What the World Needs Now Is More Gonzalitos
Bravo New Times and Judy Cantor! Now I have something to read without worrying about its content being pro-Castro or anti-Castro. And bravo to Gonzalo Rubalcaba ("The Quiet Cuban," October 9) for his courage, for his lesson in democracy and cubanismo.
This is "our" world, not "their" world. We are the citizens, the ones who give the word mankind meaning. The time for bullets and insults is gone from the blue planet, and if we don't stop fighting each other and take care of it, we are going to lose it.
People like Gonzalo Rubalcaba are what we need, people who give -- no more takers. For me, as for him, there are not two Cubas, just one for all of us. Cuba is in our hearts, between ocean and gulf, swimming gracefully for those like Gonzalito who sincerely smile.
ABT: On the Case, Not the Lap
Kirk Semple's article "Barroom Brawl" (October 2) contained a serious inaccuracy I am writing to correct. Mr. Semple quoted me as asserting (his word) that in the past the Florida alcoholic beverage industry had the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco "in its lap." Not only did I not say that, it is also not the case, and it impugns the integrity of former AB&T directors.
The closest I got to anybody's lap was correctly stating that Florida law requires our Division of AB&T to vigorously enforce the law that governs all licensed premises in the state. Indeed, it serves nobody's interest -- not the industry's, not the citizens', and certainly not our own -- for the division to be viewed as a "lap dog" or anything other than aggressive in its enforcement effort.
This enforcement effort includes taking strong action against those who sell to underage persons and who are involved in or allow criminal activity to occur on their premises. As director Richard A. Boyd correctly stated, the vast majority of our 39,000 beverage licensees take their responsibility very seriously. Fortunately it is only a very small percentage who don't obey the law and find themselves in court.
I scratched my head in wonder when I read the comments of Skip Odeck and Steve Caputi, who wondered aloud why our agents did not politely come to them and ask them pretty-please to stop the illegal drug commerce occurring on their premises. I am certain that both gentlemen know full well that Florida law is very clear on drug dealing (don't do it) and that it allows no such advance warning, either from us or local police.
Edward J. Towey
public information administrator
Florida Department of Business
and Professional Regulation
Editor's note: Edward Towey did not utter to Kirk Semple the phrase "in its lap." Those words were recorded in notes taken by reporter Nick Madigan, who interviewed Mr. Towey on assignment from this newspaper.
Hear the One About the Moronic Fascists?
Jim DeFede's article about Javier Souto ("The Rational, Eloquent, and Persuasive Mr. Souto," October 2) merely confirms what I already knew: South Florida politics is run by rabid fascists who wipe their asses with the U.S. Constitution.
Who the hell votes for these morons anyway? Are these Hitler-Mussolini-Franco wannabes indicative of South Florida? What a sad joke on the rest of the United States.
Natacha Millan, Homeless Commissioner
In Jim DeFede's piece about Javier Souto, Commissioner Natacha Millan is quoted as saying that the sentiments of Midem supporters are "offensive for all of us who cannot go back home because we are not allowed to go back home."
If Natacha Millan doesn't consider Dade County to be her home, then how the hell does she dare to occupy a seat on the Dade County Commission?
Porky Pig Meets Cantinflas Meets Jorge Diaz
Under the guise of a letter to the editor, Jorge O. Diaz has used a not-too-clever strategy to attack Mr. DeFede's article about Javier Souto: Shoot the messenger if you don't like what you're hearing. It was painful to read, but not as painful as reading the verbatim transcript of Souto's diatribe. That was like a picture worth a thousand words. Perhaps that's why Mr. DeFede didn't feel the need to criticize the brilliant content in that Porky Pig-meets-Cantinflas speech.
Mr. Diaz, please don't pretend you speak for all Americans of Cuban descent. You don't!
