Living saints of Kendall: I commend the Miami New Times for its splendid coverage in Emily Witt's "Band of Outsiders" (April 13) of the positive work the Geraldis have done for people in our community.
While serving as a principal of Neva King Cooper Educational Center in Homestead from 1989 to 1995, a school for the profoundly mentally handicapped, I had the privilege of working with Camille Geraldi. She had many of her children attending our school during the day. I was also fortunate to be invited to see the home Camille and her husband provided for her "troop," as she affectionately called them.
If I ever met anyone who came close to being living saints in this world, it would be the Geraldis.
Abilities galore: Emily Witt's story about the Geraldis and the children and adults they help was emotionally captivating. I have the privilege to lead an organization that serves intellectually challenged children and adults throughout Miami-Dade County. Their abilities, rather than perceived disabilities, become blatantly apparent to those who see this segment of our population for who they are. They are friends, neighbors, and members of our community.
Mark E. Thompson, executive director
Special Olympics Miami-Dade County
Read his lips: Forrest Norman's article "Vote for Barns" (April 13) stated that Miami-Dade County's bond referendum included $70 million for a program paying owners of agricultural land for their right to rezone, meaning the land will stay rural in perpetuity. This statement is factually incorrect.
The bond program never included $70 million for this project. Mr. Norman was provided with a copy of the Board of County Commissioners July 20, 2004 resolution that clearly states that Project Number 10: Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) was allocated at $30 million. The November 2, 2004 ballot language directly referenced the resolution and was the basis of the overwhelming support of this bond question as well as the other seven bond ballot questions.
The article subsequently stated, "The Miami-Dade County Commission approves the general obligation bond proposal, which includes a PDR program with a budget of $30 million." It is improper for New Times to insinuate that the amount was modified after the election. Further, Mr. Norman failed to mention that while the initial proposal for projects to be considered for inclusion in the bonds program exceeded $7 billion, through a public process the bond program was set at $2.9 million. This amount allowed the county to maintain the existing tax rate for debt service. A larger bond program would have required a tax increase.
Roger Hernstadt, capital improvement construction coordinator
Editor's note: Mr. Hernstadt is correct that the program's budget, as approved by county commissioners, was $30 million. New Times regrets the error.
Show me the PDRs: Regarding Forrest Norman's "Vote for Barns": Preserving the rural landscape near cities is an idea that has been bolstered by legislation. It's also been successful for decades in other parts of the country. It is a short-sighted, irresponsible disgrace that Miami-Dade County government is coming up with only one million dollars for purchase of farmers' development rights to preserve our rural landscape, when much more was approved by voters in a 2004 bond issue, and land values have more than doubled. Is this yet another sneaky maneuver by the pro-development-everywhere bias of most of our county commissioners? How about some enlightened decisions for a change that will protect the health and quality of life of citizens? And how about giving us what we voted for?
Judith Hancock Sandoval
But they'd toss Cory Aquino: Trevor Aaronson's story "The Terrorist Who Wasn't" (March 30) was heartfelt. Manny Ebaid is but one of so many such people here in the United States. My family has also suffered humiliation and defeat because the police and judicial agencies used the media to persecute us. They acted on information from a disgruntled customer and realized we weren't the bad guys the customer said we were but they had to make us look bad on paper so they could cover their judicial asses. It is amazing how many rattlesnakes and cobras came out of their holes to add more venom. Of course the media were eager to spread the poison to sell their news products. The media cover their asses by just using quotes, true or fictional!
There are so many stories like this throughout the U.S. I wish legislation somehow could be passed to protect the vulnerable small guys like me. Thank God for New Times for being honest. Please pass my respects and good wishes to Mr. Ebaid.
Name withheld by request
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That preacher has no Twist: Sirs, I was reading the article written by Mariah Blake about the alleged "preacher" Doug Giles, "Manly, Yes" (March 9), and was reminded of something Charles Dickens wrote in an introduction to an 1867 reprint of his first novel, The Pickwick Papers: "But it is never out of season to protest against that coarse familiarity with sacred things which is busy on the lip, and idle in the heart; or against the confounding of Christianity with any class of persons who, in the words of Swift, have just enough religion to make them hate, and not enough to make them love, one another."
It is astonishing to me that these fundamentalist preachers, our American Taliban crusaders of intolerance and hatred, can't even seem to wrap their tiny minds around the most obvious truths preached by Jesus in the Bible. They search through asides and missives for proof that God hates gays, that women are inferior, that immigrants are inferior and unworthy of life in America, and that our foreign policy needs to be directed with an angry, unthinking rage instead of with an open heart and charitable soul.
I can only hope that they someday do truly feel the power and majesty of God's love and grace and know that this love is not for them and their followers alone but for all mankind, regardless of color, sex or sexuality, wealth or poverty. We come into this world alone and with nothing, and leave it the same way. It is how we choose to live our lives in the meantime that shows our true faith.