Portrait of the Artist as an Old Hag

Letters from the Issue of July 08, 2004

That was my mother you smeared: I'm Neith Nevelson's youngest daughter and I would like to comment on Forrest Norman's story about her ("A Brush with Death," June 24). My mother seemed very excited that someone was interested in interviewing her, and I was excited for her as well. I assumed the article would concentrate more on her artistic genius and less on her inability to make money and provide a sufficient life for herself.

The previous article written about her, in the Miami Herald, was very disturbing and brought me to tears. But that's beside the point. My question is: What was Forrest Norman's inspiration? And why didn't he feel the need to interview those who actually know my mother (like me), rather than those who have only looked at her as a charity case?

My mother claims she never realized Mr. Norman would make her look as terrible as he did. Why would a reporter want to write an article like that? Why not just focus on her artwork? Is that so hard? Was it necessary to make her look like a haggard old bag lady on the brink of suicide?

A brush with death? I think not.

Xochtle Louise Mcknight

Irving, Texas

Portrait of the Politician as a Loser

Only an ignoramus would write that: I am shocked at the way Brett Sokol, in his "Kulchur" column, portrayed mayoral candidate Maurice Ferré as a loser ("Ego Without End," June 17). Same with the subsequent letter to the editor from Dee Rogers (June 24).

Brett and Dee seem to be ignorant people who have no knowledge of Ferré's contribution to Miami in the past, as well as his potential for our future. These are pessimistic minds who find satisfaction in bringing down those who have a great vision for Miami.

I believe Miami-Dade voters should have many options to choose from in such a serious political race. If Ferré appears to be the sting who takes away votes from Jimmy Morales and José Cancela, then those candidates must be lacking something Ferré clearly holds.

Sonia Succar

Coral Gables

Hammered in Miami, Florida

Hank is right -- no public money for the Marlins: I enjoyed reading Francisco Alvarado's interview with Hank Goldberg ("Toxic Jock Syndrome," June 24). I've listened to Hank since I got out of the Marines in 1992. In fact I've called his show eight or nine times and have always had good conversations with him, even when he's disagreed with me.

Sometimes, however, his hammerish style with other callers seems offensive. As he said in the interview: "I didn't have a great bedside manner in getting rid of [people]." I guess when you're 64 years old, it's pretty hard to start working on tact.

The interview was informative, and because of it I have now decided not to support a stadium deal for the Marlins. It's pretty easy to sit back and say, "I want the Marlins to stay, so let's support a stadium." I think on balance Hank is right about the stadium deal -- we all want the Marlins to stay, but public money should not fund a stadium. Rich owners paying rich baseball players obscene amounts of money while the public pays for their stadium? Now, that would be offensive.

Joseph Perea


Hammered in Miami, Texas

Hank is all nonsense when it comes to Cubans: I'd like to respond to Hank Goldberg, who told New Times: "One of the great presumptions is that because baseball is big in Cuba, the Cuban-American population is going to show up to Marlins games. I remember when [former Marlins pitcher and Cuban defector] Livan Hernandez was called up during the Marlins' pennant run in 1997. He pitched one day, and [Cuban-American teammate] Alex Fernandez was pitching the next day. The Marlins had 19,000 people for one game and 20,000 for the other. So excuse me, but where's the passion?"

All right, Hank, that's really intelligent. Gee, I wonder how many passionate Cuban-American fans would have come to see Livan and Alex play if, say, the Marlins' ballpark were in Palm Beach. Or hey, even better, if it were in Orlando. A couple of thousand? A few hundred maybe? Come on, Hank, I thought you had some common sense.

The whole point of locating the stadium in Little Havana is because that's where we can fill seats, unlike Pro Player Stadium, which has a sad attendance record. To say that Cuban Americans lack passion for baseball is like saying Brazilians lack passion for soccer.

Angel Alonso

Miami, Texas

Editor's note: Yes, there really is a Miami, Texas. It's located in the state's Panhandle some 90 miles northeast of Amarillo. Population is 570, give or take a couple. It has been called "the last real cowtown in the Panhandle," and no, it does not have a Major League Baseball franchise.

Were You Trying to Scare Teenagers?

Well, congratulations -- you succeeded: As a concerned youth who does volunteer work in the HIV/AIDS field, I'm writing in response to Rebecca Wakefield's article "The Unwanted Test" (June 24). Right off the bat, the illustration, with its shadow of someone holding up a needle, gave me the impression it was going to upset me. Needless to say, it did.

Readers are introduced to "Brandy's" mother, who is "dismayed" that parental notification was not involved when her daughter was tested for HIV at Braddock High School. Let's face it, teenagers don't exactly tell their parents about their sex lives, let alone that they are going to do the responsible thing and be tested for HIV. I think Florida law understands this, considering that parental notification is not mandatory.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that "Brandy," knowing she was HIV-positive, must have felt uncomfortable. But any self-consciousness she might have felt that "forced" her to be tested should not be blamed on a wonderful organization like Care Resource.

The article goes on to explain that the original classroom wasn't available and the gym wasn't intended to be the place for the HIV presentation, yet Care Resource's Ronny Barnett was asked to bring literature for a thousand students? Supposedly the school administration was not aware of all of this. So where was the principal when a huge mobile testing unit was allowed on campus?

A nurse practitioner said in the article that a school is not an appropriate place for testing owing to the "devastation" students will endure if they find they are positive. Anyone who learns they're HIV-positive will be devastated, and it doesn't matter where they learn that. Furthermore, Barnett and the rest of the Care Resource workers are trained professionals prepared to deal with a positive test; they know what to expect, know what to say, and know where to direct individuals when they ask, "And now what?" The article failed to mention this, especially in reference to the students receiving test results. They don't just pick up results in the front office. They are seen by the Care Resource counselor, who confidentially gives them their results.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, every hour two teenagers are infected with the HIV virus. I don't know of any high schools in southwest Miami-Dade that have clinics providing testing, so it is beyond evident to me that programs such as this are not only a good idea but extremely important.

Name Withheld by Request


Liberals Need Enemies

Otherwise we'd be too cheerful and easygoing: Regarding Bob Macron's letter criticizing "The Bitch" and her "pitiful ass-kissing" when it comes to blacks ("Let Me Tell You About that Column of Yours," July 1), he is one ignorant racist fuck. But there are always a few of these people out there to keep us liberal, tolerant, multiculti folks on our toes in case we get too complacent -- as if the Bush administration hasn't already gotten us liberals all in a tizzy, and rightfully so.

It turns out that most of the so-called bad areas Macron mentioned -- Overtown, Little Haiti, West Coconut Grove, Liberty City -- are undergoing gentrification and are probably the hottest redeveloping neighborhoods in Miami.

I wonder where good old Bob lives in New York City. I'd love to move in next door so I could say, "Good morning, ya bastard."

Edward Woods



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