Letters from the Issue of June 30, 2005
And shut the gates for safety of ourselves: The story by Francisco Alvarado, "Delusions of Dogma" (June 16), is yellow journalism at its finest. When I go home, I want to feel probably safe. That is the safest I have ever felt, living in all the urban and suburban neighborhoods that make up my life -- probably safe. But not in Biscayne Park. I found Biscayne Park by accident. In Biscayne Park, I can drop the probably. I am not probably safe. I am safe. One simple example of feeling safe is what happens throughout the night, every night. A Man in Blue drives by in a cruiser with small floodlights. "To Protect and to Serve." There it is, right there.
I can tell you one truth: All Americans, from the projects to the barrio, from Times Square to the suburbs, want this one simple courtesy. Police driving by their residence or business at ten miles an hour, just checking it out. The reason this simple courtesy provides such a sense of security to every resident of Biscayne Park is that the homeowner makes the extra sacrifice to pay for it. Pay for it.
A police commissioner is going to "pad" his salary with $950? Please, let me pay for it. Right on. I've given every cop in Biscayne Park a raise of $950 a year. We need them. They need laws that give them authority to go after the bad guys, and the money to have enough cruisers to make every Miamian, every Floridian, feel safe.
If Florida wants to enjoy the feeling of moving from "I am probably safe" to "I am safe," there is only one solution. Do as Biscayne Park did. Tax themselves. Return the state tax to Florida. Abolishing the state tax only benefits one group: the rich. The rest of us pay it without thinking. Join the rest of the Union. Make Silicon Valley here. We have the sand! We have the talent. We have the money. Tax the money. Give it to where state tax always goes: schools and police. And leave Biscayne Park to police itself.
He speaks not like a citizen: I read "Delusions of Dogma" by Francisco Alvarado. To do your story justice, you should speak to some of the neutral residents in the Park. I am sad to see you portray this individual as a victim. You are putting the spotlight on a person who upon meeting me for the first time proceeded to brandish his weapon and discuss how he would kill anyone if he feared for his life.
As for his not living in the Park, that may be due more to his wife throwing his clothes out on the front lawn than to the police's presence. But to be fair, are there problems with the police department and the village in general? Yes. However, the poster child for change should not be McDade. True change will come only when a level-headed, open-minded person stands up and bridges the gap of communication between the village and its residents. I hope this happens soon, so the reality of living in the village will live up to its image.
Name withheld by request
I cannot justify who the law condemns: Francisco Alvarado's piece about Biscayne Park, "Delusions of Dogma," strikes me as mildly hysterical. Some of the characterizations of people working here in the village are over the top. There are good and bad cops on any police force; Biscayne Park has a couple of jerks in uniform. But Lt. Mitchell Glansberg is not one of them. He is an honorable, intelligent, compassionate, and capable officer who always does his best to deal with people and circumstances fairly and wisely. I've observed Chief Ronald Gotlin behave commendably as well as seemingly rather unprofessionally. But his innocence must be presumed until proven otherwise, with actual factual proof, not accusations seething with raw emotion. Sira Ramos is "the most reviled person in the village" only to those she dared cross while doing her thankless job of enforcing village regulations. To most of us, she's a hard-working, decent person who does her best to make this neighborhood better. There's a load of Peyton Place petty intrigue and power struggle going on here in Biscayne Park all the time. I'd rather see some of that exposed than people's reputations questioned with such broad strokes of the journalistic brush.
Great is the rumor of this dreadful knight: I was appalled while reading the article by Francisco Alvarado. You will never find a better police chief than Ron Gotlin. I have lived here for twelve years and know the chief and most of the officers. Biscayne Park is better patrolled than any other area. I had broken both of my feet within the span of six months; when my husband went out of town for two weeks while I was wheelchair-bound, Chief Gotlin made sure an officer came to my door every night to check on me. Try getting that kind of service in the city of Miami.
If you polled the residents of Biscayne Park, you would see we are very happy having the chief here and support him fully. Let him stand by his record of service and his personal service of giving back to this community.
Ann Da Silva
Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow: Inanimate Objex? How embarrassing for local Miami artists that the one gallery owner who came with some edge, with some youth, and with some originality -- who had "moxie," if you know what I mean -- gets written about by our local rag in an anonymous article by a writer whose only source is some bitter neighbor who probably was bent because of those so-called "empty twenty spots" in her ashtray and was pissed she couldn't do another bump. And hey, from my knowledge, people usually don't let you see empty coke bags in their ashtray unless you yourself have empty ones in yours.
