Tell It to the Cops, Tell It to the Judge
I think Tangela Hollerman, [who claimed her daughter had been abducted at gunpoint], should be brought up on criminal charges ("With Kidnappers Like These, Who Needs Social Workers?" November 27). The last time I checked, lying to officers of the law wasn't legal!
My Adventures with Mohamed
Although New Times has published a substantial number of my letters, this one is much more personal because the story affected me directly. Kathy Glasgow's reporting on landlord/developer Mohamed Ibrahim sent chills down my spine ("Loads of Dirty Laundry," November 20).
My wife, two-year-old son, and I lived at Island Pointe apartments last year, and we got ripped off royally. We rented apartment 26 for one full year. Though we politely requested a lease to make the stay more official, we never got one, even after many complaints.
We usually paid our rent in personal checks or by cash; sometimes we never got receipts as proof of payment. One problem after another occurred. In the hot, humid summer months of 1996, our air conditioner broke down in our master bedroom. When we complained to Mr. Ibrahim, he promised us he would install a new unit. He never did. For the sake of our baby's health and comfort, we had no alternative but to rent an air conditioner from Rent-A-Center. This cost us approximately $60 a month. In addition, Mr. Ibrahim apparently neglected to pay the garbage-collection fees; there were heaps of filthy, foul-smelling garbage piled up for weeks in the Dumpsters.
Although the management kept the huge back-yard swimming pool clean, that was the only thing they took care of. A lot of times the grass was not mowed.
In November 1996, five minutes after my wife had given our son a bath, the ceiling over the bathtub caved in. If my wife and son had still been in the bathtub, they both might have suffered serious injury. If their heads had been cracked from falling debris, who would have paid for their hospital treatment? Knowing Mohamed Ibrahim's history, if we had sued him, how would we have received restitution?
The receivers who handled the foreclosure of the property after Mr. Ibrahim filed for bankruptcy knew the dilapidated building was a terrible, run-down mess. Joel Tabas, the trustee who took responsibility for the property from the receivers, decided to pull out of the situation, leaving us tenants with practically no one to manage and maintain our building.
When our year of residence at Island Pointe was due in February 1997, we decided to move two blocks away to another apartment building. We never got our last month's rent and security deposit back.
I was present at a recent emergency hearing in bankruptcy court in West Palm Beach, and I have filed a "Proof of Claim" form with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Miami.
The trustee's legal counsel is trying to strike my claim (filed as a priority claim instead of a general secured claim), contending that there isn't sufficient documentation to prove that I am entitled to compensation. We are demanding restitution for the sum of $1065 for having had to rent an air conditioner and for not getting our security deposit back from the landlord.
I resent Mohamed Ibrahim. I believe he is a bad man.
Robert Stewart Denchfield
Carey on Teele: No Disdain Whatsoever -- at Least Not Now
I want to commend New Times for providing an excellent service to the citizens of Miami-Dade County and wish it continued growth and success. I recently read with interest Jim DeFede's article "The Teele Deal" (November 20). It is unfortunate that the article did not provide a more balanced perspective -- giving local "black elected officials" a chance to speak to the points raised and provide the facts.
I did, in fact, support Pierre Rutledge's candidacy [for the Miami City Commission]. A young man of great character, Mr. Rutledge has outstanding leadership qualities, and given the chance would have effectively represented the district. As you are aware, our talented young African Americans are leaving this area in droves for better opportunities elsewhere. Thus we suffer locally from a brain drain. I believe Mr. Rutledge represents the group that is our hope for tomorrow. By supporting him, we sent a positive message.
I agree that this is a dangerous time for our community; however, I disagree that blacks in office are not able to get things done. This assault on hard-working women and men representing our community is unfair and misleading. It is also untrue. It does no good to sow seeds of discord -- that is a real danger to our community.
I strongly reiterate that all black elected officials need to pull together and address the problems that plague our community. I see that happening more now with many of the black elected officials, clergy, professional organizations, and others. It is vital that we develop comprehensive long-term strategies and work together as a community to achieve our goals. That is the only way we can make Miami-Dade a better place for all of us to live now and in the future. That is especially critical for the African-American community.
Allow me to say that I have no disdain for Mr. Teele. What has happened in the past is now history, and I have moved on to continue my work in this community. Since my return to office, I have not been hesitant about leading the charge to obtain the best for my constituents.
I encourage Mr. DeFede to talk to black elected officials and write about their accomplishments and dedicated work on behalf of their constituents.
Barbara M. Carey
Miami-Dade County Commissioner
On the Bigot's Must-Read List
Jacob Bernstein's article "Black in Blue" (November 13) is exactly what needs to be shown to those who oppose mechanisms to ensure equal treatment of minorities, blacks in particular.
