Directorial Incompetence

Letters from the Issue of November 9, 2006

Hebert is hellacious: Thank you to Octavio Roca for castigating Bliss Hebert for his poor direction of Aïda in "Vigorous Verdi" (November 2). He has no business directing. I was appalled at his totally static direction of Lucia a season or two ago, but when I protested to Florida Grand Opera management, they were highly defensive. I won't see Aïda until the end of the month, and I look forward to seeing the Carnival Center and experiencing the the cast's young voices and hopefully in-shape bodies. But I hope that's not overwhelmed by Hebert's abysmal lack of directorial competence!

Jerry K. Jensen

So Long, Sucka

The bumbling terrorists: In Chuck Strouse's story "Penniless Purgatory" (October 26), Narseal Batiste's wife, Minerva Vasquez, says, "My question to the American people is: What was said to [Batiste] so that he would respond like he did?" Let me answer this question on behalf of the American people: "Do you hate Americans?" "Do you want to murder millions in the name of Allah?" and "Will you pledge your loyalty and support to a murdering, cowardly organization?" Fifty grand is a drop in the bucket; I would have paid a million to get these knuckleheads off the streets. A note to Batiste's son: You're better off now than being raised to hate your country and resent society. That sums it up!

David Gonzalez


"Vigorous Verdi"

Both Sides of the Bag

Can doctors stink? Yes!: I just finished reading Joanne Green's "In the Bag" (October 26) and was completely disgusted by the lack of decency and morality that these health "professionals" appear to have. I was wondering about the regulatory process of Florida's abortion clinics and what can be done to enforce the regulation/licensing of them. Are the rules for licensing so lax that anyone can set them up, or are records falsified to gain licensing? I was completely disturbed to find out that these doctors can have complaint after complaint filed against them with little to no legal consequence.

Thank you for both enlightening and mentally scarring me.

Brian Shepard

Can New Times slant? No: Interesting and important article about abortion, "In the Bag," but somewhat one-sided.

Joanne Green quotes Hialeah Police Deputy Chief Mark Overton: "We found thirteen or fourteen biohazard bags filled with the remains of kids." Kids? That's pretty inflammatory. There is a medical, legal, and ethical difference between a kid and a fetus, but it seems not to matter to Green or Overton when describing a women's clinic that provides abortion and other services. It does matter, later, when they want to prosecute: "It was a baby, not a fetus," opines Overton.

Green goes out of her way to portray patient Maria as glib, vain, superficial: "barely glancing at the multiple trash bags...," "After hastily checking her reflection in the rear-view mirror and dousing her full pink lips with a coat of gloss...," "she raised a perfectly French-manicured hand." After all of this, what reader would have any sympathy for her situation?

On the penultimate page of a long article, Green gives pro-choicers two paragraphs where they make the most important point in the article: "if the U.S. Supreme Court bans abortion ... it will increase the number of potentially harmful terminations performed in substandard clinics." Then the Website that Green directs us to is self-described as "news and commentary from the conservative side of things," not one of the many pro-woman, pro-choice, or pro-abortion sites.

I confess that I'm biased. Every Saturday morning I join women's rights supporters in defending a West Kendall clinic against a band of religious fanatics whose goal is "to close this place down and move on to the next one," according to one of them quoted in the Florida Catholic. On a recent Saturday, one of them kept shouting about "Jewish baby killers." Another drew her hand from her hip and pointed her fingers, like a pistol, at a clinic staffer.

Contraception and abortion are necessary if women are to play an equal role in society. That's what we have and enjoy today. Theocrats would take us back to the Dark Ages.

Eric Williams

Lies, Lies ...

And hypocrisy too: Trevor Aaronson's article questioning the impartiality and competence of United States District Court Judge José E. Martinez in the trial of Canals v. Archdiocese of Miami, et al. ("Religious Conviction," October 12) was grossly unfair to both an esteemed member of the judiciary and to the facts of the case. Judge Martinez deserves an apology.

The Archdiocese's lawyers have advised me that the reporter ignored the following points:

Ms. Canals's lawsuit sought damages in excess of one million dollars from the Archdiocese and eight other named defendants. The suit included claims and accusations against her own co-workers of defamation and of plotting a conspiracy to defame her. All of those claims were dismissed at trial. Judge Martinez's rulings in the Canals case have all been affirmed unanimously by a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The marginal jury award in favor of Ms. Canals (less than four percent of what she was seeking) was simply not legally supported. Judge Martinez's legal analysis on this point was fully supported and affirmed by the appeals court. The jury returned a verdict against Ms. Canals on yet another of her claims: age discrimination.

The notion that Judge Martinez should have recused himself from the case is meritless and was raised only by Ms. Canals's lawyer for the first time after final judgments had been entered against her. Judge Martinez referred the motion to the chief judge, the Honorable William Zloch, who ruled the recusal was unwarranted. That decision was also appealed and affirmed.

Judge Martinez permitted Ms. Canals to try a case that arguably could have been dismissed before trial. Contrary to the assertions in Mr. Aaronson's article, there was not a scintilla of evidence (or even a witness listed) to support Ms. Canals's contention that a minor was "sexually molested" — a minor who is related to Ms. Canals — nor even any evidence that Ms. Canals was asked to commit perjury.

On appeal, Ms. Canals's lawyer, who happens to also be her son-in-law, even suggested that he had been sanctioned for misconduct related to his filing of inappropriate legal briefs. The appellate court took him up on the suggestion and referred him for consideration of appropriate disciplinary measures.

Mary Ross Agosta
Communications director

Archdiocese of Miami


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