In Micky We Trust
Nothing in Jim DeFede's article about Micky Arison even remotely justifies its inane title ("Micky Arison Is a Greedy Corporate Pig," April 25) or the other defamatory rhetoric littering the article. Arison clearly had no obligation to go through with the deal in Broward, where Huizenga and Broward officials reneged on a key provision of the letter of intent. And the bottom line for Dade is that we are giving Arison a comparable deal to the one Broward is giving Huizenga. What's so bad about that?
Alex Penelas's grandstanding quote ("It's our building. We should be getting all of the profits from that building") is transparently absurd. What Penelas is saying is that a business operating in leased premises should pay all of its profits to the landowner! If Penelas truly believes that, then he has no understanding of business and is manifestly incompetent to be mayor.
Parts of the article read as though they were written by a lobbyist for Wayne Huizenga or Broward County. The concern expressed for Broward residents' "dreams" of having the Heat play in Broward County is something I might expect to read in XS or the Sun-Sentinel, but not in a Miami-based paper like New Times. Broward County has no moral right to Dade County's sports franchises.
There are more people -- and more sports fans -- living in Dade County than in Broward. Dade residents should be overjoyed that Mr. Arison and the Dade County Commission have stood up to Huizenga's attempts to coerce the Heat to move up to Broward, and that Arison is so committed to giving Miami a top-ranked NBA team.
The final chapter entitled "Those Who Forget the Mistakes of the Past . . . Apparently Voted for This Deal" has it backward. We are having to build a new arena precisely to correct the mistakes of the past. The present arena is clearly inadequate in size and layout, and is located in an area where patrons feel unsafe. The new bayfront arena is the one that should have been built in the first place.
Joseph Currier Brock
Parks, Not Jock Joints
New York has Central Park, San Francisco has Golden Gate Park, Boston the Common -- most major cities of the world have parks that serve their communities. And Miami? Where is its great city park? Where is that place where community really happens, where people of all ages, races, and persuasions come together to enjoy the simple pleasures of life? Is a real city park (rather than a group of neglected neighborhood parks) an issue for Miamians, or is that why we have malls? Why do our leaders undervalue the importance of a city park that all can share and be proud of? Are "vision" and "urban planning" dirty words in Miami?
If Miami's leaders really want to rejuvenate downtown, they should give people a reason to come and stay. A beautiful landscaped park, sitting on Biscayne Bay, open for Rollerblading, picnicking, strolling, and the arts seems a more fitting use of our land than a mammoth sports arena. Why put something like that on such prime waterfront property? Is the view of the water from the arena so critical?
A better plan would be to give Miami a world-class park on the bay, providing an incentive for all to come downtown and feel good about the city they inhabit. Then develop the west side of Biscayne Boulevard with shops, sidewalk cafes, apartments, and condos that offer a commanding view of and access to the park. This would accommodate both the civic and commercial needs of the community and would be relatively easy to do, since much of this land is being cleared for development anyway.
A plan that considers the real interest of the community and not that of a few greedy pigs will do far more for Miami's urban revitalization than a behemoth arena with limited jock appeal.
John C. Tripp
Ron's Brain: Starved of Oxygen?
It is absolutely inconceivable that New Times would dedicate so much space to the antics of Ron McManmon ("Shark Bait," April 18). Had Sean Rowe done a little more research, he would have realized that Ron may have a hard time distinguishing between fantasy and reality, and the article probably never would have been written. His plans to run shark-rodeo dive trips are a logistical impossibility for many reasons, including the probable lack of adequate insurance coverage (if there is coverage, it's going to be astronomical), a very small, even nonexistent customer market from which to draw, and outrage from the dive community and environmental groups (myself included) for harassing marine creatures.
Furthermore, Ron's plan to drop divers 280 feet down in a shark cage is equally ludicrous, since he obviously hasn't given much thought to the lengthy decompression requirements and other complexities and specialized training and equipment needed.
Ron's diving history and spearfishing exploits are also highly questionable. Many of his fish tales involving dives below 200 feet are physiologically and physically impossible. The effects of nitrogen narcosis at that depth, as well as the very real potential for oxygen toxicity, would preclude even the most experienced divers from engaging in any strenuous activity such as shooting a large fish. As far as his breath-holding, free-diving abilities are concerned, only a handful of people can accomplish a 100-foot, three-minute dive. I don't believe Ron is one of those people. If Sean Rowe had wanted to do a story about blue-water hunting, he should have contacted the folks at Florida Frogman in Miami for leads.
Also Rowe's definition of shallow-water blackout is only partially correct in terms of the body's oxygen level falling to critically low levels during ascent. Shallow-water blackout, or latent hypoxia, is a result of hyperventilation, a breathing technique used by free divers that artificially lowers the normal level of carbon dioxide, lessening the urge to breathe and extending the diver's bottom time. Upon ascent, the partial pressure of carbon dioxide and oxygen is reduced as the diver rises in the water column. This may result in the diver becoming unconscious upon reaching the surface due to oxygen starvation in the tissues and the brain.
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I can assure you that Rowe's article has not only raised some eyebrows in the local diving community, but it has also killed any credibility Ron McManmon might have had after he left Team Divers.
Owing to a copyediting error, last week's art column incorrectly stated the year Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president of Haiti. The election was held in December 1990.
The image reproduced at left and featured on the cover of the April 18 issue was not properly credited to photographer Sergio Echeverria. New Times regrets the error.