If It Works for Tupperware, It'll Work for Crack Cocaine
Kirk Nielsen's article "Drug Bizarre" (December 24) was excellent, and Robert Dowd's arguments against the war on drugs seem so logical.

The reason drug dealers are harder to control is that, unlike illegal vendors of cigarettes and alcohol, a drug dealer can carry a substantial part of his inventory with him and not be detected.

Drug dealers basically work the same way as your friendly Avon, Tupperware, Mary Kay, or Amway salesperson. The more people they recruit, the more money they make. I am sure there are plenty of turf wars among the people selling Avon or Tupperware, but they don't go around killing one another.

If drugs were legal, controlling them would not be that difficult. It would be necessary to get a doctor's prescription to purchase the drugs. A doctor would realize who would be using too much and recommend rehabilitation. Use the same methods of punishment for excessive use of drugs as for excessive use of alcohol. Use the $40 billion presently spent by the government on the drug war for rehabilitation.

We know there always will be a few doctors who would take money for writing illegal prescriptions, and there will be those users who will try to obtain prescriptions from more than one doctor. But the big problem would be under control.

Drugs are attractive to many ghetto children because they see how much money can be earned quickly by selling them. If the pusher-as-role-model disappeared, many related problems would disappear.

Louise Harber
South Miami

Dear Santa: We Promise to Be Extra, Extra Good
After reading Jim DeFede's article "The Junket Queen" (December 24), I submit this open letter to Miami-Dade County Commissioner Natacha Millan:

Dear Natacha,
With the holidays in the air, I have a few Christmas wishes for you and the other commissioners who travel on the public dime. Next time you pull up the blankets and get all cozy in that $325-per-night hotel bed in Seville, Spain, I hope you'll think about the homeless on the streets of Miami, who don't have enough temporary shelters to get off the streets or enough long-term programs available to stay off the streets.

And next time you're jamming some moo goo gai pan down your pie hole in Beijing, I hope you'll think of Pastor Joseph Austin giving his time and his church's funds to feed those who cannot afford to feed themselves.

Next time you're watching Air Bud 2: Golden Receiver as the in-flight movie on your way to Paris, proud of the fact that you're in tourist class, I hope you'll think of those people who work on the streets and in the shelters at thankless jobs that help their fellow man, but who make too little money to vacation in Europe.

I wish Santa Claus would bring us public servants who understand it is their duty to work for the good of the entire community, not just for themselves or those in the community who contribute to their election campaigns. Ah, but I'm just a foolish dreamer. I doubt even Santa himself has the ability to change politicians.

Errol Portman
Coral Gables

Objects of Ridicule at Home, Celebrated Dignitaries Abroad
I take issue with some of Jim DeFede's comments in his recent article regarding travel by Miami-Dade County commissioners. Specifically I address the trip Gwen Margolis took with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the New World Symphony.

I represent for the New World Symphony in Tallahassee. I have had the pleasure of traveling with the symphony throughout the world. They are simply the most incredible ambassadors of good will this community could possibly have. And of course New Times realizes they could be anywhere in the world, but because of the generosity of Ted Arison and local contributors, they are headquartered in Miami Beach.

I was in Monte Carlo with the symphony in the company of Prince Rainier and other local dignitaries. Not one elected official was in attendance, not one person there to promote this community -- no tourism officials, no economic development officials, no chamber of commerce official. What a lost opportunity.

Our symphony is one of the world's treasures, recognized as such around the globe. Newly elected Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris recognizes that, and I hope she will continue the tradition of promoting Florida by utilizing recognizable culture.

Gwen Margolis understood the importance of the world tour the symphony was embarking on and raised significant private-sector dollars on her own to help finance the trip. She worked tirelessly on her own to put together a tourism contingency to travel with the symphony. To criticize that effort is to completely fail to understand the value of the New World Symphony, the Miami City Ballet, and other local groups.

If we are to be a world-class community, we need to respect our elected officials here as much as they are respected when they travel to other countries. The chairwoman of the county commission in a foreign country is welcomed as a visiting dignitary and afforded great accolades. We should do the same at home.

Bob Levy

Pinheads Aplenty
Arthur Jay Harris's article about the murder of Stanley Cohen ("The Imperfect Murder," December 17) was a great story. It's clear, however, that the wrong people are locked up. As morally corrupt as Frank Zuccarello and his gang appear to be, television reporter Gail Bright, her cameraman Mario Hernandez, and retired homicide detective Jon Spear seem to be the guilty ones.

