Don't lose your head amid the glitz and glam: Brett Sokol did a fine job with his "Kulchur" column about Ocean Drive magazine ("Ocean Thrive," March 10). He captured the essence of it. And Michael Shavalier's art direction on the cover was hilarious, one of the more creative New Times covers I've seen in quite a while, which is saying a lot.
I believe there are two fundamental secrets to our success at Ocean Drive. The first is that while we take our work very seriously, we do not take ourselves very seriously. We keep our feet firmly planted on the ground while putting together a highly aspirational "glam" book.
The second is that founding publisher Jerry Powers has had the skilled instinct to hire the right people and place them in the right positions. And then, showing a true mastery of leadership, he has gotten out of the way, allowing us to fulfill our obligations to the company and ourselves. This is a godsend in a micromanaged world, and it is why we are a happy and successful company with very little turnover. Our masthead remains the same year to year. How many companies can make that claim in such a transient time and town?
Rich Santelises, senior account executive
Find a very friendly cop: Concerning Rebecca Wakefield's report on the bad behavior of the sons of schools superintendent Rudy Crew ("Sins of the Sons," March 10), maybe Rudy should move his whole family to Hialeah, where police chief Rolando Bolaños knows how to take care of the vicious offspring of prominent people.
Bad Boys: Tomorrow's Inmates
Proud alumni of Miami-Dade County Public Schools: Just what Miami-Dade County needed -- a new superintendent of schools who seems to have raised his sons to be bullies and thieves. I'm sure under Rudy Crew's leadership, the school system will turn out some of the finest residents to be incarcerated at our maximum-security facilities.
Clyde Cates, Jr.
A ridiculously uneven struggle: Rebecca Wakefield's "Family Afoul" (February 3) was about Joan Andre, my neighbor (and landlord). It was a very sad and traumatic tale about injustice in the foster-care system.
The story focused on "Max" and "Sarah," the youngest of six children our neighbor has fostered. Max is now about three and has been with Joan for some two years. He had previously been sexually abused and neglected by his mother. In the year my husband and I have lived next to Joan and her family, we have witnessed a huge change in Max. When we first arrived, he was fearful and withdrawn. He seemed uncoordinated and disconnected. Even at two years old he hardly ever spoke a word. He would sit in a baby's highchair because he was still having trouble eating and focusing.
The change in him now is unbelievable. He loves our dog Alfie, is enjoying preschool, has started to talk, and loves to play in the yard with his foster family. I remember my heart almost burst when I saw him throw his arms around our dog's neck and kiss him on the nose. This is a totally changed boy. We have often remarked about what a wonderful (if happily chaotic) family our neighbor has.
This has all changed now. By court order, Max and Sarah have been taken away from Joan. They have been split up and are temporarily with other foster parents while the system decides whether to return them to their parents. What the court seems to be forgetting is that the children are suffering. They have been removed from the home they love, separated, and placed in the care of strangers. Months will pass before a decision is made to give their repeatedly abusive mother another chance. In my opinion, you cannot gamble with children's lives.
Can one lonely fireman survive the wrath of his bosses? I got such an uplifting good feeling reading Tristram Korten's tale about the heroism of Miami Beach fire inspector Jim Llewellyn ("Up in Flames," February 10). Goodness gracious, what can you say about a young turk like this who keeps fighting for right, knowing full well that usually unreliable city officials and their agencies will not permit themselves to face the penalties of justice that ordinary folks must face daily.
Still, this gent moves ahead to bring city fathers to face the laws their predecessors deemed critical to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all city residents. Perhaps Korten has given inspector Llewellyn the tailwind he needs to garner some sort of public outcry. Let's hope so, if not merely for safety's sake.
Thanks for the great review -- now we'd like to stuff you into the food processor: Thanks to Lee Klein for his review of our restaurant Grazie Italian Cuisine ("Grazie for Grazie," March 3). However, quite a lot of the information he reported was inaccurate, such as:
The John Dory fish is very popular in the Mediterranean, but it is hard to get in the United States; it only comes approximately twice a week. If we don't have it, we tell our staff to inform customers that we have tilapia instead. We never try to deceive a customer for $22 (the price of the John Dory). We are honest people and we don't do that.
The fettuccine carbonara is not served in a tomato-cream version, as Mr. Klein stated. It is served with pancetta and onions in a cream sauce. There is no tomato. Also we do not serve it with peas. In fact we have never used a pea in our food at Grazie.
Our pancetta is authentic and has fat in it. We use Fiorice brand pancetta, which is the best, and we do not cut the fat out.
All of our stock is made with bones. Everything is made from scratch -- for example, chicken stock with bones. We make demi-glace with osso bucco bones and fish stock with whole fish heads and bones. Mr. Klein really offended us by saying we don't use stock, especially since that is not true.
Our tiramisu does not contain marsala -- never has and never will.
With all due respect, because of inaccurate information by Mr. Klein, we could lose potential and/or current customers. Since he was so diligently trying to make such a credible point and then provided incorrect information, we would sincerely hope New Times would show some integrity by printing a correction.
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Grazie Italian Cuisine
Lee Klein replies: I praised the tiramisu, but will take Spurgeon and Petel's word that it did not contain marsala. Nor did I find fault with my pink (but apparently pea-less) carbonara, or with what I can definitively say were fatless cubes of pancetta. Stocks made with bones? If Spurgeon and Petel say so, but my bone of contention about slow-cooked food went deeper than that. As for the John Dory, I'm afraid this was a miscommunication on the part of the Grazie waiter. No great harm done, though. I extolled the fish for being sweet and succulent. In fact the entire review was very positive and kind to the restaurant as well as its two owners.