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Letters

Good News! The Food May Be Chancey, but You Won't End Up Hospitalized
In response to Jen Karetnick's article about Islands Cafe ("Restaurant 101," August 27), I would like to make the following comments: It seems pretty sad to me that a restaurant critic has to go around critiquing educational institutions. Thank God we don't have people like Ms. Karetnick going to M.I.T. and trashing second-year computer engineering students because they can't design a perfect computer.

Although I don't think any of us Johnson & Wales students lost sleep over the review, this sort of critique can potentially hinder a student's motivation to learn and achieve.

Chef John Reed was the success behind Chef & Apprentice (the former Johnson & Wales University practice site Ms. Karetnick spoke so highly of), and he achieved that success with trainees cooking his food. I personally think Mr. Reed does an outstanding job of running his restaurant/classroom as an institution of higher learning. And keep in mind that he does this with a staff that changes every twelve weeks!

Mr. Reed is not only a restaurant/classroom manager, but he also serves as an instructor of sanitation management at Johnson & Wales. This tough academic requirement teaches students about food health and safety and leads to state certification. Ms. Karetnick's carrot sticks may have been a little ripe, but I guarantee she won't be leaving our restaurant in an ambulance.

The students here at Johnson & Wales are very proud of Mr. Reed. We count our blessings not only for having him, but also for having a facility like Islands Cafe at the Bay Harbor Inn to sharpen our skills.

It seems to me Ms. Karetnick's husband was right. Practicum sites are not for her.

Gemall Deeb
Miami

How About Cooking for Each Other
I have two comments for Ms. Karetnick in response to "Restaurant 101": Where do you expect student chefs to get practical experience? And I'm glad my Johnson & Wales teachers, unlike Ms. Karetnick, have not missed the mark as to what an educator is.

Jackie Terr
Miami

Fascell: Giving Politicians a Good Name
It is very rare that I find myself writing to newspaper editors. After reading John Lantigua's article "He Made Dade" (August 20) about Dante Fascell, however, I felt compelled to tell you what an exceedingly good job you have done telling the story of one of the giants in the history of Dade County. New Times has helped tell this story to many of the people who had no idea of the important contributions this gentleman made to the community.

Too often things that should be said are left unsaid. You have turned the spotlight on this amazing politician -- and I use the word politician in its finest sense. Thanks for doing all of us a favor.

Arthur H. Hertz, chairman and CEO
Wometco Enterprises
Coral Gables

Fascell: A Conflicted Friend of the Earth
Your otherwise excellent profile of former Congressman Dante Fascell neglected to highlight his many efforts to protect the South Florida environment. Few public officials in Florida had so important a role in the formation of Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, and in protecting public lands in the Keys. During his tenure as one of the most powerful members of Congress, the population of South Florida soared, overwhelming one of America's unique ecosystems, the Everglades. He knew it, and hoped for the best.

I am deeply grateful for having had opportunities to listen to Congressman Fascell, after he departed public office, talk candidly about society, politics, and the environment. He speaks wistfully about shortcomings, missed opportunities, and the deep conflicts that put our natural resources in such peril. In a sense, he embodies those conflicts more than any other Florida public official with the exception of Sen. Bob Graham, whose favorable record on national environmental legislation is clouded by compromise at the state level.

Though he was the single most influential politician in support of Biscayne National Park and the magnificent waters so many millions of people cherish today, Congressman Fascell also helped lead the successful Miami-Dade mayoral campaign of Alex Penelas, architect of a plan for a new commercial airport at Homestead Air Force Base. That facility will, if built as planned, devastate Biscayne National Park, Fascell's legacy, and establish a tragic precedent for our national park system.

Our national parks are the best idea America ever had. We cannot passively assume that Congressman Fascell's contributions will endure. Today local, state, and federal laws protecting our natural resources, our national parks, and our environment are under a withering assault by exploiters, schemers, and cynics. At the federal level, rider after rider attached to bills proposed by an anti-environment, Republican-led Congress have immobilized protection for the environment. At the state and local level, our legislatures are profoundly influenced away from protecting the environment in favor of special interests.

 

I recall Congressman Fascell's grim assessment to me, that our species is likely headed the way of the dinosaurs. If that happens, future generations -- our children, our grandchildren -- will pay dearly and with great pain for our short-sighted selfishness. The Sierra Club is fighting that possibility. We remember Congressman Fascell's efforts with understanding tempered by anger and determination.

