Letters to the Editor

Miami, the City That Eats Its Young
That's what Wasserman gets for mouthing off: After reading Tristram Korten's interview with Daily Business Review editor in chief Ed Wasserman (“The Last Iconoclast,” September 28), I must ask why is it that South Florida regularly seems to ship out its best and brightest? Or is it just that people with guts, real opinions, and the willingness to utter what is not the sanitized, processed, expected sound bite are shown the door?

So it is no surprise that a doer, thinker, and opinionated journalist like Wasserman has outlived his usefulness as a mainstream editor in South Florida. Woe is our community if we continue to lose leaders who question the status quo and urge all of us, especially so-called community leaders, to do better than what appears to be expected.

I for one will miss this journalist with integrity, Ed Wasserman, and fervently hope he will continues to shake the trees and put lights under the bushel baskets wherever he goes.

Benedict P. Kuehne

Once More Before He Splits
Wasserman redux? While Mr. Wasserman's assessment of his local employment options might have some truth to it (“I'm sure I've said much too much. I'll probably never work in this town again.”), I'd like the opportunity to continue hearing from him in the future. In fact I'd be ready to enthusiastically support him should he care to explore public office.

His journalistic efforts here certainly will be missed. All the worse if he relocates outside Miami. If nothing else I'd suggest you conduct another interview before he gets away.

Richard T. Hodges
Key Biscayne

The Formerly Great Paper Known as the Herald
Wasserman unleashed: Ed Wasserman's comments about the Miami Herald brought back memories. Back in 1988, while I was at the Daily Business Review, I broke a story about plans to sell Parrot Jungle. The Herald called the owners, who said they didn't know about any deal. (Untrue.) So the Herald printed a story saying that despite reports in the Review, rumors of a sale were false.

Then, not long afterward, all involved announced there was a sale. So the Herald ran a story making it appear as though this were a scoop for them. Wasserman called a top editor to complain, and the editor responded that we were too thin-skinned. I remember Wasserman yelling on the phone something like: “You pissed all over our shoes and you say we're thin-skinned?!”

I also was ripped off on about ten or fifteen other big stories by the Herald. The standard response was that if they could report it themselves, there was no reason to give credit. In one case they lifted quotes but actually managed to screw up the attribution. Oh well, the Miami Herald used to be a great newspaper.

John Sugg, editor
Weekly Planet

My Boy Scout Pledge
Always remember the nightmare: I have to assume that Jim DeFede is either (1) a homosexual hoping the Boy Scouts will reverse their position on allowing gays into the organization so he can join up and prey upon young boys; (2) a person who was never a Scout or otherwise spent very little time in the organization, or (3) a bleeding-heart liberal who has no interest in the consequences of his position (“Hiking, Camping, and Gay Bashing,” September 28). Did it ever occur to Mr. DeFede that the reason the Boy Scouts do not want gays is to protect the Boy Scouts? It has nothing whatsoever to do with discrimination.

I spent many years in the Boy Scouts back in the late Fifties and early Sixties in the Northeast. I cannot tell you how many adult scoutmasters and camp counselors tried to put the hit on me and so many other unsuspecting, innocent young boys. My very first experience was when a local “official” in the scouts took me and a friend (with our parents' permission no less), on an overnight camping trip in the woods. My friend and I probably were about eleven or twelve years old at the time. Before settling into our respective sleeping bags for the night, this “official” brought out some magazines of nude women. Between the pictures and the encouragement we got from our host, we got very excited. We had never before seen such pictures. Once aroused we were asked to remove our pants. This scouting “official” then began touching us and asking us to do the same to him. He assured us that what we were doing was okay, because “this is what men do to make each other feel good when looking at pictures of naked women.”

To say we were nervous and scared is an understatement. We were most uncomfortable, and after a minute or so we told him we didn't want to do it anymore. He did finally stop but said we would all do it again soon and play some “fun games” next time. My friend and I didn't understand what was going on or even know what a homosexual was at the time!

When this man brought us home the next day, he asked our parents if he could take us out camping again the following weekend. Our parents said yes, but we convinced them we didn't want to go, and we didn't. We were too ashamed to tell our parents what happened and too embarrassed to tell other scout leaders. This man continued to be active in the Boy Scouts for many years after that and spent his summers at a Boy Scout camp, pursuing other young victims. He frequented the boys' tents and particularly the showers. I know this because I went to the same camp several summers as a camper and later as a counselor. I wonder how many hundreds of others had the same experience with him. I know a lot of boys at the camp did.

