If You Write It, They Will Carp
As a journalism major, I have long appreciated New Times as a means of expressing alternative points of view and reading stories not published elsewhere.
However, Sean Rowe's article "If You Sink It, They Will Come" (June 6) doesn't appear to have a point at all.

I found the story to be full of misinformation, quotes taken entirely out of context, and a negative slant on an ongoing project that has benefited the marine environment and people of Dade County at no expense to taxpayers. It has been entirely funded by state grants, private funding, and seaport mitigation funds.

I have been involved with many projects since 1982, and was with Ben Mostkoff when he first looked at the missile towers. We were at a meeting negotiating with the National Park Service on the issue of permit renewals (one of the permits in question was mine) and making some progress. Afterward, we went with Sam Porco to see the missile towers. We were both of the opinion that the expense of transporting them to the Miami River for deployment far exceeded their value as viable reef material and that the only way for DERM to deploy them was if Mr. Wayne Kennedy and Mr. Porco could figure out a way to get them to the county staging area. The $45,000 Mr. Rowe mentions in his story is state grant money, part of a larger sum available statewide to permit holders for artificial reef construction, and was never earmarked for this particular material. The notion that DERM will have $45,000 and nothing to sink is preposterous.

I have known and worked with Ben Mostkoff for almost fifteen years and have never met a more dedicated, honest, and admirable man. He has had to deal with political pressures and resistance within his own department, persevering to do what he has known to be right and what the people of his community want!

When Sean Rowe's story about Ron McManmon was published, my first thought was "Why do a story about a man who has repeatedly given the diving industry a black eye? Why not do a positive story giving credit to someone who deserves it, like Ben Mostkoff?"

Within the scientific community, the jury is still out on the issue of artificial reefs, but surely if Mr. Rowe wished to portray the overall picture to his readers, he could have at least found one expert with something positive to say on the subject.

Shame on Sean Rowe for this story, and particularly for his comment "Members of a Metro-Dade police demolitions squad will blow up the barges and sink the whole mess to a depth of approximately 160 feet."

If I ran New Times, he would never write for me again.
Robert J. Arnova
Miami Beach

Best Acceptance Speech by a Thespian
I am astonished and appreciative of the honor New Times bestowed on me, Best Actor in a Drama ("Best of Miami," May 16). Much of the kudos must go to the team that worked to bring life to Faith Healer. The credibility of the portrait derives ultimately from Brian Friel's writing and the cumulative effect of the accounts delivered by Frank's wife (Cynthia Caquelin) and manager (David Kwiat) and the unobtrusive sensitivity of Patrice Bailey's direction.

Thanks again.
Andrew Noble

Best Acceptance Speech by a Retailer
We want to take this opportunity to thank New Times for all the support you've given our store. The unbelievable struggle we went through to get the store open was enough to make ten movies, but we stuck it out for the greater good of the community, and now for the second year in a row New Times votes us Best Place to Rent Foreign Videos. Thank you so much.

We get other video store owners who walk in and say, "It's too dark, not enough signage, the racks are mismatched," but we thought what was more important was what was on those racks rather than how they looked.

Once again, thank you for choosing us this year. Sorry we didn't write last year, but we were still in shock over winning.

Isaac Santos and Leonardo Acebo
Lion Video
Coral Gables

Best Bow from a Baubler
As owner of Elegant Accents, I was delighted to review the "Best of Miami" issue and excited to be selected Best Costume Jewelry. I'd like to thank New Times for allowing me to be included in this flattering issue. Of course, I will continue to provide not only fun merchandise, but also the highest quality available in the industry. I really love the publication; keep up the good work!

Ann Drooner
Coconut Grove

Best Defense of a Mural
I am writing on behalf of the many people involved in the Camillus House Mural Project who learned (via a nasty parenthetical remark in the Best Charity category of the "Best of Miami" issue) that Brother Paul Johnson is publicly promising to "get rid of that horrible mural on the side of the building." The context of the statement suggests that the destruction of the mural is Johnson's first priority in soliciting six million dollars in corporate funding for rehab of the current structure and future expansion of the physical plant.

It is appalling to think that destroying a singular work of art in an utterly blighted urban area is Johnson's concept of worthwhile rehabilitation. Following extensive design reviews and revision overseen by former Camillus director Brother Harry Somerville, the mural was painted by local artist Cesar Agosto in 1992. Materials were donated by one of the same sources of local corporate funding Brother Johnson now so casually offends (Miami Beach's Central Hardware store). The finished work was dedicated at a ceremony attended by officers of HBO's Comic Relief, another source of millions of much-needed corporate dollars supporting Camillus House. As the adjacent placard states, the mixed-media installation commemorates the contributions of the late Shelly Dreer, former director of fundraising for Camillus House and Health Concern.

