Go Ahead Willy, Sell Out the City!
Regarding Kirk Nielsen's "Cloistering the Commodore" (December 17), perhaps the cash-strapped city commission and Commissioner Willy Gort are so short-sighted that they only consider tax dollars these days. Maybe Willy doesn't get out anymore for fear of being harangued by his long-suffering constituents. He should walk Kennedy Park on a Sunday to see how many people use city parks.

How long before the out-of-touch, self-serving commission puts Kennedy on the developer's auction block?

Giles Coates
Coconut Grove

DeFede Takes on the Christian Coalition ... Homophobia Takes a Hit
I read with great interest Jim DeFede's article "A Day of Reckoning" (December 10). Mr. DeFede's obvious viewpoint is that people who agree with his position on the ordinance are good. People who disagree are bad.

Referring to members of the Christian Coalition who spoke against the ordinance, Mr. DeFede writes: "Every one of their speakers invoked religious doctrine to argue against the ordinance." Good heavens! American citizens who allow their religious faith to inform their views on political issues! What has this nation come to? Katy Sorenson, on the other hand, allowed that she was "feeling pretty Zen about the whole thing." I guess the real problem isn't allowing faith to enter the political arena, but rather permitting a biblically based Christian viewpoint.

The most fascinating, or at least telling, part of the article was Mr. DeFede's report that the six commissioners who voted against the ordinance "had nothing to say." He then goes on to make the interesting comment that their votes were "rooted in fear, ignorance, and bigotry," and were "indefensible" and "manifestly unjust." I'm just wondering: Does Mr. DeFede have a crystal ball, unavailable to us poor, unenlightened, non-media types, that allows him to see into the thoughts and attitudes of others, even when those thoughts aren't verbalized? Mr. DeFede's article does indeed reveal some serious fear, ignorance, and bigotry, but it isn't from those six council members. Perhaps this article should have been written entirely in the first person.

Kent Keller

Come on over to Miami and Day That, Bad Boy
I am writing in response to "A Day of Reckoning." I do not know Mr. DeFede or Ms. Alonso. I happened to come across this column on Yahoo. I was struck by the petty, attacking tone that Mr. DeFede displayed toward Ms. Alonso. The personal attack on her intelligence and likableness seemed unwarranted. It also puzzles me how Mr. DeFede is so certain that the tirade occurred. Why did Mr. DeFede accept one account, unless it was only to support his point of view. I've always heard that ad hominem arguments are used by those who can't make a cogent argument. The whole tone of the argument was offensive to me. Those who disagree with Mr. DeFede are cynical and oppressive. Those who agree are standing tall. If this item reflects the quality of Mr. DeFede's writing and thought processes, then I am blessed not to be a New Times subscriber.

Tom Fife
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

End the Hate, Start the Lo-o-ove!
My compliments to Jim DeFede and New Times for "A Day of Reckoning." Those who want to deprive gays of the rights given to the rest of us show the height of ignorance.

The next time any of them suggest that people choose their sexual preference, I suggest they ask themselves the following questions: Who helped them pick the gender they like to hold close? And when? For those who call themselves Christians and suggest that Christ would reject homosexuals, please find the passage in the Bible where Christ was anything but kind and loving to the people he met. (With the exception of bankers and moneylenders, of course.)

It is a very difficult thing to be different. Blacks, Indians, women, Jews, Chinese, gays, and even the Irish have been persecuted, but they are all God's children. He (or is it She?) made us all in His (or Her) likeness. Isn't it time we stop hating and giving high-sounding reasons for it?

Sometimes it's hard to tell if the haters are ignorant themselves, or if they are trying to pump up a shallow ego by attracting the praise or votes of ignorant people. In any event we need an end to the hate.

Mr. DeFede, please keep up the good work.
John A. Brennan

Letter Writer: Let My People Go
Mr. DeFede seems to put away his usual humorous tone when addressing Miami-Dade County commissioners' recent vote on the so-called gay rights ordinance. Though I consider myself an unabashed supporter of human rights, I do find some fault with the ordinance.

Instead of fighting to put more groups on this ordinance and cause greater division in our community, wouldn't it make more sense to simplify the ordinance? Does not everyone with a sexual orientation have a religious belief, even if it's atheism? And does not everyone with a religious belief have a country of origin? And does not everyone with a nationality belong to a racial group or combination of races? And does not everyone who is a member of a racial group or combination of racial groups have a gender? And does not everyone who has a gender also have a species?

So wouldn't it be simpler just to have an ordinance that would outlaw discrimination against all members of the human race?

Something should also be said for freedom of association. When people are forced to coexist, as they were in the former Yugoslavia or Soviet Union, all hell breaks loose after those forces disappear. Rather than have all these ordinances (English only, gay rights, et cetera) that aggravate the existing anger and divisiveness in our community, why not allow people to associate with whomever they please? Those xenophobes who choose to discriminate will miss out on more than they can ever imagine, both spiritually and economically.

Emiliano Antunez

This Dennis Is No Menace
Congratulations to Commissioner Moss for having the strength to vote yes on the human rights ordinance. After so much effort by so many people on both sides of this issue, it all came down to this: one man doing what he believed was right. If only all Miami was so committed to justice, this would be a much better place to live.

Coleman Bell
South Miami

M.D.P.D. Blue Speaks Out
I was very impressed by John Lantigua's article "Rich Thug, Poor Thug" (December 10), which covered the reduction in gang activity and the dropping crime rate at Braddock Senior High School. However, I do object to giving full credit to the Miami-Dade Police Department and the school's administration. I am sure Miami-Dade police are active in the neighborhoods surrounding the school, but the decrease in criminal incidents, as reported in the article, is for crimes occurring within the school. The Miami-Dade Public Schools Police Department is responsible for the prevention and investigation of crimes within the school system. Sgt. Dermot Horgan, Det. William Tagle, and Ofcrs. Mario Victores and John Messenger of the school police were assigned to Braddock between 1994 and 1998. They deserve recognition for their work. The photographs of the gang members in the New Times article are all used by Detective Tagle in his slide presentation on gang activity. If New Times wants to know what type of criminal activity is occurring at an educational site, try talking to the officer working at the school, not a county detective who is more than willing to take credit for someone else's hard work.

David Quigley, Sergeant
Miami-Dade Public Schools Police

Let the Artist Get Rich
I just read Ben Greenman's article on "1999" and the Artist ("Tonight We're Gonna Market Like It's 1999," December 10). Good write-up! But does New Times think it's time that record companies should give back the masters once song creators have left their record labels? After all, it's the creator who writes the song. Let's hope one day the Artist and other musicians gain the right to own their master recordings.

Jason Atkin
Kidderminster, England

You and Ben Know, but How About Our Other Readers?
I am writing in response to "Tonight We're Gonna Market Like It's 1999" (December 10). How well we know it all!

Chris Van Gerwen
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Take That, Benjy Boy
Mr. Greenman obviously knows nothing about the artist, his music, or what it means to be a creative human being.

Joseph Fior
San Francisco

Good Article, Bad Listings
I am the box office manager for the New World Symphony. In case no one else says so, thanks! I really liked Kirk Nielsen's article on the symphony, "Rebuilding Beethoven" (November 26). We appreciate your support! I only wish that our concert listings were better!

Michael Granados
Miami Beach

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