Letters to the Editor

Notice: Miami Police Department Job Fair
Applications available in the warden's office: Regarding Tristram Korten's story "Under Suspicion" (March 1), I'm convinced that local police departments recruit their officers from various prisons.

Sadly cops tempted by easy money is a problem everywhere. And inconceivably, cops are supposed to police themselves. Almost always, though, crooked cops are protected by their own.

The CIA and FBI require their employees occasionally to undergo lie-detector tests, and they are watched for changes in their lifestyles. Such regular checks should be mandatory for police as well.

Berny Shomstein

Corruption Endgame
Why do you think they call them pawns? So City of Miami Police Chief Raul Martinez wants to conquer corruption within his own department. Why? King sacrifices pawns, king survives.

Clyde Cates
South Miami

I Don't Enforce the Law; I Am the Law
And lawlessness is my shadow: As usual for New Times, "Under Suspicion" was fact-filled, but it failed to describe the underlying or theoretical nature of the beast. Police power gone awry (in no way limited to corrupt officers), or totalitarianism as Hannah Arendt calls it, occurs when the offending party becomes so intertwined with the ideal or image he claims to represent that he fails to separate the two. Once this happens the ideal is conveniently discarded, like a snake discards its skin. According to Arendt the offending party then becomes the law (or ideal or image), and in so doing replaces it.

"Look, it's over there," the culprit might say. But while others are looking at the image, he comes like a thief in the night, ready to burn and murder and pillage.

Manny Losada

This Law Is Real, and So Is He
He'd really rather not have to sue you: In her article "A Moveable Feast of Lawsuits" (March 1), Susan Eastman wrote about compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Martin Marcus, who I have known for many years. I chaired a voluntary fair-housing organization for more than ten years in Miami-Dade County. We produced a video for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which included handicapped accessibility long before it was popular.

It is my pleasure to know that our efforts were not in vain. I am sure Mr. Marcus did not know of our efforts, and I never anticipated that someone I know would put a face on the written laws and ordinances. I hope we all will see the need to comply with the ADA without being forced to through the courts.

Pat Mellerson

Editor's note: Owing to a reporting error in "A Moveable Feast of Lawsuits," the nonprofit organization Access Now was incorrectly described as having joined with Martin Marcus in suing local businesses for noncompliance with the ADA. Marcus and Access for the Disabled have been co-plaintiffs in several such lawsuits. New Times regrets the error.

Whatever Happened to Self-Respect?
It got trampled by bitches and skanks and hoochies and countless rows of gold teeth: Let me start off by saying Tiffany Madera's article about the film Dirty South ("Bastard Out of Miami," February 22) was disturbing. In fact it really needed to have a disclaimer: "The views and activities expressed in this article are in no way reflective of the entire black population of the South." Don't get me wrong. I respect the fact these hip-hop artists are making an effort to be enterprising. But that very same method has proven to be detrimental to practically a whole society of people.

For example on several occasions I have gone out of town, and people were shocked I was from Miami. The media and this form of video debauchery perpetuate a negative image of black women (black men as well but primarily women). The constant message is that black women are bitches, 'hos, sluts, and skanks, and that all Southern blacks behave like those men and women in the film. Believe it or not, some of us have decorum, respect for our bodies and selves, are intelligent, do not have outrageous clothing or hairstyles, do not have gold or platinum teeth, and can speak on levels beyond Ebonics.

Tiffany Madera, of course, is not to blame for the poor image people have of Southern blacks. But I do charge her with passive malevolence by not providing a positive comparison within her article. Although I should respect others' opinions, you can see why some people might be outraged with comments like this: "The Dirty South [is] pure sex: “Tongue, dick sucking, ass shakin', ass humpin', pussy poppin', everything -- practice makes perfect!'"

Madera interviewed two people who have become poster children for Southern blacks [Luther Campbell and Atlanta rapper Khujo]. Oxymoronically Luther Campbell actually twisted his lips to say, "We in the South are a bunch of outcasts; nobody really respects us." Gee, I wonder why? It is as if we have all been chucked into this degrading, immoral pit of despair. It's the same as the world viewing all Latinos in South Florida as Cuban, because of what is portrayed in the media.