Imitation Is the Sincerest Form os Incoherence
I think, I think, I really think that for you to, to, to try and make some kind of ... Well, it's not right, is it? Mr. Souto, simply because, well, he's a politician and simply because he has the inability, the, can I say? The incapability of stringing together a, you know, coherent thought. Then what are we, anyway? Just the fact, the mere fact that somebody, not me but somebody, put him there to stand up for something which I am not sure what it is, but it was something, is the point isn't it? He certainly has a right to say -- stuff -- and I don't like Lipton tea or Hitler's musicians either. I mean, is it so hard for you to understand?
(I do understand this letter may be edited for clarity. Can someone do the same thing with Mr. Souto's statement and fax it back to me? Just wondering.)
Employ the Ones You Love
Regarding Jim DeFede's article about Dade County Manager Armando Vidal ("Power Politics," September 25), take it from one who lives through what is really happening in Dade County government. I am a ten-year middle-management employee in one of the county's largest departments and I am appalled at what occurs that the public never hears about.
Friends, family, and (ex-)lovers are hired or promoted to top-level positions whether or not they qualify for the job, or in some cases whether or not they are even able to converse in English.
Many loyal employees will be demoted or lose their jobs because of budget cuts, but political appointees need not worry. Your mayor, commissioners, and county manager are hard at work protecting their interests.
I need to work and I don't know the right people, so just sign me ...
Name withheld by request
The Kelley Soliloquy
I always thought responsible theater critics did their homework before reviewing a show. I mean, there's a lot at stake: ticket sales, a theater's reputation, an actor's reputation, and many other variables including the critic's own credibility. I must say more than a few "curious musical theater fans" lost respect for New Times critic Savannah Whaley when they read her unresearched review of High Button Shoes ("If the Shoe Fits," September 25). Where does one start? Well, as Maria once said to the children Von Trapp, "Let's start at the very beginning."
I'm sure the Goodspeed Opera House was shocked to find out from Ms. Whaley's exhausting research that they never did a major revival of High Button Shoes starring Joy Franz, Gary Kirsch, and Joe Warfield (June 6 to October 11, 1982). But probably not as amazed as poor Lois Lee, the actress who played Fran in the original Broadway production of High Button Shoes. According to critic Whaley, Helen Gallagher played Fran. Shame on you, Savannah. Helen Gallagher played Nancy the maid, a role that was cut from the reviewed production.
Ms. Whaley reports that George Abbott went into rehearsal with an eighteen-page script. I'm afraid she is confusing High Button Shoes with the later Phil Silvers vehicle Top Banana. High Button Shoes was adapted for the stage by author Stephen Longstreet from the novel The Sisters Liked Them Handsome into a 90-page, two-act script. Mr. Longstreet thought his script was such a jewel that he forbade Abbott to alter his script, with the exception of adding the sneezing scene for Mr. Pontdue (Joey Fayes's gimmick was his fake sneeze).
Mr. Longstreet's stubbornness with his script resulted in most of the original reviews:
"High Button Shoes is like nothing so much as a straight play being rehearsed in a nightclub while the floor show's going on." (Robert Garland, Journal-American)
"The production has a lot of bounce. The trouble is that the ball is extremely elusive. It had definitely rewarding moments but they are interrupted by devious vaudeville manipulations." (Howard Barnes, Herald Tribune)
Interestingly, Phil Silvers received lukewarm-to-bad reviews and didn't even receive a Donaldson Award like his costars Nanette Fabray (Mama) and Jack McCauley (Papa). Yet Ms. Whaley lambastes famed critic and sometime actor Dan Kelley and blames him for fumbling a comic ball that was never passed to him ("Kelley bungles the con man's star-making scenes") and also blames the poor thing for others' unappreciated performances: "[They] could perhaps disguise their flimsy performances if Kelley's Floy were able to draw the spotlight away from them."
Dear Savannah, never blame an actor for a bad book. In his autobiography Bilko, Phil Silvers describes the book of High Button Shoes as "a piece of crap, nothing but a bad Sergeant Bilko in spats."
