REAGAN AND THE POLITICS OF CYNICISM
I would like to amplify Ramon Cernuda's assertion that the Reagan team in the early Eighties "wanted to counteract the policies of the Carter administration with regards to Cuba" ("The Art of Exile," July 29).
After eliminating or drastically reducing funding for many established public programs, Reagan's people realized they had no chance for the black vote in the 1982 election. They thus very cynically turned to courting the Hispanics.
I had been an occasional consultant to the nonprofit National Coalition of Hispanic Mental Health and Human Services Organizations in Washington, which by early 1982 had almost ceased to exist because many of its customary grants had not been renewed. To everyone's astonishment, the Reaganites decided in early 1982 to honor the organization with a September 23 gala that included a reception at the White House, followed by dinners at twenty Latin American embassies and a concluding extravaganza at the Organization of American States.
Since the organization's monies had all but disappeared and the staff was reduced to a handful of the national executive director's personal loyalists, I was asked to come back from Houston to help coordinate the event, which drew hundreds of ecstatic Hispanic notables from all over the country and attracted the attention of thousands more in a nationwide search to select a few young Hispanics to be saluted by the president.
The chairwoman of the event was Mrs. James Baker.
COP GOES THE WEASEL
In regard to Steven Almond's article about Dorothy Richardson ("Assault with Intent to Cause Baldness," July 29), I would like to thank New Times for publishing an article that lets a falsely accused person tell her side of the story. I believe Richardson's story because something similar happened to me.
Sometime during April my brother-in-law was arrested in front of a popular South Beach club. All of this happened because some bouncer at the door of the club suspected that my driver license was fake. He gave my I.D. to a cop to check it out, and as we tried to get his attention, the cop started insulting us and calling us idiots. Then my brother-in-law calmly asked him why he was treating us like animals. The cop had also insulted my sister, and my brother-in-law told him he should not have insulted any of us. A couple of minutes later the cop put my brother-in-law under arrest and threatened to arrest both my sister and me as well.
A month later my brother-in-law was called to court and the judge was happy to tell us that the state attorney had thrown out the case and that all charges against him were dropped. Unlike Richardson, my brother-in-law got lucky. Both the judge and attorney realized that the whole case was ridiculous. He was falsely accused of telling off a cop.
I have always thought very highly of cops, even though they had never done anything for me. But when a cop picks on my brother-in-law (an engineering major), my sister (a preschool teacher and elementary teaching major) and myself (a sophomore majoring in communications), I can't help but think they are picking on the wrong people instead of catching the criminals that surround us.
Normidia Z. Cisneros
RIGHT-WING REPUBLICANSFOR MORELLO
Not everyone steals and lies, but the vast majority of the population does steal and lie in one way or another. This includes judges, lawyers, and police officers.
The late Andrew Morello and his friends Bjorn DiMaio and Anthony Vincent were teen-age children out trying to steal some speakers -- hardly a crime deserving of murder charges ("Justice Undone, Part 4," July 29). Yet some cop hiding behind her badge chose to shoot the driver (Morello) while they were trying to flee, trying to get away from her. The physical evidence supports this. Nonetheless, DiMaio and Vincent were charged with murder. Based on what? Officer Laura Russell's questionable statements and prosecutor Gary Rosenberg presenting selective evidence while omitting critical information that would indisputably point out who was lying and who really should be charged with murder.
The boys involved here have lost life and liberty, their rights have been trampled on and violated. They and their families are victims. I and many others cry for them.
This letter writer is no bleeding-heart liberal but a right-wing Republican who refuses to adopt cowardice. I will sign my name.
Marla Ann Harris
OUT OF THE CLOSET, INTO THE FRYING PAN
In reference to Rafael Navarro's review of Casa Rolandi restaurant ("Price-A-Roni," July 22), I'd like to comment that it was derogatory, unfair, inaccurate, and obviously written with personal revenge. The uncalled-for, overly descriptive, and wordy review sounded like he was frustrated because he couldn't have his way with the owner and is still screaming in the closet. Rafael should come out and do the public a service: get out of the food-review business if this is the best he can do, because I believe his boot is up the wrong end. This comes from a loyal customer who is very upset with this review and who thinks the editor should allow a rebuttal section if he's going to continue to employ people of Navarro's mentality.
I am withholding my name for protection from revengeful people like Rafael.
Name Withheld by Request
THE HISSY-FITTIN' QUEEN OF MEAN
Rafael Navarro's review of Casa Rolandi sounded more like the ravings of a hissy-fittin' queen using Casa Rolandi as his scapegoat for an attempt at what I'm quite certain he considers humor. Not.