I am truly a girl raised in the South. Nevertheless neither my associates nor I paint anything near the colorful picture described in Madera's article or portrayed in those videos. We are down-to-earth, approachable, intelligent people, with a positive, conventional morality and ethics. The sad thing is that media and music continue to hype this sick stereotype without offering an alternative, because the alternative doesn't sell. Also the artists don't take responsibility for the fallout of their actions. Because of the actions of a few, who get all the publicity, people like myself have to practically fight to protect our bodies. Recently at a nightclub, while dressed decently, some guy had the audacity to try feeling me up. Aside from a verbal thrashing, I had to physically grab his hand and let him know that just become some women will consent does not mean I will. Respect me, damn it!

What's even worse is the fact that youngsters are watching the behavior in these videos and are beginning to think it is normal. It's affecting their personal and social development, not to mention their self-concepts, self-esteem, as well as the fact that it devalues ethnic pride. Young girls are dressing like video hoochies and are demonstrating conduct that could very well cause themselves great harm. They are becoming desensitized to disrespect, and accustomed to being called bitches and 'hos and being told to participate in lewd and lascivious acts.

Once again, this is not Tiffany Madera's fault. These images were being formulated long ago. But I ask her to question her integrity by passively perpetuating the behavior and not offering an alternative. Our young people need to see themselves in positive ways. Black women need to be viewed as respected and revered mothers, daughters, sisters, educators, and innovators. "Bastard Out of Miami" didn't help with that positive image. Hopefully Madera and others will step up to the plate to remedy this debilitating situation.

Jacquelle E. Sconiers

Free Weekly Mission Statement
Promote downtown, learn Portuguese, embrace humility, be nice: As a loyal and avid reader of New Times since its inception, I must admit I was sickened by Lee Klein's review of Diego's Tapas restaurant at Bayside Marketplace ("From Tapas to Bottom," January 11). As journalists it is your responsibility to be impartial and fair. To any layperson it is quite clear that Mr. Klein's review was neither impartial nor fair. In fact Mr. Klein's tone was sarcastic, bitter, negative, and anti-Hispanic.

The review begins with a description of Diego's décor as reminiscent of a "college-town Mexican joint." It would seem that Mr. Klein's perception of the restaurant was tainted from the very beginning, although I cannot understand why. Just for the record, every last decorative detail of Diego's Tapas is authentically Spanish, imported from Europe, and designed by exclusive Spanish interior designers.

Mr. Klein even proceeded to comment on our storage area, which "added to the [restaurant's] dive quality." Since when do restaurant reviewers make it their business to look through an establishment's closets? I wonder what we would find if we paid a surprise visit to Mr. Klein's home. What state might his closets be in? We operate a clean restaurant with fresh food. Boxes are not our priority; they are only arranged at the end of the day.

In his "review" Mr. Klein's disdain for Hispanics also became evident. His claim that our waiters are "not well trained or well versed in English" simply is untrue. In fact many of our restaurant's personnel are polyglots, speaking English, Spanish, French and/or Portuguese. How many languages does Mr. Klein speak? From the ethnocentric tone of his article, I'd bet that English is his only language, a real handicap for someone living in a multicultural city like Miami.

With respect to Mr. Klein's evaluation of our food, it is very clear he knows nothing about Spanish cuisine. Throughout the article he questioned the authenticity of our food and the regions from which they come. For your information I am a native of Spain and have more than 30 years' experience (and success) in the restaurant business. It would seem to me that I'm in a far better position than Mr. Klein to determine whether our Spanish food is authentic. Furthermore Diego's Coral Gables and Diego's Tapas are frequented by regular Spanish customers who are very well versed in Spanish food. Whose opinion should carry more weight -- that of native Spaniards or Mr. Klein's?

As far as the quality of food, our phenomenal success says it all! In the short time our restaurant has been open at Bayside, it has served thousands of local and international diners with primarily word-of-mouth advertising. We acknowledge, however, that there is always room for improvement and constructive criticism.

Last but not least, I am very disturbed by Mr. Klein's negativity toward downtown Miami. New Times, as a powerful media player in South Florida, should do its best to promote the virtues of our growing city. Instead of building the image of downtown, Mr. Klein does everything in his power to put down Bayside and the surrounding area. Considering the existing and prospective developments -- Bayside Marketplace, the American Airlines Arena, the Performing Arts Center, and a stadium for the Marlins -- articles like Mr. Klein's can prove to be very destructive to our city's progress. I wonder if he is following a hidden agenda.

Diego Lozano


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