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Letters

Prejudging Them on Their Prejudice
Jim DeFede's article "Coming of Rage," (February 27) was an extremely well-written and insightful piece of journalism regarding the racial situation in Miami. Ira Everett's statement that Cuban immigrants do not appreciate the civil rights movement is true, but let's be frank. Cubans don't care about the civil rights movement. Miami is a mecca of money and power for the Cuban exile community. The plight of blacks, or Anglos for that matter, is not a major concern; the racism that some Cubans demonstrate is not new to them. Apparently Cuba is a country that has always been clearly defined by race and class. Just read Judy Cantor's article regarding Israel Kantor ("Exile Blues," February 27) -- if some Cubans won't listen to a white Cuban singing black Cuban music, what chance do we have on issues of race?

I grew up in New York, where Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Cubans, and other minorities all lived together in the multiethnic enclaves of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Though there were clear differences in cultures, and we certainly didn't always see eye to eye all the time, there was a sense of collaboration on political and civil rights issues that affected all of us. I was astonished after moving to Miami to see the endemic racism in the Latin culture, even against their own. I've heard derogatory comments from Latins about other Latins regarding skin color and hair texture that can be translated into race and class differences within their own communities.

So how can we realistically expect Cubans or other Latins to have any empathy for the plight of American blacks, whom they hate for the most part? It is a sad state of affairs in Miami and it is much more deeply seated than we want to admit. Unless the Cuban political ruling class makes a concerted effort to do more than engage in political rhetoric, it is only going to get worse.

C. Byrd
Kendall

Radio-free Cuba
Letter writer Daniel Cruz is right ("Letters," February 20): The music being made in Cuba at this very minute is excellent, and salsa musicians from all parts of the world pay attention to what the musicians there are doing. I just wanted to remind Mr. Cruz and all other lovers of fine Cuban music in the Miami area that listening to what is being recorded in Cuba is possible. Radio Progreso from Havana may be heard in Miami, and, as I understand, as far north as Hollywood. On some lucky days even Radio Rebelde, also from Havana, can be heard. Its Cuban-music programming is out of this world. Both stations tend to sound better before 7:00 p.m. Look for them at 640 AM and 830 AM.

Juan Hechavarria
Coral Gables

Gabe Tees Off
Kirk Semple's article "How Green Is Too Green?" (February 13) was an eye-opener about golf courses. I always viewed them as beautiful and luxuriously green. But as a dedicated environmentalist, I was aghast to read what is done to the environment in order to maintain them. Enough already!

We should put a stop to building any more of them. They are a great threat to the ecosystem, especially here in South Florida where our precious groundwater is affected.

Gabriel Powell
Miami Beach

Positively Nothing Negative
The letter from Richard H. Rosichan in the February 13 issue was embittered and sad, for both Mr. Rosichan and the residents of Buena Vista East.

We would like to advise him that we are trying to build a neighborhood, not continue to tear it down or let it rot. A sense of community is building in Buena Vista. It is fragile, but it is there. We certainly don't need any more negativity to batter and beat it to death. The history of Buena Vista is ours to use as a guideline, a tool, for rebuilding. If, however, we do not implement today the lessons learned from history, we are doomed to repeat it.

May I ask Mr. Rosichan if his vacated home in Buena Vista remained empty, or occupied by a single family during the four years before it was sold? May I ask why he didn't go outside and tell the men burglarizing his neighbor's house to stop? Or why he didn't at least take a picture so prosecution of the criminals would be certain, even if the police didn't show up in time?

Help us. We know our history. We're trying to build our future. Continued negativity, though it increases circulation and revenues for publications, does not help. Negativity is like trying to build on a pile of sand -- it shifts and flows away.

Buena Vista East sits on solid rock. We are here for the long run.
Sue Cheaney
Miami  

South Pointe: Still Doubting Thomas
Thank you for your article "Arrested Development" (January 16) on the efforts of attorney David Dermer and Mark Needle to stop further waterfront high-rise development on Miami Beach. They, and those who work with them, are to be commended for their courage and commitment in continuing to do battle, David-like, against the Goliaths of Thomas Kramer, his infamous Portofino Group, and the city officials who profit from it all.

I was surprised, however, that Kirk Semple did not pick up, in that article, on the earlier one he'd done, "New Year's Revolution" (January 2), in which he interviewed architectural writer Beth Dunlop. She identified Portofino Tower as one of the new buildings she'd like to demolish as "a horrible blight on the landscape and a detriment to our appreciation of the built and the unbuilt environments."

I am a resident of South Pointe whose view is assaulted daily by this monstrosity, which casts an ominous shadow over our beloved South Pointe Park.

