Hidden Agendas? Bias?

Letters from the Issue of November 6, 2003

How else to explain the attacks on Bob Dugger? My name is Kenneth Karger and I am treasurer for the board of directors of the Spanish Trace Condominium Association. I've been on the board off and on for more than 22 years. During the past nine years, our management company has been Timberlake, under the leadership of Mr. Bob Dugger as president.

During Mr. Dugger's tenure, Spanish Trace has become a first-class condominium. Our property values have doubled during the past five years alone, and we have been able to control maintenance costs in spite of large insurance increases. Our monthly maintenance is only going up two to three dollars per month next year. He supervises the budget, the elections, and attends the monthly board meetings.

I am very much disturbed by Francisco Alvarado's most recent article about Mr. Dugger ("Thug Meets Pug, Part 3," October 30). It was one-sided. He did not interview a single person who supports Mr. Dugger as a hard-working, honest, and competent businessman. I resent the effects and consequences these recent three articles are having on his career. I realize we live in a free society and Mr. Dugger is a public official, but that does not give the author the right to present an article that creates inaccurate perceptions and attacks a man's professional character and integrity. It is wrong and should not be tolerated by the editorial staff.

New Times should make future articles regarding Mr. Dugger more objective by having the writer contact people such as myself and others on the board of directors of the Spanish Trace Condominium Association. We are satisfied with Mr. Dugger's work and can vouch for his professionalism and personal character. In my opinion, biased reporting for hidden agendas is unprofessional and lacks responsible journalistic content. I believe this is how all three articles about Mr. Dugger were handled. That should not be tolerated in the future.

Kenneth Karger


The Toy Kids Speak

Amazing, awesome, dynamic, but too short: Thanks to Celeste Delgado for all the time and effort she put into her story "Revenge of the Misfit Toys" (October 23). The dynamic was great. She really pinpointed who and what we're all about. The three of us read it together online and were cracking up and having such a great time going through it. We wanted more, more, more!

It was a pleasure to meet and work with her and we just wanted to thank New Times for such an amazing story and an awesome opportunity.

Melody Lisman, Tury Sandoval, and Sam Borkson

The Friends With You

Miami Springs

Speaking of the Toy Kids

They're great people and I should know: I just read Celeste Fraser Delgado's story "Revenge of the Misfit Toys" and was delighted. It was well written and well researched. I liked the fact that she contacted all the people involved in this phenomenon of plush dolls. The Friends are great people and their creations are unbelievable. I'm glad she brought their work to the forefront.

Oh, by the way, I'm Sam Borkson's dad.

Elliot Borkson

Fort Lauderdale

Editor's note: Owing to an editorial oversight, Miami freelance writer David Gonzalez was not credited for his contribution to "Revenge of the Misfit Toys." Our apologies.

Is Pudge the

Chicken or the Egg?

Funny baseball article not quite a home run: As an avid sports fan, I was surprised to read a sports-related article in New Times ("Power to the Pudge!" October 23). Author Tristram Korten did a nice job of mocking the way sports franchises are run in this new century. Although the article was comical, it did very little to attack the major issue at its heart.

What happened to the 1997 Marlins was an atrocity that took Marlins fans years to get over. Some might say they have yet to get over it. Witness the fact that even with the Marlins fighting for a wild-card playoff spot this past September, only 24,000-plus fans attended the first game of the Phillies series, when the Marlins only had a one-game lead with six games left.

It's the old Catch-22: Who came first, the chicken or the egg? But in this scenario we're talking about million-dollar chickens. Or is it million-dollar eggs? If team owner Jeffrey Loria pays Pudge Rodriguez the millions he will undoubtedly get next year, will the fans reward Loria with increased season-ticket purchases? If history is any example, that won't be the case. The Marlins had a magical run at the World Series and won it, but are fans going to run out to see them at some 80 home games?

Major League Baseball has a major problem. In the early Nineties officials tried to increase seating capacity by building several new stadiums, thus increasing revenues to pay escalating players' salaries. Look where that got them. The recent luxury tax put a Band-Aid over the hemorrhaging economic problems of the sport by giving light slaps on the wrist to the Red Sox and Yankees, who can afford to build big-dollar teams.

