A Bird Leg in the Hand

Letters from the Issue of July 29 - August 4, 2004

Is worth two or more in the alley: "The Bitch" has been writing about a mystery man who cages and steals pigeons (July 15), and now this: Pigeon legs are being tied up with plastic tape and left in our Miami Beach alley.

How many more pigeon abusers are there? What's the matter here! Don't these people like the way pigeons strut and coo?

Jean Robbins

Miami Beach

Capitulation of the Capitalists

Guess what happens when it's their own pockets being picked: I absolutely loved Jim Mullin's column "Down in Flames" (July 15) concerning the aborted referendum effort to create an independent airport authority, and the Miami Business Forum's retreat at the first bare-fanged snarl from our county commission -- a politburo with an aversion to openness that is hell-bent on keeping their hungry snouts in the airport's trough.

Obviously our "public servants" booby-trapped every business channel within the county in order to frighten and rout these entrepreneurs. Good capitalists all, Business Forum members relented in deference to the primacy of their pocketbooks. Fiscal accountability took a dive. It was, alas, a fatal capitulation in a dying county whose womb, not coincidentally, holds Miami -- America's poorest city.

There was, however, an amusing aspect to this retreat, and Mullin didn't miss it: use of the looming bond issue as justification. The strained logic? That voters sensitized to the financial meddling and waste at the airport will vote for an independent authority first and then against the bond issue. Yet any horse's ass knows that reasoning is a pile of muck. Why? Because Miami-Dade's voters don't give a hoot about political pork, fiscal waste, or misfeasance by their elected officials -- unless, that is, the PR men first work into the picture Castro, the Marlins, or the Heat.

Rest assured the Madison Avenue types will have their scripts in hand. The $2.75 billion bond issue will pass with last-minute promises of a few dollars for crime and a few more for roads. Then $440 million will go to the museums and arts complexes to complement that $400 million Performing Arts Center folly. In the process our leaders will drop another $30 million or so in the pile for the Freedom Tower (at five or six times its appraised value), and then come up with a dozen other wise investments.

All the while statistics show that our middle class has dwindled to 17 percent, which would seem to place our poor around the 75 percent mark. Can you visualize those huddled masses clamoring for a $200 ticket to see Pavarotti's farewell-tour performance of Pagliacci? No? Well then, call up your local legislator. Let's start now! Get a law in place recognizing cockfights as an artistic and cultural treasure entitled to protection and public funding.

Dan Gonzalez


The Strange Cases of the Suitcases

To make that big score, some people will do really stupid things: Congratulations to Rebecca Wakefield on her articles "Lost & Found & Hope & Greed" (July 8) and "The Unbelievable Truth!" (July 8). I really enjoyed reading the first article, about MIA's lost-and-found auction, because it really shows what some people, hoping and dreaming, will do to make a big score. It was also quite funny, especially the guy who paid $270 for two suitcases and ended up with baby clothes and dirty underwear. I'm sure it was not funny for him, though.

The other article, about the "Cuban spy" con man, read like a Tom Clancy novel. Only here in Miami, which is a haven for Cuban spies both genuine and counterfeit, could this have been a true story. Several genuine Cuban spies have been caught here in Miami, which is why people were easily deceived by this pathological liar of a con man.

Was it coincidence or conspiracy that both articles featured suitcases and what was not in them? At the moment of truth, the guy at the auction opens the suitcase and finds dirty underwear. The guy in the spy scam opens the suitcase and finds worthless paper. Both dreamers.

Mike Morales


Miami, Fertile Ground for Newcomers

And a nice place to reinvent yourself: Rebecca Wakefield's "The Unbelievable Truth!" about con man Roberto Martin Cabrera read like fiction, but its reality served to prove two things: 1) Miami's ground has become thoroughly fertilized by bullshit from the "little people" who claim title or position from other lands, and 2) Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle is too unsavvy and incompetent to recognize the con games, or she isn't interested enough to investigate or prosecute white-collar crime that stinks up the whole town.

Dario Mattarano

Miami Beach

Bad Gentrification

First Wynwood, then Overtown, then...: I really appreciated Alfredo Triff's article about the gentrification of Miami's central neighborhoods ("Out with the Old," July 8). I'm very interested in the ways that art (including its practice and its distribution system) intersects with the greater context of locations, built landscapes, and the economy. So it was great to see an intelligently articulated, well-researched article on this topic, specific to Miami.

This conflict and the tension it creates is more visible in Wynwood, but I've done some work in Overtown, where cultural development is also being explored as a catalyst for economic development. I think it's important to observe how this is playing out in other neighborhoods in order to be able to avoid "bad gentrification" and its tendency to perpetuate institutional racism.

Denise Delgado


Hammered in Wellington

If Hank Goldberg says it's true, you can bet it isn't: I just got around to reading Francisco Alvarado's story on Hank Goldberg ("Toxic Jock Syndrome," June 24). Hank is very misinformed and loves to twist facts. Every Marlins fan knows he's always had a bug up his ass about the team and any potential for a new ballpark.

WQAM is going to lose its broadcast rights to Marlins games and Hank is the reason why. All he did last season was criticize Dave Samson and Jeffrey Loria, and all they did was bring us a World Series.

Whatever Hank says about a new, publicly subsidized ballpark for the Marlins, you can depend on just the opposite being true. And will somebody please remind him that the license which authorizes his employers to occupy public airwaves is the biggest public handout of all? He uses one public handout as a forum to editorialize against other public handouts.

There's only one "Hammerin' Hank," and he played for the Braves. This Hank is rude, obnoxious, and classless at best.

James McCabe

Wellington, Florida

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