Reader Mail: Miami Beach Corruption Starts at the Top

Fire Alarm

Miami's vices: Your investigation into corruption, harassment, and incompetence at Miami Beach Fire Rescue ("Burn Notice," Michael E. Miller, February 7) sure sounds a lot like the Miami I know. What, you didn't think the banana republic just went away, did you? This is just another example of how you can do whatever you want in Miami as long as your money is green. Louis Wing

Ongoing catastrophe: Thanks for the article exposing the ineptness and failures of Miami Beach management, especially regarding the fire department. I was a firefighter on Miami Beach for almost 24 years, including several years as a fire inspector almost ten years ago. What I quickly found performing those duties was an appalling and dangerous disregard for life safety code. I was also a prolific code enforcer of dangerous nightclub violations like overcrowding, while others did nothing, or worse. As I persisted in my attempts to enforce life safety code, the backlash and retaliation from management and the private sector were unrelenting. The fish rots from the head down, as the saying goes. When management breaks the rules and fails to provide proper oversight because of politics and lack of courage while punishing those who try to do right, it cultivates a festering environment enabling those so inclined to engage in illegal activities. Corruption comes in many forms, including that of managers willfully turning a blind eye to policy failures and obvious red flags. Problems like the recent arrests and various wrongdoings will persist until government managers at all levels are held accountable and an effective system for the protection of workers who attempt to expose corruption is put into place. Jim Llewellyn

Smokeless Smokes

Better than tobacco: As you point out in your story about the rise of e-cigarettes as a smoking alternative ("Kicking Ash," Deirdra Funcheon, February 7), e-cigarettes do contain propylene glycol, which can be harmful. But it is still only one bad ingredient compared to the hundreds in real tobacco. If the e-cigs are used just to quit smoking, I think they are a much better alternative. billb13

Gunning for the Boss

Quit hating on Ross: Uncle Luke's so-called advice to Rick Ross after last month's Fort Lauderdale shooting ("Beware the Bullet," Luther Campbell, February 7) is really taking cheap shots under the guise of friendly advice. Uncle Luke, you are a joke. One minute you're lambasting Lil Wayne and company for not giving back to the city, and threatening to get their "Miami cards revoked," and the next minute you're sneak-dissing Ross. Maybe you should go back to your political rants. Ross is an entertainer; he can live his life however he sees fit. Not a single bullet touched him in this attack, and you act like he got punked somehow. The shooters are the ones looking stupid. Regardless of Ross's authenticity, it takes little away from the fact that when the shooting occurred, he was riding solo with his lady with no security. It was no doubt foolish, but also very brazen. I don't see how any recent events made Ross appear flawed. Your column just keeps going downhill. Thatstoobadtho

Live by the sword: Well said, Luke. It's about time someone said something to these so-called gangster artists who are promoting and glorifying a most ignorant and violent lifestyle. The irony with the music industry is that these labels promote this horrific image and then drop the artist after life imitates the music. That's some real BS. I hope Rick Ross and the rest of the glossy-eyed youth are listening. Renee Brown

Shot Scare

Don't trust drugs: When someone gets seriously ill from a flu shot ("Nearly Fatal Flu Shot," Michael E. Miller, February 7), the CDC counters by saying the risk of injury is worth it because most people are just fine. Of course the CDC would say that; its partner in destroying lives is Big Pharma. They profit from pushing these toxins on us. Victor Pavlovic

No more fear-mongering: The truth is, most people can stay healthy and flu-free because of herd immunity. The more people refuse to be vaccinated, the less effective such vaccination programs will be. Further, the flu is far worse than "a few weeks of the sniffles," especially for children and the elderly. By not getting vaccinated, you are selfishly putting others at risk, all because of a nearly infinitesimal chance of a serious adverse reaction. This article should have pointed out that fact instead of calling the health disclaimers "vague" and generally fear-mongering. Joshua Kritzer

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