Letters from the Issue of December 20, 2007


The Terminator is better than we are: Thank you so much, Isaiah Thompson, for shedding light on this tragic situation in your December 13 article "The People Under the Bridge." Florida should be ashamed of itself. I can't believe this is what the sex offender "hysteria" has led to, and people are just letting it happen. What country are we living in? Where are all the rational people of Florida, and why is no one doing anything? Merry Christmas, all you humanitarians out there in Miami-Dade County.

I don't understand how these politicians and law enforcement people sleep at night. I always thought California was the least compassionate state, but not even Arnold is this bad.


sex offenders

Jamie Stamford

Via Web commentary

Remembering the Holocaust: The problem discussed in "The People Under the Bridge" isn't only in Miami-Dade County. The federal government has set the tone for this whole human rights debacle by creating the pariah class, as you call it, with sex offender registration and notification laws that are retroactive.

Furthermore, they allow people to anonymously access this information over the Internet, making the registries basically hit lists for vigilantes. It seems like every month another registered sex offender (or an innocent family member) is killed by some vigilante who scoured the Internet for a random victim, making our government (and all of us by extension) accessories to murder.

I am a Jew, and this entire sex offender hysteria really scares me. Time and time again, my people have been attacked and persecuted; and almost always the precedent was set by dehumanizing some other group first. That a law like this should be passed in Miami, with all the Jews living there, is mind-boggling. Will we never learn?

Floyd Benninger

Via Web commentary

A Whack at Her Former Employees

They never shoulda done it: I find Lee Klein's review "Alta Comes Up Short" (December 13) so sad, especially since Vani Maharaj worked making salads for me at Michy's, never moved up or over, and Juan Mario Maza was one of my prep cooks, breaking down chicken and meat. I told them so many times they weren't ready to open their own place, and they of course had to prove themselves like so many young cooks today. The worst part is that they throw my name around without even asking for my acceptance or approval. If I were to open a Michy's South, you had better bet I would be there, and there would be more "seasoned" chefs on the line. I wish them luck, but they have to understand it takes more than working salads for less than a year to be a great chef.

Michelle Bernstein


Watch the R Word

Reporting, we mean: I couldn't be more disgusted by the racially irresponsible reporting in Jason Handelsman's December 13 article "Bigg Pimpin'." Who wants to read an article about a big black, cheesing, dumb, six-foot-eight, 280-pound, bald-headed, diamond-bracelet-wearing, fried-chicken-eating, stripper-hungry producer named Derrick "Bigg D" Baker? Handelsman's description of Bigg D is so destructive that I am wondering how he was able to get a job with Miami New Times and Village Voice Media.

I wondered: Is this an article about Bigg D's personal life and his vices or an article about a musical genius from Liberty City? The answer is obvious. It starts with the title alone — "Bigg Pimpin'." You couldn't write more negative stereotypes about a race than the ones listed in this article:

"He leans back in the leather seat of his new Bentley.... Scantily clad women wearing dark red lipstick begin to form a semicircle around the table.... Bigg D's friend James whips out a wad of hundred-dollar bills and hands one to a stripper as she whispers into his ear.... He bites into a chicken wing.... D says, 'Can't nobody relate to that unless it done happen to you.'"

None of those quotes or these actions is directly related to his music and his success. It's irresponsible! Don't write it!

Besides, why did your writer go to the strip club to interview Bigg D? It is supposed to be a story about his music. Interview him in the studio. "He bites into a chicken wing"? What literary value does that have? Why would a writer, an editor, and a publisher print grammatically incorrect comments like "Can't nobody relate to that unless it done happen to you"?

Do you write such things about other people from other racial groups? No, you don't.

You should apologize for this. It's so unbelievable.

John Dudley


That Jewish Thing Again

Mazeltov, baby: "Put on Your Yarmulke," by Cole Haddon (November 29), was a ridiculous article.

Just because you have the pulpit does not give you the right to demean anyone for celebrating a holiday.

I find it insane that the way people celebrate Christmas — lights, trees, going into debt for gifts — has nothing to do with the holiday. Any holiday that brings family together is a major holiday.

What's wrong with Neil Diamond recording Christmas songs? Do you know if Gene Simmons even lights holiday candles?

Hanukkah celebrates freedom from slavery. Now that's something to celebrate.

Ivan Bial


Terminating the Principal

For management shenanigans: Francisco Alvarado, in "Students Get the Shuffle" (November 29), did some excellent reporting on a situation that is appalling and should be resolved as quickly as possible. Teacher Patrick Williams should be reinstated, and principal Valmarie Rhoden should be held accountable for questionable fiscal practices. What mechanisms are in place to hold principals who are in the red accountable? When this happens in the private sector, it is often cause for CEO termination.

Jim Albert



Francisco Alvarado's December 6 story "Sermon on the Mount" excluded an important fact about Miami Beach Planning Board member Matthew Adler's vote on a proposed referendum to limit development on Mount Sinai Hospital-owned real estate. On August 16, the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission found Adler did not have a conflict of interest though his father is vice president of Mount Sinai's board of trustees.


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