Letters to the Editor

Marta: A
You'll cover for me, right? I must commend Rebecca Wakefield for her poignant and succinct story about Marta Perez's struggle to reform the Miami-Dade County Public School Board ("Rebel with a Cause," February 15).
Allow me to reinforce Wakefield's report on Mrs. Perez's commitment to students' needs in this county. Her crusade for accountability by the school board and the administration is a desperately needed measure to enable all children to receive the necessary resources for educational success while restoring pride in our teaching profession.

Marta, we support your efforts! And by the way, will you come to my rescue if I get reprimanded for this letter?

Benjamin Groff
Miami Beach

Marta: A+
No posterior-smooching here: I respect and admire Marta Perez very much. There is one true thing about her: She has vulva! She is the only board member who does not ass-kiss at the shameful cost of sacrificing our children's safety and education.

When necessary, the school board deserves to get slapped in the face by one of its own. If this is what it takes to make things right within the school system, then so be it. It may be the only way to change the way it operates.

Alicia Banuchi

Marta: A+ +
Never a prophet in her own land: If everything were okay with the Miami-Dade County public schools, there would be no need for someone to shake up the status quo. Unfortunately there are problems within our school system, many significant problems. Fortunately Marta Perez is ready, willing, and able to tackle the job.

Advocates for reform and accountability are rarely appreciated within the school system because too many people have too much to lose if it is closely scrutinized. So my suggestion to Dr. Perez is to listen carefully to her critics, learn from both her successes and her mistakes, and continue to fight for students, teachers, and ethical government. That kind of advocacy is sorely needed on this school board.

Lucy Margolis

Marta: A+ + +
She smites the demons of evil: Thanks for the insightful article about my only Miami-Dade County political heroine, Marta Perez. Those who criticize her for her unwillingness to cut deals with other occupants of the cesspool that is Miami-Dade politics do not understand the depth of the problem. You cannot allow yourself to be seduced by the demons of corruption in the interest of political correctness or politeness. You must, as she does, point at them and in no uncertain terms expose them for what they are. To entertain their evil would only lead to what they want: continued business as usual in the gray mist they so dearly love.

I still have my T-shirts from her campaign, and both my wife and I proudly wear them. I get a great deal of satisfaction from explaining to people who Marta Perez is and what she is trying to do in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. It's a heroic story. Rebecca Wakefield conveyed a sense of Marta's courage, integrity, and unbelievable commitment.

Miami-Dade County could use dozens of her kind. Unfortunately we have only one. May the gods continue to protect her. And Miami New Times. You're both providing an incredibly valuable service.

Hector Varela

Marta: A+ + + +
Effective? Try 31 of 38: With corruption and scandal surrounding elected officials today, it is refreshing and encouraging to know that Marta Perez is on our children's side. She is respected and admired by the community at large, revered by the teachers she represents, and is a gift to the students she affects.

She actually deserves more credit than you gave her. Rebecca Wakefield's article did not stress how effective Dr. Perez truly is. Over the course of her tenure as a school board member, 31 of 38 items she has proposed have been passed. One can only welcome the future with Dr. Perez at the helm.

M. Enfield

Marta: A+ + + + +
Effective? Try 24 of 31: Readers may have been led to believe that Marta Perez's items brought before the school board were not supported. In truth her record in passing items is excellent. Since elected she has brought 31 items before the board; 24 have passed and only 7 have not. That is an impressive record. It reflects her effectiveness as a school board member and shows great support from her colleagues.

Derek Cohen
Miami Beach

Marta: A+ + + + + +
Effective? Try 8 out of every 10: My congratulations to Rebecca Wakefield for showcasing the often thankless work Marta Perez performs as a public servant. One might deduce from the article that the majority of her board colleagues disagree with her initiatives. Contrary to that impression, Perez has been quite effective. Board records show that 80 percent of the items she has presented have been passed. In another way she is one of the most effective board members sitting on that dais: She is effective where it counts: among her constituents.

Dr. Perez is an honorable public servant. I have great admiration for her tenacious push for accountability and transparency, and especially for her strong support to create an independent ethics committee.

Karelia Martinez-Carbonell
Coral Gables

Marta: A+ + + + + + +
A beacon in that dark, dark world: Wow! Did you stir the pot this time! You're a bunch of troublemakers if I ever saw 'em. To put Marta Perez on a pedestal? To shine a light on her honesty and ethical approach to government amid the darkness of the school board? How dare you recognize someone of such character in this town. It will only bring her more notoriety.

Watching Marta Perez and new airport director Angela Gittens getting hold of things here is such a refreshing change of pace. It's just too bad the less-than-honest bureaucrats so greatly outnumber them. Please protect me from the zealots out there by withholding my name. Thanks.

Name Withheld by Request
Cooper City

Marta: D-
Hey, every party has a pooper: I would like to correct the record in "Rebel with a Cause." Manty Sabates Morse is not chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Republican Party. She was the party's chair from 1996 to 1998 but was defeated by Mary Ellen Miller, our present chairwoman.

I would like to think Mrs. Sabates Morse lost her position in the party leadership because she could not justify, or even explain, why she voted to support higher property taxes during the 1997 school-year budget.

School board chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman notwithstanding, I would also like to think that Marta Perez was not invited to schmooze with George W. Bush because of her opposition to school vouchers, a position she too has never justified or explained. Her position is particularly ironic when you understand that most of Dr. Perez's issues are, in the final analysis, structural problems. You can debate a lot about the merits of school vouchers, but few argue the fact that they do change the structure of our present public-school system. Unfortunately Dr. Perez doesn't understand this.

David Farrar


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