Letters from the Issue of May 20, 2004
Crude, and Stoopid
Exactly the kind of jerks who do disgusting things in your front yard: What a nasty little article by Humberto Guida. In his "BuzzIn" column about the Miami Beach City Commission meeting that considered changes in nightlife regulations ("Party Poopers," May 13), his pen runs rampant with outdated stereotypes and ageist remarks.
He omitted all the club kids shouting out: "Go home, grandma!" or "Move to Boca and/or Kendall!" that I heard from my seat in the upper gallery in the commission chambers. Rude does not begin to describe the antics of these juveniles Guida applauds so misguidedly.
For his information, many area residents -- I among them -- are not in favor of rolling back club hours to 2:00 a.m. That was Mayor Dermer's idea, which he first proposed at a public meeting a few weeks ago. Don't make assumptions about who stands for what.
As to Guida's doubts about human excrement left in the wake of wee-hours revelers, the theme I heard repeated again and again at that meeting was just that: public urination, public defecation, public fornication. Why on earth would anyone make up such disgusting things? I mean, is he kidding?! Many people declared these things to be true. (And if he lived in the area, he would not appreciate seeing shit, piss, and fucking on his front steps. Or maybe he would. I'm not going to assume anything either.)
As to his attack on Commissioner Matti Bower, she forced Michael Capponi to admit that he lived on 47th Street, not south of 5th, although he kept saying he owned apartments in South Pointe. She got him on that one. Good for Matti! She's not the fool Guida seems to want to make her out to be. Nor are senior citizens crabby, waiting for the grim reaper, or out of touch with the times. What ridiculous comments!
The club kids who showed up at this packed meeting took seats from concerned and involved residents of all ages, I would like to remind him, as there were a number of young people under 35 who were concerned about unbridled nightlife running amok in residential neighborhoods. If those club kids are any indication of what the younger generation is about, God help us all. Rude, unmannerly, and easily bored, too. Most of them gave up after an hour. They came to be rowdy, boo the mayor, and address an issue that was not even on the agenda.
Add "not very smart" to their description and that just about covers it. (I wondered how they would have felt had their own mothers or grandmothers been heckled.) What a zoo! And what a nasty, one-sided piece of pseudo-journalism.
Unparalleled Business Opportunities Await You
Exclusive contracts, monopoly markets, guaranteed profits, and hookers galore! I am once again proud of this publication for outing the truth about these "bleeding hearts" who advocate peaceful dialogue and lots of business with Cuba. In this case the individual is cattleman John Parke Wright IV, featured in Kirk Nielsen's story "Cows to Cuba" (April 8). Thanks for printing the letter from his daughter Sarah Wright ("Daddy Not So Dearest," May 6).
The truth always comes out. It's great to make a buck from a tinhorn dictatorship that assures you no competition, no unions, no strikes, and lots of profits. And get a load of that sexual tourism. Better than Thailand!
All in the holy name of peace and understanding.
Hypocrites vs. Greenpeace
Let's call it what it really is -- persecution, not prosecution: Celeste Fraser Delgado's article covering the prosecution of the Greenpeace organization was well researched, well written, and quite timely ("The Greenpeace Effect," April 29). Thanks to her for exposing this for what it is: a politically based, selective prosecution.
I am a member of Greenpeace and have been following the story for the past several months, wondering why there wasn't more coverage locally, and was grateful to see it on the cover of the New Times. I was hoping there would be some locally organized demonstrations, especially around the time of the hearing.
Sometimes the hypocrisy of our government is so astounding. Greenpeace fights to expose an illegal logging practice in Brazil, and instead of being praised for their efforts, the government hits them with criminal charges.
It's not just Aristide supporters, and I should know: I am writing to comment on Tristram Korten's article "Guns & Haiti" (April 15). I was coincidentally stuck overnight in the Miami area on my way back from Haiti when I read his piece. It impressed me and I appreciate his first-hand storytelling of an amazingly beautiful and tragic place. The description of his encounters was an effective illustration of the great spirit and intelligence of many Haitians despite their consistently compromised and violent situation.
One thing that concerned me, however, was the article's almost sole focus on Jean-Bertrand Aristide supporters with guns. Granted he did mention briefly "anti-Aristide rebels" and that "Aristide was doing what Haitian rulers have always done -- use extra-governmental gangs to do their midnight work, such as the Tonton Macoutes under Duvalier (father and son)...." Yet if I hadn't experienced the situation in Haiti right now, I would definitely interpret his article as implying that it's primarily Aristide's chimères who are terrorizing the country. (It is noteworthy, as he mentioned, that Aristide didn't heavily arm his "gangs" until after he was forcefully removed in a coup by many of the same individuals who forcefully encouraged his "resignation" this time around.)
As a member of a human-rights investigatory delegation, I talked to many Lavalas supporters who had been terrorized by anti-Aristide rebels with guns. Most people we interviewed were in hiding -- unable to work, pay bills or rent, care for their children, be with their families -- for fear of their lives because of anti-Aristide forces. The chimères are known to be dangerous and feared by both pro- and anti-Aristide folks, but not all Aristide supporters are chimères. Every member of the Lavalas Family I met in Haiti did not have guns and advocated nonviolent protest for the return of Aristide.
I know Mr. Korten understands this. And I know that this is another side of a many-sided story. I am simply concerned that his article sent a misleading message about the complexity of all sides of the situation in Haiti. He's right. There are innumerable guns in Haiti held by normal citizens, chimères, "rebels" (a group largely composed of former Tonton Macoutes and Haitian military), the national police, and those with the biggest guns of all -- the multinational forces.
It does seem to be an ongoing power struggle over who has the biggest guns, and for now it's the Americans, French, Canadians, and Chileans with the power. Perhaps someday, even without threats of violence and bigger guns, the Haitian people themselves will have the power and can finally live in some peace.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The animal shelter needs your aid, not your ire: This is in response to Maria Smith's letter about me and the Miami-Dade Police Department's Animal Services unit. Animal Services' shelter in Medley receives 2700 animals per month. Each month. Next month there will be another 2700 animals taken in. Yet there are three or more stray dogs on my block each day. If the shelter does not take in those 2700 each month, how many homeless dogs and cats will be digging through the garbage of my Riverside neighborhood by the end of the year? Of those 2700 animals received each month, only about 350 are adopted. Yes, I can subtract. But the sad truth is we're talking about dogs and cats here. Not babies. Shelter crowding and euthanasia are an unpleasant reality.
In large kennels, animals are typically fed on a schedule; this allows cleanup to be handled in a scheduled manner. At the shelter I witnessed dogs with full self-feeders in each of the runs of the main area, dogs in the west wing with bowls of food and water, and cats with litter, water, and food. Rather than just bashing me or Animal Services, why not help the shelter? Donations of food, cleaning supplies, and medical supplies are actively solicited. In particular the shelter is in need of stainless-steel dog bowls. Adopting an animal, of course, is the most obvious form of support.
The police department has reacted to public outcry. It is conducting investigations and seeking ways to improve conditions at the shelter. I appreciate the hiring of the Humane Society as a consulting agency and hope suggestions will be implemented to increase the shelter's efficiency.
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