This Week's Wisdom: Life Is like a Box of Compromises
I read with great interest Jim DeFede's column in reference to County Commissioner Katy Sorenson and HABDI, developers of the Homestead Air Reserve Base ("HABDI to Sorenson: Get Lost!" May 29). Having been in the banking business for 40 years in South Dade, I fully understand South Dade's economy. Our once stable economy has been slowly dying since Hurricane Andrew. There are many mom-and-pop business owners who have used their retirement savings trying to exist with the hope that Homestead Air Reserve Base will be redeveloped before all their assets are depleted. There are also a lot of larger companies that are gradually diminishing their capital awaiting redevelopment of the base.
It's pretty obvious that Commissioner Sorenson has an ax to grind against HABDI. She's not alone. I and many other citizens of Dade County think the process stank. Commissioner Sorenson and environmental groups know that if they can stall the base property transfer long enough, the county will not receive the many millions of federal dollars that have been earmarked for redevelopment infrastructure at the base. If we don't receive the federal funds, the taxpayers of Dade County will then have to pick up the bill.
For years the air base, agriculture, and tourism were the economic mainstays of south Dade County; the air base was the only one of the three that was stable, providing steady, year-round income. Tourism experienced ups and downs that were determined by the national economy. And agriculture has always had fluctuations that are influenced by many factors, such as weather conditions, competition from other farming areas, and the Caribbean Basin Initiative. Since Hurricane Andrew, South Dade agriculture, also struggling under the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement, has had nothing but hard times. Tourism is down too.
South Dade needs a stable economy. A redeveloped air base is all we have to look forward to. Ecotourism (which Commissioner Sorenson suggests privately) and the creation of antique shops in old downtown Homestead can never in the next 50 years replace the economic value of the air base.
South Dade is unique in that it is sandwiched between two national parks. All the good citizens of South Dade are concerned about the parks and our environment. We have worked very hard to find compromises with many, many national and local environmental groups. The ultraconservative groups that recently filed a lawsuit to stop the South Florida Water Management District from issuing permits for the first phase of development are considered radical environmentalists by many other organizations. They simply don't want to see Homestead Air Reserve Base redeveloped into any type of airport.
There are many environmentalists, including the superintendent of Biscayne National Park, who agreed with the issuance of a permit. Unfortunately for us, the request by the Friends of the Everglades, the Sierra Club, and the Izaak Walton League of America for an administrative hearing prevented that from happening.
Life is a compromise. We have to compromise on environmental issues, on growth, and on economic development. Commissioner Sorenson, as our elected representative, should put her animosities toward HABDI and the whole stinking process behind her. She needs to concentrate on helping endangered species -- the business owners and good citizens of South Dade -- recover from Hurricane Andrew and the loss of Homestead Air Reserve Base.
William H. Losner, chairman and president
First National Bank of Homestead
Paper Publishes Accurate Story! Reporter Ruined!
In the two and a half years that articles have appeared regarding the Portofino Agreement ("The Hale-Bopp Amendment," May 29), Ted B. Kissell's is one of the most cogent and accurate I have ever read.
This will no doubt spell his doom.
John Dellagloria, city attorney
Demons Made Me Do It (in Iambic Pentameter)
In reference to Judy Cantor's article "Adventures in Metaphorland" (May 22), I have to disagree with Campbell McGrath's statement (if I understand him correctly) that poetry is written out of "good motives." As the author of fourteen poetry books and as someone whose work is housed in major literary collections all over the world, I have never written one word because of a "good motive."
I believe that true poets have demons to confront. We write because we have no choice. There is a vast difference between a poet and someone who writes poetry. Anyone can slap paint on a canvas, but that does not make him an artist. (I want to make it clear that I am not referring to Mr. McGrath here. I am targeting his philosophy, not his work.)
I do hope that Mr. McGrath's poetry is around for generations to come. It is important work because it captures our times. I do, however, expect lots of footnotes for future readers. I'm sure he is aware of that.
So You Think It's Easy Screwing Up Other People's Music?
I was in shock after reading John Floyd's article about the Khadir recording sessions and the resulting CD ("Everyday People," May 22). Lino de la Guardia characterized the CD to me as "awesome" as I got off a plane in New Orleans after being asked to engineer all their live dates there -- played to mostly empty rooms. Maybe he said "awful." Possibly my hearing is not what it was in the old days when I recorded Afro-Cuban music with the likes of Arturo Sandoval and Nestor Torres. It can be very grueling to make those artists sound like Mantovani.
Of course, another surprise was finding Lino's name on the CD as co-producer. Poor Lino. It's hard to imagine what nightmares he'll have when he fully realizes what he's perpetrated on himself artistically as co-producer. In any case, my escapades with Khadir exaggerate the need for more serious artistic works such as This Is Spi¬nal Tap that give the casual observer insight into the lunacy of this and countless other "music business" scenarios.
Best Alternative to Buying an Ad
Your man in Miami didn't bother to check out the other antique and collectible shops right here on West Dixie Highway in North Miami ("Best of Miami," May 15). There are so many shops better than the one you picked as Best Junk Store that we dealers were appalled. You must not know much about this field. There are many more shops filled with treasures and art on NE 123rd Street and all over West Dixie Highway. Your winner certainly wasn't chosen for excellence of merchandise, nor for its beauty or antiquity . You certainly didn't decide from a standpoint of aesthetics. Were you paid to make that choice? If this is a typical example, then I have doubts about every one of your choices. People are laughing at you.
With all due modesty, my shop has a more interesting array of goods to offer than the shop you selected.
Francis E. Cianflone
Opulent Era Gallery III, Ltd.
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Best Non Sequitur
What should have been included in the "Best of Miami" was Best Fakes in Dining Out. How many of your readers know that when they order veal, they all too often are actually served chicken breasts sliced thin, soaked in milk, and pounded to make them look like veal? The same is done to pork and no one is the wiser. This happens at some of your better restaurants.
Next year please have a Best Fakes category and see how many people can spot the faux in food.
Ronald C. Rickey
Owing to a reporting error, an article by Ted B. Kissell about the June 3 referendum in Miami Beach ("The Hale-Bopp Amendment," May 29) incorrectly stated that a precedent-setting Brevard County zoning case was decided by the Third District Court of Appeal. In fact, the case was decided by the Florida Supreme Court. Also in the May 29 issue, a "Calendar" photograph incorrectly identified theater artist Teo Castellanos. New Times regrets the errors.