Letters for March 28, 2002

Straighten up, free weekly

Miles to go:Just a few words to let you know that Ashley Fantz's March 21 story, "A Queer Law," was great. As a gay man, I'm very offended not only by laws in Florida but by laws throughout the country about homosexuality. Even though I think we've come a long way, we still have miles to go. Thank you very much for putting this article in your magazine (on the front page!!!); it is people like you who make a difference in the world.

The best of luck, and GOD BLESS.

Marcos E. Sacerio
via the Internet

Sheltering Werthman:I was disappointed to read your March 7 article "Gimme Shelter" by Wyatt Olson. To depict Allen Reesor and Steve Werthman as being in collusion over the awarding of county contracts is ridiculous. Certainly, Werthman's job as HIP administrator carries a degree of influence, but to infer he alone can determine who receives county contracts is incorrect. It is the Homeless Initiative Partnership board that makes the funding recommendations, Werthman and his staff implement them in accordance with the county's homeless plan.

During the past decade, Broward County has made significant progress in developing a model system of care. Services provided by my employer, Henderson Mental Health Center Inc., have been an integral part of the plan. Because of our involvement, I've had the pleasure of working with Steve and Allen and have found them both to be very knowledgeable, ethical men committed to effecting a change in our community.

While I am usually glad to read articles that bring attention to the issue of homelessness, I felt your article did a disservice to all of us working to improve the lives of those in need.

Debbie Perry, MBA
Administrator of Homeless and Adult Residential Services
Henderson Mental Health Center Inc.

A productive bunch shows its stuff:In regards to "Gimme Shelter," we do not care about the politics involved, only that the staff is warm and caring so that we can be a productive part of society when leaving.

63 clients of the Broward Outreach Center
Fort Lauderdale

You're getting soft on us:I never, ever, never, ever send in e-mails about reviews. But when I read your write-up on Yucatan Mexican Grill, I had to ask, "Are you on drugs? Did you even go into this restaurant ("You Too Can Yucatan," Jen Karetnick, March 7)?"

The décor looks as if it has been converted from a Denny's. The service sucks; the food sucks. My god, they could not even make our freakin' Margaritas right. Be careful what you write. People do read your articles, which normally are quite good. But shit, man, this is a crock of shit.

Leslie Bentley
via the Internet

Enforce the (just) rules, or suffer:So, John Garon will sue your ass ("The Enforcer," Jim Gaines, February 28) to enforce compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Good for him, because if he doesn't, almost nobody will give a damn whether he is able to carry on his life's activities while in a wheelchair.

Many administrators, bosses, builders, developers, and the public at large often don't give a crap about complying with the ADA. What really pisses me off is that compliance is more reasonable than most people think. Buildings don't have to be torn apart. However, new construction must comply. Sometimes, for the less severely disabled, all it might take is a telephone at one's desk, a coat hook, or a shelf in a restroom. You'd be surprised how many employers resist.

I live in extreme northwest Miami-Dade County. I have a disability placard. A spinal stenosis, screwed-up disks, and the happy results of a prostectomy qualify me. The parking spaces reserved for the disabled are often used by people waiting for someone at a shopping center. Say something to these scum and you might fear for your life. People will display placards belonging to a relative or someone else. One can only wonder when a 16- or 17-year-old kid, the only one in the car, hops right out to pursue his business. Recently, I had the pleasure of watching a caring police officer check such a situation. I hope the teen's parents can afford the fine.

The same people who would deny the handicapped accessibility would bitch, gripe, and complain about supporting them. Has the ADA been taken too far at times? Of course. You cannot expect a small-business owner to rebuild. However, putting in a ramp is nothing.

Until people are ready to comply with the simpler provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, John Garon, Michael Brennan, Fred Shotz, and others will continue to sue for compliance. I wish them well.

Alan Rigerman
Palm Springs North

And sticking up for the trade:I thought the February 14 Undercurrents by Chuck Strouse about the person named "Mike" who cleans schools was interesting as well as informative (Undercurrents, February 14). I felt that he did a good job of informing many of just some of the trials a facility service person may encounter on a given day. The statements made by letter-writer Albert Lagenfeld on March 7 were disturbing and in need of some attention. First, Lagenfeld's description of Strouse as being a "slack-jawed, gap-toothed, suspendered hillbilly" who scrapes his knuckles when walking indicates the letter-writer is a bigot, which in today's standards of moral character means "narrow-minded idiot." Second, if his description is correct, Strouse is in good company. History will forever show the accomplishments and contributions made by persons described by Lagenfeld. Look at the NASCAR Winston Cup. For many years, this type of racing was known as the hillbilly sport. Today, it is a multibillion-dollar industry employing possibly millions throughout this country. It was cultivated by many persons of the sort described by Lagenfeld. Some had little or no education. Lagenfeld should be so lucky as to be in their company.

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