Our Lord Calling

Letters from the Issue of February 16, 2006

Well, maybe not: Regarding "Jesus Redux" by Mariah Blake (February 9): Creciendo en Gracia/Growing in Grace is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. I have respect for all religions, but the rants and lifestyle of this group's leader, José Luis De Jesus Miranda, is absurd. The article says he and his followers believe he is Jesus Christ. First, if Christ came back, I seriously doubt he would wear diamond-encrusted rings, drive a 7 Series BMW, and live in a lavish 5000-square-foot house. Second, I doubt Christ would be confused about who he is; De Jesus first called himself the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul, then decided he was El Otro the demigod, and then proclaimed himself to be Christ.

Everything about this seems a little bit hypocritical. For instance, during the protest at Tropical Park, the members of Creciendo en Gracia were yelling, "They [the church] steal your money!" to a group of Protestants. Yet the same people are lavishing De Jesus with gifts (including a new house in Homestead, money, and security bills). Give me a break! Are his followers insane, stupid, or just looking for a little attention?



Shannon Rodriguez
Coral Gables

Absolutely no friggin' way: "See to it that no one misleads you, for many will come in my name, saying 'I am the Christ'...." — Matt 24:4.

Charles Manson was able to assemble a group of faithful because he was charismatic and his followers had nothing to lose. José Luis Garcia (please, I just cannot add the De Jesus), with his "taste for indulgence" and diamond-encrusted ring, is capitalizing on the many scandals surrounding the Catholic Church.

To blame churches for poverty, war, and disease is a clever tactic reminiscent of Hitler. As if government and other institutions need help from churches or religious groups to corrupt themselves.

Mr. Garcia's "church" welcomes adulterers, sorcerers, drug addicts, even murderers, which is convenient since it provides a blanket of protection should he or any of his hierarchy be accused of these. Garcia says put the Lord before your mortgage or your car payment. I doubt God wants you to be homeless or without transportation. This advice is irresponsible, harmful, and should be an obvious clue to the nature of the man.

"No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him and he cannot sin...." — I John 3:9.

People cannot disrupt Mr. Garcia's church service, because it is videotaped and shown on a screen. He surrounds himself with security guards and encourages his followers to mock and ridicule people in church. He is no fool. He sees the money church members offer their places of worship and wants it for himself.

C'mon, wake up and smell the café con leche. Mr. Garcia doesn't know who he is. An admitted former drug addict wakes from a hallucination thinking he is the Apostle Paul. Finally he's convinced he is Jesus Christ born again. His followers are wearing the sheep's clothing. José Luis Garcia is one more money-hungry wolf in an expensive suit.

Arlene LaHera
North Miami

Guns Don't Kill Prose

Writers do: I don't always read New Times, so I missed the articles about Mario Barcia and his having shot two police officers. I did see the bottom-line message from Francisco Alvarado in "Free at Last" (February 2). I am reminded of the saying about football: Three things can happen to a forward pass, and two of them are bad.

How many things can happen with a gun in the house? You can shoot yourself on purpose or by accident. Someone else can shoot himself. You can shoot a friend, family member, or current or ex-beau with whom you are having an unfortunate tiff. Or they can shoot you. Or yours or someone else's kid can find the gun and shoot himself or another kid. Or you and an intruder can struggle with each other, and he can get the gun and shoot you. Or the gun can be stolen. Or you can actually use it successfully to protect yourself.

So the odds are really bad that a gun in the house will turn out to be a good thing, as it was not a very good thing in this case. Is that potentially the bottom line in this tragedy?

Fred Jonas
Biscayne Park

It's a New World

So why is that darn free weekly stuck in the old one? Regarding "Beach Blanket Beethoven" by Emily Witt (February 2): What's with the brutal writeup? I think what Aaron and Stacey have done — bringing the symphony to the young, South Beach crowd — is fantastic. I, for one, attended the symphony the other night only because of my exposure from being a "friend" of the NWS, and I was blown away and cannot wait until the next performance. What gives? The story seemed pretty harsh, especially for a town only just now taking baby steps toward being a center for culture and the arts.

Buddy Green
South Beach

Fish Rap

We love them little critters: Josh Schonwald's article "A Fish Farmer's Tale" (January 19) told a story about fish farmers and their dreams. It described the years of hard work and frustrations our group has endured to fulfill those dreams and goals. The article touted the fact that our operation is "eco-sensitive," because it is. We are very sensitive to environmental issues and do everything we can to maintain an environmentally responsible business. The article was fairly well balanced and discussed the concerns some groups have regarding the sustainability of offshore aquaculture. This is a lot more than can be said about Mr. Hauter's letter in response to the article, "Snap to It" (February 2), which unfairly and inaccurately portrays our company, colleagues, and fledgling industry.

