Still Screaming Over Mimy
Regarding Paula Park's article "What a Lovely Neighborhood" (January 16), people need to realize that there is a societal impact when property owners take a single-family home and re-establish it as a complex to house twenty people. The amount of trash accumulated far surpasses anything imagined by the City of Miami's garbage fees.
For those tenants who dwell within the confines of a closet with a bed, their only personal space is the neighborhood streets. Tensions and hostilities tend to swelter within these compounds and can erupt into acts of violence. Certain property owners have been documented as having illegal units and compartmentalized homes. They are taking advantage of the neighborhood, and it is a shame the city allows this to continue.
And it is disturbing that someone like code enforcement inspector Jean Mimy claims that his job is only to "initiate the case," when that is not truly the situation. It is also Mimy's job to issue an affidavit of compliance or noncompliance, in keeping with instructions from the city's code enforcement board. If the affidavits are not issued, there is never any documentation to proceed with a lien or foreclosure. The property can continue in its distressed state as if a violation had never occurred.
Inspector Mimy has mastered the art of neglecting the follow-up paperwork, and so, conveniently, the violations continue.
Kenneth Merker, president
Buena Vista East Neighborhood Association
Little People, Big Buildings
Kirk Semple's "Arrested Development" (January 16) describes a revolution on Miami Beach that would almost certainly be supported by the voting public. In reality, however, the legal reform called for by the citizens' petition is far more modest than an effort "to slow -- if not stop -- any further development along the city's waterfront."
The actual petition circulated by Save Miami Beach PAC would not prevent high-rises on the waterfront. In fact it would not have the slightest effect on existing development rights; the high-rises currently permitted throughout the city will continue to rise along our shores. The proposed charter amendment simply gives the public a say when developers ask the city for more rights than they own, and so it does not raise any legal "taking" issues. (Unfortunately our waterfront has already been taken by developers, who would do well to seek out attorneys who have read and who understand the petition.)
More is at risk than Thomas Kramer's so-called Alaska Parcel. Beach voters are aware of upzoning proposals for waterfront land in North Beach and mid-Beach, as well as South Beach. While the city has indeed downzoned certain interior areas (and established height limits in historic districts), the petition signers have sent a clear message to the city that our serious concerns about overdevelopment are not being respected.
Ilona Wiss, president
South Pointe Citizens Coalition
Let Them Eat Art
I was somewhat pleased to read Judy Cantor's article about the "exodus" of galleries from Coral Gables ("Gallery Walkout," January 16). After attending the Gramercy International Contemporary Art Fair at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach (which gave Miami a multitude of examples of what contemporary art really is) and hearing about the problems gallery owners in the Gables have concerning the exhibition of sometimes "PG-13" art, it is obvious that this community seeks visual art that is homogeneous with this affluent, conservative, yet illiterate suburb.
In Coral Gables galleries, maybe it would be a good idea to make laser copies from art history texts. That type of art would not offer the community any truths concerning present-day issues. But perhaps that is the community's intention -- to remain in a vacuum.
We should give more time and space to those artists who have something to say about our world and our community before they die (something that unfortunately happens in this field). By opening our minds just a bit, we might be able to see art that gives us some insight into ourselves and our society.
Rosario's New Gig: The Home Shopping Network
If I were Kirk Semple, I wouldn't ask for the opinion of Rosario Kennedy -- unless it was for Comedy Central ("New Year's Revolution," January 2). One of the sure ways to improve the City of Miami would be to ignore the rhetoric of former city commissioners, so-called lobbyists, and/or social climbers such as Ms. Kennedy. (The professional title lobbyist is laughable. If this woman couldn't recognize a "character" like Joe Gersten, how can she intelligently represent the interests of anyone?)
My advice to the former city commissioner is to stay away from Tallahassee and Washington and instead to embrace the world of daytime or late-night television, where she'll find an audience more forgiving and understanding of Joe Gersten-type scandals. Maybe she could become the Ivana Trump of Miami, with a spot on the Home Shopping Network marketing replicas of those items she lost to Joey in litigation.
Obviously her accomplishment of demolishing 400 abandoned buildings fell one short: the one Gersten played in. Did it become a landmark? Ms. Kennedy should try to rehabilitate past and present city commissioners who have sinned against their constituents. How about organizing a trade school for prostitutes who were paid by Joey?
Miami needs help in 1997!
