And Now...Heeeeere's Robert!
Robert Andrew Powell's "Birth of a Station" (June 25), about the debacle known as WAMI-TV, was hilarious. It made me laugh, it made me cry. Reading his article provided more insightful entertainment than the dreadfully cheesy, hideously stale Ocean Drive TV, Kenneth's Freakquency, or any other of Channel 69's amateur, inane programming.
Hey, Robert, get Barry Diller on the phone. You should have your own show. On your own network!
Samantha L. Stone
Hey, Remember That Guy Who Didn't Screw Up? What Was His Name?
The fine article by Tristram Korten on Donald Warshaw ("The Don," June 25) should have included a prediction: Ten years in the future (whether or not Warshaw is still employed by the City of Miami), he will be fondly remembered and respected as a good cop, a good police chief, and even a good city manager.
Yes, there can be a good apple in a bushel of rotten, ego-driven ones.
Steven M. Harris
The Sanchez Solution
Kirk Nielsen's profile of Miami Commissioner Joe Sanchez ("Dinner Key's Raw Meat," June 25) was a refreshing look at a public official who may not be (and who hopefully will not become) a politician. As long as he continues to dedicate himself to public service, Joe Sanchez may be part of the solution to restoring trust in local government. Miami will be better off if he follows the lead of Mayor Joe Carollo in ushering in a new era of good government.
By the way, State Rep. Annie Betancourt, a good friend, is a proud Democrat. Gone are the days when finding a Cuban-American Democrat meant a difficult search. The Miami-Dade County Democratic Party has been instrumental in registering legions of Cuban Americans, and Hispanics generally, as Democrats. Representative Betancourt is just one of the many Cuban-American Democrats faithfully performing public service.
Benedict P. Kuehne
Not Your Garden-Variety Political Sleaze
Kirk Nielsen mischaracterized our new city commissioner, Joe Sanchez. On May 26, 1998, prior to Mr. Sanchez's appointment, the city commission, in its advisory capacity to the county commission regarding the Miami Children's Museum, conditionally voted 4-1 in favor of locating the museum at the Vizcaya Metrorail site. The operative word here is conditionally. For the county's consideration, the city commission recommended specific conditions that must be met by the museum.
It was obvious at the May 26 public hearing that our city commissioners gave merit to the concerns of the neighbors by mandating that strict conditions be met by the museum with regard to the scale of the building and the intrusion of nonlocal traffic in our neighborhood. These conditions also evidenced the commission's clear understanding of the laws governing the placement of such projects on joint municipal properties.
Joe Sanchez had not been appointed to the city commission at the time of the May 26 vote. In fact, word of his upcoming nomination had not yet been spoken -- not even to Sanchez himself. The inference that "Sanchez's support was pivotal" to the city commission's vote is altogether misleading and baseless by virtue of timing and political distance. For a neighbor to say that the now (not then) Commissioner Sanchez "is a typical Dade County politician," meaning he goes along with the powers that be and not necessarily with the interests of the people, is unfounded and grossly unfair.
The neighbors' concerns over the proposed museum deserve countywide attention, but not at the indiscriminately misguided and hurtful expense of a political innocent who, at the eleventh hour, was called upon and answered in order that he might honorably serve the interests of his community.
Daniel J. Leibow
Quit Pickin' on My Daryl!
Why must Jim DeFede continue to print trashy articles with innuendos about State Sen. Daryl Jones, whom I love and for whom I have the highest admiration ("Ack-Ack Over Washington," June 25). Senator Jones is one of the finest gentlemen I have ever known. He has had only the kindest things to say to me and has treated me with thoughtfulness and the utmost respect.
By the way, doesn't he have the right to make money? He has a lovely wife and three beautiful children to support. Since when has it been illegal to feed your family?
DeFede should get off his high horse and leave him alone! I expect the Senate Armed Services Committee and the entire legislative body to confirm him with full confidence.
Brett Gives It Back
Thank you for Robert Andrew Powell's article about Brett Perriman's activities in the community ("His Brilliant Career," June 11). With all the negatives we hear about today's athletes, it is wonderful to see a local product and a former Hurricane give back to the community.
It saddens me that there has been tragedy in his life, but it inspires us all to see him look beyond these difficulties and continue to give back.