Unfortunately in 1988 and again in 1992 I saw two different central Florida sheriff's departments refuse to appoint a well-qualified, military-trained pilot to their aviation sections. Instead they selected a "good ol' boy." The black pilot approached two other agencies, with similar results.
Sadly the lack of experience, training, and flying hours [of the men hired] resulted in the deaths of a Lake County deputy who was trying to fly a surplus military helicopter and of an Osceola County deputy trying to land a single-engine aircraft on a grass strip. An Orange County deputy's helicopter ran out of fuel over downtown Orlando.
Bigotry hurts everyone -- the families of the "good ol' boys" who died, the taxpayers who paid for the aircraft, and the departments who could have received some favorable press and competent performance from this black aviator, who was once charged with flying Gen. Barry McCaffrey. Of course, it hurts the black community and creates the mindset that blacks will never get a fair deal.
California's Proposition 209 [which bans race or gender employment preferences] and its ilk are doomed to perpetuate racism and give fuel to the engine that runs black separatism and black nationalism instead of loyalty and Americanism.
Jen's Analogy Fetish Explored
Pseudo-restaurant critic Jen Karetnick dines at Fish and admits that she not only eavesdrops on fellow diners' conversations but joins in them ("Go Fish," November 13). Has she never heard of Emily Post? Her gaucherie is almost palpable.
Her comment about "four different designer oysters" had me wondering if Valentino, Fendi, and Missoni had entered a new field. Once again she had me laughing.
Then on to "romaine ... mounded with drifts from a blizzard of Parmesan." Did she need a snowplow on her journey? That was followed by "sharper notes of anchovy and garlic cut through the cheese." Now she's brought in Bach, Strauss, and Bartok. Perhaps flatulence? And "nuggets of crouton-shaped salmon ... were a genius touch." Goethe, da Vinci, and Voltaire reincarnated?
Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams had better watch their backs.
Ronald C. Rickey
Jen's Earplugs Lauded
I was outraged by Jen Karetnick's review of the new restaurant Fish. Obviously her taste buds were right on the nose, but her hearing has gone fishin'. She did a great disservice to her readers by not mentioning the terrible acoustics. You can barely hear your dining companions, much less those at the next table.
Too bad. It is destined to be a champion, but it needs some serious fine-tuning.
Jen's Eyesight Questioned
Six years ago my wife and I relocated from Miami Beach to the Bayside neighborhood, where we live in an affluent, well-manicured residential area. After reading Jen Karetnick's "Use Your Noodle" (October 23) and her scathing commentary of the area where da Ermanno restaurant is located, I could not believe I was reading a restaurant review. She not only put down da Ermanno's restaurant but also the neighborhood.
For the last six years the homeowners of Bayside and adjoining areas have worked very hard to rid the area of the elements Ms. Karetnick so vividly described. I challenge her to show me the strip joints, the crack kids, the hookers, and the desolate poverty adjacent to da Ermanno.
I do believe Ms. Karetnick has persuaded a multitude of people who read her reviews not to frequent anything along this stretch of Biscayne Boulevard. We are very proud of the courage Ermanno Perrotti and his wife have shown in establishing this homestyle casual/elegant eatery in a city that flaunts its haute cuisine, as we are of the owners of other new establishments in the same area.
Irwin M. Shapiro
Harsh on Marsh
It's a shame you had to print Dave Marsh's screed about U2 ("Rattle and Bum," November 6). Marsh has been discredited elsewhere -- in Fred Goodman's The Mansion on the Hill, for example. He's quite selective about his facts.
U2 has sold more than five million tickets for this year's tour, and Pop has sold more than seven million copies worldwide. To call that a "flop" is nothing more than invective.
Marsh has been a long-time U2 basher who seems to run counter to much of the rest of the music press. He hated The Joshua Tree. On the other hand, he liked Rattle and Hum, the group's least critically accepted work, despite sales of more than ten million copies.
Indeed, the Pop CD he so happily bashes received very good reviews from Marsh's former employer, Rolling Stone. Is it U2 who have lost touch, or Dave Marsh?
You have a great publication (and a great Website), but with the number of talented critics out there, it seems you could do much better than dinosaur Dave Marsh.
And Who Is This Kelly Adams Putz?
Who does this putz Dave Marsh think he is? U2 is one of the greatest bands in the world, now and forever.
Rattled and Bummed
As a loyal U2 fan I feel the need to express my opinion. Pop is not my favorite U2 album, but I completely disagree with Dave Marsh that it is an artistic failure. If anything it is U2's most challenging album.
It is not an album that grows on the listener right away, but after listening to it many times, I can say it has some truly great moments. I believe the public in general hasn't given the album a chance. It isn't as radio friendly as The Joshua Tree or as trendy as Achtung Baby. Only "Discotheque" and "Staring at the Sun" stood a chance on pop radio.
