The Ultra Truth

Letters from the Issue of March 24 , 2005

I came, I catered, I sued: I read Jean Carey's article "Behind the Curtain" about the guys who run the Ultra Music Festival, Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes (Winter Music Conference Guide, March 17). It is a shame to see such good props given to these two sleazy individuals when the truth needs to be heard: They have not paid many people they've employed, such as DJs, promoters, and caterers like me. (I've filed a lawsuit against them.)

And did they actually say they have zero tolerance for drugs? Give me a break!

Alan Hughes


Out of Space

I suffered, I split, I signed: I just read a small paragraph about me in The Bitch's column ("Space Out," March 17). It seems inquiring minds want to know about my departure from Club Space. It's rather simple, actually. I wasn't happy at Club Space. This was something that had been brewing for some time and definitely had nothing to do with Amika or the Recess party. Once Amika found out I was a free agent, they immediately drafted me.

Now on to, which by the way, I love! I'm going to let everyone in on a little secret about certain characters who contribute some of the gossip to the board. Sorry guys, but here goes: If a club owner needs to start a rumor or leak information to create some hype, he calls someone who posts on CJ. Of course these select few get the VIP club treatment. The problem with this is that some people get hurt down the line, and that sucks. (By the way, there is nothing unruly about cooljunkie!)

All in all, I'm very happy with my decision and look forward to my new position with Amika.

Ardis Robles


Overtown: Mix It Up

As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats: Thanks to Rebecca Wakefield for her story on Overtown ("In the Shadows of New Towers," March 10). For too long not much positive happened in Overtown and people continued to move away. Income levels got lower and lower and dependency rates got higher and higher. The community development corporations and a few others, including some private developers, have done some relatively small things, but they haven't made much difference.

The key to real change is to get lots of people, a large portion of whom with more resources than Overtown's current population, to live there. That will attract food stores, pharmacies, and the other kinds of retail shops that healthy neighborhoods often have. That has led us to advocate mixed-income housing, not just more affordable or subsidized housing. Crosswinds, the Black Archives, and other projects now being discussed offer the best opportunities Overtown has had to become a healthy neighborhood once again.

But that won't happen without community groups trying to keep the developers and city officials true to their promises. The promised activity gives us the possible wherewithal to do positive things. We worked to make sure that the Crosswinds agreement included jobs, training, small-business opportunities, and good housing. We will try to make sure that any agreement with the Black Archives and other developers includes similar requirements.

Now the task becomes one of ensuring that these promises actually turn into reality. That's going to take lots of hard, creative work for a long time.

Rod Petrey, president

Collins Center for Public Policy


Overtown: Schemers Run Amok

Can you say paranoid? Hmmm. Commissioner Johnny Winton and Mayor Manny Diaz (both real-estate specialists by trade) spearhead the Crosswinds development in Overtown. Can anyone say gentrify?

Former Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele opposes the Crosswinds development in Overtown. Commissioner Teele is arrested and the police report goes into explicit and reputation-damaging language about a totally different case. Can anyone say setup?

Commissioner Teele is removed from office shortly before the city commission is to vote on the Crosswinds project. Can anyone say land grab?

There is some doubt as to whether Teele's replacement, Commissioner Jeffery Allen, even lives in Miami-Dade County (his wife lives in their West Palm Beach home), but Allen thinks the Crosswinds development is full of "opportunities." Can anyone say conspiracy?

Leo Casino


Gentrification: The Lighter Side

Let's give a big Wynwood welcome to T.G.I. Friday's, the Gap, and Starbucks: I very much enjoyed Alfredo Triff's article about Tony Goldman and his plans for Wynwood ("Designing Wynwood," March 10). In a way, I'm sorry Goldman puts so much emphasis on the arts; it makes it all that much harder for more mundane, bread-and-butter locations to aspire to something if art becomes a necessary part of the equation. But that we need all the Tony Goldmans we can get is undeniable.

I'm also sorry the article did not delve more deeply into what "great architecture" should be. The typical building should competently and calmly fit the program for which it was designed. A menagerie of signature buildings by star architects leads to nothing less than visual chaos. Columbus, Indiana, was chosen as a showpiece for modern architecture in the Fifties. Each particular property is beautiful, but the town as a whole is as dysfunctional as any other.

Now, as to gentrification: I believe it cannot be controlled with the present system in place. Banks are always running scared, as well they should, since they play around with other people's money. If they have to choose between T.G.I. Friday's and Charley's Pub -- well, who has the established clientele? Who is sure to pay the rent?

Any scheme to thwart chains is patently unfair. Banana Republic and Starbucks have sweat blood and tears to get to where they are, and fully deserve a crack at emerging markets. More important, present property owners deserve, within design constraints, to share in the American Dream by extracting as much as possible from their newly valuable properties.

But gentrification is not as bad as some think. It has become a valuable urban-development tool. As soon as Wynwood's edge is blunted by the Gap, the romantics will move on to other locales -- for the benefit of the city as a whole. Little Haiti, maybe?

George Childs


Isn't Canada Up There Somewhere?

Cape this, cape that -- what's the difference when it's all frozen anyway: To Lee Zimmerman regarding his "Local Heroes" story about Natalie MacMaster (March 3): Cape Bretoners will be surprised and unhappy to learn they have been moved to Newfoundland!

Newfoundland has great music traditions, agreed, but nothing like those of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It's sort of like saying "Cape Cod, Vermont." It doesn't compute at all.

Bob Bridge



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