The Captain Captured
As a visitor to Bimini for the past 35 years and an acquaintance of the Brown family for that same time period, I thought Sean Rowe's story on Capt. Harcourt Neville Brown ("The Bell Tolls for Him," July 31) was one of the finest pieces of prose I have ever read in New Times. It captured the true flavor of Bimini and a man who meant so much to the island's economic welfare.

Andy Newman

Third Solution: Throw the Bums Out
After reading Judy Cantor's "Everybody's a Critic, Nobody's an Accountant" (July 31), I have one question for the elected officials of Miami Beach: Do you think we put you in office to ignore current laws and ordinances or to uphold those already on the books? The elected officials were all flabbergasted when the citizens recently voted to keep current zoning laws and to change them only with popular approval. Now the officials feel it is okay to overlook another ordinance that should have earmarked at least $115,000 for public art.

Officials are put in place to serve the will of the people, not to pick and choose which ordinances to follow and which to change on a whim. There are only two solutions in sight: (1) have the elected officials agree to pay attention to the current ordinances, or (2) turn Miami Beach into a true democracy in which every decision is put to a popular vote. Messy, but when elected officials don't uphold city policies, there is no other choice.

Marc D. Spital
Miami Beach

Gary, You Have Been a Very Bad Boy and Now You Must Be Punished
Scary headlines are nothing new, and we certainly have our fair share of them here in South Florida. Nothing in recent memory, though, frightened me as much as a headline on the cover of the New Times's July 31 edition. "Natacha Millan: Aviation Dominatrix" created a mental picture too vivid for words. The vision of Ms. Millan astride a 747 wearing fishnets and stilettos gave me nightmares.

Thanks to Jim DeFede for yet another compelling vignette of the people who make Miami one of the most bizarre places in America.

Gary A. Bremen

Mr. Ambassador: Sir Elliot and the Atlas
I found Robert Andrew Powell's "Diplomatic Impunity" (July 24) moderately entertaining, but I marvel that New Times would devote so much ink and paper to such an insignificant topic. While it makes no substantive difference whether one can claim true "noble" descent or one merely pretends to be "titled," it is important to be aware of one's geography.

In his article, Mr. Powell locates Biarritz on France's "southeast coast." That would place the city on the Mediterranean and not the Atlantic, where it actually lies -- on the southwest coast of France, that is, not the southeast.

Elliot Gertel
Boca Raton

Mr. Ambassador: Mother Teresa Is Not Amused
Noting Robert Andrew Powell's recent article concerning the self-styled consul, or rather "ambassador," of Liberia, the gentleman in question, Antonio "Tony" Adolfo Boada, displays his knowledge by referring to the "Mother Teresa" thaler (with a t). As the saying goes, the devil is in the details.

The face on the coin is probably that of Empress Maria Theresa, the mother of the ill-fated Marie Antoinette. You may be aware that the thaler is the unit of currency from which the word dollar is derived; it was commonly traded in the Eighteenth Century in the American colonies, along with Spanish pieces of eight, which came to be called "Spanish dollars" by colonists. There is hardly a connection here to the Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Somewhat more telling was his reference to "the centennial of the Orthodox Church of Russia." That solemn occasion occurred in 1087 A.D. (Julian calendar). If he is referring to the millennium of the Russian Orthodox Church, this would have occurred in 1987 (Gregorian calendar). In my humble knowledge, I know of no chivalric orders that would have been issued consonant with this event by the Russian Orthodox Church. I am aware, however, that several organizations issued commemorative souvenirs of lower or higher costs, one of which I saw on display in Miami at Bloomingdales, precisely, in 1987.

Upon reading the article further, Mr. Boada says that he received some sort of medal from the sister of the last king of Portugal. The last king of Portugal, Manuel II, abdicated in 1910. As far as I know, he quietly sailed into history one day to take up permanent exile in London, formally abdicating the Portuguese throne from a British hotel. His sister (of whom I have never heard mention) would indeed have been quite fortunate to be at least 90 years old when she supposedly granted the commendation to Mr. Boada.

Raul A. de la Campa

Mr. Ambassador: Liar, Fantasist, All-Around Nice Guy
I would be grateful if you would publish a correction to Robert Andrew Powell's article on Mr. Boada. There is a difference between the Order of Malta (called Knights of Malta in the article), whose full name is the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, of Malta, which is exclusively Roman Catholic, and the four Alliance Orders of Saint John, which include the British Most Venerable Order of Saint John. The latter, of which I am historiographer and Almoner of the U.S. Priory, is ecumenical. The German, Dutch, and Swedish orders are exclusively Protestant, but they are all associated by a common agreement.

I am not a Knight of Malta but a Knight of the British Order of Saint John. They have nothing to do with the various spurious orders that have taken the name "of Malta" or "of Saint John."

Mr. Boada is a liar and fantasist. Neither he nor Col. Bert Grove, who is also featured in the article, is a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Guy Stair Sainty
New York, New York

Mr. Ambassador: At Least the Name's Right
I just read parts of the article by Robert Andrew Powell called "Diplomatic Impunity," but I had to stop when I saw Mr. Powell's reference to me. I'm quoted accurately -- that's not the problem. It's his description of me as "head of the European Genealogy Section of the Library of Congress." I'm not the head of that section. I don't even work in that section. One reason could be the fact that there is no part of the Library of Congress with that name.

William Addams Reitwiesner
Washington, D.C.

Book Shoulda Been Booked
I thought Jim DeFede did a fine job in his article about Ron Book ("Dear Chief Justice: Throw the Book at Him," July 10). I sent in my letter to the state supreme court asking that Book be disbarred.

While I would fight to the death for everyone's right to express his or her opinion, I do respectfully disagree with Patti Gondola ("Letters," July 17) about how wonderful Ron Book is because he gives to charity.

Most politicians donate only a pittance to some charity. Lobbyists and wealthy businessmen are no exception. If these people gave till it hurt, this community would not need help from the federal government. In many cases, the contributions are a cover for someone who should change occupations, and they encourage people like Gondola to say, "Don't pick on this nice person," or "If he donates to this organization, he can't be all bad." Phooey!

The real question is how to get the Florida Bar Association to issue stricter penalties for those who corrupt the system.

John A. Brennan


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