Let's get something perfectly clear; Planets bassist and Washington Square music director Doc Wiley is an asshole on a petty power trip, and a self-aggrandizing one, at that. I know people who've played at Washington Square. I've played there myself. And it's not that musicians in South Florida are jealous of his mediocre band's gig, as he self-importantly theorizes; it's just that he abuses his position in order to feature his band at the expense of other acts that play there. His band gets the lengthy sound checks, the best times to play, and, of course, the hype; other bands simply have to do without such "luxuries."
I have seen him act rude to fellow musicians, and he seems threatened when a powerful band plays in his establishment. Of course, like a school-yard bully afraid of getting knocked off his territorial high horse, he rationalizes his own jealousy and insecurity by claiming that other musicians are to blame for his reputation as a demeaning Philistine.
For all the diversity of talent and personality in this scene, the complaint I hear most often from local musicians regarding Washington Square is that Doc is a small-minded baboon who abuses his tiny bit of power. Judging from the prominent position given to this widespread opinion in your story, Greg Baker has heard this complaint quite a few times as well. True artists are not intimidated by the talents of others; they revel in varying styles and applaud excellence wherever it appears. Doc, unfortunately, is far from supportive. He seems to enjoy placing obstacles in the path of any band that might challenge his cushy gig. Perhaps if he concentrated on taking bass lessons instead of jerking his own rather lame chain, he wouldn't feel compelled to react with hostility and condescension to his fellow musicians.
The Planets are a decent band; it's a shame their obnoxious leader cheapens their efforts because he doesn't understand how to bask in the brotherhood of music. Doc is bad for the local music scene. If his band is going to be playing, he should at least not be running sound and booking the other acts playing that night - ever heard of a little thing called a conflict of interest? For the sake of the local music scene and the integrity of a good venue, Washington Square's owners should realize that Doc is a liability.
IS THAT NEW YORK, NEW YORK?
I have just moved here from New York. Yesterday I picked up a copy of New Times (October 30). It was informative, enlightening, fun, but, best of all, your cartoonist Lynda Barry is a winner! Her Hill-Thomas spoof is so funny that I am making copies to send all my acquaintances! The Village Voice and New York Times have nothing on you!
It is with pleasure and anticipation that I look forward to your next (and next and next) issue.
BRACE YOURSELF, ADA, THEN TURN THE PAGE FOR PART 3
Your story "The Case from Hell, Part 1 and Part 2" (September 11 and 18) was enraging to me. Steven Almond failed to provide your avid public with both sides of the story. Why is it that we get all the allegations from the Nogueses toward the Porrases, HRS, and the guardians without letting them defend themselves or their reputation? I cannot speak for the guardians and I cannot speak for HRS because I have not had any personal experience with either department; however, I can speak for the Porrases.
I can speak for Rick and Michelle Porras because I lived next door to them when they lived in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment with six children. I saw this young couple raising all these kids, and I saw a young husband and father working three jobs to support children who were not his. I am outraged that you can slander these people and get away with it. I cannot believe no one stands in their defense, not even they themselves, "for the sake of the children."
I was there when the Miami Herald devastated the young children. I saw how they lost their friends and how they cried at the other children's probing questions and teasing. And this is why I cannot understand how papers and reporters like yours print distortions and outright lies with the intent of selling and promoting misinformation as truths.
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I have witnessed firsthand how they play and smile and do the things happy, normal children do. They say they are happy and are lucky to be with their sister and their brother-in-law, and I cannot argue with that. If you saw them together, as I have, you would not have written your article.
Rick and Michelle have been accused of all sorts of things, and they've been cleared time and time again by HRS, child-abuse investigators, and the police department. They are foster parents now and are monitored closely. What moron could believe the lies about them when they have custody of these children and when anyone can see in their faces, where there once was pain and sorrow and fear, how they've thrived and developed? The Porrases deserve to be commended, given a medal or a one-way pass to Heaven for doing what they're doing, enduring stories like yours and allegations like the Nogueses' and still managing to love and raise and save innocent children.
I know in their shoes my husband and I wouldn't take on the responsibility or the burden they have. I read in your misinformative article they were after money and a house; this made me laugh because they have neither. What they do have is each other and the knowledge that they are doing a good deed, but that's okay, because while I've lost faith in your paper, they haven't lost their good faith or God.