Letters to the Editor

Rick ... or Red?
Could Rick Sanchez, Miami's most notorious journalistic windbag, actually be an agent of Fidel Castro?
By Robert Andrew Powell

Oh Brother! La Familia Strikes Back
I was very disappointed at Robert Andrew Powell's June 1 cover story titled "Rick ... or Red." What you did was a hatchet job! To accuse Rick Sanchez, who happens to be my brother, of being an agent for Fidel Castro, knowing the pain and hardship that Castro has caused my family and other Cuban immigrants, was tantamount to calling a Jewish person a Hitler sympathizer or an African-American a Ku Klux Klan lover. It was evident that the purpose of your "story" was to attack, hurt, and ridicule. You brought up past things you could not resist talking about, things that had nothing to do with the focus of your story. You mention his involvement with Alberto San Pedro but fail to add there was never any wrongdoing attributed to my brother by any investigating police agency. Other hatchet writers like yourself simply found him guilty by association. You then go on to mention that he left in shame and landed at a Houston television station, but you couldn't confirm it. Couldn't confirm it??? A person goes to Houston for two years and then comes back to Miami and you couldn't confirm it? That in itself says more than we need to know about your reporting abilities and skills, doesn't it, Mr. Powell?

You also go on to mention a 1991 traffic accident where he pleaded no contest to charges of driving while intoxicated after hitting a pedestrian. What you failed to mention was that he pleaded no contest against the advice of his attorney and gave a televised apology because he thought it important to assume responsibility for his actions. Also, for the record, the person he hit was no pedestrian, but a man who unfortunately had jumped out of a moving vehicle and was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine. But then, why would the truth matter to you? The truth is not important to you. What is important to you is getting noticed. Maybe you believe that "stories" such as this will get you noticed. They do, Mr. Powell. Stories like the one you wrote about my brother point out your ineffectiveness as a writer and your insensitivity as a human being. You have the right to dislike whomever you want. There is no law that says you have to like Rick Sanchez. But accusing my brother of being a communist just for the sake of kicks and shock value, knowing full well the possible ramifications, is an act of irresponsible journalism and pure hate.

Carlos Fernandez

Sanchez Lulls Us into the Unthinkable, but New Times Is Imponderable
Your flare for dramatic innuendo has about as much substance as the garbage Rick Sanchez calls news. You deserve a spanking, but Sanchez deserves life in prison for impersonating a news anchor.

I am so sick and tired of Channel 7's (WSVN-TV) mind-numbing approach, where anchors' personalities are more important than the news they report. If it weren't for WSVN's glinty-toothed, smiley-faced newscasters going yadda, yadda about murder and mayhem in Miami, perhaps South Florida would not be so jaded about violence.

I blame local television in large part for community indifference to crime. Sanchez-style newscasters cover the horrible and unthinkable with smooth, soothing voices. Human misery and suffering have become a macabre form of entertainment -- and the local evening news, day after day, year after year has an effect. If this wasn't so, companies would not pay huge bucks for television advertising. The negative consequences of watching are an undeniable truth to anyone who thinks.

Sanchez and those like him in television harm America each day. No one seems to notice the result of pretty people in suits telling us over and over how violence is out of control. Gee ... build your house on the side of a volcano and wonder why there is lava in the living room! Create a nation that is indifferent to crime and wonder why our streets, our schools, and our homes are not safe.

The only thing worse than the creeps making the news are the creeps reporting the news. American broadcasting could take a lesson from the BBC. Your general criticisms of Sanchez uncover the tip of an unpleasant iceberg: the failure of American journalism, at least as it is televised.

John Bunnell
via the Internet

Don't All News Guys Eat This Way?
Rick Sanchez is actually a disgusting human being. I used to work at an excellent restaurant next to the TV station. One night, Rick came in with his family and decided to eat at the salad bar. Everyone was watching him as he proceeded to, not dip, but thrust his hand into the lemon bowl, dump the lemons on his plate, and then suck each of his fingers and go for more. It was quite amazing. Please don't print my name. The last thing I need is for Channel 7 to be up my ass.

Name Withheld by Request
North Miami Beach

And Boy, Will He Fill Those Balloons
Hats off to you for your article on Rick Sanchez, South Florida's sorry excuse for a news anchor! Coming from a journalistic family (my grandfather was the chief photographer for the Associated Press), I was raised to believe the job of a journalist is to provide factual, unbiased, truthful information to the American public. On a nightly basis the entertainers at WSVN puke out their sensationalized, opinionated bullshit and then have the nerve to refer to themselves as journalists!! What an insult to anyone with a brain!

