Letters from the Issue of January 9, 2003
It wasn't my way or the highway: I enjoyed reading Tom Bowker's article "Forever Punk" (January 2), but I have a comment to make: If he plans on writing an article based on facts, I suggest he check all sources first. His story was entertaining but the facts surrounding the split-up of Cell 63 and my so-called resignation from Fay Wray were incorrect.
Fay Wray broke up only to reform months later with a new bassist and drummer. Jeff London never "pushed my buttons," as Bowker wrote. In fact I have a letter Jeff wrote me a couple of years ago apologizing for his behavior during the time we spent in Fay Wray. I never gave him a hard time nor did he give me a hard time. I liked Jeff and I still do. I recently saw him and we got along great. He did manage to explain to me that he was going through bad times and was under the influence of certain substances. He said he felt "paranoid" around me because he thought I disliked him because of his drinking, which wasn't the case at all. I have a "live and let live" attitude about that kind of thing.
Free weekly strays from formula, flounders badly: New Times should stick to what it's good at: yellow journalism with a pink slant. Tim Montemayor's story about Miami Heat coach Pat Riley is laughable ("Riley As Patton," January 2). Real newspapers have already reported that the free-throw disparity between the Heat and its opponents was more than a little lopsided (prior to the Riley outburst) given the number of points in the paint the Heat was scoring. Following the outburst that disparity disappeared and the Heat won six of eight games.
But that aside, Montemayor's assertion that the Heat "lacks a big man and has no recourse to one -- thanks to poor cap management" is ludicrous. Anybody even remotely in tune with the sports world knows that the Heat's franchise player, center Alonzo Mourning, is out with a debilitating kidney disease. His guaranteed contract (almost all contracts in the NBA are guaranteed) is in its final year, causing cap problems for his team. Bad luck more than bad cap management has hamstrung the Heat. But I guess that's why Tim Montemayor writes for a free weekly and isn't the general manager of a professional sports franchise.
By the way, in Mourning's absence the Heat's starting center, Brian Grant, is ranked fourth in the league in rebounding and third in field-goal percentage. Not bad for a team that "lacks a big man." Piss off!
A sumptuous creation by world-famous Chef Whatshisname: I enjoy Lee Klein's dining reviews tremendously and look forward to reading them every week. I find him sharp and well informed, and he exhibits a true understanding of food. I especially liked his vibrant commentary on La Broche ("Bulli For Broche," January 2), but I must point out one small error: the spelling of Spanish chef Ferrán Adria's name. It was incorrect in the story. Since the entire review was themed around references to El Bulli restaurant in Spain, Adria's name should at least be spelled right.
County manager vows to leave no commissioner unprotected: Frank Alvarado's article "The 24-7 Man" (December 26) makes an unfair assertion that Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dorrin Rolle somehow influenced the decision to provide police presence after consecutive acts of violence at his home. The truth of the matter is very different.
In fact these incidents, occurring so closely together, caused the Miami-Dade Police Department to make a professional judgment that Mr. Rolle and his family were at risk and that specific, timely action was warranted. For that reason a short-lived special patrol was assigned to Commissioner Rolle's neighborhood.
It is unrealistic to ignore the fact that elected officials can be targeted simply because they hold a position of authority. In recognition of this reality, I fully supported and endorsed police director Carlos Alvarez's decision to take prudent steps to prevent possible harm. I hope New Times readers will note that these actions were taken on a short-term basis, and specifically designed to prevent further victimization.
Steve Shiver, manager
And I think it's running rampant at your newspaper: In the late 1940s my father, who was then working for the New York City Transit Authority, asked an Irish co-worker to come to dinner with his wife at our home. The next day the man told my father he and his wife would not be able to come. He explained that his wife was afraid because, she said, "Jews wear long black coats and black hats, they have long black beards and they kill babies." My father, a Russian Jew, was extremely upset at the reason given by his co-worker for not accepting the dinner invitation.
During the Jewish Passover ceremony, the words "What makes this day different from any other?" are recited in Hebrew. I say that now. What makes this day different from any other? Bias and anti-Semitism are still running rampant. And by whom? By Gaspar González, who wrote such a discriminatory, disparaging article about the eruv ("Strings Attached," February 21, 2002) and now, by John Lombardi in his "High Anxiety" column entitled "Miracle on 41st Street" with an illustration by Alvaro Diaz-Rubio (December 19), of Orthodox Jews depicted as black-faced ghouls with staring white eyes and Halloween teeth.
Who are Gaspar González and Alvaro Diaz-Rubio? Are they not Hispanics who, either themselves or their parents, came to this country in search of religious and financial freedom? What is the reason for their atrocious behavior, their anti-Semitic, discriminatory writing and discriminatory artistry? It should be enough that Jews are still persecuted and murdered throughout the world. We do not need it in our own back yard, especially not by another ethnic group seeking its own freedoms here.
Sheila C. Taft
John Lombardi replies: Ms. Taft's story is sad, indeed, but neither Gaspar González's writing nor Alvaro Diaz-Rubio's drawing for my column were anti-Semitic. González reported a series of incidents, period. Diaz-Rubio illustrated a blackout on 41st Street, so the figures were of necessity dark. Calling them "black-faced ghouls with staring white eyes and Halloween teeth" is reading in prejudice that simply isn't there.
Here's why Homestead Speedway tried to undermine Grand Prix Americas: Though Francisco Alvarado's article about the Grand Prix Americas does show that ticket sales for the October race were below expectations, the comparison he made to the NASCAR-sanctioned events held at the Homestead-Miami Speedway was not fair ("GPA Redux," December 12). NASCAR is by far the most popular category of auto racing in the United States, garnering many times the exposure received by Championship Auto Racing Teams events. On that alone, the NASCAR fan base and awareness is superior to that of CART, which ensures higher ticket sales.
And don't forget that Homestead-Miami Speedway lost its CART date owing to poor ticket sales -- at a time when CART was far more popular than it is today. The fact remains that Raceworks, creators of Grand Prix Americas, exists because of the ineptitude that Daytona-based International Speedway Corporation (ISC), the company now operating Homestead-Miami Speedway, showed in marketing such a popular event to all ethnic groups that shape Miami. In my view, ISC knew that Raceworks was going to show them up, which explains why they went up to the last minute trying to have the Grand Prix Americas canceled.
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