Always a Pleasure to Hear from Satisfied Readers -- in Boston?
I found Kirk Nielsen's article on the wall separating the black Grove from the white neighborhood to be respectfully and clearly written ("The Wall," February 5). He tackled a sensitive issue with clarity and enthusiasm. I'd like to see more articles like this in the future.

Krista Holmstrom

Always a Pleasure to Hear from Satisfied Readers -- Again?
Regarding Robert Andrew Powell's article about Antonia Gerstaker ("Taking a Name for Herself," February 5), I say good for her! Time and time again I have witnessed the theft of intellectual property from creative people by those who couldn't imagine their way out of a wet paper bag. Such is the case with the paintings done for what was to be called Brickell Village. Whether the work was unpaid because of planned deceit or sloppy management (more the case), she deserves compensation.

Artists don't usually demand a contract for the joy of exercising their creative expression; verbal agreements are enough. But there are those more "contract-oriented" individuals who will take advantage of such an unusual element in the traditional business equation.

It would seem any competent lawyer could defend Antonia's assertion should the attorney for the city decide to pursue the matter in court. Artists' work is also a valuable commodity, to put it in corporate terms.

Nic Galloro
Montgomery Village, Maryland

Another County Boondoogle Comin' Right Up
Jacob Bernstein's article "Place Your Seatbacks in the Upright Position and Prepare for Meltdown" (January 29) points out another valid reason we don't need a commercial airport in Homestead. Reading this particular line of reasoning really made me wonder just how far our county government and head cheerleader Mayor Penelas are willing to go to force this project down our throats.

Apparently Mr. Penelas subscribes to the military mentality of acceptable fatality ratios in the venture proposed by Homestead Air Base Developers, Inc. (HABDI). What does it matter if we all glow in the dark? (Though that would seem to obviate the need for the nuclear reactor.)

What I truly don't understand are the economics of this proposed HABDI development. I'm just your basic businessperson and civilian taxpayer, but I look around and find it hard to believe that an airport located in Homestead can successfully compete with the existing facilities at Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale. Is there another city with demographics similar to Miami's (i.e., population, major international gateway, seaport, location of commercial development, other existing airports within a similar radius, et cetera) that has a third facility along the lines of the one proposed by HABDI? And one that is financially viable? If so, are those bond issues being serviced or paid off as promised? Is such an airport carrying its own weight and not being subsidized by the local community or federal handouts?

I know we need to be visionary about the future direction of our community, but can't we be visionary without asking taxpayers to subsidize another boondoggle? If it's such a great deal, why can't the private sector fund it? We already know that the awarding of the HABDI lease in a no-bid arena was suspect at best. How can we trust these same county officials to make recommendations that are in the public's best interest instead of HABDI's? And that they won't saddle us with a financial disaster that will also environmentally undermine our beautiful parks, which happen to be a major part of our tourist industry? Just how many dollars do we believe our out-of-state and international visitors will pay for polluted waters and shell-shocked birds?

That this debacle is still being fought for -- regardless of the financial and environmental costs -- further emphasizes the promoters' lack of integrity. Why is it that I believe it's another case of pigs at the money trough? I am sickened that our public officials are a party to such greed.

Jeannette Drouin
Key Biscayne

More Glowing Reviews for Penelas
I wonder just what the acceptable risks for redevelopment at Homestead Air Force Base are. It seems anything is acceptable to Mayor Penelas, even having his constituency glowing with a half-life of five million years.

Barbara Lange, vice president
Friends of the Everglades

Cantor's Poets: Best to Verse
I would like to congratulate Judy Cantor for her story on Ramon Alejandro's work as a publisher of many unknown and some not-so-unknown Cuban writers ("Found Poets," January 29). And shame on El Nuevo Herald, which has not given them deserved coverage.

Very seldom do you see in a journalist such penetration, such deep knowledge of the subject in question, and such awareness of his or her subject's manifold complexity. Ms. Cantor's prose is rich and fluid and deceptively smooth; she has a gift for description, psychology, and more.

Bravo that New Times has such people!
Felix Lizarraga
Coral Gables

La Reaction from La Marina
We appreciate that New Times's Jen Karetnick took the time to review our restaurant, La Marina, at the Fort Lauderdale Marina Marriott ("New World Conceit," December 25). Her comments, however, surprised us. The restaurant recently won the "People's Choice" and "Judges' Choice" for Best Appetizer at the Eleventh Annual Art a la Carte competition, which was attended by 700 people, notable food critics among them. But Ms. Karetnick chastised the dish. We wonder if she was just disappointed that La Marina did not fit neatly into the "New World" mold, which was never our intent.

La Marina replaced the Riverwatch and the Library at the Marina Marriott and continues to serve many of the favorite dishes of the old restaurants, with the addition of "New Florida" items that combine local seafood with some of the flavors found in South Florida and the Caribbean. The restaurant purposely does not tout "New World" cuisine because our chefs are always experimenting with traditional and nontraditional flavors that don't necessarily fit the definition.

La Marina consistently receives high praise from our customers -- the critics whose opinions we value most. We are always striving, however, to improve our cuisine, and we will absolutely take Ms. Karetnick's critique into consideration.

John Weit, general manager
Fort Lauderdale

Brace Yourselves: This Could Be the Very Last Harvey Slavin Letter We'll Ever Publish!

As I am moving out of the South Florida area to pursue a megabuck position (but not as much as Jen Karetnick earns!), I just wanted to thank New Times for not only putting up with me over these many years but for wisely publishing so many of my truthful and accurate letters.

While the letters surely enhanced New Times's standing in the seedy world of journalism, the Miami Herald has remained at the ebb of lowly journalistic aesthetics because they have stupidly refused to publish my letters for more than four years. (Just because I have called them rotten bastards, liars, phonies, and anti-Semitic Jew-haters in my mail. You'd think they would get over it. Nah!)

In looking over the past few issues of New Times, I have come to this conclusion: It's still the best place for futon and bikini ads, but now also serves just as well the tattoo artists and those so-called cosmetic surgeons who may or may not be accredited.

In closing, other than a Sunday Miami Herald "Viewpoints" section that includes the usual bullshit from David Lawrence, Jim Hampton, and Doug Clifton (some unholy triumvirate, huh?), New Times is still my bird's favorite bird-cage bottom!

Rest easy, New Times staff! You're still number one to me!
Harvey Slavin


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