With reference to Ted B. Kissell's excellent article on Ed Resnick ("A Taste for Trouble," November 19), I'd like to note for the record that although Ed and I parted ways over the Portofino issue, we are friends today.
Over the years Ed provided intelligent, logical, and articulate leadership as chairman of the South Pointe Advisory Board and on other city issues. I hope we are all smart enough to let bygones be bygones so we can again make use of his ample talent and ability.
Neisen Kasdin, mayor
The article about Ed Resnick was a totally insulting and misleading attack on a man of tremendous integrity with true dedication to the obligations of good citizenship.
Scholarly reporting research would show you that Ed Resnick received absolutely no personal gain from his attempts to save the City of Miami Beach from the excesses of the Portofino deal. Resnick should not be vilified but should be praised for his efforts, not only for the hard work he did to make the best of a bad deal that had been concocted by the city commission years ago, but also for his many efforts to better the community. He is one of our most productive citizens and has exemplary integrity.
Shirley M. Zoloth
Parade magazine, a Worthy Succissor to Tropic
This is in response to Jacob Bernstein's article "It's Money That Matters" (November 19). The Miami Herald's Tropic magazine ran a story about how my family dealt with my sister's schizophrenia. During the process of telling the story to writer Madeleine Blais, I not only learned about my sister's great strengths but also about my own incredible weaknesses. And for that I am eternally grateful to everyone involved. Tropic has been a unique voice in South Florida, and without doubt the corporation that operates the Miami Herald is making a tragic mistake. If they want to save a few dollars, they might consider dumping that milquetoast rag known as Parade.
If it weren't for the crossword puzzle, there would be nothing to attract me to the paper at all. Consider it a challenge to you, New Times.
Meg Livergood Gerrish
So Long Tropic, Hello Free Weelky Bird Dogs
The death of Tropic magazine is most unfortunate because it was one of the few sections of the Miami Herald where one could find originality, humor, and even quirkiness. As far as I'm concerned, its demise began when the editors arbitrarily axed the weekly Callahan cartoon because, as Jim DeFede reported, one installment was allegedly disrespectful of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ("A Nocturnal Omission," April 27, 1995). I did not think it was disrespectful at all. I thought it was funny. And from what I know of Dr. King, he would have had a good belly laugh over it. Ironically, not long before that Tropic published a reader survey that revealed Callahan to be its most popular feature.
There are countless reasons for the decline of the Herald. Some have to do with the proliferation of new media. Others, however, are strictly the fault of Herald management. To wit:
*The paper has primarily become a giant advertising circular.
*It keeps showering English-speaking readers with pages of Latin American news while ignoring most of the rest of the world and the United States.
*Local news is heavily oriented toward the same old VIPs, while the genuinely interesting stories about true community heroes are lucky to make the back pages of the "Neighbors" section.
*The Herald is prone to absurd excesses; their coverage of Gloria Estefan's bus accident in March 1990 rivaled their coverage of wars, presidential elections, and natural disasters.
On May 2, 1997, they gave the Labor Party landslide in Britain eight front-page column inches below the fold, with a one-column photo of Tony Blair. The same front page featured a huge color photo of Miami Heat player Alonzo Mourning, which, together with an article about a losing Heat game, occupied 25 column inches above and below the fold. I suspect the paper has run more column inches about Madonna and Sylvester Stallone than the National Enquirer.
Over the years the Herald's editorial board has managed to endorse almost every politician and judge who was later indicted, convicted, and/or jailed. Furthermore, the Herald has alienated almost everyone: Latins (with its patronizing attitude); Jews (with rare but nasty outbursts reeking of anti-Semitism, like a cartoon showing Israelis using American GIs as cannon fodder and a column mocking the memory of the Holocaust); working people and taxpayers (with its unstinting support of almost every new tax, bond issue, and expensive boondoggle); and my fellow Miami Beach residents (with its equally unstinting support of the destruction of our once-beautiful city by uncontrolled development).
I get the Herald for the "Neighbors" section, movie listings, ads, local political gossip, Carl Hiaasen, and Robert Steinback. I get the real news from the New York Times and National Public Radio.
