HABDI's Stinking Mango Syndrome
Kudos to Jim DeFede for his expose "Flying Blind" (February 1). The giveaway of Homestead Air Force Base to HABDI stinks! This kind of government-in-the-moonshine runs contrary to the basic nature of the democratic process and reminds me of the one-candidate elections held in Cuba.

The district system of electing county commissioners was imposed to better represent the people of Dade County, not the Latin Builders Association! Handing out this big, juicy mango of a contract without competitive bidding smacks of cronyism at its lowest level.

John E. Brown
Miami Lakes

The Air Base as Parking Lot
The real issue that seems not to have been mentioned in the deal with HABDI is this: Their proposal is not economically feasible or practical. First, a cargo base is out of the question because the majority of freight does not move in cargo aircraft but in passenger aircraft. The logistics of moving cargo 25 miles overland via truck are not economical or timely.

A commuter hub airport? Not likely, as many passengers are being flown by the commuter to get on the parent airline's jet at MIA. Heavy-maintenance base? Remember this thing called the Everglades: It's doubtful the required environmental permits could be obtained. Besides, U.S. labor is too expensive for many non-U.S. carriers. Is there anyone out there who can see that this is a subterfuge to build a warehouse complex and use the runway to park trucks?

Rolfe Von Duerer

Locals Rule (Warmly)
Regarding John Floyd's article "Anywhere's Better Than Here" (February 1), cheers to the bands with the balls to stay in Miami; they are the building blocks of the future. Clubs will come and go -- it's the nature of the biz. However, instead of thriving on negatives such as the closing of venues, let's concentrate on those clubs we have: Rose's Bar, Churchill's Hideaway, Respectable Street, Tobacco Road, and Cheers in Dade; Rockandy, Cheers, the Edge, Squeeze, and Club Impact in Broward.

Good riddance to Muse and Tom Smith and all the others too impatient and weak-minded to stick it out in Miami and build the scene. Rome wasn't built in a night, nor was the Seattle grunge scene.

In time, Miami's music scene will grow to be a force to be reckoned with -- mark my words.

D.J. Scala

Marjory and the Monkey Wrenchers
As president of the Friends of the Everglades, I was electrified by the "confidential memo" from our president emerita Marjory Stoneman Douglas to the board of directors of Friends ("Resolutionary Tour," January 18). While the memo has all the marks of a Marjory-type strategy, I can assure all who may have been concerned for her well-being that our bold leader did not launch this particular missive.

On the other hand, my phone has been vibrating with calls from supporters who are eager to volunteer kegs of nails, chain saws, and computer viruses for whatever ecoterrorism is needed to save the Everglades. After all, Friends of the Everglades is the organization the Miami Herald referred to as "scorched-earth environmentalists."

A federal task force, with congressional authorization and appropriations, has begun the enormous task of restoring the Everglades ecosystem from the Kissimmee River to Florida Bay. Marjory spent years persuading governors and lawmakers of the need to change the government's destructive policies, which channeled, pumped, diked, and drained the Everglades. Although she will not live to see it, the restoration should be dedicated to her memory.

Nancy Brown, president
Friends of the Everglades


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