People who would allow another person potentially to go to the electric chair without a peep deserve to go there themselves. These white-collar moral pinheads are the real sleazeballs.

Terri Mitchell
Los Angeles

Street Gangs Are for Sissies
For some reason limp wrists continue to be associated with homosexuals. The photographs of gang members in John Lantigua's article "Rich Thug, Poor Thug" (December 10), and their limp-wristed sign language, made me wonder why the issue of latent homosexuality inherent in gang membership was not discussed in the story.

Repressed homosexuals historically have joined all-male clubs. Gangbangers are no different. The fact that these warped youths walk around with their underwear out, flashing hand signals makes it all the more obvious. Since ancient times all outlaw groups have traditionally been repositories of homosexuality. The ancient Greeks practically patented the concept of warrior homosexuals. Then came the Romans, the Goths, the Visigoths, the Vandals, and now the gangstas. When you consider that most of these kids become convicted criminals who spend their time in prison either giving or receiving homosexual intercourse, it all makes sense.

Perhaps now that Miami-Dade County has passed a law protecting homosexuals, these gang members will be able to come out of the closet without doing violence to others. Gangstas need to stop fighting their guilt over the urge to live with other men. They need to realize they do not need to go to prison in order to be gay.

Instead of Scared Straight, the county should start a program in which gang members spend a weekend in state prison. Call it Scared Queer, and refer to the gang leaders as Gay Lords.

Alberto Victor Batista

Pro Sports' Dirty Little Secret Exposed
I found Ralph de la Portilla's bilious assault on Sean Rowe to be unwarranted. Rowe's article on Dan Marino ("Chasing Danny," December 3) was not intended for the simple-minded. Rather it was vintage Ralph Ellison. De la Portilla missed the valuable lesson Rowe was trying to teach us. In his unsuccessful bid to interview Marino, Rowe became the nonperson, or if you will, the invisible man. He exposed a side of sports that many are reluctant to admit exists: the growing incapacity of the common sports fan to relate, on a person-to-person level, to his or her favorite sports hero.

The salaries these guys make are -- like de la Portilla's rebuff of Rowe -- as ridiculous as pitcher Kevin Brown's recent comment that "it's not about money." (Brown said this after signing a contract for more than $100 million, making him one of the highest-paid athletes in history.)

I agree with de la Portilla that children are "mesmerized" by these sports heroes, but at what cost? In fact children are so mesmerized that many are renouncing academic or intellectual aspirations for a shot at the dream. It seems to me that football, instead of helping children, is profiting at their expense.

The lunacy of it becomes all the more clear when one considers that Marino and his colleagues are grown men who are hitting each other for no apparent reason. Just think how silly these men in pads are going to look to future generations, for whom Sean Rowe will seem to have been the only rational person on the face of the planet.

Manny Losada

Hiaasen Joins New Times, Herald Folds!
I loved Jim DeFede's piece on Calvin Grigsby ("Grigsby in Defense of Grigsby," December 3). He always saves the best for last. Nobody does it better (aside from John Lantigua). Sure beats the heck out of the Miami Herald. If Carl Hiaasen were a regular in your paper, I'd have no use for Herald.

Peggy Bowen

Susana to Melissa: A Little Smiles Goes a Long Way
I am writing in response to Melissa Sindle's letter to the editor regarding Miami's Haitian community (November 26). She must be very lonely to think no one has ever found a decent Haitian. I work with them and I'll tell you they are the hardest-working people I have ever met. They are also the most loyal. In four years of business I have never been disappointed, and I have only received respect, honesty, and love from every one of them.

Ms. Sindle should instruct herself before taking pen in hand. If Haitians are suffering in their country, it is in part because of the mess Ms. Sindle's own government created there. Despite that, Haiti has a lot of merit. In 1804 it became the second independent nation in the Americas and inspired independence movements in the rest of the hemisphere. Most Haitians speak three languages: Creole, French, and English. I have seen Haitians work two jobs to give a good education to their kids, and also join the military to defend Ms. Sindle's country. Can she do any better?

About the Haitian teenagers terrorizing Ms. Sindle, I'll tell her that if she went to Liberty City she'd be even more terrorized -- by Americans. Whites, blacks, Latinos, and every single kid without strong family values will terrorize her.

I think if Ms. Sindle was forced to move from her home in North Miami, it was because she is a racist. She would be unhappy anywhere. A piece of advice to her: Try smiling at the world. It just might smile back.

Susana Novel Infante
Miami Beach


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