Claudette to the Big Man: You've Got an Angel Down Here, Sir
Thanks for Robert Andrew Powell's article about our local hero Brett Perriman ("His Brilliant Career," June 11). As a former Miami Northwestern High student and a classmate of Brett, I am happy to say he is one of the several graduates from Northwestern who have made good! Yes, Brett was a prankster in school, but he also was a well-liked individual and appreciated by all.
Having followed Brett's career, I am pleased that he is continuing to give something back to the community. I know he will continue to be a major success in Miami and elsewhere. Even if he does not return to football, he will be worthwhile in this community as a mentor and a humanitarian.
It is also time for our elected officials to come out, help, and give to some of the efforts that Brett is trying to accomplish for the good of our communities. He is only one man, and it is tiring doing things by yourself. Let's wake up, Miami, and come together in support of Brett. He is a wonderful black man trying to make this community safe for his children and yours.
When it is time for the gun buy-back, take those guns, including play guns, and turn them in. When it is time for the concert to benefit the scholarship fund named for Brett's brother, let's come together in support.
God puts us on this Earth for a short time -- and sometimes for a longer time -- to do His will. Well, God, I must say that Brett has and will continue to fulfill your wishes, and he will continue to be an angel in the community.
Radio Matri's Investigation No. 29
As acting chairman of the President's Advisory Board for Cuba Broadcasting (PAB), I would like to clarify Kathy Glasgow's statements relating to investigations of Radio Marti ("Radio Free Miami," June 4). The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of State investigated allegations of personnel irregularities, editorial policy violations, and undue influence by Jorge Mas Canosa (the late chairman of the PAB) and other board members. The inspector general's final report exonerated Radio Marti and the board of all allegations. (Radio Marti was also exonerated in all of the prior 27 investigations.)
In light of the numerous complaints since Mr. Herminio San Roman's arrival as the director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, another investigation has been opened by the inspector general for the Department of State.
Christopher D. Coursen, acting chairman
President's Advisory Board for Cuba Broad-
New Times's Policy Directive No. 4: Bash Cubans Whenever Possible
With publication of Kathy Glasgow's "Radio Free Miami," it seems the New Times anti-Cuban campaign is reaching a crescendo. It seems to me this bashing is the editorial policy and direction of New Times; sometimes the paper uses one writer, sometimes another, but the target is always the same.
You should try mentioning the concentration camps, the political prisons, the downing of the two civilian planes, the sinking of the tugboat 13 de Marzo that resulted in the murder of women and children.
A publication like New Times, always fighting for the rights of a minority group and condemning violations of civil rights, should be very sensitive to the rights and cruel reality of another group: the Cuban people, oppressed, enslaved, and, when deemed necessary, massacred, murdered, or starved to death by the tyranny that has been ruling the island with an iron fist for decades.
Ms. Glasgow's article was full of inaccuracies. To mention two: Free quality education was what we had before, with no political strings attached. As for free medical care, well, we had that before too. Today it is free if you can get the sheets, blankets, bandages, and anesthesia for the hospital and if you have the dollars to buy the drugs and everything else required. The doctor's consultation and advice is free. The rest requires dollars.
Dr. Roberto A. Galloso
My Dinner with DeFede: His Buttering Up Rundle, Her Threat to Ham Sandwiches Everywhere
I'll say it again: Jim DeFede is the best reporter in Miami. (And he's a scintillating dining companion.) But his recent unabashed puff piece on the State Attorney's Office ("Rundle Arrives," June 4) gives rise to some questions, such as: Was it written as payback (or down payment) for regularly receiving transcripts of confidential witness statements (in some cases giving rise to potential charges of obstruction of justice)? Or for unfettered and illegal access to inside state attorney gossip, leaks, rumors, and innuendo? Is the relationship too cozy? Has "Lord" Jim been compromised. Say it ain't so!
In any event, as State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle's election draws near, I hope Mr. DeFede again distinguishes himself by not allowing the prejudice and campaign advertising value of Rundle's self-serving leaks and her reinvention of purpose and style to outweigh the probity of evidence against targets of her re-elective ambitions (a.k.a. political "defendants").
Watch out for all the creative flying indictments this campaign year. Attention all ham sandwiches and viable Republicans: You may be in danger! Fortunately DeFede's latest re-evaluation of the Bert Hernandez tapes is great editorial reporting ("Tales from the Script," June 11). Once again the leaks didn't live up to the reality of the case.
