And they don't always have criminal records: As a former member of the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board and a former police officer, I found Jim DeFede's attack on county police director Carlos Alvarez and Police Benevolent Association (PBA) president John Rivera to be unjust ("A Wasted Life," February 7).
The Miami-Dade County Police Department is considered to be one of the finest in the nation. That is due to its leadership. We cannot allow the death of a criminal who attempted to run over and kill one of our police officers to be spun into a victim of police abuse. The leaders who are attempting to do that are acting irresponsibly, grandstanding for their own benefit.
Director Alvarez has always conducted himself and led his department in the most professional and respectful manner possible. We must support the director and the PBA president from undue pressure and influence from the real thugs in our community. Police officers must not be afraid to defend themselves when confronted by criminals who attempt to take their lives.
Thank God we have Carlos Alvarez and John Rivera.
Editor's note: The "criminal" referred to by Mr. Hidalgo-Gato is Eddie Lee Macklin, who last month was shot and killed by Miami-Dade Police Ofcr. James Johns. Official inquiries into Macklin's death have not been completed, and so his motives and intentions have not been established.
Too often they're the ones carrying a badge and a gun: Despite John Rivera's opposition, Miami-Dade County must have a civilian review board with the power to stop abusive cops from hurting and killing people and getting away with it. It's going to happen sooner or later, regardless of Rivera's lobbying power. Remember, there are more citizens who vote than cops, and the voters know bad cops from good cops.
It's not that we hate cops. We hate abusive cops whose attitude is that they own the streets. They don't. We do, we the people pay the cops. They work for us, and if they don't like that arrangement they should find something else to do. We are going to get them out. We are going to expose them and reveal what they really are: thugs with badges.
Don't let the good cops who do their jobs pay a price for the bad apples.
Oh yeah, and let's try to fix it: I'm pleased to see that Brett Sokol's "Kulchur" column is keeping alive the debate over the Miami Film Festival debacle ("Before the Lights Go Down," February 7). I'm in agreement with self-described "gringa" Melissa DeVolentine, who wrote a letter to the editor last week: The festival was a wreck. From the moment the film schedules were e-mailed, my disaffection with this year's festival snowballed.
I'm a transplanted New Yorker, seven years now, and I looked forward to each season with excitement. It was the highlight of the cultural year for me. I'd been a festival member for three years but decided I wouldn't renew this year. I boycotted and spread the negative word. I don't want the festival to end, but I would like to see it move in a more positive direction.
Sorry, but no tabloid fodder here: This is in response to Celeste Fraser Delgado's "Shake" column ("The thin line between pop and adult entertainment," February 7). For the past seventeen years I have worked in a professional capacity with Emilio and Gloria Estefan and their incredible music empire. I saw the days when their offices were run out of a garage. I have seen them on days when the pressures of touring and keeping a family together nearly engulfed them. But at no time did they ever succumb to anything less than completely stellar conduct in maintaining the values they hold dear.
There are many critics of Emilio's business tactics, and they are entitled to their opinions. But the Estefans' faces have never been smeared across the tabloids. There never were any sordid stories to be written about them. There still are none.
And just because they're Hispanic: This is the last straw. New Times used to be the cutting-edge paper in the Miami area regarding music and nightlife. It used to represent the multicultural melting pot of Miami in a fair manner. Well, not anymore. In my opinion the quality of reporting reached an all-time low with Celeste Fraser Delgado's column concerning Emilio Estefan and Juan Carlos Diaz, his escort-advertising accuser.
I was under the impression that reporting was supposed to be unbiased and accurate. Professional journalism goes out of its way to be fair and impartial. But this article was totally one-sided, an obvious attempt to suck up to Mr. Estefan. The entire piece focused on Mr. Diaz advertising himself in the escort section of your paper, not the substance of his allegations.
I have no idea whether the charges made in Mr. Diaz's lawsuit are true, but I would surmise that a person who places male-escort advertising occasionally is solicited for sex. Ms. Delgado did not explore the possibility that something might have happened between the two men. Mr. Diaz's attorney, Ellis Rubin, seems way too smart to file a lawsuit without having evidence that some sort of illegal activity occurred.
Ever since Ms. Delgado began writing for New Times she has been consistent in supporting only the Hispanic community in Miami. What about our large Haitian community, which has excelled in the hip-hop scene? What about our large Jewish, European, and other foreign communities? They like music too, you know. What about rock bands and young non-Latin pop wannabes? They exist too. And what about the nightlife in Miami? It's still the best in the world.
I want New Times to get back to its roots and publish articles that accurately represent our multicultural city and do so in a fair manner. Ms. Delgado seems to have forgotten that Miami is not 100 percent Latin and that every story has at least two sides. I wonder if she has ever been to a classic-rock or rap concert? If she has, she certainly doesn't write about it.
James R. Mann
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Rebecca, lemme buy yous one lash cocktail, yesh? Congratulations to Rebecca Wakefield for her insightful and intuitive look at the venerable 1800 Club ("Farewell, My Lovely 1800," January 17). If you ever experienced the unique, local potpourri of humanity who claimed part-time residence at the 1800, I'm sure you would agree that Rebecca's piece captured the essence of the history, flavor, and personality of a truly great local joint. Please pass along a "job well done" from one of the 1800's many cultural veterans.
I look forward to many more local color pieces.