When the American people put their feet down and demand truth in media, Sanchez hopefully will get himself a clown costume and hand out balloons at the flea market; that's about all he is qualified to do!!

Laura Stenicky
Hillsboro Beach

We "Think" You're Brilliant!
Why don't you write a story on actual news and not something you "think" is clever. If you really believe Rick Sanchez's broadcasting style contributed to the "civic unrest that followed the removal of Elian Gonzalez" from Little Havana (totally ridiculous, so let me guess. If Rick Sanchez wasn't on the air, everything would have been fine? Yeah, right!), it would be hypocritical not to admit that this newspaper contributed to turning most Anglos and blacks against the Cuban-American community with its racist comments and articles. This story about Rick Sanchez proved to me that this paper will try to attack and make fun of anyone just for kicks who is in the public eye and is a Cuban. I have definitely come to the conclusion that this is the most anti-Cuban paper that I have ever read. I don't think that there has been a single edition in the last few months that didn't include plenty of Cuban bashing. Your message is loud and clear New Times and we definitely get it.

Dianelys Gonzalez

C'mon, Rick, Respond
Your article on Rick Sanchez being a communist spy has got to be the most hilarious article I have read in a long time. A lot of what you said I have found to be true, but I wasn't sure whether others felt the same way. Personally I do not feel as though Rick Sanchez has any journalistic skill. I truly feel that he got the anchor position because he's an arrogant *sshole and Channel 7 needs that for their ratings. I find myself watching their news because it starts at 10:00 p.m. If all the other channels started at the same time, I would probably stay with Channel 10 (WPLG-TV). It is the only station that gives the news from all points of view.

Now Sanchez should defend himself live on the ten o'clock news. That would make the history books as the best interview for the new millennium. Continue writing these controversial articles. They make many of us proud that we're not the only ones who feel a certain way!

Suzanne E. Scotchman
via the Internet

Castro Backs Us
As a founding member of the Cuban Research and Analysis Group (out of the University of New Mexico) and as one of the owners of the Cuba-L list service, I really have to commend you for your thoroughly enjoyable article on Rick Sanchez! I was beginning to feel like I was the only one who thought this guy was the furthest thing I'd ever seen from an unbiased journalist! Thank you very, very much!

Jacira Castro
via the Internet

Sanchez's Nattering Must Go
Thank God somebody said it! Sanchez is an instigating idiot. Channel 7 is bad enough, but he is unbelievable. Great story; I just have one question: Was any of it true? It would be nice if we were rid of his babbling.

Wendy Pelletier
Fort Lauderdale

And a Backslapping Thanks, Mister
Great writing on the "Rick ... or Red" story; keep up the great work!

Dan Meadows
via the Internet

Backslapping II
I enjoyed your clever article on Sanchez. Keep up the good work!

Ken Mylott
Lake Worth

Boxing Banter
An 82-year-old political heavyweight spars with a firefighter half his age, and the fans go wild
By Jose Luis Jiménez

Jeez, Our Back Is Sore
Jose Luis Jiménez's article "Boxing Banter" (June 1) made me laugh so hard I spilled my cortadito. Keep the dry-cleaning bills coming.

Steve Ferentz
Miami Beach

Land of the Rich and Home of the White
Morningside is supposed to be open to the public. So why is it closed off like a private club?
By Kathy Glasgow

Sore? These Folks Are, too.
Kathy Glasgow's article on Morningside ("Land of the Rich and Home of the White," May 25) is an appallingly poorly researched and shallow anecdotal piece aimed at inflaming a community already raw from the Elian situation. What is shocking is what is not included in the article. There is no mention of the history of the effort to install guard gates in Morningside or the public scrutiny and election necessary to attain that goal.

More than 30 communities in Miami-Dade County are gated; the statistics clearly show that such facilities deter crime. Morningside sought to build gates, not to keep anyone of color out of the area or away from the park, but to send a message to criminals that residents no longer tolerate that activity. Many people have been burglarized, robbed at gunpoint, had cars stolen, and endured the sight of used condoms from prostitution. Unfortunately the City of Miami has not had the resources, despite the high tax rate, to properly protect Morningside and Upper Eastside residents. Because it became increasingly obvious that the police presence in the area was minimal and ineffective, residents chose to protect themselves and pay for it.

The statement that the gates cost residents more than a million dollars for the first two years is misleading because it does not differentiate between infrastructure and maintenance expenses. The actual construction was around $350,000 and the maintenance, inclusive of 24-hour security, is approximately $250,000 per year for the two guardhouses.

