Letters to the Editor

Best Citizen
He didn't come to play; he came to stay: In "Best of Miami" (May 17) you paid homage to pitcher Rene Arocha as Best Cuban Baseball Player (Recently Retired) and noted that he was the first Cuban ballplayer to come to the United States and make it in the pros.
You failed to mention that he also was the last player to come to the United States for freedom. Virtually every player since then, including the Hernandez brothers, has sought residency in a third country so as to avoid the baseball draft and therefore be eligible to sign immediately as a free agent.

The United States is the country where they have the freedom to make a lot of money, but it is not where they have chosen to have political freedom. Mr. Arocha may not have made millions of dollars his first season, but he is now able to apply for citizenship in the country that gave him refuge from Castro's communism. The others are simply highly paid baseball players who think that freedom means money.

Chris Fulmer

Best Tantrum
And the queen shrieked, "Off with their heads!": I can't believe it. After I spend a decade making the Miami Beach drag scene what it is today (and I feel that I have the right to say so, considering that Adora and I are the only two original queens left on the Beach), you choose Ivana as Best Drag Queen. Ivana? No offense, but who is Ivana?

Every queen in town can say they've won this title -- but not me! Maybe if I hang around another decade, host another three cabarets, another television and radio show, and another community-oriented awards program, then maybe, just maybe, you'll recognize the star that I am.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to line my birdcage. (Oh, by the way, I was also in that movie.) Love and kisses.

Shelley Novak (Tom Strangie)
Miami Beach

Best Taunt
If you're not up to the challenge, we'll help: I can only assume that the lack of recognition for my band the Square Egg means that your staff has yet to find a "defining label" for us. How about: Best Band to Defy Categorization. Maybe that will help next time.

Lee Williams
Miami Beach

Editor's note: Williams was named Best New Rap Artist in "Best of Miami" 2000.

Best Boast
With numbers like these, how could I be overlooked? I'm the Webmaster for www.ragonline.com. First, I'd like to say thank you for naming Rag Best Local Zine and including the Web address in the recent "Best of Miami." But in the item you didn't mention the Website. I just visited the Website you named as Best Local Website (www.booksandbooks.com). After seeing it I had to express my disappointment with your decision. In just two months I turned around Rag online, from receiving only about 1500 hits per month to nearly 50,000 for the month of April. I am proud to say I'm personally responsible for increasing the interest and traffic to www.ragonline.com.

Gregg Pechenik
via the Internet

Best Bravado
Station embraces primitive chest-thumping ritual: We were named Best Radio Station in South Florida, an accomplishment that has made us very proud. We have worked hard to bring to listeners the best that talk radio has to offer. This is the only -- and I emphasize the word only -- radio station in South Florida that totally respects freedom of speech.

Yes, we are very happy today, and we are pounding our chests proudly. There are more than 40 radio stations in this market. To be selected as the best is just awesome.

Richard Vega
Union Radio
WOCN-AM (1450)

Best Outrage
Go ahead, just call it Best Butcher: Best Botánica? Your winner and others like it should be listed under a new category. Maybe this: Best Sociopathic Religious Knickknacks and Pet Shop. Do they really think their god wants or needs these fools to slaughter the innocent? Give me some air!

Unfortunately your fine weekly is helping to perpetuate this myth by even mentioning the availability of such innocent animals.

Bob Ronco

Best Goof
Right guy, wrong oeuvre: While I was thrilled to see my brother, Rich Simone, receive much-deserved recognition for Best Stage Design, I was appalled at the outrageous mistakes that were printed. He does merit countless kudos for his body of work, but please credit him with the right work, not that of someone else. I hope a public apology is planned.

Perhaps I just seem like an outraged sister, but I also know how embarrassing this incident has been for Rich. Please make it right.

Michele (Simone) Johnson
Lebanon, Indiana

Editor's note: When we named Rich Simone for Best Set Design, we mistakenly attributed to him the designs for GableStage's The Real Thing and Miracle Theatre's Things We Do for Love. Those noteworthy sets were designed by Jeff Quinn and Gene Seyffer, respectively. We apologize for the mixup. Simone is still New Times's pick for Best Set Design, having created innovative sets for, among others, GableStage's Tape, Popcorn, and Adam Baum and the Jew Movie; New Theatre's The Legacy; and City Theatre's Winter Shorts and Summer Shorts series.

With Charity for All
After the background check, of course: Not only did Tristram Korten's article "We're Doing God's Work" (April 26) raise my eyebrows, it also raised me right out of Key Biscayne's St. Christopher's by the Sea Episcopal church. I was denied service there for refusing to fill out a form for a background check by police. I was just hoping to be served a sandwich while seeking clothes. Then I began to wonder what else was being served between that bread. Anyway, I found better service at the Homeless Assistance Center in Miami.