As we got older, we wised up and stayed away from this guy, although we used to pelt his car with raw eggs almost every weekend. Unfortunately he was just one of many who joined the Boy Scouts for no reason other than to get their hands in young boys' underpants.

Another favorite of gays in the Scouts was to teach young boys how to give massages. One frequently used line was: “I learned this while in the Peace Corp in Morocco and you're going to love it.” So these gullible young boys, not suspecting anything untoward, would allow themselves to be massaged while in their underwear. To make sure the boys were learning well, they in turn had to give massages to their teachers, who would provide directions regarding where they liked to be touched during the massage.

If Mr. DeFede still thinks gays should be allowed into the Boy Scouts, then let him consider this: If he had (or perhaps has) young daughters who belonged to the Girl Scouts, I assume that he wouldn't mind heterosexual young men taking his girls on overnight trips into the woods. Nor should Mr. DeFede have any problem with these same men hanging around the showers or even taking showers with his daughters at camp. After all, gay men in the Boy Scouts shower with the objects of their sexual desires at summer camp and on outings, so what would be the difference in heterosexual men showering with the object of their sexual desires?

Name Withheld by Request
via the Internet

The Buonamia Fan Club
Keep the friends, dump the church: I have been attending Saint Philomena Catholic Church in Little Havana for a number of years. What Jim DeFede reported about Art and Marisa Buonamia and [their confrontation with Eladio Armesto-Garcia and his son over the mayoral election] is scandalous (“Angels with Ice Picks,” September 21). The priest had asked us to call them back to the church when they left. I was not aware why they left, nor did they tell me why.

They were always helpful, as in the case of an elderly couple whose car was damaged. The Buonamias had it repaired for free. They also were one of the only couples bringing new people to attend services, especially many in the Haitian community.

Our family does not intend to return to a church that allows this to happen. The priest should have taken the moral high ground instead of hiding. We thank the Buonamias for their friendship.

Bernard Abujaber

Democracy Is Choice
Just don't choose intimidation: The longer I live in Miami, the more and more embarrassed and appalled I become at being part of the Cuban community, if only by marriage. The people who fled Cuba because of Castro and his regime are the same ones who are trying identical tactics here in Miami, only they call it “democracy.” According to Elisabeth Boggs, who wrote a letter (October 5) in response to “Angels with Ice Picks,” if you “can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” Well, it is my kitchen and I have the right to be here if I choose.

Democracy, in fact, is about choice: the choice to vote and support whomever we choose, the choice to go to church wherever we choose, and the choice to agree with Janet Reno's decision to reunite Elian Gonzalez with his father. You may choose to disagree with me, you can choose not to be my friend, or even stop speaking to me, but you do not have the right to harm me or my family. As far as I am concerned, those who use force to try to change my mind are no better than Castro. They will not be satisfied until everyone who has a difference of opinion, or religion, or politics has left Cuba -- whoops, sorry, I mean Miami.

Name Withheld by Request

Dear Elisabeth ...
With affection, Hilda: This is my response to Elisabeth Boggs's letter about the intolerance suffered by Art Buonamia at his church: Elisabeth, your arrogance is matched only by your ignorance.

Hilda Cohen

Invoking Harry Truman
So leave already: It's ironic that letter-writer Elisabeth Boggs chooses to use the phrase “If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” (a very American phrase) when referring to the incident involving Art and Marisa Buonamia in Little Havana. It seems that Cuban Americans like her fail to apply these philosophies when it comes to their causes. Why don't we just try a new phrase: “If you don't like the laws and regulations of the United States of America, get out of our country.”

Rafael Salguero

Invoking Holy Scripture
Thou shall not steal? What? “Angels with Ice Picks” is a great example of the tales some folks will invent, not to mention the mental leaps they'll make, to get free publicity at their fellow man's expense. (See the Eighth Commandment for more information.)

A refresher course may be in order. Jim DeFede's article was really nothing more than a salaciously embellished, run-of-the-mill neighborhood gossip piece that our more respectable publications would be embarrassed to print. Nevertheless the question remains: Should any self-respecting publication allow truth to be so ludicrously trampled by an attention-starved individual who isn't dealing with a full deck?

Other than to pathetically amuse or inanely satisfy base human morbidness, what was the article apparently straining to accomplish? One would think Miami's court-appointed Mayor Carollo, or the county's airport, seaport, or water and sewer department would give any good journalist more than his or her share of real stories to write about.

Eladio José Armesto

Editor's note: Eladio José Armesto is the son of Eladio Armesto-Garcia and publisher of El Nuevo Patria newspaper.


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