Letters from the Issue of December 15-21, 2005
Free weekly sells out: I was hooked on the New Times after reading it for the first time. I believed it was a refreshing change from the Herald. The New Times has the cojones to report what the Herald will not and will go deeper into the story to give us complete and neutral views.
To my dismay, I read Chuck Strouse's December 1 column about Art Teele's widow, "Widow Speak," and saw something very disturbing, quote: "Art's felony conviction, the never-proven charges of corruption that followed, and unsubstantiated allegations of drugs-and-sex parties with a transvestite have dogged the Teele family for months."
New Times was the one who reported about all of those "unsubstantiated allegations" before Mr. Teele took his life. I'm asking you: What is the difference between a tabloid (who also reports unsubstantiated allegations) and the New Times? For me, none.
So good you should sell it: The content of the December 1 issue prompts me to submit a brief correction and a compliment.
Regarding Jackson Rip Holmes's letter: You can read editions of the Herald going back through 1983 for free at any good-size public library, either by using the microfilm (which go back much further at the downtown branch; copies are fifteen cents) or, more conveniently, by using the computers to go to Online Resources, and scroll way down. You can do this only from the library, not from home or office. But you can e-mail the articles to your home or office computer.
Chuck Strouse's piece about Stephanie Teele, "Widow Speak," was sensitively done and very moving. Art Teele, whom I knew fairly well and who once tried to help out one of my family members, was a very good yet seriously flawed man. His death left me with a sadness in my heart. I never met Stephanie, but my sympathies go out to her.
Flight in my food: I just read an article regarding Miami restaurants Lee Klein's "What's the Matter with Miami?" (November 24) that a friend e-mailed to me and wanted to commend you for stating what we have been saying for years. What is it with Miami? The difference between eateries here and any other major American city is amazing. It is very sad, and I can only hope that someday we will catch up so we don't have to arrive at good dining establishments via airplanes.
Sell-out verbiage: Lee Klein could not have summed up Miami's dining scene better in "What's the Matter with Miami?" This is exactly what happened to Norman Van Aken after he opened at Merrick Park with a menu that had no rhyme or rhythm. And the Miami Herald recently had a food-and-dining centerfold about a housewife turned baker! What a waste of time and energy. This is where Klein's last comment is relevant: Sometimes writers are driven by PR agencies or personal relations. He wrote a great article. Everyone should read it.
Racist, maybe?: Emily Witt's article "21,000 Code Violations Can't Be Wrong" (November 24) was in-depth, unbiased, and very informative. My wife's parents are immigrants from China who came here eighteen years ago with no money. They now own a Chinese restaurant in Little Havana, Fat Yin Chinese Restaurant, which keeps them afloat. Their restaurant was raided like others Ms. Witt mentioned. My mother-in-law was cursed at, arrested, handcuffed, and taken to jail, all the while she did not know what was happening (she knows no English or Spanish). These people were never treated like this in communist China. They were humiliated.
The restaurant is not one of those bars that has waitresses selling beers for ten dollars-plus. They don't have money for a lawyer; they simply want to know what their rights are and be treated just like other Chinese restaurants. Rules are made to keep everybody playing fair. My in-laws would love for those establishments that have prostitution and drug sales to be shut down. They would love for the officers to concentrate on the crack being sold on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.
New Times's journalism is a benefit to the community, and I thank you.
Via the Internet
Good enforcement, perhaps?: I take exception with the tone and conclusions of Emily Witt's article about the code enforcement efforts made by the Miami Police Department.
My wife and I owned a home in the Flagami section of the City of Miami for more than 25 years. With a great deal of sacrifice, we improved our home over the years bathroom addition, kitchen expansion, landscaping, pool, et cetera as many of our neighbors did the same.
Then, after the original owners died or moved on, new owners came in and converted spare bedrooms into "efficiencies," without permits, inspections, and in violation of city building and zoning codes.
We endured years of problems as the tenants engaged in public drunkenness, sold drugs from their homes, engaged in gang activity, had fistfights and arguments on the front lawn, and, in one exceptional case, ran a house of ill repute from an efficiency! I called, wrote, faxed, and e-mailed every single city employee I could find all with the same result: zip, zilch, nada.
We finally decided to sell and move out after a band of enraged, machete-wielding tenants attacked our next-door neighbor because he had raised their rents, and the poor guy took refuge in our home.
The moral of the story? A city is made up of its neighborhoods, and neighborhoods are made up of homeowners. Unfortunately the City of Miami has too many homeowners who either don't care or are too ignorant to realize that zoning laws, building codes, and city regulations on littering, junk cars, and the like are designed to improve our quality of life.
Frankly I hope Chief John Timoney takes over all code enforcement in the city. If he does, I suggest he begin by looking into the thousands of people who have converted their homes into efficiencies, and start cracking down hard. If nothing else, perhaps the city can legitimize this practice, regulate and tax it, and increase the tax base.
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