Unrealistic Profile, City in Chaos, Skeletons Aplenty
Art Levine is one of the most unprofessional writers I've ever met. If his intention was to present readers with a realistic profile of Miami Beach mayoral candidate Andrew Delaplaine, he was not successful ("Attitude Dancing," November 2). If Mr. Levine thinks that we, the residents of Miami Beach, are going to change our minds about the election, then he's wrong. We as a community are sick and tired of seeing our once beautiful city fall apart because of a handful of politicians who have nothing on their minds but fattening their bank accounts by selling off our city's land and parks.

And though by Mr. Levine's own words Mayor Seymour Gelber offers no new solutions (no solutions at all) about problems affecting the Beach and its residents, he proceeds to ridicule Mr. Delaplaine's proposed solutions.

Who doesn't have skeletons in the closet? I'm pretty sure some incumbents right now are considering renting some storage space for theirs. Mr. Delaplaine is probably the most sincere and no-nonsense politician this city has seen in decades, and apparently that's why so many people (not too many, just a handful of irresponsible reporters and Mr. Gelber's followers) are so terrified that they have resorted to this below-the-belt campaign of discrediting one sincere citizen who wants only the best for the Beach and its inhabitants.

Instead of following Mr. Delaplaine and friends all over the city, Mr. Levine should have taken a look at the city itself to see the kind of chaos Mr. Gelber and his followers have forced this city into. When are we going to stop being so blind or stupid or both and start being responsible citizens and deliver all sides of a story?

Consider myself one of New Times's ex-most loyal readers.
Annette De La Cruise
Miami Beach

Why Discuss Issues When You Can Merely Entertain?
Andrew Delaplaine ran for mayor because he did not want to see Seymour Gelber run unopposed and because he wanted the public to debate the plethora of important issues confronting Miami Beach taxpayers. Even though Mr. Delaplaine has written extensively about his platform and has spoken often about the issues, Art Levine decided to avoid any discussion of the substantive issues and write merely to entertain.

At this point the election is over. If Mr. Delaplaine -- with meager finances, no campaign manager, an incompetent media liaison, a late start, and virtually no endorsements -- received more than fifteen percent of the vote, then he did well. If he received more than twenty percent of the vote, he will have sent a powerful message to the politicians and to the city manager.

Peter R. Ehrlich, Jr.
Miami Beach

Genuine Article Article
Kirk Semple's article on Miami Beach City Commission candidate Matti Bower ("Mistaken Identity," October 26) was the first serious attempt to understand the complex nature of, and elected representation in, the City of Miami Beach. Although Miami Beach is currently 51 percent Hispanic, this was not always the case. As the article correctly points out, Matti Bower has been actively involved in community affairs for more than twenty years, long before Hispanics were a force in the city.

The gist of Bower's campaign and her appeal was that she cares about all citizens and their quality of life. There is a humanism in her that was accurately captured by Mr. Semple.

There is no mistaken identity. Matti is genuine.
Simon Cruz
Miami Beach

No Slum, No Problem
I studied Matti Bower's and Martin Shapiro's records and heard them both speak at public forums. I have kudos for, and problems with, stands taken by both.

Ms. Bower may very well be, as reader Harvey Slavin wrote ("Letters," November 2), a pawn of the insider cult at Miami Beach City Hall without really knowing it. On the other hand, Mr. Shapiro's stance against affordable low-income housing is wrong. "Low-income" does not have to equate with "slum." Why should service workers who keep the tourist trade running be forced into long commutes and more undesirable living areas? Bring all low-income housing up to federal Section 8 standards -- including frequent inspections and strictly enforced occupancy and behavior codes -- and there shouldn't be a problem.

I admire Mr. Shapiro for his quixotic stand against the Portofino and Lincoln Road deals, but I worry that it was strictly a pre-election ploy.

Kim Smith
Miami Beach

Please Do Not Feed the Rambos
Regarding Robert Andrew Powell's article "Take the Guardhouse and Run" (September 28): Since Sylvester Stallone moved to Miami a year ago, he has become a willing participant in the affairs of this community.

The most recent evidence of his commitment to Miami was his donation of $50,000 to help save the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts. He did this as a citizen and as a film star. Unfortunately, because film stars are celebrities, their homes often become tourist attractions -- attractions that are not only unfair to the neighboring residents but that force a zoolike existence upon homeowners such as Sylvester Stallone.

That the City of Miami has wisely moved to protect not only Sylvester Stallone but also the other residents in his neighborhood from busloads of tourists and celebrity-seekers is a credit to the commissioners who recognized that, while Mr. Stallone feels an obligation to our community, the city is likewise obligated to offer him a peaceful place to live.

Rosario Kennedy
Coconut Grove

Jacob, Over and Out
At the risk of becoming part of the most protracted letter exchange in New Times's history, I would like to reply to Goldie Lewis's October 26 letter regarding my response to her letter responding to my original letter.

Ms. Lewis appears to encourage people to own animals. The fact that animals are banned in parks, restaurants, grocery stores, buses, and other places seems to indicate that public policy does not encourage animal ownership. On the other hand, animal services are provided free or at very low cost in Dade County for animal owners who are eligible for food stamps. (You are not supposed to use food stamps to buy pet food.)

Ms. Lewis thinks that a self-funded county department that helps animals can do no wrong. Animal Control is "self-funded" because of mandatory licenses, fees, and surcharges that exceed the cost of providing services. I call these "dog taxes." Those taxes, plus the funds Ms. Lewis begs for in the form of donations, are not always wisely spent. Lastly, I have some quarrel with Dade County's providing veterinary services in competition with private veterinarians. I do not think government should do this, but I suspect Ms. Lewis might not agree.

Jacob Dorn


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