Letters to the Editor
School Board Welcomes Ethically Challenged
District reaches out to those in need: It is extremely discouraging, though hardly surprising, that Demetrio J. Perez stands a good chance of being elected to the Miami-Dade County School Board in the run-off election this November, as Robert Andrew Powell reported in Like Father, Like Son (September 28). The school board is an unmitigated disaster, filled to overflowing with sleazy opportunists and political hacks, and few of them seem to have even the slightest regard for excellence in education. If he manages to stay on the ballot and win in November, young Perez will feel right at home.
At each meeting of the school board, members begin by droning on endlessly and without shame about their puffed-up accomplishments. Eventually, however, they get down to the real business of the board, which seems to be concerned either with excoriating anyone who dares to criticize them or doling out huge sums to politically connected developers and other bottom-feeders.
Our schools are badly in need of help, but with the exception of Marta Perez (no relation to Demetrio Jr. or his son), the folks on the school board seem incapable and even unwilling to do anything at all to make things better. Lured by the prospect of wielding real power and playing fast and loose with real money, board members ignore our schools and play dirty politics instead. It all seems made to order for Perez, the ethically challenged law student. But it hardly gives one hope for the future.
Michael Carlebach, professor
School of Communication
University of Miami
That Vast Anti-Homo Conspiracy
Show us or shut up: Lissette Corsa's tracking of Lambda Passages' plight (Instantly Illegal, September 14 and Instantly Illegal, Part 2, September 21) owing to an apparent administrative blunder was undermined by New Times's emphasis on attorney Norman Kent's allegation of a citywide conspiracy against gay and lesbian businesses. It reeked of sensationalistic journalism not only because it was used to grab attention but also because of the article's (and Kent's) subsequent failure to mention any other such incidents affecting even one more like establishment.
Why didn't Ms. Corsa ask Mr. Kent to back up what now amounts to a hollow claim?
David Cox III
Morons on Parade
Let Ellen show you the sights: I have not nor will I ever patronize Lambda Passages, but I am appalled by the actions of Miami Commissioner Johnny Winton and the city's Upper East Side Neighborhood Enhancement Team (NET). What kind of morons choose to target a viable business among all the crap on Biscayne Boulevard? I will be happy to point out to them numerous businesses frequented by pimps, thieves, hookers, crackheads, thugs, and drug dealers. These businesses provide adult entertainment of a sort that is displayed right on the sidewalk.
If Mr. Winton and the NET officials are vigilant code enforcers, they can find much more appropriate targets along the boulevard.
Thank You, Lord
Now please get back to freeing Cuba: Thanks to the courage of Art and Marisa Buonamia, we now have another glimpse of post-Castro Cuba under the exile hard-liners' interpretation of democratic rule. Jim DeFede's spirited column Angels with Ice Picks (September 21) demonstrates their arrogance in taking hostage the altar at Saint Philomena Catholic Church, where the blood and body of Christ are presented at Mass.
It is evident that Cuban hard-liners would make even God subservient to their cause of liberating Cuba, only to enslave the people under a spoils-system form of government. Miami-Dade County has not yet hit rock bottom. The worst is yet to come.
Bible Thumpers and Sinful Humpers
Often one and the same: After reading Jim DeFede's article about intolerance faced by Art Buonamia at his church, I could not believe how ashamed I was of some of my fellow Cuban Americans. But I was not surprised that the homophobic remarks were uttered by someone like former state Rep. Eladio Armesto-Garcia, who cheated on his wife and then refused to make child-support payments to the child born of that union. I see it every day, believe me. They quote the Bible when it comes to others but not themselves.
Name Withheld by Request
Castro Got It Right
He knows a bully when he sees one: The Angels with Ice Picks story didn't surprise me. This is the same arrogant and violent attitude many Cubans adopted during the Elian Gonzalez saga. It's either their way or no way. They fled Cuba running away from oppression, yet they come to this country and oppress us and our community.
My heart goes out to Mr. and Mrs. Buonamia for having to go through this unfortunate situation, especially while attending church. No wonder Fidel Castro refers to these Cubans as the Miami Mafia. The name is well deserved.
We Cubans Stick Together
Through thick and thicker: I was appalled reading Angels with Ice Picks. How stupid can a person be? Going to a church in Little Havana and voicing negative comments about Elian Gonzalez? Come on. Wake up and smell the Cuban coffee!
Sorry, but I just can't feel sorry for airhead Art Buonamia. He should have kept his comments to himself and not spoken about a controversial incident such as the Elian Gonzalez case. We Cubans stick together. Some of us wanted Miguel Diaz de la Portilla as our new mayor, but definitely not Jay Love. At least Alex Penelas is Cuban American.
So next time, Art, go to church in West Palm Beach or Boca Raton. You might find someone who will lend you an ear. But please stay out of Little Havana! What's that saying: If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
Credit where it's due: Kirk Nielsen, in his article about the future of Watson Island (Spoiled Island, September 21), wrote that Mayor Maurice Ferré pushed for a theme park on Watson Island but couldn't win backing from state planners, who were skeptical of the public financial benefits and concerned about its environmental impact.
The theme-park project was killed because my wife Annsheila and I, with the help of our attorney, Andy Hall, filed a lawsuit to stop the theme-park development. The City of Miami appealed the case to the Florida Supreme Court, where we were upheld. In fact one of the outcomes of that decision was to force the city to create legislation to provide a means to develop private/public partnerships.
Masters over Miami
You've been very very bad and you must be punished: Miami officials are trying to tell us that building cruise-ship terminals on Watson Island is a good deal. The cruise industry may be important, but if it has two less berths for its ships, I doubt the companies will leave. On the other hand, to take away parkland, increase traffic congestion, and heighten noise because cruise lines don't like scheduling their departures during the week sounds like a dubious benefit for local residents.
Remember, the cruise industry is our guest not our master.