As for the PopMart tour, I believe that it is all tongue-in-cheek. When U2 was in its "no frills" era, it was criticized for being self-righteous and serious. Now that the musicians are having a good time with their fame, they are criticized as being shallow. I don't care about all the million-dollar gadgetry on the tour, and I do have to agree that the marketing of the tour is overkill. They have made some mistakes; ticket prices are high, for instance. But ultimately I believe the important thing is the music.
I don't expect everyone to like U2, but I do believe the band is being unfairly criticized. With all the one-album wonders out there, U2 is one of the bands, if not the only band, from the Eighties that have been able to stick around. Why? Because they try to reinvent their sound. They could have churned out countless rehashes of The Joshua Tree and still made loads of money. But there has always been an undeniable integrity in U2's music, which is why I have been a fan since the first album Boy.
Making the charts are innocuous acts such as the Spice Girls, Hanson, and Aqua. These groups are not in the same league as U2. The PopMart tour may not be doing as well as expected, but to say it is a bomb is exaggerated.
These four men from Ireland have made some great music -- and yes, a lot of money. But their success did not come overnight, and I believe they have earned the right to explore their fame any way they want. The Rolling Stones are also on tour, milking their fame as much as they can. I don't hear the same kind of cynicism thrown their way.
U2's music may not be perfect, but it is as rich and diverse as any in rock history. And I believe they still have a lot more great music to create. U2 fans, don't listen to cynics. U2 rules!
North Miami Beach
Greenman: Brilliant, Articulate, Inaccurate
I thought that Ben Greenman's article about tribute albums was excellent ("No Steps Forward, Two Steps Back," October 2). Wonderful. Delightful. Brilliant. That's why I was disappointed that he got a fact wrong. Iris DeMent does not sing "Miss the Mississippi and You" on the Jimmie Rodgers tribute album; David Ball does. Otherwise, great job.
How About an Advanced Degree in Integrity?
Regarding Paula Park's article about Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Roger Cuevas and others ("How to Succeed in Education Without Really Studying," September 25), it is shocking to find a lack of standards that has allowed them to obtain "quickie" master's degrees.
When I think of the arduous studies I put in, as well as spending a minor fortune on my coursework at the University of Miami, I shudder and well up with anger. Completing my master's degree took me more than four years, as I could take only one class at a time -- after my regular job as a teacher. My four children were little, so it was a real struggle.
One Thanksgiving we did not even celebrate with a turkey dinner because I was typing a twenty-page paper for a graduate class. Before I took my comprehensive exams, I spent the entire summer studying on my own, as I could take only whatever courses were offered from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Most of the required textwork for the exam had not been covered in class. Therefore I had to learn on my own. (As I look back, I realize that becoming an autodidact was the best part of my studies.)
My self-imposed summer program was rigorous: on my patio studying from 9:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., lunch break, then back to work until 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. Then nights until 10:00 p.m.
The day I finally took the exam I was so proud of my hard-earned knowledge that I burst from the test room shouting, "Free at last! Lord, free at last! Thank God I'm free at last!"
I am proud of my struggle, but I feel great chagrin over the people who beat the system and earn three or four times as much money as I. The scuttlebutt I hear from friends who work for the school district downtown is that school board meetings have become a farce, with poorly educated people destroying the English language.
Sign me anonymous, as I fear repercussions.
Name Withheld by Request
God Hates Homos -- Just Ask Him
I would like to respond to Mr. Frank Troha's October 16 letter. Mr. Troha, let me first suggest that you go back and re-read my letter of August 28. You have not only a reading disability but a lively imagination and a knack for assuming what other people think or do.
I do not blame everything on God's will. I believe that God will hold us accountable for our actions or inactions in this life. We alone are responsible for our behavior and conduct -- or lack of it.
Again, I repeat: Two wrongs, five wrongs, or a hundred wrongs do not make a right. Irresponsible behavior will always be irresponsible behavior, and only you will be held accountable for your actions.
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Since you ask "which Bible," you really need to take one and find a quiet spot and do some reading on the subject. While you are at it, please pray to God that he helps you understand that you alone are responsible for your behavior, no one else.
Mr. Troha, stop blaming everyone else, stop pointing fingers all around you, and most of all stop playing victim and pleading for special protection and special rights. Christians have never wanted to impose their beliefs on anyone, but we will also not stand idly by and allow someone to impose their beliefs on us, especially by government decree.
I pray to God to give me faith and strength to deal with individuals like you. The only problem I have with the homosexual lifestyle (besides its being irresponsible and a sin against humanity) is when homosexuals insist on imposing that lifestyle on me and my family. That will never happen.