Alan Farago, conservation chair
Sierra Club Miami Group
Coral Gables

Thank You for Calling the Miami Herald. If You've Already Read About This Subject in New Times, Press 1

Bravo to Jim DeFede for his column "Requiem for a Newspaper" (August 13). Finally someone has the balls to declare that the emperor has no clothes, that David Lawrence, Jr.'s Sunday columns were "poorly written, maudlin tripe" from a "mean-spirited, bitter individual who regularly tormented those around him."

I do not agree with Mr. DeFede that Lawrence's resignation and the corporate profit-squeezing by Tony Ridder foretell the demise of a newspaper. Perhaps the Herald will lose some journalistic talent and some features by trimming the budget, but the investigative mission of the Miami Herald can only improve under the tutelage of Alberto IbargYen.

Too often important news stories received full, detailed coverage in El Nuevo Herald only to be tersely mentioned in or completely missing from the Miami Herald. I habitually devour the news section of the Miami Herald, believing as I do that it is a civic duty to remain informed on current events.

But if I did not also read New Times, I would never have known about Carlos Herrera and the HABDI political machine, the failure of the multimillion-dollar sound abatement wall at MIA, the South Dade dump that will cost us millions to clean up, nepotism at MIA, and many, many other important stories.

While the Herald printed puff pieces about Alex Penelas, New Times told us why Penelas was not qualified and how all the players in the HABDI environmental debacle were bought and paid for long ago. How many times has the Herald printed this phrase: "as first reported in New Times"? I think they probably have a little icon for this statement in their word-processing program (a little Sherlock Holmes hat and magnifying glass?) so they don't have to type it over and over again.

I have a peculiar hobby: posting unusual poetry and pithy sayings on my store's billboard sign. People often remark that I seem to have knowledge of events before they happen. I know who is about to be indicted or arrested, who will not be approved for appointments, and who is crooked. People claim I must have an inside pipeline to local and national events. Yes, I do have an informational pipeline from behind the secretive walls of government. That pipeline is called New Times.

Robert Gewanter
Hialeah

He Can't Even Fold a Newspaper Correctly
Regarding Mr. DeFede's article on Dave Lawrence, over the past year I have sent three letters to Mr. Lawrence criticizing the way he treats his customers (readers) by selling a product that is often unreadable owing to to ink smears, mistakes, and inept layouts. I told him he should be ashamed of himself for sending out a bad product day after day.

As a person who has traveled to and lived in several cities in the United States, I have read and enjoyed many newspapers. I told Mr. Lawrence that the Miami Herald was the worst major-city newspaper I had ever read. I did not even get into the terrible writing. I had long ago become used to his sophomoric writing and that of his staff (notable exceptions being Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen). For those of us who enjoy starting off the morning with a newspaper, it is frustrating when the printing is so bad we have to stop and try to figure out what the missing letters or words are in order to understand the article. Besides the cheap paper, cheap ink, and third-class writers, they can't even fold the paper correctly.

The reason the Herald is able to cheat its customers every day is that it is the only daily paper in town. As of this week, however, I have been going out of my way to buy the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, now down to 35 cents from 50 cents. What a difference! This is an excellent newspaper. The articles are very well written, the paper and ink are of much better quality, and the folds are in the right place. Of course I miss the local flavor in the news, but it is well worth it to enjoy good writing again.

 

As for New Times, I have been a reader for several years and always enjoy the investigative reporting and the restaurant and film reviews.

Richard Behrendt
North Miami

Print My Letters, Win My Heart
I resented Jim DeFede's comments about David Lawrence being "mean-spirited." DeFede is no angel himself. He's got more than a few scalps in his trophy case, and he's just dead wrong about David Lawrence.

David Lawrence answered every single e-mail message I sent him and made sure that most of my letters to the editor were published. As a teacher, I can tell you that David Lawrence possesses a genuine compassion toward children and a keen awareness of the issues that affect the community. In short, he is the little man's man. This time DeFede is just blowing smoke.

I am sure if he wrote to Mr. Lawrence or sat down to talk with him, he'd walk away with a totally different impression than the one built around barroom gossip or exuded by a disgruntled employee or two. Yeah, the news business is tough. So what else is new? DeFede should know this.

Excuse me for being somewhat quixotic, but not only is David Lawrence okay, he's the best, a munificent humanitarian who always takes time to chat with those who are trying to make this city a better place to live.

Manny Losada
Miami


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