The Truth About George
We couldn't have been more different, but I respected him: Kathy Glasgow and Lissette Corsa finally gave us the truth about former priest George Zirwas and his life in Cuba ("Murdered in Havana," April 17). I met George just once, about two weeks before his death, and I liked the man almost immediately. We argued for nearly two hours about U.S. and Cuban foreign policy. It would be hard to find two men more different in lifestyles and political views than George and me. I'm a hard-core, almost homophobic, conservative, and George -- well, you know. Still, we respected each other.
So much twisted trash was written about him. I'm glad the record has been set straight. George would have liked that.
Randall Scot Keith
Land of the Knuckle-Draggers
Miami's intelligentsia: Lincoln, Ileana, Perez-Roura: Thanks for Kirk Nielsen's great article about those Cuban exiles seeking to interact with the Castro regime ("Dialogueros," April 10). It's important that people know there is another side to this issue besides what they may read in the Miami Herald or Diario Las Americas.
It is a shame about the Cuban dissidents' arrests, but by the same token our government is just as much, if not more, to blame for the current situation in Cuba. The role of a diplomat should be to foster better relations between countries rather than unifying the opposition to overthrow the government. That is exactly what "diplomat" James Cason did in Cuba. As long as we have a U.S. government and ultra-right-wing Miami-exile leadership that are hostile to Cuba, there will never be any positive change.
Castro's arrest and sentencing of the dissidents is no worse than the harsh sentences the U.S. gave to five Cuban nationals simply for infiltrating organizations that posed a great threat to Cuban sovereignty.
We need more Cuban Americans like Max Lesnik and Alfredo Duran in the community and fewer Neanderthals like Armando Perez-Roura and Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
The Redland: A Conspiracy of Dunces
I've been here 45 years and I like it the way it is: I read Steven Dudley's article about efforts to incorporate the Redland area in South Miami-Dade County ("One Man, One Vote, One Problem," April 10). If blame for lack of progress needs to be placed, it should be placed equally on the county and incorporation advocates John and Pat Wade.
I've been a resident of Miami-Dade since 1958, a retired printer, homeowner, husband, father, and grandfather. Initially I was neutral concerning incorporation, but after attending meetings and listening to Pat Wade, I became anti-incorporation. She and her group are simply trying to create their own little kingdom. They are: "I've got mine -- now everyone else stay out." So I joined Citizens Against Redland Incorporation.
There are several boundary issues that caused Commissioner Katy Sorenson in November 2001 to withdraw her recommendation for a commission vote on the incorporation matter. Those issues were not the fault of county Manager Steve Shiver; that blame lies with Pat Wade and Commissioner Sorenson. The issues still exist. Why haven't they been solved? It's easy to point fingers. Greedy bankers and developers stop incorporation? Bull! The incorporation vote was stopped by a disorganized commissioner and a community activist who thought they could ram the issue down the throats of Redland residents.
I'm not a banker, realtor, or developer. I am simply a resident and I'm happy with my community as it is. As Pat Wade says: Just leave us (the hell) alone!
The Redland: My Hands Are Clean
Contrary to the allegations, I've never obstructed anything: Regarding Steven Dudley's "One Man, One Vote, One Problem," and my alleged involvement in slowing down the incorporation of the Redland area, I believe Mr. Dudley failed to mention a couple of important points.
When the Redland issue was scheduled to appear before the Board of County Commissioners on November 20, 2001, my recommendation was to allow area residents a special election on incorporation. A motion for deferral of the item was made after residents of Goulds and Princeton expressed concerns about being included within the Redland boundaries. So I do not understand Mr. Dudley's statement regarding a meeting, prior to November 20, with the Citizens Against Redland Incorporation: "Shiver put pressure on the OMB analysis team, which was ready to recommend incorporation." I wrote the recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners that would have allowed the Redland to have a vote.
Furthermore, what exactly does Mr. Dudley find unusual about asking staff to attend a meeting for informational purposes? I ask my staff, and in fact encourage my staff, to not only attend the official Municipal Advisory Committee meetings but also to monitor the subgroups that sprout up when an area is going through an incorporation process. It is not at all uncommon.
Mr. Dudley quotes Pat Wade as saying, "We're in a holding pattern." The Redland Municipal Advisory Committee is in a holding pattern because they choose to be. The ordinance creating this committee is active and I don't believe it contains a sunset provision. That means they are free to meet; in fact they have been free to do so since November 2001 but have chosen not to.
I have not made a negative recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners on any incorporations or annexations that have occurred during my tenure. In the future, I would hope Mr. Dudley bases his articles more on factual information rather than anonymous insiders and anecdotal references.
Steve Shiver, manager
Farewell, Sweet Memories
For me, the Lido Spa was childhood magic: Celeste Fraser Delgado's article regarding the closing of the Lido Spa in Miami Beach hit the right tone ("How Sweet It Was," March 20). It was funny as well as sad, much like the closing of the spa or any other major turning point in life. Social director Terry Ross (stage name, of course) is my Bubby (grandmother).
The Lido Spa holds a very special place in my heart -- memories of childhood adventures and wonders when I visited my grandmother during the holidays. To this day I get a shot of that childhood excitement and magic when I visit Bubby at the hotel. I grew up in a small north Florida town outside Gainesville that had more in common with Georgia and the old South than it did with South Florida and the old Jews. Everything and everyone at the Lido was in stark contrast to my Southern small-town life.
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When I was a teen, I associated my visits to Miami with a show that was extremely popular during those years -- Miami Vice. Everything about Miami seemed exciting. Although it was fast cars and beautiful girls, the fascination was still fueled by what I felt as a kid at the Lido. I eventually moved to Miami after college and built many memories hanging out with my Bubby at the Lido.
The emotion I felt when I learned it was closing was similar to discovering there is no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny -- a moment in life when one of the many magical myths of childhood is replaced by the reality of adulthood.
New York, New York