Letters to the Editor

Captains Outrageous
The ugly truth behind Carnival's glamorous billion-dollar cruise business
By Kirk Nielsen, Tristram Korten, and Ted B. Kissell
Carnival: Same Old Same Old
The "Captains Outrageous" articles by Kirk Nielsen, Tristram Korten, Ted B. Kissell, and Jim DeFede (February 3) were well done, but as usual nothing will be done about the situation with Carnival Cruise Lines. Public officials and corporate leaders know that if they just ignore such revelations they will go away, and the general public will forget about them.

I caught one error. In Kirk Nielsen's segment ("The Perfect Scam"), he stated that Congress was controlled by Republicans in 1993. Nope. Democrat Tom Foley was Speaker of the House and Bob Dole was minority leader in the Senate in 1993. Republicans did not win the congressional elections until 1994, and took control in 1995.

Gordon L. Hudson

Carnival: Lowly Foreigners Don't Count
What makes you think Miamians are going to care about people from other countries who work for Carnival Cruise Lines when most Miamians don't give a rat's behind about each other? Just look at the way people of color are treated in this town. Just look at the way people drive. The only activism seen in this town is the mad dash of most to obtain nirvana or sensuality or physical pleasure at the cost of another's pound of flesh.

Miami is anti-intellectual. Many of its residents are like cows, conscious only of whatever object or sensation happens to be staring them in the face at the time. This is a town where a BMW's fender may very well be worth more than a limb.

Please don't talk to me about Micky Arison. He is merely giving the people of Miami what they want, and he is just one among many pariahs.

Manny Losada

Carnival: World-Class Shipocrytes
Aside from Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Puerto Rico, the leading opponents of efforts to legalize and tax casino gambling in Florida are the cruise lines, which makes them the foremost hypocrites of all! They have a tax-free income. Their ships are all registered in foreign countries, so they don't pay one cent of their billions in profits to federal, state, or local governments.

Adding to this insult is the way the cruise industry handles tourists arriving at our airports. They are transported directly to the cruise ships and never spend a penny in the local economy. Tourist figures are always inflated because these people are counted in the total while never actually touching our land.

The environmental record of cruise ships in some areas in horrendous. They pollute our local waters and the ocean. And forget the fines levied against some of them for polluting; they're no more than a mosquito bite on this billion-dollar elephant.

Ronald C. Rickey
Miami Beach

Carnival: Just Another Happy Customer
Great articles on Carnival "Screws" Lines! For more evidence of Carnival's greed, check out the Website http://www.starshiptravel.com/noparadise-main.htm. My wife and I and 2500 other passengers believe we were ripped off by Carnival on their so-called millennium cruise aboard the Paradise.

When you visit the Website, please look at the complaint letters and the demand letter sent to Carnival chairman Micky Arison on behalf of 1600 passengers petitioning the company for partial refunds for a cruise to nowhere.

Tom Coldwell
Fairfax, Virginia

Carnival: An Equal-Opportunity Money Machine
Your group of articles about Carnival Cruise Lines was timely, well researched, and to the point. There is something that needs to be pointed out, however. Jim DeFede accurately noted that Carnival gets away with its "special brand of corporate mischief" largely through political contributions. These contributions are made at the state and local levels, as well as national.

One large-scale recipient of Carnival's and Micky Arison's multiple contributions was Miami Beach Mayor Neisen Kasdin. Inasmuch as your newspaper gave Kasdin's re election campaign such a boost with a last-minute attempt to trash his opponent ("Not for Sale ... Exactly," October 28) reformist commissioner Martin Shapiro, who got nothing from Carnival, I thought you might like to know this.

Richard H. Rosichan
Miami Beach

Carnival: Extortionists Disguised as Journalists
After reading Jim DeFede's contribution to "Captains Outrageous" ("The Real Micky Arison"), I came to the conclusion that you guys must have tried to extort advertising money from Carnival Cruise Lines, and when you couldn't, you came out with this bullshit.

This fine reporter Jim DeFede (should I call him a reporter or an extortionist?) doesn't realize that Mr. Arison has done a lot for this community. He has done more for the youth in the low-income districts than the whole Miami City Commission or the Miami-Dade County Commission. His Carnival Cruise Lines brings into Miami a lot of tourists, even if they only stop for ten minutes at Miami International Airport to have a colada at La Carreta. Carnival also has created lots of work for local people.

