Letters

Goal!
Paul Demko's article on the Miami Fusion soccer team was the most insightful piece of journalism I have read regarding a sports franchise ("Total ConFusion," June 24). How could the club go from a sellout of their first game to the abysmal performance of the 1999 season? Through chronic mismanagement, arrogance, and ineptitude.

Perhaps this article will serve as a wake-up call, and finally the Fusion can get its act together.

Dominic Cullen
via the Internet

A World With Hope, Not Bars
"The Redemption of Crime Boy" (Harris Meyer, June 17) brought forth a truth about human behavior that is often overlooked in the criminal justice system in Florida and the United States in general. If a person is provided with positive support and regard around a disciplined format or program, positive outcomes will ensue.

The majority of people in the jails, prisons, and JDCs (juvenile detention centers) are people from disadvantaged backgrounds with parents and grandparents from disadvantaged backgrounds who were never given adequate social and psychological nourishment to enhance healthy development and prosocial behavior. Most, I hate to say, are minorities who are victims of racial segregation, discrimination, and system inequality stemming from a society that is only slowly dissolving bigotry, in spite of constitutional equality mandated many years ago. The disease within an individual is also a reflection on the social system of that person. But most politicians and prosecutors refuse to acknowledge the causes, because they surface serious social problems that have been part of our racist system for decades. The problems question the whole infrastructure of traditional American society.

Studies in psychology have shown that the type of punishment provided by prisons and jails does not effect positive results in behavior change. Yet our politicians and prosecutors advocate for harsher penalties. Most have very little, if any, empathy for the defendants who are also social victims. The criminal justice system is currently cold, sadistic, nonempathic, and middle-aged.

As a social worker for many years, I had to do regular jail visits. The public should know that the jails in Florida are dungeonlike and inhumane, conveying to the inmates harsh messages of subhuman status. A program like Last Chance Ranch is a positive approach toward helping others, supported by the insights of modern psychology. Long-term interventions are necessary -- but our society is so impatient and impulsive. Nonetheless there will, I hope, be many successes. Percy Campbell deserves a hearty round of applause and respect for his successes, as well as his courage in allowing his story to be told.

Ted B.
Boynton Beach

The Stage Is Where His Heart Is
I would like to compliment Robin Dougherty on her review of Home ("Best Be Getting Home," June 17).

This is the kind of theater that South Florida needs, and it goes to prove that big money and elaborate sets aren't required to make for a moving theater experience.

I'm glad that Robin took the time to review this play and to write a positive piece.

Vincent Napoli
via the Internet

It's Serious and Stinky
Thanks to your continuing coverage of Hollywood's stinky politics, citizens are waking up to the fact that something is seriously wrong at city hall.

In his latest report, "An Ethical Variance" (June 10), Harris Meyer blows the lid off the cozy relationship the mayor and her handpicked advisory-board members enjoy. Even better are the terms by which they serve on these boards. To ensure loyalty and submissiveness to [the mayor's] agenda, the previous commission adopted an ordinance stating board members serve at the commission's pleasure. So much for citizens' interests.

The mayor scolds New Times by telling it, "You don't understand government." No one can understand government that serves elected officials and their special interests while ignoring integrity, ethics, and the public good. Maybe that's why she got into your face; you understand exactly what's going on in Hollywood, and you're reporting it. Keep up the good work.

Steve Welsch
Hollywood

On GUARD Against Unsafe Sex and New Times
On behalf of the Board and membership of GUARD (Gays United to Attack Repression and Discrimination), I write to object to the depiction of gay and bisexual men in Jay Cheshes' article, "Sexual Roulette," which appeared in the May 27 issue of New Times. Mr. Cheshes' article demonized gay and bisexual men as promiscuous sex addicts, who totally disregard all restraints in pursuit of sexual gratification. In fact, only a small percentage of men practice unsafe sex acts, whether in backrooms or in the privacy of their own homes.

Since it was founded in 1990, GUARD has consistently opposed and denounced unsafe sex acts. Recently our board resolved, by majority vote, that "GUARD does not condone or endorse unsafe sexual practices, whether in public or in private." Most members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities agree with our stance against risky sex. They also agree that New Times was wrong in publishing Mr. Cheshes' one-sided portrayal of gay men and gay sex. I urge you to check your facts and to refrain from publishing articles that only divide and antagonize our communities.

Tony Ramos
President, GUARD
Fort Lauderdale

 
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