One for the Money, Two for the Show ...
Some research into past rock concerts at Gulfstream Park would have added a welcome historical perspective to Robert Andrew Powell's article "Rock Me Like a Thoroughbred" (March 11). On December 28-30, 1968, Gulfstream hosted the Miami Pop Festival, post-Monterey and pre-Woodstock. The festival drew 100,000 fans over three beautiful winter days, and featured many seminal acts of the time: The Grateful Dead, Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens, Steppenwolf, Procol Harum, Country Joe and the Fish, Canned Heat, the Turtles, and Three Dog Night were among the fourteen daily acts that appeared on two stages -- one at the grandstand and the other near the south end of the park -- for the price of seven dollars per day.

According to Rolling Stone (February 1, 1969), the festival was "a monumental success in almost every aspect, the first significant -- and truly festive -- international pop festival held on the East Coast." Woodstock, of course, took place in 1969, and Hallandale city officials, horrified by visions of stoned hippies dancing naked at Gulfstream, nixed plans for a second Miami Pop Festival. But 30 years later acts like these are again performing at Gulfstream, now with the intent of introducing music fans to thoroughbred racing. To those who object to mingling music with racing, get over it. This is obviously creative and effective marketing, and the times they still are a-changin'.

Dan Weiss

Circle Jerks: Crime Against Taxpayers
Regarding Jim DeFede's "Circle Jerks" (March 11), finally someone in the local press tells it like it is. The truth is that the emperor has no clothes, or should we say, the mayor has no money. Another truth is that no one knows what the circle really is; for all we know it could be the Tequesta version of Hollywood Squares.

Haven't the mayor and the commission, at the request of the elders who sit at 1 Herald Plaza, thrown away enough taxpayer money on things such as a $160 million performing arts center, a $120 million sports arena, and a $20 million auto racetrack in the middle of nowhere?

And isn't Miami-Dade County taxing its citizens enough? Examples: the half-percent sales tax for Jackson Memorial Hospital's six-figure executive salaries and plush boardroom accommodations; the one percent tax on food and beverages to maintain a bureaucracy that tells us how badly the homeless are doing; a 12 cents per gallon gas tax to improve transportation that apparently wasn't enough because now we're getting a 100 percent hike in roadway tolls all over Miami-Dade County. Maybe the Miami Circle or its fans, in their infinite wisdom, can give us solutions to these problems.

Paying $50 million or paying anything for the circle using taxpayer money is a crime. Taking the property from the developer is also a crime. The citizens of this county are too busy working to pay all their taxes and fees to give a rat's behind about some circle made of rock. So just move the damn thing and let the bulldozers roll.

Emiliano Antunez

Circle Jerks: Herald over the Top and Behind the Curve
Jim DeFede's "Circle Jerks" was a sidesplitting hoot. But beyond that it helped put sorely needed perspective on the famed Miami Circle. For the record though, it was Miami Today that published the first story about the circle's discovery.

Thearticle by reporter Marilyn Bowden appeared on page three of the business newspaper's November 19, 1998, edition under the headline "Archaeologists find circle left by Tequesta at Brickell Pointe site." The story ran five weeks before the Herald's December 28 piece cited by Mr. DeFede.

Ted Carter, managing editor
Miami Today

Circle Jerks: Look Deep into My Lenses
Jim DeFede does it again. He takes no prisoners and tells it like it is. Alex Penelas is a camera whore. Where the hell was the county mayor's ire over taxpayer dollars being used to build a sports arena on waterfront public park land for a multimillionaire-cruise-ship-owning-basketball-franchise-magnate-Port-of-Miami-connected-patriarch of local political campaign contributors? Poor people eat cake and the connected get a skybox.

Welcome to Miami!
Carl W. Lemieux
Santa Rosa, CA

Circle Jerks: DeFede Is the Jerk
Although I think Jim DeFede's vitriol against a slew of targets (the Miami Circle, Native Americans, nervous children) was a shameless attempt to elicit hate mail, I'll take the bait.

In short he missed the point entirely on this one, and sadly exposes himself as either an ignoramus concerning the plight of indigenous people in the Americas, or as a bigot. Preserving the Miami Circle is more than simply a cause that aims to recognize the architectural accomplishments of the past at the expense of post-Columbian taxpayers.

At its core this is a struggle to respect the sanctity of a place that still holds tremendous spiritual and cultural significance for many. After all it would seem that the speakers at the county commission meeting proved that this issue is quite germane in 1999 and, in fact, they exemplified "people who are struggling to survive today."

This article surprised me, coming as it did from a man who earlier had quite skillfully (and rightfully, even with his trademark penchant for the low blow) defended the well-deserved rights of homosexuals in Miami-Dade County. Why can't Jim DeFede see that discrimination against, and disregard for, the sacred, long-standing traditions of Native Americans is also an attack on their sensibilities?

Antonio de Velasco

The Little Guy Shall Prevail
Once again New Times gets an A for relevancy. I am referring to Ted B. Kissell's "Full Metal Racket" (March 4). I predict that Miami attorney John C. Mattes will win his case against the federal government and collect his full fee [for securing long-overdue compensation for Vietnamese commandos who worked for U.S. forces during the war in Vietnam]. The Constitution restricts the federal government's intrusion into private contracts, and case law is satiated with the concept of protecting David from Goliath. With good reason: America is what it is because of the little guy.

Although Mattes's contract was with the Vietnamese commandos and not with the government, that contract is incidental to the government not having kept its promise. In short the government cannot screw people out of their money because it does not like their views. If this case were not so conspicuous, the government may have had a chance. But because it is, and because there is really no national security interest at stake (except maybe to save face), Mattes can start breaking out the champagne.

Manny Losada


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