Yeah, Uh-huh

Letters from the Issue of January 5, 2006

Unmitigated impudence is what we live for: In response to the comic strip "Get Your War On" in the December 1 issue: It says, "Which Iraqis are you gonna ask?... The old ladies who won't stop yelling about how we accidentally killed their kids?" I do not believe your newspaper would be making jokes in a cartoon if anybody anywhere is actually killing innocent kids. Children cannot be blamed, which is why there is a question mark at the close of the quotation. The cartoon drawing caricaturing this event leaves the phrase "if there be lasting harm ..." unanswered: from Exodus 21. Why deprecate the little old ladies for pointing out the atrocity of accidentally or otherwise doing harm to babies and children or kids? When a missionary will not even put baby Jesus in a Nativity scene, then Christmas is threatened and infants are at risk. The story of Christ Jesus being laid in a manger is the first book of the New Testament of the Holy Bible about the newborn babe to Saint Mary. The war, as the author says, is on: to kill kids while anybody noticing is shunned. There is no excuse for being so insensitive that you do not even know you are killing kids at Christmas or anytime, and then to have the unmitigated impudence to make jokes about murder is horrendous beyond words!

Lynn Davis


Letters to the editor


An Analytical Art Lover Gives Advice

We'll get right on that: I was at Collins Avenue and 17th Street Friday at 6:00 p.m. I picked up your Art Basel issue (December 1) and was hoping it would quickly tell me where to go.

I, along with the majority, did not care for Cafeteria's exhibition. I just wanted to see some art within walking distance, after my hard-won parking odyssey.

In the future, I propose charts similar to the mileage charts between cities. Down one side, you could have the dates and times (I guess 9:00 a.m. to noon could be lumped together). On the other, the locations with addresses.

One chart would be for Miami Beach, one for the Arts District, one for Wynwood, and I guess another for "other." Do not neglect to cite the shuttle times.

Dots at intersections on the chart could denote galleries that are in operation. The reader would note one nearby and open at a good time, and then look up the locale on your list to see if the offering is of interest.

We are not celebrities with a gang of hangers-on to wade for us through the locale list to find a sole offering of interest. Thank you.

George Childs


The Star Rating System Must Die

People really, really, really like to talk about food: Thank you so much for telling it like it is. After living in Miami several years (after LA and NY), I must say the quality of the food has improved — a teeny bit — but it comes nowhere close to what you eat elsewhere, as Lee Klein aptly pointed out in "What's the Matter with Miami?" (November 24). Nowadays we do most of our cooking at home, and it frustrates us no end to read rave reviews about mediocre restaurants with subpar service. Yes, you are right on the review front: Here five stars are awarded to just about anything expensive that opens up a kitchen. I used to follow the advice in those reviews, but after getting burned too many times, I simply ignore them now. I'm sure you'll get plenty of hate mail for your honesty. Have fun with it!

Name withheld by request

Key Biscayne

That's Just Crazy Talk

Two cultures, two sets of rules?: Regarding "21,000 Code Citations Can't be Wrong" by Emily Witt (November 24): The reason citations need to be given is that ever since Cubans began coming into Greater Miami in the Sixties, they took over the city and county governments and then violated the running of restaurants and snack bars as bars, gambling establishments, and prostitute pick-up points. Native-born American city governments were not able to keep up with enforcement and gave up. After the Cubans voted themselves into control of the city governments, it just got worse!

Yet there was somehow always enough enforcement to keep native-born American-run establishments from operating as a bar if they were not licensed to serve alcohol. This adds up to two sets of laws — one for native-born Americans (must obey) and one for Cuban businesses (a wink and a nod). When you have that type of extremely unfair law enforcement, it leads to both parties deciding they do not have to obey the laws — especially the type of violations that are not right out in the open for all to see.

Tom Buyea


That's a Little Less Crazy

Code enforcement is everyone's business: Emily Witt, I must commend you on yet another great article, "21,000 Code Citations Can't Be Wrong." The City of Miami Police force always manages to pull out all stops even with a limited number of officers. However, has brass at the Miami Police Department looked into including U.S. Customs agents in these raids?

As a border patrol officer with a vast knowledge in immigration law who has presented many cases before both an immigration judge and our U.S. attorneys and courts, I know for a fact that — through random checkpoints or patrolling of the Miami River, Port of Miami, and the many marinas that line South Florida from Monroe to Broward and beyond — almost one out of every ten people interviewed is in our country illegally. We also find those who have already committed crimes, and these folks end up right back out on our streets.