We have posted on our Website an independent environmental monitoring study that commented pollution problems "could" happen if offshore aquaculture operations are not properly planned or managed. Mr. Hauter put together bits and pieces of these comments to make statements out of context in his letter. Indeed, the report concludes with a positive perception of offshore aquaculture.

To improve our operation, our company has been following the suggestions and recommendations from the report. Offshore aquaculture expansion should not go unchecked, and a proper regulatory structure will help weed out poorly planned and managed projects.

Other environmental studies are currently underway, and the final reports will become available on our Website when they are complete. Our company and others in the field are working hard to develop a responsible industry here in the United States. It is people like Mr. Hauter who are forcing technology, jobs, and income to other countries, where there will likely be less oversight, less regard for the environment, and less concern for product quality.

Brian O'Hanlon, president
Snapperfarm, Inc.
Via the Internet

Big Bust

Cop ambivalence: The photo accompanying Josh Schonwald's story "The First Bust of 2006" (January 26) should be of Officers Fedak and Wing, not the perpetrator. It seems the criminal was more important than the people who protect you by putting their lives on the line every day.

My first reaction was you were glorifying the criminal more than the officers. However, maybe printing officers' pictures would endanger their lives — but I still don't like the cameo of the criminal.

Teri Admire

Hide 'Em, Charlie

Then we'll off 'em: In reference to Francisco Alvarado's "Death by the Pound" (January 26): After the hurricane, my wooden fence around the back yard fell down. We had a generator in our back yard, and one night, after we went outside to pour gasoline into it, my fifteen-year-old terrier, who is partially blind and deaf, sneaked out of the yard without our noticing. When we awoke the next day, she was gone.

The following day I went to animal control to try to find her. They told me to look around. I was totally heartbroken to see all of these caged animals. I wanted to take each and every one of them home. The cages were dirty, and the animals were sitting in feces and urine.

I'm writing this letter because my dog was placed in an area the public does not see. It's the area where sick dogs are kept. If I hadn't asked, I wouldn't have recovered my beloved dog. I don't think they should be set aside and forgotten. These animals should be able to be seen by the public.

Also the majority of the staff at animal control is totally heartless and unsympathetic to animals. After I found her, I had to wait to pay the fee, and the lady at the front desk was rude, nasty, and treated everyone there as if they bothered her. I had been through a terrible ordeal after searching and finally finding my dog, and this woman did not even want me to take my dog home. She had to be reminded to try to be a little more patient as far as the paperwork.

I was so glad to see your article exposing all of these problems at animal services. It is about time something is done to solve them. As far as I can remember, these problems have existed, and no one cares enough to go in and clean up the place. I guess all the politicians have other priorities and animals are not important enough. Let's hope for some changes.

Please continue to stay on top of this issue — don't forget about it. Keep writing and exposing the atrocities committed to these beautiful animals that can't fend for themselves.

Leyda Raya

Take This Sandwich

And put it between your knees: The recent rant by The Bitch about the poetry reading at Luna Star, "One Dead Groove" (January 26), reminded me of a goopy, unsavory product — Smucker's Goober — that came out a few years ago. The writer jammed two items that are often in the same vicinity into the same review. The idea for Goober is that lazy people can't be bothered with opening two jars in order to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Perhaps your reviewer thought she could check off two assignments — literary and fashion review — by writing about them both in one article. Or perhaps she was annoyed because she wanted the fashion assignment but got stuck with poetry, which she knew nothing about and did not wish to write about, and so opted to take an "I'll show you" attitude.

The key to eating a Goober sandwich is not to look at it; it's a nasty mess. Fortunately, when you put the two slices of bread together, you don't have to look at it. Because most readers have no intention of eating their New Times, the same advice can't be followed for the review. The other problem with Goober is that if you love peanut butter, you get too much jelly and not enough peanut butter — or vice versa. Readers of the poetry review were left similarly dissatisfied.

In the future, if your reviewer is interested in writing about fashion, please let her. Your readers won't wind up with a "Goober Review," and she just might do a better job.

Diane Marshall

Staff Writer

Miami New Times has an immediate opening for a full-time staff writer. We're looking for a journalist with at least two years of professional experience who has the ability to create in-depth and compelling stories that explore the issues, events, and personalities of Miami. Qualified applicants should send cover letter, resumé, and clips to:

Chuck Strouse
Miami New Times
2800 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33137

No phone calls or e-mails, please.


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