Convenience Store Conspirators
After reading Tristram Korten's "Miami's Own Middle East Melee" (June 11), I cried a river for Adora Obi Nweze, Morris Johnson, and all the other complaining and Arab-abused folks at the Joseph Caleb Center. I virtually oozed with pity at their plight. Imagine having to live in a community where immigrant minorities are allowed to move in and set up legal businesses! Those evil Arabs have some nerve to invade beautiful and peaceful communities such as Liberty City and Overtown. After setting up shop, those Arabs actually expect to make a profit by selling goods to local customers! What racist bastards!
Those Arabs have already ruined their part of the world by getting rich from oil wells and terrorism, and now they have come here to destroy the intricate beauty of our inner cities and to oppress blacks with overpriced Slurpees. What a crafty and devious plan!
I am so happy and proud to know that the president of the Miami-Dade branch of the NAACP (Adora Obi Nweze) is intelligent enough to realize that the problems in Liberty City and Overtown are no longer caused by "The Man" alone, and that some of the blame can now be spread to the darker-complected (but still white on the inside) Arabs.
Erik O. Zimmerman
On the Death of My Son
I want to clarify a few points about the case of the man who killed my son Charles Nelson. Tristram Korten's story "Miami's Own Middle East Melee" correctly noted that Charles was shot eight times and that Kahled Abu Hamdeh is claiming self-defense. But he left out a few important details.
First, while the article mentioned that Charles was a security guard, it should have noted that he was a security guard at the store in which he was killed and that he was shot by his boss.
Second, Mr. Korten correctly reported that Hamdeh's current grounds for claiming self-defense are that Charles lunged at him and threatened to burn down the store. While this is true, readers should know that Hamdeh originally said Charles threatened to shoot him with a gun. That story changed after prosecutors said a gun found next to Charles's body was planted there by a co-worker.
Last, Charles was shot eight times in the back. Being shot eight times in the back is a lot different from being shot while facing someone. Hamdeh could not have been defending himself because not only was Charles unarmed, he was on his way out of the store.
Charles was not perfect; none of us is. But this is more than just a case of disgruntled blacks conjuring up complaints against Arab store owners. I believe my son was murdered, and I demand the same justice that others demand when their children are murdered.
Editor's note: Hamdeh's lawyer, Roberto Pardo, contends that five bullets hit Nelson as he was facing Hamdeh and that those bullets spun Nelson around while Hamdeh continued to fire, which resulted in three more bullets hitting him in the back.
The Sounds of Cuba, Old and New
Congratulations to Judy Cantor for her article "Isla de la Musica" (May 28). As usual, her thorough research resulted in an excellent and interesting story.
It has taken 40 years to rediscover that Cuban music has tremendous appeal in the international market, a market that Panart Records developed way back in the Forties and Fifties. Now, because of the outlaw status of the Castro government, which does not abide by international norms or treaties, Cuban artists and musicians are at the mercy of foreign companies seeking to exploit this cheap and vulnerable treasure trove.
Whether the new timba sound will meet with as much success as the more familiar sound of the Fifties is still to be seen. In the meantime, the original Cuban sound still flourishes in Miami.
Julia R. Sabat
Editor's note: Julia Sabat's late husband, Ramon S. Sabat, founded Panart Records, Cuba's first label, in Havana in 1943.
You Say Habana, We Say Havana
Pedro Solares complains in his May 28 letter that La Habana is never spelled correctly. In English the name is Havana. If an article is written in Spanish, then it's La Habana.
In the Spanish language, New York and London are referred to as Nueva York and Londres. If anybody complained to a Spanish-language publication that these cities are supposed to be spelled New York and London, they would be laughed at.
Every language has its own spellings and pronunciations for geographic locations. Somebody should point this out to some of our local newscasters.
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No Bull in Bulworth's Message
Peter Rainer's review of Bulworth ("He Got Lame," May 21) misses the total message. The "whacked-out rap master" he refers to is no doubt the spirit of the movie.
Bulworth is possessed and guided by the spirit of a deceased, politically oppressed, and intelligent black male rapper. Through a moving spirit who must sing in order to be spiritually heard (as stated by the homeless man who speaks directly to both Bulworth and the movie audience), Bulworth is able to spit out the message of the oppression of young black males and its political link to con artists.
When the rap master tells us, through Bulworth, that the rich are getting richer and that corporations lock out free speech, he is preaching from the heart. If the message is a joke, then the jokers are those who don't care or won't understand.