Call me crazy, but let's get back to the point, which is -- who hasn't had a drug problem here? This is Miami for crying out loud, and what's sad is no one is celebrating all the killer art shows this guy Dustin had and how he inspired a lot of the local artists here and how he changed the Miami art scene in a different direction and showed the art world there is a new generation buying art and they're not interested in Brittos and Van Goghs. This is why the Clayton Bros. were probably even considered for Basel this year, but no, you turn around and let some crackhead bash him while she sits smoking a cigarette. I really don't know Dustin that well; if you asked him, he knows me but I'm not a friend -- I just happen to pay attention to what's going on in the art scene here, who's doing things and who's not doing things. So what, maybe it got to his head a little, the success of a gallery, the booze, the women -- I'm sure it would get to anybody's head at first; let the guy fuck up. I'm disappointed in New Times; you're supposed to be looking out for the locals, but instead you kick them while they're down. Dustin deserved much more than that.
Yvonne "Evo Love" Grams
For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite: Sorry for the delayed response to your enlightening article, "To Serve and Protect and Intimidate" by Francisco Alvarado (May 26), about Miami Beach's finest and their aptitude to beat up on "nigger" school teachers, women, and other "hardened criminal types," but I had to let my outrage reside a bit. I wasn't sure if it was an isolated incident until I realized the Miami Beach Police Department is actually competing with the North Bay Village PD for the annual Most Emotionally Disturbed Neanderthal Law-Enforcement Agents in a Municipality Award (they'll never unseat these incumbents). Granted the NBVPD only intimidates and beats up "white" school teachers and women with children in their minivans (speeding at 34 mph in a 30 mph zone). No doubt the MBPD would club my 86-year-old grandmother to death if she followed through with her "I'd like to tell those two-inch pencil dicks what a bunch of pussies they really are ..." As police agents, MBPD and NBVPD are both equally inept -- socially, progressively, and morally. And they wonder why most of us hold them in contempt.
I only hope that one day an opportunity to assist one of these officers in trouble presents itself, for this "nigga" will gladly rush to his side -- uh-huh, with the front end of my Hummer.
Name withheld by request
So criminal and in such capital kind: In response to "To Serve and Protect and Intimidate" by Francisco Alvarado: Let me assure the black community that the Miami Beach Police Department is an equal opportunity offender. While the case regarding Mr. Berry clearly includes racism, these frat-boys-on-steroids have a long record of abusing the rights and bodies of whites, Hispanics, et al.
Unfortunately, covering up transgressions is so easy (i.e., institutionalized) within the "criminal justice system" that filing complaints about these episodes is useless. And, although the suggestion for "good" cops to speak out against the bad is a noble thought, doing so would forever blacklist them.
If you live in Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, the State of Florida, or the USA, you should be ashamed these atrocities occur every day, not just in some faraway Abu Ghraib prison, but right here in your back yard. I dare you to take a peek behind the curtain. Apathy toward this problem will only breed more.
Name withheld by request
His fault concludes but what the law should end: I read your story ("To Serve and Protect and Intimidate") and I must say I wish your paper was as concerned about the daily criminals. The police, overwhelmingly, are great. Without them there would be no civil society. I have no idea if this story is true or not. But what is truly scary is how you search for such things. This happened four years ago, if at all. How many thousands of crimes have been committed since then? We're lucky we have the police. They should make at least $100,000 a year. But your agenda is obvious -- and morally low.
Brooklyn, New York
What dost thou rap and fumble?: While I thought Mosi Reeves's article about Rhymesayers, "Made from Scratch" (May 26), was pretty well put together and informative, I have to take issue with one glaring misstatement: "In 2002, Atmosphere's God Loves Ugly sold more than 100,000 copies, becoming the first underground rap album to reach öindie gold' (a feat regularly achieved by rock bands such as Bright Eyes and Death Cab for Cutie) since Blackalicious's Blazing Arrow in 2000."
Although you state this as some sort of concrete statistical evidence, you neglect to define "underground rap."
Admittedly, the labels and artists I mention are not in the same aesthetic category as the ones you champion in your article. But to act as if some sort of independent rap ground has been broken by Rhymesayers when Too Short & Dean Hodges were moving those numbers and then some twenty years ago in Oakland out the trunk of their car is to rewrite hip-hop history.
Maybe I'm reading into things here, but really the only construct for underground rap I can think you're using here is the belief that Atmosphere is underground because it makes music that critics and (often white/suburban) kids who wouldn't otherwise listen to rap would enjoy.
The labels and artists I mention may not be archetypically positive or "conscious" or "emo" or avant-garde (most of these terms loosely translate to "made for college kids and white dudes"), but they are equally important in influencing a different kind of underground movement. If you asked these artists in their prime what they were making, they'd tell you it's underground rap. And perhaps, more important, rappers and entrepreneurs in every hood in America have been using this model and making more money than they would within the major-label infrastructure. I wouldn't be surprised if the El-P's and Saadiqs didn't draw from similar inspiration.
Trenton, New Jersey
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