There are far too many of these incidents, and if we as a nation are going to protect our borders, it is everyone's responsibility, from the federal government down to the local officials, including police departments. CBP could place detainers on those arrested during raids that require their presence before an immigration judge, which would more than likely result in deportation. This method alone would save taxpayers millions of dollars in healthcare benefits paid to Jackson Hospital.

To clarify, however, you do not have to be illegal in the U.S. in order to be deported and lose those benefits taxpayers contribute to. If you are a lawful permanent resident and are arrested for committing certain crimes, you could stand to lose your LPR status in the U.S. and face deportation. This has been done and it's no secret.

Just something to think about and perhaps mention to brass at the Miami Police Department, whom I (along with many other officers) think are doing a stellar job with such limited funding and personnel in attempting to maintain order in our ever-growing city.

Kudos to Chief Timoney and his command staff. I would be proud to serve on his force or with his team any day.

Name withheld by request


Seeing No Stars

It's not a very appetite-whetting image: Your insightful misconception that Miami is home to A-list epicurean establishments hints at the probability that a very small percentage of the population can actually afford such establishments given the demographics of this mostly Third World denizens' transient tourist trap. Lee Klein did a "fine dining" job in "What's the Matter with Miami?" but he may have inadvertently overlooked a couple more extrapolations and/or deductions as to why this town is rated No Stars.

It is a poor man's delight in contrast to getting a real piece of grilled red snapper, all four ounces of it, for just $38 at the latest nouveau eatery — naturally snobbish wait-service with plenty of attitude d'sniff included ("Only the $780 bottle of our '95 Night Train Express?") Add a few spears of asparagus, a spoonful of soup, and a miniature potato washed down with a glass of house select wine and — viola! — you'll gladly have to "fork" over $300 for the two of you. Which brings me to the other consideration — greedy landlords or not, legend in their own minds (or not!), hot spot or not, these restaurants fail to placate the indigenous population that could and would support them when they are sucking wind from May to September by offering reasonable fares for largely unreasonably small and mostly passable food, no matter what the nomenclature of the moment. If you want epicurean excellence, go to Pierre Gagnaire in Paris (if you can get a reservation sometime this century). If our local restaurateurs seek patron loyalty, stop insulting us with the assumption we will pay tourist fares. We won't. No, not even $18 for a tuna tartare (which one can get at any sushi bar for $8), $12 for a palmful of iceberg lettuce, or $58 for a steak at the hottest new prime poser palace.

One can only remain incredulous at paying $12 for a pear, $42 for a quarter-pound of Nova, $3.50 for a spoon of cream cheese, $39 for one giant shrimp — and get the calculator out for major purchases such as meat, fish, and fowl down at that other five-star-audacity gold-plated rip-off joint — Epicure.

Zip on over to Casa Casuarina, fork over $53,600 for your first year's membership, and pony up to the new Caviar Creator Lounge, where you can get a whole lot of nothing for a whole lot of money. Stay out all night and then slide on into the Raleigh for an $80 breakfast; be sure to order an additional piece of white toast for the absolutely most gracious giveaway price of $10. Chew slowly. No wonder there is more often than not the ambient sound of shutters flapping across empty spaces.

Ernesto Sandoval


We're Here, We're ...

Well, not everybody is used to it: Regarding Melissa Levine's film review, "Spent" (November 24): I read it and agree with everything you said, but I am troubled by something you wrote, which was: "Neither is queer, but almost everyone else is." I don't know why so many otherwise intelligent people think it is acceptable to use the word queer when referring to homosexuals. It isn't. It is still an insult and an attack word, which I am sure you didn't intend.

How would you feel about a review that said, "Neither is a kike, but almost everyone else is"? Or "Neither is a nigger, but almost everyone else is"? I don't believe in censorship. I think you should you use any words you choose, but I thought you'd like to know that, despite a popular television show, this word is still boorish.

Allan Provost


That's What Netflix Is For

See all of your beautiful babies in the comfort of your own Barcalounger: Your well-researched article about the film finds of 2005, "Little Misses" (December 29), comes as a painful reminder that Miami has no real arthouse cinemas. Your consolation of upcoming releases on DVD rubs it in even more, for this is our only hope; that is, if these titles ever make it into the couple of remaining indie-friendly video stores.

Alfredo Cubina

Coral Gables


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