This critic-actor did his research before accepting the role of Harrison Floy, and, after reading the script and trying to find a joke and vomiting and rereading the script and trying real hard to find a joke, accepted the role hoping he could do something with it. I was there the night Ms. Whaley reviewed the show; she sat with a critic who praised my performance (some didn't, most did). That night the audience cheered the production -- they laughed, they clapped, strangers waited after the show to congratulate me and ask, "Could you please sign my program?" And yet Ms. Whaley accuses me of not "radiating a subatomic particle of magnetism." Say what she will, the audience tells me different every night at curtain call. They tell me, "Hey, Dan, way to go. You did something with it!"
Savannah Whaley replies: Recognized sources Broadway Musicals by Stanley Green and Martin Gottfried's volume of the same name cite the rewriting of Longstreet's book, as did Don McArt, Mr. Kelley's costar, in his precurtain speech the night I attended. Whereas the long-standing resource of record, Theatre World, does not note Goodspeed's 1982 revival, it does indicate that Helen Gallagher did indeed play the maid in 1947. In the Royal Palm production, however, her dances have been incorporated into the role of Fran.
Noise? What Noise? Oh, You Mean the Airplanes!
This responds to an anonymous letter to the editor by an alleged Boeing 747 pilot regarding noise-abatement practices at Miami International Airport (MIA), which ran in the September 18 New Times.
As part of the airport's "good neighbor" policy, the Dade County Aviation Department (DCAD) has published and circulated to all aircraft operators procedures entitled "Noise Abatement Departure Profiles." These procedures are a result of a survey conducted by DCAD that requested information from our user airlines about which noise-abatement departure profiles they use -- Federal Aviation Administration or International Civil Aviation Organization. As a result of this survey, and analysis by our staff and consultants, noise-abatement departure profiles were specifically designed for MIA by aircraft type.
The pilot notes in the letter that the ICAO "close-in" procedure should be used. Analysis has shown, however, that for his type of aircraft the best procedure for MIA and its neighboring communities is the FAA AC91-53A distant procedure. If he flies a B-747 aircraft in and out of MIA, I encourage him to contact his management to get a copy of this procedure and learn how he can be a part of the solution.
Since this person states he is very well-known around MIA, we would also encourage him to educate his colleagues about these "fly-neighborly" procedures, since neither DCAD nor the FAA can enforce the requested departure profiles, but instead must rely on the cooperation of professionals like him. In addition, it should be noted that DCAD will in the very near future have the capability to determine which airlines and pilots are utilizing noise-abatement procedures at MIA and which are not. This will be accomplished through the use of our own radar tracking and noise-monitoring system designed specifically for MIA.
As for closing the airport, DCAD does close runway 12/30 during evening hours to reduce the noise impact on neighboring communities. In addition, many other rules and programs are in place at MIA for the purpose of reducing noise impacts.
deputy aviation director
Dade County Aviation Department
God Made Me Do It
Will Ricardo Ferreira ("Letters," August 28) and his ilk never understand? When he suggests reading a Bible under a tree, again we must ask, which Bible? The fact that he capitalizes the word Bible suggests to me he means the one true bible (read: the one he reads).
I do agree with Mr. Ferreira on one point, however: We must all assume responsibility for our actions. The problem I have with people who think the way he does is that they tend to blame everything on "God's will." Talk about a crutch! Practicing what I call "selective memory," they label homosexuality an irresponsible behavior, forgetting to mention heterosexuals who abuse their spouses, who father children out of wedlock and then disappear (or worse, stick around and abuse the children), who work the welfare system for undeserved financial assistance, who marry but carry on adulterous affairs.
Mr. Ferreira, don't throw in God's lap problems you have with people whose lifestyle is different from yours while you ignore problems created by your own "Christian" community. Those of us who are different from you don't blame Him for your actions or existence.
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