The Mayor Matters

Letters from the Issue of , 2002

He still has veto power and can smack down the commission: Last week's cover story on why the mayor's race is not important ("Mayor X," August 19) hit a huge nerve in our community, particularly because we are working so hard to get Jimmy Morales elected. I was disturbed when I read it. How could you judge the success of an office after only one mayor has held the position? You sugarcoated the story by trying to make your readers believe the mayor has no power. Well, it just isn't so.

The most important power the mayor has is the veto power over commission legislation. Without that power of the veto, some of us might be stuck without a human-rights ordinance. In a county where voter fraud and voter disenfranchisement are rampant, how could you dare come out just two weeks before the election and tell us it's all a waste of time?

It is precisely the mayor's race that I care about the most, not only because I'm a lesbian and my own human rights could be at stake if someone other than Jimmy Morales is elected, but also because this county is in real trouble. Without Jimmy at the helm, I'm afraid things could get worse.

Cris Ascunce


The Mayor Clearly Does Not Matter

Even conservative Republicans can be persuaded by a liberal free weekly: Although I read New Times regularly (about twice a month), as a conservative Republican I can't say I always agree with the liberal slant of most of your stories. However, I also believe in fairness, and regardless of my opinion of previous articles, your collection of stories about the upcoming county mayoral race ("Mayor X," August 19) has to be one of the best, and certainly the most accurate, analyses of a political race I have ever read.

You guys hit the nail right on the head. Each one of the five reasons for the irrelevance of the county mayor made perfect sense. And I agree with you that there is no difference of any substance among the five leading candidates.

My hat is off to you. Good job.

Walter A. Alvarez


Doctor Nielsen, I Presume

How did racist mumbo jumbo make it into a story about the mayor's race? Regarding Kirk Nielsen's contribution to "Mayor X" ("They're All White Guys"), I am disturbed that your paper has become a forum for pseudoscientific, patently racist mumbo jumbo as to "who is white." Worse still, it was written by someone who is horribly underqualified to go into the subject. One can picture Nielsen with our mayoral candidates, caliper and skin-color guide in hand.

I will leave it to experts rather than wade into "Dr." Nielsen's little treatise on eugenics. Two of our mayoral candidates are all or part Puerto Rican. Recent genetic research by Dr. Juan Martinez Cruzado at the University of Puerto Rico found that virtually the entire population has a significant amount of Native American (Taino) antecedents, and that virtually everyone on the island is of mixed race.

Two down, three to go.

Cuba has a long history of racial intermarriage, dating from the beginning of the colonial period. The Iberian settlers themselves were a mixture of Latin, Moorish, and Gallic ancestors. Many Cubans cite this as the reason for the alleged historical lack of U.S. forms of racism in Cuba. There is a saying in Cuba: Aquì todos somos café con leche; unos m·s café, otros m·s leche (Here we are coffee and milk; some more coffee, others more milk).

Finally, as FIU's Dr. Marty Tracey pointed out, race is a social construction. In the United States, Cubans along with other Latinos will continue to be a race apart, most often defined as people of color. In Miami, which is only technically part of the U.S., Latinos will continue to view an inclusive definition of "white" (read privileged) that includes everyone with a Spanish surname who could not be forgivably confused for Congolese.

Most "Anglos" continue to view us as "other." We appreciate Kirk Nielsen for accepting our particular Latin racial (social) constructions, thus not giving us offense as so many of you gringos do.

John Santiago Stella



Owing to a reporting error in Francisco Alvarado's "Mayor X" article ("They're All Financed by the Same Elite and Hire the Same Political Operatives"), the wife of county commissioner and mayoral candidate Jimmy Morales was incorrectly identified as a sitting judge. Dori Foster-Morales is an attorney with the firm Elser Foster-Morales Kopco but has never been a judge. New Times regrets the error.

Also in the "Mayor X" report, staff photographer Jonathan Postal should have been given credit for the photo illustrations of mayoral candidates' heads floating inside specimen jars.

Fidel Is Waiting for November 3

At which time he hopes to add another president to his list: As reported by Kirk Nielsen ("Politics and Policy," July 29), President Bush recently amended U.S. foreign policy in a way that negatively affects Cuban Americans with relatives in Cuba. By limiting visits to Cuba to once every three years, Bush is punishing people. Why? Because Dubya puts politics before policy. He knows he can't bank on confusing ballots, misleading polling locations, and U.S. Supreme Court decisions to carry Florida to a 537-vote victory this time.

Bush is betting the number of hardliners who have no relatives in Cuba outnumber those with family there. His nonsensical justification for this? Intensifying sanctions against Cuba will speed up the fall of the Castro government. Oh really? U.S. sanctions have been in place since shortly after the revolution and Castro is still in power. In fact the last time I checked, Castro had lasted longer than nine U.S presidents. Let's count them: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. If the good people of Florida correct the wrong done against them in the last presidential election, I'd be willing to bet another Bush can be added to the list.

The embargo against Cuba has done nothing but make life more difficult for Cuban citizens, deny business to U.S companies, and strengthen, not weaken, Castro's government. Engagement will do what the embargo can't. But one-dimensional people like Dubya would rather bully small countries than engage them. His foreign-policy stupidity is as wrong in dealing with Cuba as it was in starting a war with Iraq.

Russ Broadway

Sacramento, California (formerly of Fort Lauderdale)


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