JOEY TO THE WORLD
Jim DeFede did a memorable article on Joe Gersten, greatly revealing the background of the commissioner ("Gersten: The Real Story," August 12).
And the cover illustration by John Kleber should be framed and displayed in a gallery of New Times front pages.
THE FORCE -- AHEM -- IS WITH US
I hope Detective Nyberg ("Letters," August 12) reads the other New Times letters -- he might learn that there is widespread unease over police brutality. Ice-T's "Cop Killer" character is but a sharp representation of this anger at police-state measures coming from the Supreme Court or the police beat.
Nyberg says that a "police officer's highest call is to protect life." Tell that to the families of Fermin Alameda, Shelton Wilson, Andrew Morello -- all victims of police violence. Or to Paula Redo and Antonio Edwards -- victims of police beating and choke hold, respectively. That's a partial list for half a year in Miami alone.
In the case of Mr. Alameda, we find it totally inexplicable and unacceptable that a 63-year-old man, well known and popular in the neighborhood, trying to help put out a fire, should be kicked in the head, handcuffed, and placed face down on the ground (according to an eyewitness). It is blatant abuse when an officer's knee crushed his ribs and liver, causing massive internal bleeding (according to the Dade medical examiner).
In the case of William Lozano, it is uncontested that he killed Clement Anthony Lloyd and Allan Blanchard. The people gave their verdict on that case in those intense days following the crime: guilty. The court gave its verdict when a racially mixed jury found: guilty. Now they're going back to square one with a new trial -- provided the powers that be ever decide on a location. Meanwhile they are diverting the call for justice to a call for peace -- a one-sided peace: peaceful people, violent enforcers.
But there can be no peace without justice. Anger is a natural and legitimate response to brutality. What kind of people would we be if we weren't outraged over incidents like these? The only way this retrial will end with a just verdict is for the people of Miami to be aware and active on all fronts: marching, writing letters, posting signs, wearing buttons, demanding justice! Left to itself, the court will cut a deal -- and it will be a raw deal.
Last month we in Refuse & Resist! held protests at several record stores and the Police Museum, demanding, "Ban killer cops -- not Ice-T's `Cop Killer.'" Since then police pressure and anonymous death threats have succeeded in getting Ice-T to remove the song from the album. But killer cops are still out there. Our protest drew a suggestion from Gerald Arenberg, museum director, that "we would be better off to join a neighborhood crime-watch group." Well, Mr. Alameda was in such a group, and look what they did to him.
CAFE: THE ONLY SHAME IN TOWN
Shame on you, Jim Mullin, and once again, shame on Rafael Navarro! When are you going to get a replacement for that bigot you call a restaurant critic?
I'm referring to his abomination entitled "China Beach" (August 12). Christine Lee's Gaslight is a fine restaurant, and I have been eating there for many years. Navarro said as much, but after his food critique, he decided to ramble on for two more long paragraphs about the entertainment in the lounge.
How dare he use words like "friends from the Old Testament" and "friends from the Catskills" when referring to the audience in the lounge? Who could those people be, I wonder? I can't imagine! I take offense to those remarks and I'm sure others will as well.
Navarro made mention of the fact that the singer (poor woman) thanked God, among others, for receiving her so enthusiastically. You can bet your life that Christine Lee thanks God daily for all those "friends from the Old Testament" who frequent her establishment in and out of season, especially in these tough economic times. Her prices ain't cheap!
Please, please hurry and find someone (anyone!) to take his place. I'd take the job myself if I could, only to rid us of his babble.
CHACUN AU SON RAGOUT, MONSIEUR JEAN
Rafael Navarro's command of a French dictionary is tres impressive ("French Miss," August 5). Whether you need such a cunning linguist as a food critic is questionable.
Your readers would be better served by someone with less negative energy and more honest commentary about food in Miami.
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BEEF HARLEY SOUP
Regarding Steven Almond's "Born to Be Defiled" (August 5), please tell me you jest. I have been loyal to Harley-Davidson since 1969, before it became fashionable. I even made a profit from H-D stock.
The independents, or chop shops, as they are referred to in the trade, are providing a needed service, at a profit loss to factory-authorized dealers. The chop shops I have visited never pretended to be factory authorized and often offered factory H-D parts as well as after-market items. I personally use as many factory parts as possible in my own bike, but find some parts, like brake lines, to be inferior to after-market (too much flex in the line). The majority of my nonfactory parts were purchased from my favorite local factory-authorized dealer.
I have yet to see a used Harley-Davidson on a factory-authorized dealer's showroom floor without several "custom," nonfactory parts. These bikes all bear the Harley-Davidson logo.
Grow up, gentlemen.