I have had the good fortune to dine at Casa Rolandi many times and have never had a bad experience. I am sick to death of reviews that enable one man's opinion (sounding more like a vendetta to me) to undermine all the hard work that goes into running a successful restaurant.
I have been in the food service industry 25 years. A one-time owner, as well as manager and caterer, I do know something about food. Rafael Navarro apparently does not.
WRONG, JULIUS: IT'S AN 18TH-CENTURY THESAURUS
I'm reluctant to write this letter to the editor concerning the pseudointellectual Rafael Navarro, because it seems that the more criticism he receives, the more entrenched he becomes as a New Times writer. The guy is a crock of shit. Unless it's a foreign or avant-garde production, he hates all movies. Also if I listened to his dining reviews, I'd never eat another meal out again.
What the hell do his obscure little history lessons and words -- obviously gotten out of a nineteenth-century thesaurus -- have to do with critiquing a meal? I hate being written down to like a peon who probably won't understand most of what he's saying.
How about giving us a reviewer who likes to eat out and go to the movies? The whole world is out there trying to scratch my eyes out and constantly whining to anyone who will listen, so why should I invite that queen bitch into my home every week? I certainly can't threaten to cancel my subscription since your paper is free, but with Navarro and some of your other new writers, I'm less likely to go out of my way to pick up a New Times.
Julius F. Krajewski
TO SERVE AND PROTECT AND COMPLAIN
"Body Count Down" (July 15) proved one thing: Greg Baker, its author, is the one reeling from all the confusion and hype.
Baker misses the point entirely and was thorough enough in his bewilderment to find testimonials from selected police officers to reinforce his misunderstanding of everything surrounding the attention given Body Count.
No one has censored the recordings. What people have done is to peacefully (a concept not found in Ice's repertoire) utilize their right to free speech by calling for a boycott. What? Now you don't think private enterprise should have the right to sell and not sell what they want? That is censorship.
I don't much care whether the recording is rap, heavy metal, or otherwise. Ice T is irrelevant. He means nothing much to anyone; he does not scare anyone, either. So it doesn't matter whose voice is reciting the words, what they look like, or what they call themselves. It is the message that is abhorrent. The message is not a reaction to police brutality. The lyrics of "Cop Killer" condone murder as a means to solve problems. Mind terribly if we try and teach our youth otherwise?
The article's cheap attempt to make this a racial issue was a transparent and well-worn trick. This isn't about skin color, either. The buffoons Baker found from LAPD and Washington are gross anomalies in the police world. Their statements are so inaccurate and misleading I am not sure if either one of them actually read that Law Enforcement Oath they are so quick to fall back on. Our oath, to remind them -- and Baker -- states that a police officer's highest call is to protect life. Is it any wonder that we would find an aberration like "Cop Killer" so offensive?
I've called the two cops he quoted and haven't gotten a reply as yet. I can assure you they don't represent the police in this country. For every one of them you can find, I'll find 50 police officers, black and white and any other color (since it matters so much to Baker) who abhor the lyrics to "Cop Killer."
And the "very small minority" Baker referred to represents tens of thousands of police officers, active and retired, nationwide, of every race, creed, and color. The group that picketed Spec's may be a small minority, indeed. He failed to mention that they are S.C.O.T.T., an organization made up of spouses and families of police officers who have been killed. The beauty of their action is that they showed just how powerful a "small minority" can be in this country.
What you saw from S.C.O.T.T., and from all of us who support them, was not censorship. It was the lawful, peaceful use of our First Amendment right of free speech. It was carried out passionately, but with dignity, without any violence, and without any threats to kill anyone.
Perhaps the supporters of Body Count, rather than decrying what we've done, should take some notes.
Editor's note: Ramesh Nyberg is a homicide detective with the Metro-Dade Police Department.
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ALL RIGHT, JENNIFER, HERE IT IS: DESPERATE HERALD FAN WITH BALL GAG AND HANDCUFFS SEEKS INTELLECTUAL STUD PLAYMATE
Greg Baker and New Times pride themselves on their "Just Say No!" campaign against censorship. But I think New Times readers should know that this ultra-liberal weekly may not always practice what it preaches. For instance, my friend tried to advertise T-shirts she had made that said, "Saddam-ize Hussein." New Times would not print the ad. And in a desperate attempt to find a playmate, I advertised in New Times's personals. I wanted the ad to read, "...seeks intellectual stud..." but stud was, whoops, censored! Too racy, it seems. Although for some reason it's okay for the phone lines to advertise "Canadian Girls to Dominate You Now!"
Who really needs to be censored? Rafael Navarro. Put a ball gag in his mouth! Take away his thesaurus and handcuff him so he cannot write another egomaniacal word. As long as this guy rules at New Times, I'll keep reading the Miami Herald for my film and restaurant reviews.