So St. Christopher's wants to "protect" nearby schoolchildren from me, do they? Well, wait a minute. Who's going to protect me from the children? They're the ones packing guns and killing one another, both on the streets and in the schools. Or hasn't St. Christopher's heard?

Just because I'm homeless doesn't mean I'm stupid. Far from it. If these background checks are so legal, why not conduct them on the children? Next time there's a school shooting -- and unfortunately there will be a next time -- the cops will again wonder, "How could that have happened? He was such a good kid." If the cops are looking to do so much protecting, put a patrol car in front of every school and check the children.

Some of us homeless people have done more harm to ourselves than we could ever do to another human. Yet we are treated like animals, checked to see if we've had our shots before being hauled off somewhere. So if you don't want to help me, at least don't hurt me.

Tony Billingsley
Miami Beach

South Beach: Preferred Playground for Global Sophisticates
You want proof? Just try getting a table at Caffe Milano: Brett Sokol's "Kulchur" column ("South Beach Drinks Up and Goes Home," May 10) quotes an editor from the New York Times regarding South Beach: "There is a sense that everyone with an ounce of style is waiting to be told where to go next." At this I can only laugh. Anyone with style and sophistication does not need to be told "where to go next," especially from Amy Spindler, a New York Times so-called style editor.

Then Brett goes on to ask, "Is South Beach over?" Spare me from his attempt to fill a page or two with a negative report about what is still the most popular spot for foreign tourists. Has he checked to see if rooms are available at the Delano or other nearby hotels? Has he tried to get a reservation at Caffe Milano or Tiramisu for a late-night repast? They are always busy, along with many other places on South Beach.

Sophisticated individuals do not go out to see or be seen. They are self-assured and confident about themselves. If people choose to stand in line to attend events such as the MODA in Miami Fashion Week of the Americas kickoff, that is their own choice. I'm sure there are many events and other happenings much more important to sophisticated people than looking at anorexic, star-seeking females.

Ronald Rickey
Miami Beach

South Beach: Preferred Playground for Vulgar Yahoos
You want proof? Just behold the size-24 thong bikinis: Thanks to Brett Sokol for having the courage to criticize current happenings on South Beach. As a resident of Miami Beach since 1978, I see the area deteriorating. It has no class!

Although I am a senior citizen, I am fashionable, not opposed to change, not prudish, very active, and can boast that no one ever accused me of being stupid. The recent Miami Fashion Week of the Americas (which I did not attend for obvious reasons) was ludicrous. Fashion? They do not know what the word means.

Mostly what I see here are bimbos, some with breasts overexposed, some with tight-fitting, clinging clothes with cellulite on their derrieres, and others with mini-outfits showing legs that do not justify such apparel. On occasion when I see "ladies" with inappropriately tight, short skirts or dresses, I am tempted to ask, "Didn't they have your size?" I'd probably get a knife in my back.

"Kulchur" was right on point. Individuals who are not afraid to speak up, who are not afraid to write their sentiments, earn my admiration and respect. If people are offended by Brett's words, he should tell them to kiss his ass.

Truthfully I am considering moving on, but since I don't drive and I am not affluent, where to go next?

Lee Margolis
Miami Beach

MDCC Ready to Roar
Free weekly poised for pivotal role: In response to Gaspar González's article "We Appreciate Your Concern, and Now You're Fired" (April 26), Miami-Dade Community College is one of the nation's leading community colleges and a valuable resource for the people of South Florida. The college educates students of all ages and from every walk of life. The MDCC Foundation funds millions in scholarships to ensure that worthy students have the opportunity to pursue higher education. The Clements Group is proud to be a partner in MDCC's quest to extend even more opportunities to its constituents.

President Eduardo Padron, foundation executive director Sam Gentry, and former acting director Ana Cristina Carrasco are among the finest professionals our company has been associated with during our fifteen years as the nation's leading consulting firm for community colleges.

We are saddened by the misrepresentations in the article. While we could refute each one, it would not satisfy those who have chosen to make disparaging remarks about the college or its representatives. Significant fundraising campaigns like the one being planned by the MDCC Foundation require extensive preparation. This "quiet phase," which is a period of planning and research, is drawing to a close. When the campaign is formally announced, we hope New Times will be an enthusiastic advocate for Miami-Dade Community College, its foundation, and the vision of future excellence that is the basis of this campaign.

C. Ray Clements
The Clements Group
Salt Lake City, Utah


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