Letters to the Editor

Zealots Eat Their Young
And somehow they manage to make a shabby place like Vermont look good: With Juan Carlos Rodriguez's article "Petition Suspicion" (February 1), New Times has once again exposed how corrupt Miami governmental and lobbying organizations can be. It blows my mind that a place as diverse as Miami-Dade County cannot pass and uphold an ordinance that guarantees basic civil rights for its gay population. With as large a gay population as Miami has today, I find it disgusting that a little backwater state such as Vermont has more liberal laws regarding gays and lesbians.

Take Back Miami-Dade is clearly just another group led by conservative Cuban and religious leaders who wish to make Miami a Wasp haven, or a miniature Havana closed to those who do not adhere to the religious or political beliefs of Cuban leaders. All of Miami should rise up in opposition to this small group of bigots. Someday they may call for the closing of all synagogues, the deportation of all recent immigrants, or unequal pay for nonwhite and non-Latin workers. No matter who you are or what groups you belong to, eventually you may find the ever-damning finger of the religious right pointing at you. If history has taught us anything, it is that eventually coalitions of zealots turn on their own members who are not pure enough, white enough, straight enough, et cetera.

Mark Rubinas
via the Internet

Miami's Bible-Thumping Bigots
Could Eladio Armesto-Garcia's troops be a hint of things to come? I am pleased that Juan Carlos Rodriguez has brought to light the shenanigans of Eladio Armesto-Garcia's organization. Take Back Miami-Dade is a hypocritical, fraudulent front sponsored and funded by the Christian Coalition and its self-serving allies in the Republican Party. Armesto-Garcia's and other anti-civil-rights groups should be using their tax-free, not-for-profit dollars to do good, not evil.

Armesto-Garcia and his local army of churchgoing bigots are prime examples of what will happen once George W. Bush's faith-based organizations get their polluted hands on public money.

Jim Guinnessey
Miami Beach

To the Slammer with Miami's Gang of Crypto-Fascists
Of all people, Cuban exiles should know better: It is a disappointment that among the Take Back Miami gang are Cuban exiles. One must wonder if they came to America for freedom and democracy or to enforce their own form of fascist order.

America and Miami-Dade County function under the legal premise that all people are created equal. We entrust our elected officials to make sure this is enforced, without the need for a popular vote. The end result is that Cubans are not forced back to Castro because of some difference of opinion, Coral Gables retirees are not denied life-saving medication to make room for the young, and Homestead farmers are not enslaved because some think they are simply dumb dirt-pushers.

If this gang committed fraud to undermine democracy, let us deal with the human trash by throwing them in jail. And let all of us together save Miami.

Jeffrey Fichtelberg
Miami Beach

Take Back What?
This week's Bible-study lesson: Jesus never married and lived with twelve men: Just what is Take Back Miami-Dade taking back? Homosexuality has existed since the beginning of time. Miami has a large population of gays and lesbians, and the county should lead the way in treating them in a civilized manner. Ironically the religious right that wants to deny homosexuals equal protection under the law is only encouraging the promiscuity and immorality they claim to oppose.

Gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry and participate openly in all aspects of society. Denying these rights only forces them to live as second-class citizens. Many outstanding citizens of Miami (and worldwide) are gay or lesbian, and they should be permitted to adopt children. Foster homes are filled with abused children whom the religious right conveniently ignores while making it illegal or impossible for homosexuals to adopt. (Ninety-nine percent of those children were abused by heterosexuals.)

So if the members of Take Back Miami-Dade want to create a Christian environment for everyone, they should be leading the way to extend all rights to gays and lesbians. After all, it was Jesus who never married and lived with twelve men.

Alberto Victor Batista

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner
The Lord can deal with gay auto mechanics: As a Christian and an American citizen, I am appalled at the behavior of Take Back Miami-Dade. Their affiliation with the Christian Coalition says a lot. Christianity is supposed to be an outreach of love in which people preach the gospel to the unsaved without judging them or repealing their rights. I am absolutely against homosexuality, but I believe such behavior must be judged only by Christ. I don't believe we have the right to deny homosexuals work based on their sexual preference. We're all sinners; therefore we must look to improve ourselves as human beings and not worry whether gay men are fixing our cars or paving our roads.

The Christian Coalition is headed by people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who have nothing better to do than to pry into people's lives. They are politically motivated, not biblically motivated. They spread the word of God through hate and judgment, not through love, and that causes resentment toward the Christian community. They are doing our cause (to bring people to the Lord) a grave injustice and should be ashamed of themselves.

