Letters from the Issue of September 9-15, 2002
A phone call would have been nice, but I didn't even get that: My name was wrongly inserted in your article "The Teele Conspiracy" by Francisco Alvarado, Kirk Nielsen, and Rebecca Wakefield (September 2).
At no time did I speak to anyone at New Times or anyone at Miami City Hall, for that matter, regarding Commissioner Arthur Teele's incident involving the police. Nor did I talk about actions that should be taken against elected officials. On the contrary, I was the first activist to discuss this incident on Haitian radio, criticizing the way the police officers in this case acted toward Commissioner Teele. I spoke in support of Commissioner Teele.
I find it very disturbing that your writers and New Times would use my name in such an article without proper research. By doing so, you have violated the three fundamental principles of journalism: accuracy, accuracy, and accuracy -- the first topic covered in any journalism class.
Commissioner Teele is a personal friend of my family and a friend of the Haitian the community. I expect that New Times will make the proper retraction. Next time, have the courtesy to call me or my office before printing my name without my knowledge.
But make a good offer and we just might sell it: In response to your coverage of the MTV Video Music Awards ("Can the VMAs Still Shock or Are They 21 and Over?" August 26), we can now say that thanks to MTV coming to town, the county, after four years of stalling, did $450,000 worth of improvements in 30 days to the vacant land east of the American Airlines Arena (known as Parcel B). But don't hold your breath hoping to enjoy it as parkland. It will be marketed as a film set to make a buck for the county. Thus the reason that the water's edges are paved with two lanes of blacktop to accommodate trucks instead of pathways for baby carriages. And don't look for restrooms; film crews bring their own. And don't expect to spend much time there (if it is ever open to the public), as shade trees don't exist.
It is because of this insensitivity to the needs of our residents by elected leaders and the boards of two local museums -- the Museum of Science and the Miami Art Museum -- regarding our scarce and poorly kept parks that I will be voting against Bond Issue 8 on November 2. The bond measure will ask voters to finance construction of these two huge museums in Bicentennial Park, at a cost of $275 million.
The two museums will take up 50 percent more land than the overdue, over-budget Performing Arts Center. These buildings, which could be placed west of Biscayne Boulevard, would consume up to 16 acres of a 29-acre park -- in a city that ranks last among all major U.S. cities in terms of park space per resident.
In a word, mooooooooooo: I was selected to be one of the seat-fillers for MTV's Video Music Awards. Before the show, we were told to wear upscale club clothes, bring food, water, and wear comfortable shoes because once we were inside we would not be able to leave. The times were from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. No cell phones, cameras, and so on.
I'm thinking: Not bad. I can do this, because it was a chance to see all the stars go down the red carpet, even though I would not be able to get into the event itself. Only thing could hold me up: You had to be at least 18 years old and under 30 -- and look it. Well, I look as if I'm somewhere between 26 and 30, but really I'm 48 year old. So I took a chance. The person I was getting e-mails from said, "We can't really say, all we can do is see what you look like." So I went.
I arrived on time at the corner of North Miami Avenue and Eighth Street. My ID was checked and then another woman came over and said, "She was the person I was getting e-mails from, and wow! You do look young." So I was in.
I forgot to bring water, and no one was on the streets selling it, but after an hour went by, a van pulled up and someone started selling water and Cokes for three dollars each. I took one of each and got back in line. They gave us numbers. Mine was 633, so I guessed I was the 633rd person in line. Then a woman called out: "Take the labels off your bottles of water if they are not [insert brand name]." Mine was not, so I took off the label. That was strange, I thought.
Finally at 4:30 they loaded us on buses and took us to the American Airlines Arena. We passed through a security checkpoint and then they herded us into a corral, offering us bottles of hot water.
Looking around, I proceeded to the red carpet area, but a guard said it was full and that because I was here for the preshow, I had to go back with the other seat-fillers. So from 4:00 to 6:30 we were in the hot sun, standing on grass and dirt. No chairs in sight. I looked down at my $80, twentieth-anniversary Nike gym shoes. People had stepped on them. I could see other girls whose high heels were halfway in the ground. This was not good.
