One percent scam: Your story about how the for-profit Mavericks high schools fail to live up to their big promises ("Sink or Swim," Lisa Rab, December 29) shows yet again how charter school scams are destroying public education. Religious zealots, crooked politicians, and deep-pocketed bigwigs continue their for-profit drive to privatize schools. The 99 percent will be destined for poverty because of this greed, corruption, and stupidity.
Corporate greed: In the article, you write that Mavericks' Fort Lauderdale school faced a $520,000 deficit and was declared to be in a "financial emergency" by auditors, and that "Mavericks officials say Fort Lauderdale's debt was temporary, because the school's original enrollment was low. Hollander wrote a check to cover the budget hole, and the school is now on its feet and very healthy." But there's a funny thing about that. The Fort Lauderdale school achieved full enrollment faster than any previous Mavericks high school. And though Mavericks promised it would advertise on the radio to encourage enrollment, the radio spots never happened. The school was trying to boost enrollment for two months before Mavericks even bothered to add the school to its website.
The problems in Fort Lauderdale are not the fault of early poor enrollment. They are entirely the fault of the money-grabbing, don't-give-a-lick-about-education management in the firm's corporate offices. Gov. Rick Scott, are you reading this article? It is time to put strong controls on charter schools so they quit taking taxpayer money and giving nothing back to the public. And as for Mavericks schools: Shut them down!
Better than unions: At worst, a for-profit school cares about keeping students and their parents happy. This is in stark contrast to the teaching-union weasels who care only about time off, benefits, pensions, and making sure nobody ever gets fired. Just read their contracts.
Blame the old: The article correctly points out why Florida is a ripe mark for these types of frauds. Public schools are so bad that you must send your kid to private school. Most are very good, but this company is total BS. Even the private schools here that charge almost $20,000 provide very little extras because they do not have to. There is no competition. I blame the rich retirees who move here and the corrupt public officials.
Drunk and Disorderly
Internal affairs fails: Is anyone surprised to read that a Miami-Dade cop was caught drunkenly asleep at the wheel of his cruiser ("History of Violence," Michael E. Miller, December 29) or that he had a horrible previous record but was never punished by internal affairs? With the asshats over at IA, this kind of thing goes on all the time. What say you, Director James Loftus?
Keystone Cops abound: Law enforcement in South Florida is a group of criminals with guns and uniforms doing every possible crime — extorting, protecting the criminals, and writing false reports. The smaller the department, the more corrupt.
Bad cops hurt everyone: Some of the blame for Officer Fernando Villa's egregious, violent actions being condoned and tolerated must rest with Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle's office for choosing not to prosecute bad cops like him. The prosecutors probably wouldn't drop charges against a suspect if two cops supported a third officer's story, but with two regular witnesses telling IA investigators that Villa viciously beat a suspect named Delroy Hibbert, amazingly no charges against the cop resulted.
With all due respect to cops for the challenging work they do, they are also given the power to detain and arrest, and with such power there should be higher expectations for their behavior. If a cop issued a speeding ticket and the driver punched the cop, the offender would not get a pass by saying, "Hey, my bad, but I had a rough day at work." Why such behavior is tolerated within their own agencies is baffling because the rogue cops diminish citizens' respect for the whole department, as well as causing budget problems with cases being settled in court and causing other officers to wait for pay raises. Rogue, violent cops like Villa are very expensive to keep on staff, yet he still acts with impunity and is cleared by his own agency and the state attorney.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Year of the Foodie
Hotlanta still wins: I'd love to say otherwise after reading your piece about how Miami leapfrogged into the upper tier of American food cities this past year ("2011 in Review: Reaching for the Stars," Lee Klein, December 29), but Atlanta still beats Miami in terms of the quality and variety of restaurants. Can we please ditch the upscale-burger-joint trend and replace it with something more interesting? Korean fried chicken, anyone? Make it happen, people!