In 1989 we became, and are currently, qualified Responsible Vendors. We've had polygraph tests, urine tests, monthly staff meetings, and quarterly meetings conducted by Responsible Vendors, Inc. to update the staff.
Mr. Sloate employs security guards to patrol the parking lots. One of the people taken by the Border Patrol (and released) was our restroom attendant, hired to curtail possible drug use or sales. The efficiency of our doorman was shown the night of the raid, when an undercover officer was denied entrance because she had no ID. Uncle Charlie's has done everything possible, short of drug-sniffing dogs and body searches, to prevent drugs at the club. This is attested to by the signatures of 213 patrons on a petition stating their awareness of Uncle Charlie's efforts.
The police allege eighteen drug buys over three weeks. Why wasn't this activity brought to the attention of a manager? It's as though busting individual sales didn't matter, only building a case against the bar. A case built on "anonymous tips."
The only staff member to be arrested had made the mistake of picking up a plastic bag and throwing it off the bar.
For this momentary "possession," he was busted.
The "Tambourine Man" story was an exaggerated scenario. No one ever witnessed customers dealing with this person and most patrons shied away from the distasteful banging.
How can the owner, manager, or bartender control the acts of every customer that enters any club, or for that matter, any establishment? I believe the whole series of events amounts to bureaucratic gay-bashing.
THIS SUNDAY GOOD FOR YOU, MAX?
Three or four months ago I wrote a letter that was published in the January 15 edition of New Times. I'm the one who wanted to get everybody together in Peacock Park to discuss our ideas and solutions to today's problems and dilemmas. Unfortunately, an event was happening in the park that interfered with our planned encounter. I was surprised New Times would overlook the conflict between my venture and the big event called Taste of the Grove.
Peacock Park is frequently empty on Sundays, and I find it an ideal place to hold enlightening discussions. Please, let's try it again. I find it most important to come together and speak our minds for the purpose of bettering the chances that this world will be a place where people can see and experience beauty and live out their lives knowing the virtues of love and truth. We can find the answers we are looking for. We're all roommates in this beautiful world, and our problems don't become solved until everyone's problems are solved.
We all need to speak (and listen). Let's meet on the Sunday following the publication of this letter. The place: Peacock Park in Coconut Grove at the corner of South Bayshore Drive and McFarlane Road. The time: 10:00 a.m. until sunset. This time I hope we won't have to compete with blaring concert music, which is not something I mind, but is, nonetheless, difficult to speak over.
THERE'S A SOAPBOX IN PEACOCK PARK WITH YOUR NAME ON IT, LAWRENCE
I must respond to A Walk in the Park (January 15) by Mary Ann Esquivel-Gibbs. I was the one who originally requested that a reporter attend the special meeting of the Arch Creek Trust, a not-for-profit corporation, called to terminate the membership of John Featherstone and myself.
The trust had held a secret and illegal election last January (the purpose being to "re-elect" the same officers who had been in office for four consecutive years), had denied members copies of the bylaws as well as the right to inspect and copy records, had promised members they could write articles in the newsletter in lieu of getting a mailing list and publishing an alternative newsletter; the promise was denied.
They had promised that any member could start a committee; this was denied when I proposed committees to investigate the bogus election, to investigate the destruction of the park by the new and inexperienced naturalist, and to review the bylaws. They met to terminate John's and my membership for obvious purposes: to stop us from trying to expose the bogus election, to stop us from running for office, to stop us from speaking out against proposed changes in the bylaws that would seriously erode what little democratic rights members had and further concentrate power in the hands of the bogus president.
Unfortunately, Gibbs was unable to attend the meeting. John and I gave her about 50 pages of documents and two audio tapes supporting our position. But for some reason she decided to focus on John's rather colorful personality in a sophomoric attempt at character assassination, tabloid style. Not only did she totally ignore the great majority of our documentary evidence, she chose either to totally ignore or to manipulate the input from at least nine people whom she perceived to be on "our side."
Gibbs states that the "police say it wasn't legal" for John to give paid guided tours in the park. I believe it is still up to the courts to decide what is legal or not; the American system of justice is based on the principle "innocent until proven guilty."
Meanwhile, the "trust" is having another "election" soon, where the same old people run unopposed, one more time.
Lawrence J. Forti
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