Less Dead Than You Think
Too often Miami and Dade County's worst enemy is the unfounded negative perception. Predominantly fueled by a steady stream of sensational journalism, even long-time residents succumb to the media malaise and struggle to find the positives in our community. When national network news shows open their broadcasts with a single tourist murder in Miami, where does that leave reports about a huge drop in the murder rate?

That is why it was such a pleasure to read Sean Rowe's article "Dead Wrong" in the July 18 issue. Great strides have been made by this community to combat crime, and we are finally seeing significant, if not incredible, results. Although even one murder is unacceptable, a twenty-year low in Dade's murder rate is information that every resident and tourist here should remember and repeat to their friends and family. We've been psyched into believing that our community is undesirable. Now let's deal with the real facts and continue to work on the challenges we face with well-deserved pride in our hometown. Nobody believes that crime statistics should be sugarcoated, but there is no excuse for pouring salt in the wound, either.

Donna Masson, president
Chamber South
South Miami

Hats Off to Powell, Heads Off to Chiefs
Hats off to Robert Andrew Powell for his excellent article "Three Lies" (July 11) on Edward Figueroa, and also to New Times for printing an article that goes against the big boys. As we sat and read it, we were actually wondering how many people go through the same problems but we never hear about it.

Once again we the taxpayers will have to foot the bills for the mistakes of the chiefs. When will enough be enough? Maybe we should get rid of the chiefs and their boys and keep the good honest cops like Figueroa. Maybe then Miami would be a better place.

Kathleen Bryant
South Dade

Three Lies, One Fan
As one looks through the pages of intense research, one can clearly see that the issues are fogged and confused regarding Ed Figueroa's dismissal from the Miami Police Department. Thirteen years of loyal and excellent service were smeared due to personality conflicts and pandered for sensationalism. Having known Ed since he was five years old, I know how truly dedicated he was to his police career. Community activists are appalled that this situation went on for so long.

The public is tired of cruelty and harassment in the name of doing the job. Why shouldn't Ed's case be a landmark in the name of justice gone awry? We appreciate the fact that Robert Andrew Powell looked upon Ed and his family as deserving of a good quality of life and civil rights.

Myrna Pavilack
North Miami

Commissioners, the Doctor Will See You Know
Jim DeFede's article "As Nasty as They Can Possibly Be" (July 4) described quite a dog-and-pony show: one county commissioner sniping at another, lack of decorum, nastiness at a peak, bitching, moaning and groaning about any number of issues. It's amazing what a mayor's race and a bunch of commission seats up for grabs can bring out in this body.

DeFede stated that the nastiness reached a peak during the county commission meetings of June 18 and June 20. But I attended a meeting on June 21 and saw that the best was yet to come. This was a workshop with the Boundaries Commission to discuss incorporation, fiscal equity, and community councils.

Metro Commissioner Gwen Margolis and Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez, in a discussion, likened Metro's spending to "pissing" and "bladder" problems (their words). If that's the case, I suggest they see Darwich Bejany, an accomplished urologist and surgeon at Cedars Medical Center. I am sure he will suggest a procedure to stop the flow.

The Boundaries Commission was concerned that the more affluent areas leaving the county will pose serious threats to fiscal equity and might lead to a disruption in services in unincorporated Dade. Their report discussed the unequal and homogeneous cities being created as having potentially serious consequences for all of Dade. It mentioned that boundaries of new cities should include less affluent areas. The report to the commission stated "the fiscal future of the unincorporated area is at risk."

So what did this commission do? Did it impose a moratorium on continuing incorporations until there was an understanding of how the results would be dealt with and what those results would be? Did it follow the Boundaries Commission's suggestion to include adjacent areas of ethnic, minority, and lower-income residents in these city-wanna-be's?

No. After all, there is an election coming up and the mayoral hopefuls certainly don't want to alienate the voters in the city-wanna-be's.

All of this came to a head during the July 2 commission meeting. With Key Biscayne, Pinecrest, and Aventura (all upscale white/Hispanic, having created their own boundaries) out of the county, and Miami Lakes, Aventura Beach, and Palmetto Bay in the process, and with some residents of Country Club Lakes, East Kendall, West Kendall, and God knows where else panting to catch up -- the commission decided to be reactive instead of proactive, allowing the process to continue.

Community after community is pulling out of Dade. Each has been allowed to create its own boundaries, excluding minorities and those less affluent. Instead of stopping it until there is a plan, the commission allows it to continue while discussing all sorts of negative possibilities.

Alan W. Rigerman

Curry Favor with the Herald? Preposterous!
Jim DeFede's "As Nasty as They Can Possibly Be" was informative, but many obvious aspects regarding the vote to reduce the county gas tax and the vote in favor of a new arena were overlooked.

Can't you see the benefit of less gas-tax money? Fewer new roads will be constructed, which means fewer traffic tie-ups all over Dade County and millions fewer gallons of gasoline being burned up. Now you can see clearly, can't you? It is a blessing.

About the vote on the arena, could it be that some commissioners voted the way they did because election time is upon us? And perhaps -- just perhaps -- some elected officials felt they might be endorsed by the local daily paper if they voted properly? Nah, who would do that?

Ronald C. Rickey
Miami Beach

Feeling Good About Carl
Thanks to Todd Anthony's review of Striptease ("Skin Diving," July 4), I don't have to see the movie. His critique of Carl Hiaasen's monumental masterpiece was very perceptive.

Burt Reynolds, playing the kinky congressman, fits the profile for the part. Demi Moore also lends heartfelt credibility to the dollar-hungry life of a typical lounge dancer.

I feel good knowing that Carl Hiaasen's versatile talents as a writer have made him rich and famous.

Robert Stewart Denchfield
Miami Beach

Harvey's Gentle Reproach
Once again New Times's so-called restaurant critic, Jen Kvetchnick (kvetch for being a pain in the ass) got it all wrong. Her overblown, wordy review of one of the great eateries in South Florida, South Pointe Seafood House ("Ever on Sunday," June 20), proved once again that New Times should bring back the vapid beast, Rafael Navarro, to review fine restaurants, and have Karetnick review Burger King, McDonald's, and Wendy's. She's suited for them.

While Sunday brunch at South Pointe is great, so are its lunches, dinners, and a new pub menu.

Unlike Karetnick, a friend and I watched a Florida Panther playoff game in the new pub area, and the place was packed with eaters and watchers. When did she go -- on a Tuesday night when NFL highlights of the 1981 season were being replayed for the 100th time?

While Karetnick complained about the light turnout of patrons, the fact is that South Pointe Seafood House invariably beats its numbers of a year ago in a big way. Too bad she didn't speak with the owners about that, or their plans to expand the outside dining area and bar.

Karetnick is an effete snob and egomaniac who rarely takes the time to find out the real facts about things. Like Ronald Reagan, she's simply style over substance. Bring back the vapid beast and send Karetnick to fast-food heaven.

Harvey Slavin


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