The Restraining Order Is in the Mail, Harv
The devious Jen Karetnick's sleazy, cheap attempt to take a shot at me ("Another Year Devoured," January 2) was the shoddy, low journalism of half-truths used by scumbag politicians and their spin doctors.
I call her rancid piece of pulp fiction a half-truth because it only included her dozen most favorable food reviews of 1996. Conveniently left out for New Times readers' scrutiny were the reviews in which "Kavetchnik" trashed some of the great eating establishments in South Florida, and the so-so reviews of either horrible or very good restaurants. Kavetchnik made it appear I took issue with her love-in reviews republished in brief. That was a phony piece of journalism one would expect from her. Simply a lie in print!
What Kavetchnik proved by her own words is that this small-minded, pedantic midget has the credibility of Oliver North on a bad day of testimony. Or worse, that of most of the Miami Beach City Commission.
A bit of advice to the devious one: No one gives a rat's ass about your mother or other family members and what they think or say -- so please leave the tedious trash about them out of your restaurant reviews.
Bury the hatchet? Yeah -- between your shoulder blades!
South Florida's Most Discerning Reader Speaks Up
Your January 2 issue deserves a prize! After laughing over Elise Ackerman's story about Alfredo de Castro's lawsuits ("Juris Without Prudence), which "torchered" my funny bone, I had the pleasure of reading about Joe's Stone Crab finally getting its long-overdue comeuppance from the EEOC in a sex discrimination case ("Stone Crabs and the Women Who Love to Serve Them"). Perhaps now the Internal Revenue Service will look into the $50 and $100 "tips" routinely given to Joe's maitre d's as payment for jumping the line. And perhaps New Times will do an investigative piece about racial discrimination when it comes to hiring servers as opposed to busboys in other South Beach restaurants.
As for Jim DeFede's column about Miami City Commissioner J.L. Plummer ("Miami's Undertaker"), Phil Hamersmith is quite correct when he points out that the Miami Herald has never seriously questioned Cesar Odio's managerial capabilities. He could have added that when the Herald ran a piece on the celebration -- yes, that's right -- of Odio's tenth anniversary as city manager, the headline was "Hail, Cesar!"
"News of the Weird" was even better than its usual amusing self. Kirk Semple's cover story "New Year's Revolution" had people I've usually considered "bad guys" making good suggestions. Matt Groening earned my gratitude with his Life in Hell list of "Forbidden Words 1997." And several writers provided me with the names of good, underrated films I had overlooked.
Richard H. Rosichan
Hey! Toke and Smoke Rhyme!
Here is my original poem in response to Ted B. Kissell's cover story about indoor growers of marijuana ("Bud Men," December 19):
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Mary Jane got successfully cloned
Because the curious wanted to get stoned.
The cost was reasonable, a nickel or dime
The effect was mellow, cozy and sublime.
Feeling fascination and tactile sensations,
Trying to avoid prevarications.
What a cheap way to escape from reality,
Than to smoke some pot of good quality.
Kissing and hugging becomes more passion-
Helps to imagine lust and be more intimate.
Sure, once stoned there's a food rush,
What a great way to whet your appetite.
One repercussion is you could get paranoid
Like the cigar-smoking Dr. Sigmund Freud.
Wary of getting busted by narcs,
Discretion must be used when dealing with
So until pot is legal in your hometown,
Don't worry, be happy, and pipe down.
Kick back, relax and enjoy your trip,
For there are always alcoholic beverages to
Robert S. Denchfield
Singing Cantor's Praises
Just a note to tell you how impressed I was with Judy Cantor's article about Yehudis Levitin ("An Unorthodox Style," November 21). Ms. Cantor's gift as a writer was unveiled in her tasteful presentation of Yehudis's story. Her in-depth research on the life of an Orthodox Jew was apparent in her understanding of the trauma one feels when put in a position where you must go against the traditions of your parents and change your life.
New Times is to be commended..
Owing to a reporting error, the January 9 cover story, "A Key Battle," by Sean Rowe, contained an inaccurate statement made by Conch Coalition vice president Michele Wells-Usher, who asserted that the president of the environmental organization Last Stand was "put in jail for holding the Truman Annex building hostage in Key West and threatening to blow it up." Former Key West city commissioner Harry Powell, though a member of Last Stand, was not its president, nor did the organization endorse his seizure of a trailer in an attempt to block development of a condominium complex proposed by the navy. New Times regrets the error.