A man then began yelling at us and telling us to clap at the cameras. Pit Bull sang a few songs and threw water on us. So did a another group. Ashley Simpson sang a tune, so did Jadakiss.
I left at 8:00 p.m. They took my black VMA bracelet even though I had wanted to keep it for the memories. I missed the chance to buy any other souvenirs sold on the streets that night. At home that night I watched the news and saw more of the VMAs than I did there, even though there were video monitors set up for us to watch. But they never turned them on!
I just wanted to let others know how we were treated by these people -- like we were cattle.
The man has a way with words: Dear The Bitch@#$^**&%#! Do you know what a total ass you made me look like ("The Bitch," August 26)? How many people I must have insulted?
Did I say fuck butts or butt fucks? An infant terrible? What is that? I like that new nik name!
Thanks, you guys. I love you!
Maybe you'll come back once we're actually ready for you: I read Lee Klein's recent review of Conrad Miami's Atrio restaurant ("Room with a View... and Some Problems," August 26). As you may know, Conrad Miami and Atrio just celebrated their soft opening last month and will celebrate their grand opening September 29. Setting precedent in Conrad Hotels' history by being the first Conrad in the United States, all components of the hotel, including the restaurant, are still going through some fine tuning.
We appreciate Mr. Klein's constructive review of Atrio, and as general manager of Conrad Miami, I would like to invite him back before the end of the year to re-evaluate Atrio's progress.
The Conrad brand is based on three main components: service, style, and technology. We at Conrad Miami are striving to ensure that all components are held to the highest standards. We hope to reflect that on Mr. Klein's next visit to Atrio.
Robert E. Thrailkill
But aside from that, it was great: Although I'm sure the local bands are grateful for being mentioned, isn't it curious how Terra Sullivan says Nickelback is making way for Yellowcard ("Think Locally," August 26)? The fact is that Yellowcard has been on the charts for 54 weeks, sold 800,000 copies, and peaked at number 23, while Nickelback has been on the charts for 48 weeks, peaked at number 6, and sold five million copies. So who is making way for whom?
As an avid supporter of Miami's live music scene, I can say that Sullivan is off the mark in the comparisons she makes among bands. For example, Maria sounds nothing like any of the bands to whom she compares them. And Rhett and the Pawnshop Drunks are not rockabilly. Did she even listen to their music before writing her article? If she's going to write about our local music scene, she should do her research.
Other than that, "Think Locally" was good. The exposure for our local bands is great.
How could such a diverse city be so bigoted? The letter from Ivan Gutierrez, Jr., titled "The New Slavery" (August 19), exemplifies all that is wrong with this city. Despite the fact that Miami is one of the most culturally diverse cities anywhere in the world, the degree of misunderstanding (or hostility) between racial and ethnic groups rivals that of any small town in rural Alabama.
His comments on whites who enjoy hip-hop, and on hip-hop in general, bring back images of those who once referred to early rock and roll and soul as "jungle music." The term was created not as a reference to the sound or tone of the music, but to the ethnic origins of those who created it, this instead of calling us niggers or referring to those who were not black but enjoyed the music as nigger lovers. The term jungle music became a euphemism for more direct racist terminology.
Hip-hop, despite being a creation of black people, is not sole property of black Americans. To understand this, one need not look any further than the growth of hip-hop artists in Korea, Germany, Russia, the Philippines, Japan, England, India, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and many other countries -- not to mention the worldwide sales of hip-hop music.
If Mr. Gutierrez and those of his ilk would open their eyes and minds, perhaps this city would be much better off.
State Department scrambles to repair damage caused by free weekly: I protest the way Juan Carlos Rodriguez described Aishwarya Rai in his "Haute Curry" calendar item (July 29). Aishwarya Rai is not just a "starlet," she is a mega-mega-star.
Such disrespect cannot be tolerated. Please rectify this.
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
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