Memo to Tree-huggers: Get a Horse
Regarding Jacob Bernstein's article ("The Polo Wars," March 19), it's about time someone invested in a project that will make Miami even more interesting -- a polo club. Environmentalists should view this as being quite beneficial. What do they prefer: 60 houses on a track of wetlands, or 20 houses and fields for horses?

I'm looking forward to some polo games!
Thomas Baugh
Coral Gables

Condos for Castro: Welcome to Freedom Tower Estates
Kathy Glasgow's story "La Vida Dura" (March 12) prompted me to propose a historic reconciliation to end the sad plight of that unfortunate island lying across the Florida Straits.

As punishment for Fidel Castro's lengthy misrule of Cuba, let the World Court sentence him to lifetime confinement in the campanile of Freedom Tower on Biscayne Boulevard. Here the maximum leader will be on top, as he has always preferred. He can dictate his colorful memoirs to Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, henceforth his private stenotypist. These duties shall absorb her day and night as she documents a cavalcade of formidable soliloquies. Sadly, the congresswoman will be forced to relinquish her post in Washington to fulfill this momentous task.

Our proud tropical Bastille will also be home to Raœl Castro, former head of Cuba's military forces. His experience in these matters will qualify him to be honorary chief of building security. Disguised as a quincenera, Raœl will station himself at the reception desk in the lobby to screen potential visitors. Bacardi will provide him with an endless supply of fine rums to soften the blow of this lifestyle change. As his assistant, Sen. Jesse Helms will be a most capable night watchman, guarding the perimeter from unsavory and especially foreign-looking types.

Variety will be added to Fidel's new life by nostalgic outings to Belle Glade, where he may, when moved by the spirit, wield a machete alongside his working brethren. Raœl's nights may be punctuated by the occasional wild foray to South Beach, where the clever denizens of the wee hours will provide him with fashion tips.

The Diaz-Balart brothers would be talented resident managers of this exclusive retirement center, forever renouncing their interests in politics and the media. Absorbed in this microcosm of intrigue, slander, and gossip, they will blissfully pass their days. The Holy Father in Rome will be given the only set of keys to this miraculous edifice.

Perhaps after the establishment of this true Little Havana, Cuba can rise like the phoenix and her people will finally be free to choose their own destiny.

(Unfortunately I must use a pseudonym owing to the inflamed political climate of our city, even though this is a humorous fantasy.)

Pier Tomasz Machote
Coral Gables

What's a Little Barricade Between Good Friends?
I have been a homeowner and a resident of Miami's Upper Eastside for four years. My first three were spent in Belle Meade; the last year I have resided at Shorecrest's northern boundary. The changes to Shorecrest in that time have been astonishing. This neighborhood has gone from abandoned and forgotten to rediscovered and hot. Three homes within a block of mine have sold within two weeks of going on the market. Most weekends, while I'm working in my yard, cars repeatedly go by looking for available homes. Our streets are no longer desolate and scary. Residents are jogging, Rollerblading, and walking their pets, and children are becoming less scared of playing outside. I credit this to two things: the Shorecrest Homeowners Association and street closures.

In her article "The Great Barrier Beef" (March 12), Kathy Glasgow refers to the barrier at NE Seventh Avenue and 80th Street as the barricade from hell. I consider them all barricades from heaven. Crime and unwanted nonresident traffic have been reduced to such a degree that we are once again a residential neighborhood, not someone's shortcut. I am in agreement with association officers Heikki Talvitie and Jorge Zuloaga that moving the Seventh Avenue barricade to the north side of 80th Street would be very detrimental to the entire area.

I also do not understand what the big deal is about having to drive a block or two to enter the Little River Club at its rear. Has anyone pointed out to Bob H. and Frank Y. that there is plenty of free parking available on 79th Street in front of the club?

I didn't get to vote on the barricades issue because it predates my arrival in Shorecrest, but if it were brought before me today, I would vote yes and ask for even more barricades.

Ernest M. Gonzalez

Miami High: Be True to Your School
Robert Andrew Powell's story "Dream Team" (March 5) is nothing new for basketball programs in Dade County. There have been several high school basketball programs that had "dream teams" and won state championships: Jackson, Carol City, Central, and Hialeah-Miami Lakes. These teams had players who did not live in their designated school zones, but nothing was said about it. The current rules allowing students to travel outside their designated zones to attend the schools of their choice were set up by the Florida legislature, not Miami Senior High School.