As for the November 19 letter to the editor from Herald assistant managing editor Mark Seibel, he obviously was incapable of understanding that Ted B. Kissell's piece about Herald coverage of the courthouse buzzards was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek ("Taking Flight," November 12).
And as for Seibel's claim that New Times is a mere "bird dog" compared with the Herald being a "watch dog," consider this: New Times has done countless exposes on politicians and community leaders the Herald wouldn't touch -- until New Times exposed them. New Times told us about the murder of dozens of prostitutes by a single serial killer ("Seventeen Dead So Far," May 3, 1989); the Herald ignored this story until long after New Times ran it.
Here on Miami Beach, we salute New Times for its unflinching coverage of the outrageous actions of developer Thomas Kramer. The Herald provided almost no such coverage while at the same time glorifying Kramer and his parties in the "Weekend" section.
Please keep on doggin' them birds!
Richard H. Rosichan
Jen is a Winner
Every week I open New Times to the letters section and read another complaint about one of Jen Karetnick's negative restaurant reviews. Well, you can add another reader to the long list of those who think Jen is a whiner who only evaluates restaurants for the power trip.
Her prima-donna review of Firehouse Four ("Heat Resistant," November 12) failed to inform readers of the phenomenon occurring along South Miami Avenue ignited by the reopening of the restaurant. For the first time in years the restaurant row tucked away just west of Brickell Avenue is breathing new life thanks to Firehouse Four. All the restaurants in this neighborhood, once quiet on Saturday nights, are now enjoying increased traffic because of the vibrance brought to the neighborhood by Firehouse Four.
I work only a few blocks away and have frequented Firehouse Four many times since it reopened for lunch, dinner, and those "hedonistic" happy hours. The ambiance is exceptional for a business lunch, a romantic dinner, or a night out after a long week. The staff is incredibly friendly and professional, especially considering that the restaurant has just recently reopened. The food is remarkable. (I have never been served a dish that was not the appropriate temperature, but Jen dedicated about two-thirds of her article to the temperature of the meal and almost nothing to the creative and exceptional menu.)
As a weekly paper, New Times is expected to be brash and anti-establishment. But Jen's inaccurate restaurant reviews call the editorial integrity of New Times into question. If a staff writer is more concerned with being negative than accurate, what does that say about the rest of the paper?
Jen is Courageous
In regard to Jen Karetnick's article "A Beef About a Steak House" (October 29), not only do I completely agree with her assessment of El Gaucho, Malaga, Victor's Cafe, and Botin, I strongly support and applaud her careful scrutiny and journalistic courage.
Jen is Justified
The "high standards" Jen Karetnick discusses in her review of El Gaucho are completely justified. The panning of a restaurant, Hispanic or not, has more to do with the momentary experience than with what the restaurant means to a community.
Nostalgic value does have its place in a review, as it does in the dining experience, but that should be only a part of the review, taking a back seat to decor, location, service, price, and food.
I've had my share of mediocre meals at supposed Miami landmarks such as Victor's Cafe and Versailles. If they want to draw in customers using nostalgia and Old World reputations, that's fine. But I'll continue to frequent restaurants based on the whole dining experience, and I appreciate reviewers who do the same.
Jen is a Joke
Why in the world anyone would become agitated by pseudo-restaurant reviewer Jen Karetnick is beyond my comprehension. Don't readers realize she is the reincarnation of Red Skelton and Lou Costello? She is the comic section of New Times. What else would one expect from such a gauche individual who probably dines out in her best jeans and a T-shirt?
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To even think she could influence anyone's dining tastes and habits is a joke. And by the way, have any readers noticed that when there is a letter written in her defense, it is so phony and patronizing that we all should know she has undoubtedly initiated the response? How tacky of her.
Readers should let up on their rancor as Jen runs a close second to Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters when it comes to mirth and levity. Lest we forget, laughter is food for the soul.
Ronald C. Rickey
This past Saturday former Miami Rep. Dante Fascell died of cancer at his home in Clearwater, Florida. Fascell, whose governmental influence had a major impact on South Florida, was the subject of an August 20 cover story titled "He Made Dade," by staff writer John Lantigua. Readers can find the article on the home page of New Times's Website: www.miaminewtimes.com.