This guy's not a missionary: Great article about Shawn Beightol, "The Missionary" (January 4) by Rob Jordan, but there are other candidates for leader of the United Teachers of Dade who deserve to be covered in the same depth.
Ron Beasley created the Spotlight Caucus, which successfully ran Karen Aronowitz to lead the union. Because he's unhappy with her failure to reform, cuddling with the district board members, and Pat Tornillo-style tactics, Beasley himself now runs for the leadership.
This man is a retired U.S. Army first sergeant (E-8) who earned two master's degrees while serving in the toughest infantry outfit in the army: the Army Rangers. Normal rotation in a Ranger battalion is three years. Most folks can't physically endure the hardships beyond that. Beasley served twelve years in a Ranger outfit as a member of the ultra-elite LURS (Long Range Recon) teams. He retired with at least 70 percent medical disability. Part of his medical requirement is that he not walk more than 100 yards at a time. When he was the union steward at North Miami Senior High (where we worked together), the principal put him in a distant portable classroom (near me). I paced it off (I myself am a former U.S. Army infantry captain and once served on the same post as Beasley; although I didn't know him personally, I do know officers who served with him). A simple round trip to and from the teachers' restroom was more than 225 yards. Those principals knew he was medically disabled. But he was so effective as a steward that they wanted to punish him.
Beasley is so smart it's scary. He began teaching at North Miami Senior as a first-year teacher in 1998. I'd been teaching about eight years by then. Inside of two years he had orchestrated a coup against the established union stewards who'd been entrenched there for years. He became lead steward and installed a handpicked slate of stewards to help.
Beasley is also the last guy you'd expect to have his ethnic lineage: He is tall, pale, middle-age, and balding. He's also a bona fide Native American.
Beightol is a great guy and as selfless as they come. But Beasley has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to achieve major change. Beightol has been riding on the fruits of Beasley's efforts, and the truth should be known.
Not your newspaper: Miami New Times owes me dinner. I visited O Asian based on Lee Klein's (seemingly fair) recommendation in "Choose Your Noodle" (January 4) and had one of my worst dining experiences ever and that's a bold statement in the tourist-crap environs of South Beach.
My complaints aren't so much about the food (I mean, how do you screw up chicken grilled on a stick?) as the service. Submitted for your approval: A martini served without requested olives because "we're out of olives"; soup that arrived after dessert was offered (and then appeared on the bill even after we rejected it); and swarms of smarmy, self-aware servers in a half-empty room, yet a fifteen-minute wait for a check.
I'd accept the explanation that this is a month-old restaurant going through growing pains if it weren't for the complete lack of interest in the really bad service; it seems to me these guys were less inexperienced than clueless. If we're going to (as we should) have a noodle shop on Lincoln Road, give me Ollie's!
Have a sense of humor: The vote to recall District 13 Commissioner Natacha Seijas is in the past, yet the letters still come, not only in this newspaper but also in the Miami Herald and one of its children, Neighbors Northwest.
What a joke! It was two-fold, the recall itself and me when I called you to suggest a piece about the recall detailing what some of the pro-Seijas folk had to say. It was an even bigger joke when I called Francisco Alvarado, the writer of "Wicked" (December 14), to give him some information that might possibly favor the commissioner. I did not realize he was writing an opinion piece. And what a piece it was.
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Agree or disagree, Miami-Dade deserves the Miami New Times. Hell, we need it! Alvarado writes like no other. Though biased, the piece was brilliant. And the cover was a trip. I hope the commissioner has that cover photo of her dressed going to a Halloween party up in her office, and laughs at it daily. What the hell she won! Even the Miami Herald with its cartoon of a witch riding a broomstick over Miami Lakes and the caption, I believe, "Beware" could not resist your cover.
Even though a number of the "townies" were taken in by the crap spewed from the pro-recall folk, I am sure the commissioner will be magnanimous and forgiving. After all, isn't that what Miami-Dade politics is about? Yeah, sure!
While the pro-recall group is marshaling its forces to attempt another commissioner's recall they continually stated Seijas was only the first I have a message for all concerned: You lost; get over it!
Alan W. Rigerman
Palm Springs North