In the last nine years, Miami High's basketball program has put more student athletes into college on scholarships than any other high school in Dade County. During summer and winter breaks, when Miami High coaches are working hard preparing their athletes to play in three or four leagues and getting them playing time and exposure, what are the other coaches in Dade doing for their players? Most of them take the time off for vacations.

When Mr. Powell visited Miami High games, did he notice the parent-alumni support system, the atmosphere that surrounded him, the pride? Go to many other high school games and count the student-parent-alumni involvement. (By the way, who's complaining? The parents? The coaches?)

Did Mr. Powell notice the dedication and hard work put in by the athletes to accomplish something because they know they have the visibility to showcase their talent to college coaches? This in itself makes them work harder to maintain their grade-point average -- just to get the opportunity to compete for a scholarship to a Division I or Division II school, something most of them probably would not have the opportunity to do otherwise. Coach Frank Martin also makes sure his players remain eligible by demanding they attend a mandatory study hall during and after basketball season.

I have a question for Mr. Powell: If you had a son who was a good basketball player and you and your son wanted exposure and a chance at a scholarship, where would you send him? Most parents just want the best for their children. Is there anything wrong with that?

It has always been my belief that you should seize an opportunity when it's available, because you may never get that chance again. Right now it's Miami Senior High's time. Next year it may be another school. So be it.

Shirley Hanks

Miami High: Do the Math
I understand Miami High student Marysabel Merino's frustration about her school's being bashed ("Letters," March 19). Coral Gables Senior High may be participating in things that are not 100 percent legitimate, but that is just hearsay. Unfortunately it's her school that got caught. Instead of pointing the finger and shouting, "Well, they do it too," remember, two wrongs don't make a right. Think of a way to start changing things at your own school.

Heather J. Wilson

Killian Nine: It's the Principle, Stupid
I am appalled that some adults wish to view the Killian Nine's First Amendment as a creative application of the students' writing and artistic abilities ("Reading, Writing, and ... Ohmygod!" March 5). Its content is pornographic and disparaging. It demonstrates racism, violence, and demented sexual ideas. It has explicitly dishonored our county's schools. It in no way stimulates positive thought or growth. But the controversy that has resulted from its publication reminds me of the double standard that exists in this county.

There appears to be a debate as to whether those responsible for the pamphlet should continue to attend Killian or not. If black students had issued a publication of the same nature, there would be no question about expelling them. They would not be able to attend any mainstream school in Dade County.

We should rally around people who stand firm in their support of Dade County schools and state policies and laws. The firmer we stand in support of our laws, the less likely we are to perpetuate dissension and discontent in this great county. The laws and policies help us to keep sight of respecting the rights of others. When laws don't do that, we must rally to change them in a civilized and organized manner.

We are upset when people take our precious liberties for granted and when people defend wrongful actions under the guise of civil rights. We should all be saddened when people who should make a positive difference choose to rise up to defend decadence.

Sandra Stringer Ahmad

Killian Nine: It's the Principal, Stupid
Seems like there is a problem at Killian, and it is not the students. I have spoken with Killian students past and present, and none can say anything good about principal Timothy Dawson. Maybe he is the source of the school's difficulties and does not want to fix them.

J.J. Alvear

Killian Nine: Rebels Without a Clue
It saddens me to hear and read about support for the Killian Nine's puerile, hateful, childish, and racist behavior. The young people responsible for the publication of First Amendment need to learn that there are intelligent and reasoned ways to express their views.

They should keep in mind that when you act like an irresponsible rebel, people don't want you around. I hope all of them learned an important lesson.

Michele Millwood
Miami Lakes

Killian Nine: Free Speech vs. Safe Speech
Ted B. Kissell's coverage of the Killian High pamphlet affair was objective and balanced, providing an introduction to the bare facts (no pun intended).

A lot of people don't realize that this is America at its best: two sides with equally valid philosophical points of view squaring off against each other. On one side you have Aeschylus scorning the teens: "Obedience is the mother of success and is wedded to safety." On the other, you have Patrick Henry representing the students: "Give me liberty or give me death!"

Kant would have had the teens cuffed for disobeying the law; Plato would have looked into their hearts and declared, "No malfeasance intended here." Hey, you say "po-ta-to" and I say "po-tah-to." Some say America and some say Los Estados Unidos. !Ole!

Manny Losada


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