Jason Pijuan

Grateful Reader Finds Inspiration in Free Weekly
Says life incomplete without recent O.J. article: How inspirational to read New Times's most informative, creatively written, and insightful article about O.J. Simpson ("The Juice Is Loose," January 25). What in this world could be of greater interest than where this remarkable intellectual giant eats, golfs, or generally hangs out?

Of particular interest to me, and certainly newsworthy, was the fact that O.J. is a frequent visitor to Roasters 'N Toasters! And that the owner has befriended him! Now that is certainly newsworthy and important to someone like me, who tries to keep up and get my facts straight. You see, I thought Roaster 'N Toasters already had an in-house butcher.

Haras Negah

Why I Crave the Velvet Rope
Because it affirms my profound conviction that I'm not worthy: Regarding Brett Sokol's series on South Beach nightclubs, since when is getting past some malevolent bouncer someone's idea of fun ("The Art and Science of Clubland," January 25 and February 1)? Experiencing this as part of the clubs, both at the door and at VIP entrances, has put me off Miami Beach nightlife. What's next as part of VIP treatment -- seeing the club kids of your choice get the crap beat out of them? Or are we already at that level?

It reminds me of a psychiatrist who, in another context, once pointed out: "There are some people whose self-esteem is so low that the only treatment they consider honest is abuse."

These clubs are nothing but roach motels. I just wish the VIPs were RIPs.

Paul Waters
Miami Beach

The Young and the Witless
Only a dolt couldn't come up with new ways to separate a club kid from his money: Back in the fabulous Forties and Fifties, Miami Beach had Ciros, the Beachcomber, Copa City, the Latin Quarter, among others, when one went looking for a nightclub and its entertainment. We even had gambling, though it was not quite legal, at clubs such as Green Acres, the Sunny Isles Club, the Brook Club, and myriad others.

In Brett Sokol's "The Art and Science of Clubland," a marketing director says, "There are no new nightclub ideas." I can only smile and think how young and lacking in imagination this individual must be. There are always new ideas. This is a city, don't forget, that took a horribly run-down area and transformed it into a bustling center of nightlife, which rivals most in America.

No, the golden days of the nightclub business in Miami Beach are not over by a long shot. Original ideas for entertaining will be welcomed by anyone who chooses to spend his time and money visiting these places of fun and frivolity. The future is not bleak at all.

Ronald Rickey
Miami Beach

We Danced the Night Away Alongside the Donald
But that was long ago in a nightclub long gone: One night we were having a ball at Club Van Dome. Claudia Schiffer was dancing next to us. Suddenly there was a commotion. Donald Trump walked in with Marla. A few minutes later, the Donald started having fun, dancing up a storm. Nobody paid attention to him. We were all engrossed in our own frenetic fun and the opposite sex.

We have since moved to a quiet house on DiLido Island and are into biking around South Beach.

M. and R. Shepherd
Miami Beach

Third-World Conduct Meets First-World Critic
Home Depot, are you listening? I just read Kathy Glasgow's well-written article about the workers at Aljoma Lumber ("Tough as Nails," January 11). As a union member, I know that these exploitative practices take place in many parts of the world, which in itself is abhorrent. But it simply is unacceptable that Mr. José Lamas should bring these practices to the United States. The workers exercised a right -- to organize themselves -- that is guaranteed in a democratic society. It should be respected.

The article mentions Home Depot as one of Mr. Lamas's primary customers. I would urge Home Depot management to reconsider this vendor until the ugly matter is properly settled. Anything short of that and all good union members should reconsider which building-supply store they use. I know I will.

A.P. Sasso
International Transport Worker's Federation
Cape Canaveral

Monkey Business in Hialeah
"Those are my principles; if you don't like them, I have others": This letter is regarding Tristram Korten's article about Hialeah Police Chief Rolando Bolaños and his (suspended) police-officer sons ("Daddy's Little Helpers," January 11). As I was looking at the picture of Chief Bolaños this question came to mind: When did Groucho Marx become police chief of Hialeah?

That must explain his lying. Groucho thinks he's in a film! That also explains his bad driving and bad memory. Groucho thinks it's a movie plot! Why didn't the State Attorney's Office charge Groucho with perjury? Because the State Attorney is playing the straight man's part!

Speaking of bad actors, the Miami Herald finally followed up on Jim DeFede's article about how Alex Penelas and state Rep. Carlos Lacasa want to change the county charter to create a strong-mayor form of government (An Uneasy Alliance," December 7). It took the Herald two weeks to discover the story because the only guy at the Herald who can read was on vacation. Scooped again by New Times.

Note to DeFede: Penelas and Lacasa have the voodoo dolls working overtime on you.

Tommy Hawk


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