A Smoldering Odio Should Never Be an Obedient Puppy
I just finished reading Robert Andrew Powell's article "Petty Cash" (August 22). Now, I know one cannot always believe everything one reads, but I also know that where there is smoke there is fire.

I suspect that the facts behind the story on Cesar Odio's discretionary spending are these: He was working at the behest of city commissioners and it was their pet projects he was greasing, not Odio's own. (The alternative would give new meaning to the words professional negligence.)

The only problem here is that, regardless of who asked Odio, the expenses are inappropriate and, as city manager (not city lap dog), it is his job to say so.

While $50,000 for charity banquets in one year may be insignificant in Odio's big picture, it was very revealing to those of us in south Coconut Grove who watch the city rape us for taxes, then cry there is no money to improve our services.

Charles Hyatt

When It Came to Body Counts, the Herald Evidently Needs a New Calculator
I want to commend New Times and reporter Sean Rowe for the article documenting the dramatic decline in Dade County's murder rate since 1981 ("Dead Wrong," July 18). The article was accurate. It was also iconoclastic in that, from my experience as a professor of criminal justice, 99 percent of the citizens in Dade County believe that the Dade murder rate continues to increase.

This ignorance on the part of the citizenry is due to the failure of the Miami Herald for the past few years to report on this dramatic decrease in the Dade murder rate. Apparently the Herald believes that only bad news (increases in crime) is news, and thus does not see the decline as newsworthy. Fortunately New Times does not share this journalistic policy.

Unfortunately, when the Herald finally decided to report the decline in the murder rate (a month later, on August 27), it published inaccurate figures. The Herald reported that the national murder rate was 4.7 (it is actually 9.0) and said that it had declined by "nearly half" from 1981 to 1994 (the true figure is a decline of 8.0 percent).

The Herald also reported that Florida's 1994 murder rate was "distressingly above the nation's" when, in truth, Florida's murder rate is actually below the national rate (8.3 versus 9.0).

The Herald should have read the July 18 New Times to see how to accurately report the Dade murder rate. Congratulations on beating your larger competitor in journalistic accuracy.

William Wilbanks
Department of Criminal Justice
Florida International University

Welcome Back, Glenn, and Remember: There's Always Room at Shutts & Bowen for Another Selfless Leader

I've been away for a while, but now I want to write and thank you for the terrific article by Robert Andrew Powell about my efforts to raise the salaries of Miami's mayor and city commissioners ("Raising Pain," June 20).

No one in or close to local government will do anything to promote the idea. I think that's because they are happy enough with the present compensatory structure. That's sad.

I continue to feel it is the best thing we can do now to attract better, more legitimate leaders to local government.

Damn! If I had run for mayor, maybe Shutts & Bowen would be paying me $100,000 to not show up for work.

Glenn Terry
Coconut Grove


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