believe you guys! A dog-racing track is the Best Cheap Thrill in Miami? Well, your cheap thrill comes at a high price to those exploited greyhounds. What could possibly be so enjoyable about watching some tormented, muzzled, worked-to-the-bone dogs racing after an electric bunny?
Do you realize that in naming Flagler Greyhound Track, New Times is promoting cruelty to animals? That many retired greyhounds end up in a pit somewhere in the Midwest with their throats slit? That the lucky ones are taken in by adoption agencies in the hope of turning them into loving pets, but because of all their past abuse this does not always work out?
Poor choice, folks. Very poor choice.
Best Phone Call
Thanks! Switchboard of Miami is South Florida's Best Charity. As a volunteer for more than twelve years, I am still amazed to see how much of a barometer the agency really is. By the time issues are identified by local authorities or the press, volunteers on the lines are already aware of the problems the community would have to face in the near future.
Working the lines is the most rewarding thing I have ever done, and walking out of the offices, I can't help but feel grateful for everything in my life: the good and the not-so-good. Thanks so much for your designation.
It is not the first time New Times has recognized us. A few years ago you published a cover story that encouraged me to go back and dedicate more time to Switchboard ("Reach Out and Help Someone," August 25, 1994). That article also enabled the agency to recruit a large number of volunteers for its training, which at times is difficult.
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In "Best of Miami" you picked Don Z Cash Pawnbroker as Best Pawnshop, and erroneously stated that it did not sell guns. I agree that Don Z is a class operation as far as pawnshops go, but at least until about a month ago, when I was last in the store, there was a glass case prominently displaying guns for sale right behind the counter.
If by some chance you print this, please do not use my name as I still do business with Don Z.
Name Withheld by Request
Editor's Note: We need to make one other "Best of Miami" correction. Somehow we managed to clone Norman Van Aken's restaurant and place the twin a few blocks from the original. In fact there is only one Norman's, located where it has always been located: 21 Almeria Avenue in Coral Gables.