Am I surprised he was shot by those cops? Not at all: I was surprised when I saw one of my old friends on the cover of New Times. Humberto Guida's story about Hector Torres could not have been more accurate ("The Bad Shoot," April 3). Though I have not spoken with Hector in a few years, I know him very well. He has never lived completely within the law but he has always had respect and admiration for those serving the community.
The Miami-Dade Police substation in the Hammocks has a long history of profiling and harassing the younger people in that area. In Hector's case the actions of the police come as no surprise to me. I have had one officer call others to pull me over so it wouldn't look as though he was "out to get me." I have since moved from the area to avoid problems with these "public service" officers.
I hope "The Bad Shoot" sheds some light and brings some justice to both Hector and the Hammocks goon squad.
Am I grateful for the publicity? Yes: Finally someone has given my son, Hector Torres, an opportunity to tell his story. Thanks to Humberto Guida for being the answer to a mother's prayers. I know that Hector is innocent.
Carmen G. Villanueva
Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Miami's black community is wise to your dirty tricks: Rebecca Wakefield's feature story on the effort to recall Miami Commissioner Art Teele reflects the mainstream media's ongoing campaign to disgrace our prominent black leaders and public officials who are in positions of authority ("When You Strike at a King, You Must Kill Him," March 27). It is unfortunate that the story did not acknowledge these changing times and new political realities in a more positive light. It is apparent that New Times is actively engaged in racial pandering when it labels our leaders and promotes a climate of distrust, disunity, and misinformation in the black community.
The article questions the legitimacy of the recall campaign and its organizers through unsubstantiated rumors, theories, and a series of character assassinations. Instead of focusing on the real issues -- the gentrification of Overtown and the overall lack of community services -- Ms. Wakefield looks for a scapegoat in the so-called failure of the recall effort and quotes Miami's black leaders on other black leaders' character, credibility, and motivations.
The article clearly plays to age-old rumors that there is an ongoing war in the black community between the old guard and "young Turks." This smacks of the classic divide-and-conquer tactic used by the mainstream media and political establishment when it addresses black political and economic empowerment.
Truth be told, romantic notions of epic struggle aside, we don't believe in kings. We believe in justice, one strike at a time.
Contemporary palates accommodated in style: After reading Lee Klein's confusing, love-hate review of the River Oyster Bar, I felt I owed it to my fond memories of Fishbone Grille to try it for myself ("Only Mind the Mollusks," March 27).
I was surprised and delighted to find that one of my favorite South Florida restaurants had been improved. Here's what I found: new menu items more in keeping with today's palates, a sophisticated yet relaxed décor, and the same friendly service Fishbone was known for. One thing Klein got right: The oyster bar is a great one. For the rest, the only thing that's not cohesive about the River Oyster Bar and its menu is Klein's review.
Castro did not take well to Cuba's young flower children: In Francisco Alvarado's article about Channel 51 reporter Jorge Lewis ("Suits vs. Roots," March 27), he seems to cast doubt on Lewis's claim that he was harassed by the Cuban government in the late Seventies for having "long, hippie-style" hair. Alvarado notes: "...But then, so did Che."
If Alvarado had done his homework he would have known that in the late Seventies everything American, like music and fashion, was prohibited in Cuba. It was not uncommon then to see Castro's enforcers nab young hippies on their way to prohibited rock concerts and forcibly shave their heads.
They say Castro had Che killed in Bolivia. Maybe he didn't like his hairstyle.
An armor-plated master plan for city parks: Kirk Nielsen, in his article regarding the proposed roller hockey rink in Coconut Grove's Peacock Park ("Black Kids in Grove Need Roller Hockey!" March 20), stated that the City of Miami was to vote on March 27 to use $535,000 in Safe Neighborhood Parks (SNP) bond funds for the development of a citywide park master plan. That information was incorrect.
The Safe Neighborhood Parks Citizens' Oversight Committee has not authorized use of SNP bond funds toward a master plan for the city. The funds being proposed are from the City of Miami Homeland Defense Neighborhood Improvement bonds and rollover funds from the city's parks department.
The SNP oversight committee has funded the roller hockey rink both through a "specified award" to the city in 1997 (as authorized under the SNP Bond Ordinance 96-115) and most recently through a competitive "discretionary interest" award.
Henry N. Adorno, chairman
Safe Neighborhood Parks
Citizens' Oversight Committee
And that only aggravates our cultural divide: You have a wonderful newspaper and Website. I first read New Times when my father said there wasn't another paper like it in town or for miles. It's straight to the point, explores the good and the bad of Miami and its personalities/characters/ politicians, and stays true to the type of journalism I once learned in college.
So I ask: Why not give this opportunity to those who prefer to read in Spanish or those of us who love to read both in English and Spanish? Educating a community means educating a community with a great mix of backgrounds and languages. New Times can do Spanish too!
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Laura Sanchez R.
In Francisco Alvarado's story "Suits vs. Roots" (March 27), WQBA-AM (1140) was incorrectly referred to as La Cubanisima. The station's owners dropped that appellation several years ago. Ronald Mangravite's review of the play Floyd Collins ("Right Show, Wrong Crowd," March 27) misspelled the names of actor Tally Sessions and set designer Gene Seyffer. A new federal agency was misidentified in Francisco Alvarado's story "MIA: A User's Guide" (March 12). The agency is the Transportation Security Administration. New Times regrets the errors.