Perhaps all we can do at this point is to pray that a cyclone will whisk the ugly obstruction away, scatter it to the winds, send the mercenary investors off, and restore our SoBe environment to its natural beauty, among the greatest on Earth.

Dr. Linnea Pearson
Miami Beach

Never Can Say Goodbye
Pamela Gordon will be sorely missed. Her theater reviews were enlightening and enjoyable essays, showing depth of analysis and breadth of knowledge.

Her informative and insightful piece on Edward Albee has made her leaving even more difficult to contemplate.

Betty Cohen
Miami Beach

Jeez, Michael, It Was Just a Review, Not an Indictment
I speak not only for myself but on behalf of our group, which consists of nineteen diners who have frequently been eating at Coco's for over fifteen years. We think Jen Karetnick's review ("Bal Harbour Blues," February 13) consisted of tasteless, nasty, and absurd untruths. The rude review was slanderous. We hereby insist that the paper allow us to write a letter in response to an obviously personal and maniacal opinion. Does Karetnick have any sort of ownership in any of the other Bal Harbour restaurants?

At your earliest convenience, please contact the sender to advise us that our letter will be printed in response to your biased and confused opinion. Should you deny our request, we shall be compelled to form a group of protesters and objectors as to your position and be compelled to check with local counsel whether you must give us the right to publish our response and, if so, to pursue all legal remedies. Perhaps we'll be able to contact your advertisers. Also, we'll have to depose Karetnick as to what actually compelled her to write such a nasty and untrue review. Hopefully, we won't find that it was due to either too much alcohol or prescription medication taken prior to dinner.

Michael Lasner and friends
North Miami Beach

Jen Must Be on the Take
For my friend's last night in Miami, we decided to seek true local color, a real Cuban restaurant. We read your restaurant capsule reviews and chose Islas Canarias.

We have decided Jen Karetnick must be related to the owners or owe them money. From the lighting bright enough to do brain surgery, the flatware served in little plastic bags, the bread that the pigeons on our roof would refuse, the absence of any sort of salad, the red snapper brittle with fried lard, and the gritty flan, Ms. Karetnick has succeeded in finding for us the worst meal either of us has ever eaten. Aside from the waitress not speaking a word of English, there was nothing distinctively Cuban about the place or cuisine. Karetnick has indeed provided us with a memorable last evening. I will certainly remember to take my dining cues only from the Miami Herald.

Audrey Hemenway
Miami Beach

Best Fishy Selection
I decided to spend my birthday at the South Pointe Seafood House on the basis of the New Times's "Best of Miami 1996" selection of this restaurant as the "Best Seafood Restaurant" in Miami. Both my daughter and I, however, were extremely disappointed.

Our server was inattentive, perfunctory, and unhelpful. When ordering a $39 entree, the most expensive on the menu and one of the most expensive in Miami -- one expects superlative service as well as top-quality food. Yet instead of a complimentary salad and fresh bread, we were each brought one small and commercial-tasting roll. And the red microbrew was bitter and uninteresting.

While the filet mignon here was fine, the Florida lobster tail was tough and tasted of preservatives used to keep less-than-fresh shellfish from rotting. What, other than the view of rocks and a canal, could justify this as one of the most expensive meals in all of Miami?  

My daughter chose the children's fish sticks, which I assumed would be exceptional at this restaurant. Instead, my daughter and I found the worst fish (oily and odd-tasting) and French fries we had ever tasted. The waiter did, upon request, remove this from our bill. My daughter was left hungry.

As I was not in the mood to complain on my birthday, and since I was by this time starving, I ate as much as I could stomach and avoided the rest, then took my daughter home for a home-cooked meal.

I had called ahead and spoke to a hostess about birthdays and was told that cakes, candles, and singing were offered. But when my daughter informed our server that it was my birthday he said only, "Oh, really?" and walked away. By this time my daughter and I just wanted to leave and put this restaurant behind us.

For this price, and usually for far less, I have had great meals around Miami; I wish I had chosen one of the dozens of truly fine local restaurants instead of this one. I thus recommend that my friends avoid this restaurant, which is more like the "Worst in Miami." How your editors selected this restaurant as the best is a real puzzler. A similar letter has been sent to the owner of the South Pointe Seafood House.

John P. Ferrell
Coral Gables

Erratum
In the February 27 issue, in the article "Glorious and Notorious," an editing mistake led to an error. Raul Martinez, assistant chief of the Miami Police Department, was also identified later in the same piece as assistant chief of Metro Police, which he is not. New Times regrets the error. Also in that issue, we neglected to credit artist Herb Stratford for his illustration accompanying the "Cafe" column.


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