While the world suffers no shortage of art critics, the challenge in placing a work of art in a public venue is that it won't please every viewer. Anyone who has ever attended an event at the soon-to-be-defunct Miami Arena can appreciate the lack of positive aesthetic images in that neighborhood. The basic objective in painting this landscape with angels was to create an image of light and hope in an area most Miamians consider pretty hopeless. We believed that the installation might remind all of those drivers who speed by with their windows shut and doors locked tight that something special happens behind that brightly painted wall.

If the mural is to be destroyed because Johnson has a new agenda, that is his choice. Raising millions of new corporate dollars to care for the homeless is no easy task. I just wish Brother Paul had a little more regard for those of us who have been here all along.

Alice Dreer
Miami Beach

Best Pip Pip Cheerio!
I am so glad that I was vacationing here whilst the superlative issue of the "Best of Miami" was at hand. It is soft, absorbent, and spreads itself amply. I noticed several bikini-clad damsels on the cover. With a loud hurrah, I said, "Goodie, now I will find the Best Bathing Suit Store. You see, I needed one rather quickly; the young lady I woke up to in my room at the Delano wished to sun herself by the pool. She, however, was of the mind to sunbathe in the nude.

I ventured to explain that even though being in Miami meant we were at the center of human depravity, this did not allow us to imagine that nudity was condoned. What depravity has to do with nudity we had no idea, but we knew not to push our luck. So she said, "Fine, procure me a bathing suit, pronto" (at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning).

I leapfrogged to the bathroom cursing that perhaps I had used the "Best of Miami" to wipe up the sad demise of a rather good fettuccine and six bottles of bubbly. But I was in luck: I had only used the personal ads for all that previously yummy guck. I quickly became distraught, however: What, no entry for bathing suit store? I called the concierge, who said the only place to go was Dolce Vita on Espanola Way.

In a hop and a skip, I was there and picked up a couple of exquisite costumes. Back at the Delano, my lovely was able to expose most of her body to all and catch some wonderful cancer-causing rays as well. Thank you, Dolce Vita, and thank you, New Times. Your paper really does have some good tips, and it really does seem to go a long way as far as absorbency is concerned. Perhaps next year there will be an entry for Best Bathing Suit Store. You know who would get my vote.

Graham Mills

Cafe: Hard to Swallow!
I just finished reading Jen Karetnick's review of the Palm Restaurant (March 21) and couldn't stomach the hatchet job she did on what I believe to be one of the finest restaurants in Dade County. My family and I dine out at some of the better establishments in the Miami area, so we consider ourselves connoisseurs of fine dining.

I found the review hard to swallow, because in the dozens of times we have been to the Palm with family, friends, and business associates, we never had anything that was not terrific. We not only enjoy the food at the Palm, but the service is among the finest anywhere. The only thing we've never had is dessert -- only because we're always too full from the large portions of the great food.

If I had never eaten at the Palm but had just read Ms. Karetnick's review and relied upon so-called restaurant critics (which I do not), I would have been scared away by her unjust assessment of one of the finest restaurants in the area.

If the Palm is as bad as you state, why is it one of the most successful steak house chains in the United States?

Terry Dellerson
North Miami

Cafe: Tout Sweet!
On February 29, 1996, I celebrated my fifteenth Leap Year birthday and, owing to Jen Karetnick's November 2, 1995 review of the zanZbar restaurant, we had a fantastic "death by dessert" dinner party.

We had fifteen different desserts, each better than the last, and each presented with class and flair. Every dessert, from the white-and-dark-chocolate mousse cake to the butter-crusted peach-and-mango pie with fresh whipped cream to the "wildebeest" cake and the whole-wheat brownie served with espresso-chip ice cream, was served with free-form chocolate figures representing all aspects of Africa.

In my career as a sweet eater, I can finally say I had one night completely sated by desserts. Oh, yes, as soon as I get over this sugar high, I plan to try their regular dinner menu. Thank you, Jen Karetnick.

Martin D. Goodkin
Fort Lauderdale

Cafe: Carnivorous Bilge!
I haven't read any of Jen Karetnick's reviews because I am a vegetarian. But the concept of selling (let alone promoting) cooked and uncooked dead meat is so disgusting it makes my stomach turn. What is the point of rendering one full page every single week to promote animal slaughter? Is it too much to ask if I request New Times to stop all this nonsense? It's a fact that billions of people already eat dead meat every day with or without Jen Karetnick's column. If it makes her so gratified to promote this concept, she should realize that there are many people who find the column in bad taste.

Please do me a favor. Keep your carnivorous, bloody, voracious tongues to yourselves and I will keep mine.

Brihaspati Das
Coconut Grove


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