But what the hell. You guys couldn't get Micky Arison to give you a full-page ad and so you came out with a bunch of lies. Sooner or later someone will send you the bill. Be ready to take care of it.

Jack Valor

Disneyland with a Libido
Mango's Tropical Café
By Celeste Fraser Delgado

Mango's Maniacs
Regarding Celeste Fraser Delgado's article "Disneyland with a Libido" (February 3), hurray for Mango's! My husband and I love it there and have a hard time when visiting Miami going to any other clubs as we have so much fun at Mango's. We've visited enough times that some of the people working there recognize us, which makes it even more fun. (We both have our favorite dancers, which helps with the jealousy thing. Ha!)

After reading Celeste's article, I'm ready for my next trip to Miami, which will be in just a couple of weeks. Yippee! Although we live in Kentucky, my husband works for a company based in Miami Lakes and travels there often. I have been to the area several times recently; in fact eight trips to Miami last year alone, a record for me. Our most recent visit was New Year's Eve. You can guess where we were. Yes, Mango's. It was one of our most exciting New Year's Eves ever.

Long live Mango's!

Sherri Rogers
via the Internet

A Hatchet Job
When Miami police tried to fell a beautiful oak, community activist Monique Taylor raised Cain
By Kathy Glasgow

Punish Criminals, Not Oak Trees
Thanks to Kathy Glasgow for writing the very significant story of the oak tree that nearly lost its life ("A Hatchet Job," January 27). The article was about one of our "protected" natural treasures being senselessly mutilated and nearly destroyed, but it also was about a chaotic, out-of-control government and bureaucracy in which it is commonplace for officials to ignore or sidestep the laws they are paid (with our public funds) to enforce, while their superiors choose to look the other way. If John Q. Citizen were found guilty of similar transgressions, he'd be heavily fined.

This is about the Fraternal Order of Government, in which colleagues are rarely if ever held accountable for their wrongful actions. It is about one of Miami's finest, Ofcr. Harvey Nairin, quoted as saying: "It was my idea to make it uncomfortable for the drug dealers. Let 'em stand out under the sun. I ordered [the tree] to be cut down." I remember when police officers were expected to arrest drug dealers!

Yes, Officer Nairin, there are far fewer undesirables in the immediate area of the oak tree now. Miami officers, under strict orders from the new north district commander, at long last began patrolling, diligently arresting scores of people almost daily. Many are still incarcerated; others now realize the area has become uncomfortable and have moved on. And they've done this for reasons other than the lack of shade. Miami's police officers can still do a job if and when they are directed to do so. Thanks to the commander and the officers. Please keep up the good work.

As for the tree, all we can do is hope that Mother Nature will be kind and allow it to heal and grow again.

Monique Taylor

The Divine Ms. Taylor
Kathy Glasgow's description of the Little Haiti tree-trimming debacle exposes the bare truth about Miami's continuing mismanagement. Here is a city employee, a police officer, who is paid to administer the law but does not know the ordinances he is paid to enforce (including protections for trees), who admits that prostitution and drug-dealing go on under his nose but does nothing about it, yet whines when conscientious property owners are forced to remind him of his duty. How can any municipal management in its right mind pay people like that with public money?

Thank God for Monique Taylor! She does the jobs of mayor, commissioners, and manager with her eyes closed.

Sheila M. Anderson

The Obnoxious Ms. Taylor
Regarding Kathy Glasgow's "A Hatchet Job," what a refreshing approach to writing. My one complaint would be the lack of insight into the motivations of those involved, with the obvious exception of the police. How about a broader piece on the obnoxious Monique Taylor and what other neighborhood issues she gets into?

Jeremy Loome
via the Internet

Alfredo's and MeThanks to Jen Karetnick for her advice regarding Alfredo's restaurant ("Prime Pampas Cut," December 23). Though I live just two miles from Alfredo's, I normally would never dare to stop there. But not only was the food really tasty, well prepared, and not unreasonably priced, the hospitality was superb and seemed genuine. That's a rarity in this town.

George Kottler

Alfredo and WeI have been reading Alfredo Triff's art reviews for the past few months and have found them very interesting and informative. Mr. Triff is so descriptive and articulate that he brings to life the art he is reviewing. Lately when I pick up New Times the first thing I look for is the art review.

We art lovers would like to see Mr. Triff in the paper more often because his reviews are one of the few forums, if not the only forum, that give our local artists some exposure in this otherwise artistically lackluster community.

Ronald Pierre
North Miami


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