BULLDOZE THE BUREAUCRATS, NOT THE NEIGHBORHOODS
Regarding Kirk Semple's article about "The Shih Dynasty" (September 9): I live in the "forlorn" Miramar neighborhood. Have we learned nothing from the rebirth of South Beach? Renovation is not something that is done with a bulldozer! The city should be sued by the voters who live in Miami, for allowing this to happen to a priceless neighborhood like South Edgewater.
The land speculators that the city says will sue if they down-zone the neighborhood probably don't vote here. Hey, Mayor Suarez and commissioners, we are tired of living at the whim of landowners who have no connection to this neighborhood except a manila folder on their desks. We are also not happy with bureaucrats who pander to them.
Cities are not a collection of new concrete high-rises or walled-in secure suburbs. Remember, charm sells. How can we bulldoze "old town Miami"? When we finish here, maybe we can do Key West or South Beach. So down-zone the neighborhood and give people who live here a chance to do the miracle that you all said could never happen on South Beach.
Gareth J. Leuschner
Regarding "The `Who Shot John' Thing," in "Hurricane Andrew: Winners and Losers" (September 9):
Think back to the many John Wayne movies. "Who shot John" was the drink of choice for our legendary cowboys, e.g., "Gimme some of that `who shot John.'"
It must have been a killer drink.
ALL HAIL HALE (IN A NONSEXIST POLITICALLY CORRECT FASHION)
I happily picked up my copy of New Times and turned first to "Hurricane Andrew: Winners and Losers." Always interested in, and often in agreement with, New Times's opinions, I skimmed the selections and was irritated (p.o.'d) at the snide opinion of Kate Hale's work during Andrew, or her media appearance on Thursday, the only part of her work they seemed to notice.
After reading it again, I was sure the author was a man. Of course it was -- two men! I suggest DeFede and Anthony adjust to a world where barking orders, faking control, and hiding out fade as management techniques. As women fill leadership positions professionally, competently, and visibly, compassion and passion will become more common in situations where they are the only reality-based response.
SEND US YOUR THESAURUS, JACK
Dollar for dollar your mag is a soarer, I just felt my conscience stung a little by the treatment of Kate Hale. Did she really call the militia men or the Roman legions and receive a bite from a monkey, or were the remarks a kind of suspension of the "what" from the Dennis Miller school of cheap laughs -- looting a juicy thesaurus for idle pages of phrase-bashing, alliterative, aimless, careless inkslinging -- calling ourselves writers? How specifically did Kate Hale "snap," other than surrendering humanly to caring too much? We shouldn't slander people who work harder than we do, unless we back it up.
Compare Roberta Morgan's article about the hurricane, "Snowed In" ("The Worst Wind," September 2). Cocaine, racism, guns. Coke sucks, racism is ugly, and guns are scary, but that was a fine and bold piece of writing and publishing -- becuase it was real. Compare the gentleman's characterization of Miami: Third World revolutionaires, drug dealers, and boiler room scam artists. This is What-oriented, sense-oriented journalism -- useful and substantial, and entertaining.
I must have misunderstood what the writers of the Kate Hale piece were trying to "do."
MORGAN'S BAD TASTE AND TIMING: SNOWED IN'S NO GO!
Your publication of Roberta Morgan's piece, "Snowed In," was grossly inappropriate. I am embarrassed that in my hunger to learn how people coped with Andrew I even bothered to skim it. I won't bother with the play, or the novel. Your perceived mission as an alternative newspaper is an admirable one. Demonstration of such terrible bad taste and timing is not.
Donald K. Atwood
MORGAN'S LITERARY CRAFT: LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW!
This is no rehearsed, well-planned letter. It's just a simple expression of heartfelt admiration for the literary craft of Roberta Morgan. I loved her "Snowed In," and "The Antster is Blowin' in the Wind" article she co-wrote with Sean Rowe. I do take into account that after being bombarded with so much grief in the news, to the point of numbness and helplessness, any article which could create a little lighthearted guffaw from Andrew's wrath would be received with joy.
But this woman is funny, and let me tell you something, I think half the passengers on my flight to Atlanta thought so, too. Honestly, after I laughed my ass off, I shoved the paper into the faces of all those I'd woke up around me, and yelled, "Read this! Now!"
So I didn't make friends on the flight. But I do have questions: Who is this Roberta Morgan? Why haven't I read her before? Does she cook? How dare someone deprive me of her humor?
Roberta, you keep writing; I'll keep laughing. And screw all those I wake up in the process!
A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND DANISHES
Regarding one of the photographs published in "The Worst Wind": Marie Antoinette said of the hungry, "Let them eat cake," to her great regret. The photo of residents of Florida City lining up for coffee cake shows these desperate people standing in line for "breakfast." Is this the best these so-called organizers could do? Where is a hot breakfast of cereal for nourishment?
It seems the more money that's donated, the less these people get. There are donations right and left -- restaurants on South Beach, synagogues and churches, also. The federal government has now appropriated more than a million dollars, but all these people seem to get is a mediocre handout.
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As stated in the article's introduction, "We might consider how one major storm turned a huge American community into a veritable Third World tragedy overnight...or how we managed to prove yet one more time that America is infinitely more adept at mobilizing to kill people than at mobilizing to save them." It's totally ironic and tends toward cynicism how a sitaution like this is organized, or rather, disorganized. The real life and bureaucracy just stinks. And why did President Bush wait so long?
ANY PO'M INA STO'M
I'm a newcomer to Miami Beach, having moved here July 1. I managed to survive Hurricane Andrew relatively intact, as did my home and my place of employment. I know I'm luckier than a lot of other people in this area.
Anyway, I wrote this poem the day after "Andy" hit.
It all began with a deadly quiet,
then burst loose like a full-scale riot.
The wind started howling through the trees,
tidal waves arose upon the seas.
The sound of glass shattering,
birds shrieking, instead of chattering.
Fences sailing through the air,
live power lines down everywhere.
Then the deadly horizontal rainlaunched an assault on my windowpane.
The walls were vibrating beneath my hand,
the skies rained debris, and water, and sand.
The sound of little children crying,
animals seeking shelter, palm trees flying.
One candle, burning, is my only light --
will I manage to survive this night?
Surrounded by strangers in an unknown place,
I'd give anything to see a familiar face!
Then dawn arrives, and I sleep at last,
knowing Hurricane Andrew has finally passed.