Morningside is a tri-ethnic community. Generalizing that it is overwhelmingly white and upper middle class is neither fair nor accurate. Attaching the label of apartheid to the area is not only blatantly wrong, but it is unnecessarily inflammatory. Clearly the author has no understanding of apartheid's meaning. Neither the people of Morningside nor the gating of the community stands for rigid racial separation. To my knowledge no one in the neighborhood has ever espoused pro-apartheid sentiment. Attaching this derogatory stereotype to the area is yellow journalism aimed at creating an unwarranted war of words at the very least.

Although in the past New Times has written many well-researched pieces, this one is a shallow attempt to pour gasoline on a community and light a match. I find it amazing that a part-time security guard received more ink in the article than the residents who researched and worked so diligently to make Morningside a safer community. Of course, when someone has set out to write an article with an obvious bias, the facts don't matter.

Jesse H. Diner and Patrick McCoy

How Did You Know Yellow Is Our Favorite Color?
After reading your trashy little article on our community, I would like to point out a few errors in your inflammatory ranting. It might make you better reporters, or at least honest ones.

From your perch you can't see that we are a close community of whites, gays, Hispanics, and yes -- to your chagrin -- Afro-Americans; that the gates were not put up to keep black people out, but to try to keep the criminal elements from making Morningside their cash box and shopping bazaar. Regretfully this has not been the case. Last week one of our children was attacked in that same park by three minors from outside our community; after stealing his bike they proceeded to beat that child to the point where he is going to need plastic surgery. There's a story for you.

It would be wonderful if you would write a story about a neighborhood that still maintains a sense of community, where neighbors help other neighbors, a community that reaches out to others less fortunate. I understand this would be too much to ask. Your contempt for anything other than sheer sensationalism would run contrary to your paper's editorial policy.

Here is a suggestion for you: Have New Times printed on yellow paper. It would match the content of most of your articles.

Gus Fernandez

If I Buy There, I Get Rich, Right?
You inflame and infuriate those good people of Morningside who have opened their arms for everyone: black, white, Hispanic, of all religious affiliations or sexual orientations who live together in this area.

I am appalled at your lack of sensitivity to an area that is slowly coming back after years of neglect and hardship. City government has been neglectful, to say the least. Thanks to the efforts of realtor Norah Schaefer and others, the Morningside neighbors have saved these glorious houses from the fate that befell Buena Vista; families of ten to twenty dismantled those historic homes and ruined them. That it has cost money to do this is indisputable, but to say this is a rich neighborhood (I'm certainly not rich) that somehow discourages people from entering is a fallacy. Use that argument for Bay Point, not Morningside. If people do not enter, it is because they are unaware of the rules. When I don't know, I have everything to gain by asking.

Morningside residents have had to deal with remarks like yours for some time. Guard gates that now stand on NE 50th and 58th streets were placed there as a result of years of robberies by thugs who entered the neighborhood only to steal, not to use the park. Now we have a way of recording the license numbers of those who enter -- simple, safe, not too much of an inconvenience. If people are using the park less, perhaps it is because the illegal activity has no place in Morningside anymore. Cruising, prostitution, and drug use will not be tolerated.

We have never discouraged families and law-abiding citizens from entering. You do the neighborhood and the city a disservice with this article, which is divisive and insulting to me personally.

How long have you lived in Miami? Do you live in Morningside or have you spent any length of time there? I think not. Because if you had the chance, you'd snap up a home in Morningside in a heartbeat. As for me, I am lucky and glad to live in such a diverse melting pot, where all are welcome.

Carlos Navarro

Not A Lot of Diverse Opinion on This Story
Okay, so you can piss off even your most ardent fans once in a while.

The story about the new gated entryways into Morningside should have been a short one reminding us what the definition of public means. Don't blame Morningside homeowners for their neighbors' ignorance and fear. Morningside residents, like a lot of us living in what you and the real estate agents are calling the "trendy" Upper Eastside, continue to try and effect change. The really, really big show up here continues to be the in-your-face, 24/7 drug dealing and prostitution.

Who at city hall profits from keeping these sad activities so visible up here and out of the Grove, the Gables, and all the other truly "white and rich" neighborhoods? Is there a secret slush fund set up by those residents just for this purpose? Hey just kidding -- hee, hee, hee....

Look close and you'll see the Eastside is diverse, both economically and ethnically.

Hell, you think if I was really rich, I'd be living here?

Craig Willard

Erratum:Owing to a reporting error in "The Team's Dreams" (May 25), the year Jose Garcia-Pedrosa ran against Janet Reno for Dade state attorney was misstated. It was 1984. New Times regrets the error.


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