We should cheer Jeffrey Loria for building a team of champion baseball players. He has broken the economic mold of money buying championships. If Pudge wants to finish his career in a Marlins uniform, it's going to cost Loria a lot. Dumping Cliff Floyd and Ryan Dempster were brilliant economic choices from which the team benefited. If the Marlins had never gotten rid of Floyd, who has now become something of a journeyman by baseball standards, we never would have known speedster Juan Pierre.

In today's economic climate for baseball, Loria will do what he can to put together another good team, with or without some of the current stars. Unfortunately, to run his business effectively, he has no choice but to make difficult decisions. Maybe the People's Pudge Fund proposed by Korten could be used to redesign the entire Major League Baseball system. If not, then baseball may be heading down the dark and dangerous road taken by the National Hockey League. This baseball fan hopes not.

Dan Jardin

South Miami

Outside the Box,

Inside the Park

Yes! The People's Pudge Fund will work! Tristram Korten's "Power to the Pudge!" was quite simply the best outside-the-box thinking I have read in a very long time. Every last one of his People's Pudge Fund suggestions would work: court-ordered ticket purchases, a Miccosukee casino partnership, tax surcharges on Hummers, federal asset-seizure participation, hip-hop subsidies, Ecstasy bulk-sales taxes, and market-specific fundraisers.

It's a shame we can't get the powers that be to use their heads so creatively. Thanks for the G.E.N.I.U.S. piece.

Ralph Wakefield

Miami Springs

Design District:

Elitist Playpen

There's no neighborhood there: As an architect and urban designer and a resident of the neighborhood around the Design District, I appreciated Alfredo Triff's article "Designs on the Future" (October 23) and his interview with Craig Robins. I also appreciate Mr. Robins's efforts in the area. His buildings played a large role in my decision to invest and live there. He is also quite correct in his citing of Miami's zoning regulations as a contributing factor in the dismal state of our urban landscape. I teach at the University of Miami School of Architecture, birthplace of New Urbanism, so I am quite familiar with this subject.

I would, however, like to comment on the issue of neighborhood exploitation. The buildings Mr. Robins owns and operates are within a seven-block area between Federal Highway west to North Miami Avenue, and from NE 38th Street north to NE 41st Street. Ninety-five percent of the businesses in this zone sell very high-end design services and products to a high-end clientele who come to enjoy the refined, renovated buildings for a few hours and then go back to their lives in South Beach, Coral Gables, and Kendall.

It seems as if this is no more than the same elitist concept of the high-rise condo in commercial form, just spread out in the best commercial spaces in the neighborhood. Some of these spaces could be used for businesses that would make a neighborhood more real -- bookstores, midpriced ethnic restaurants, a movie house, nonvelvet-rope nightclubs (see "The Grass Menagerie" by Lee Klein in the same issue). So the question is: Has the neighborhood really benefited beyond a superficial level?

To the majority of residents in the area, the "Design District" may as well be as far away as Mt. Olympus.

N. Campbell


Why Hip-Hop Is

Driving Me Crazy

Because it's simple and stupid and everywhere all the time: In response to Nick Weidenfeld's "The Ying and the Yang" (October 16), I can appreciate only about ten percent of Southern hip-hop. Sometimes Trick Daddy is good, but sometimes he's just plain ignant! Outkast is too good to be associated with the stigma that Southern hip-hop has. I can't stand Lil' Jon.

Sometimes all that music sounds so simpleton -- simple and stupid. I don't mind crunk and other mindless creations, but I can't stand the fact that the airwaves are saturated with so much garbage. I mean, too much of anything is bad. There is no balance on the radio. Just garbage after garbage. Let me not call it garbage because it might be another man's treasure, but the airwaves are just bombarding us with the same old same old. It literally numbs my brain to the point that I shut off the radio scrambling for something to hear. Hip-hop is now in a state of hoes and pimps. I can appreciate when people are creative about it, but some of these songs bring audio pollution to my ears and I find myself getting a headache. I wonder if music really affects the soul or something.

Nobody is trying to rap good because they rely so much on hooks and beats and the ladies just suck this up. No sense fighting, though. Hip-hop has sort of always been this way. But I just wish there were more nourishing songs to the mind. I don't like Talib Kweli but his song "Just To Get By" is so damn refreshing to the mind.

Nick Weidenfeld did a good job with the Ying Yang twins. I hate their music, but at least the article wasn't about their music. They've got hooks and something resembling rhythm that command women to be stupid and shake their asses. But it was good to read about Eric Ron "Kaine" Jackson's cerebral palsy. Good insight.

Wil Delgado



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