Conventional wisdom dictates that Jim DeFede could be a far better state attorney than the desperately ambitious Ms. Rundle. At least he strives to tell and sell the truth most of the time.
Here's an Asylum That Should Be Run by the Inmates
Tristram Korten's article "No Holds Barred" (May 28) is another shocking indication of the deep-seated problems in the Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The Frank Dennis incident is merely symptomatic of a bureaucracy that is so politically exploited and racially misunderstood that I agree with Jim DeFede's assessment in his article "Jailhouse Rumble" (March 21, 1996): "It would probably be better off if the inmates ran the place."
The level of exploitation is so great that one needs to work there to fully understand it. The only solution to problems has been to remove the director. It has always been easier to change things at the top than to improve things at the bottom.
The corrections department has some of the finest professionals one will meet anywhere, a rainbow of humanity -- blacks, whites, and Hispanics who are completely dedicated to the task of ensuring public safety in one of the most complex human service systems in American society. During my tenure as director [October 1993 to October 1995], they helped me achieve things that should have made this community proud of its corrections staff. Because of the exploitative and divisive tactics of a few of its members, however, the department continues to be stereotyped as a racist, incompetent, divided bureaucracy with little hope for change.
Dade County corrections has had four directors in the past nine years. Three have left under a cloud, and the incumbent has had to endure continuous allegations of mismanagement for most of his tenure. The strategy for removal is simple: Find some vague and misleading allegations, then add some questions about management practices. The director is removed pending the completion of audits and investigations. Once the issues are cleared, the director is never reinstated or his name publicly cleared. Reference was made in Korten's article that I was accused of departmental mismanagement and of using county money for personal purchases. I feel a need to set the record straight.
Former county manager Joaquin Avino gave me a strong mandate to reduce the $16,000,000 jail overtime budget. I explained the process and the difficulty of reducing overtime, owing to the configuration of the jail facilities. I requested to establish a home office with a fax and a computer to accomplish this objective. The manager's response was "Do whatever is needed to get the job done." This matter was thoroughly discussed with corrections staff, who picked out the furniture and had it delivered to my home. Proper procurement procedures were adhered to.
Over two consecutive years, we reduced overtime to $8,500,000 and turned back $251,000. And what did I get for it? They called me a thief and subjected me to a criminal investigation. I had only specifically mentioned the fax and computer and did not spell out the other items. After being cleared by the State Attorney's Office, I was told I was going back to my job. Two days later something else came up: I was accused of mismanaging $250,000. I was accused of violating state law, abuses of travel, illegally using trust funds to pay for overtime and for training civilians, and manipulating funds to meet budget shortfalls.
I was told I could not go back to corrections until all audits were completed. None of the audits or investigations revealed any type of misconduct or mismanagement of county funds, but county officials made no effort to publicly clear my name.
Several months after the furniture incident, I ran into Avino at the airport. This is the man who hired me and with whom I had the conversation about a home office. He certainly did not have an attitude about misconduct or poor judgment on my part. He knew the entire episode concerning me was a setup.
What the county government did to me was a serious abuse of sovereign authority and executive privilege. They knew there was no probable cause for a criminal investigation or for the audits they conducted. They spent thousands of dollars on those audits in order to justify their political agenda. They subjected a high-ranking criminal-justice official to a criminal investigation for no reason, knowing well that it would taint me the remainder of my life.
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I want to say this regarding the Frank Dennis incident: I have been standing up for the rights of prisoners throughout my career. I truly believe that prisoners have a right to basic human dignities and should never be abused or mistreated. I have stubbornly refused to be an apologist for an unjust criminal justice system, or for injustice anywhere. After a few days of review by our internal investigators, the matter was referred to the State Attorney's Office for criminal investigation. The proven fact that this man was beaten is another indication of the gross injustices that can occur in our jails and prisons. The fact that six officers had the courage to try to stop it and the integrity to testify shows that the system is capable -- to some extent -- of policing itself.
New Times is to be commended for speaking out on issues in our criminal justice system. Regardless of how the public may feel about crime and criminals, it still wants its public institutions to be well managed and for citizens who come under their authority to be treated fairly.
Charles A. Felton