Letters for April 4, 2002

Listen up, Jebbie!

Adopt a new law:As a resident and Florida voter, I am outraged by Florida's ban on gay adoption as described in Ashley Fantz's March 21 story, "A Queer Law."

I am a devoted Presbyterian and come from a long line of ministers. My family settled in Florida in 1904. Let the people with the expertise and children's welfare as their only concern decide on a case-by-case basis. Don't leave it up to politicians who want to make a political statement against gay people.

The nation's leading children's groups, as well as former state legislators who helped pass the gay adoption ban nearly 25 years ago, support efforts to get rid of the ban. It's time for us to have a law that is based on science and sound child welfare policy, not prejudice. Florida continues to needlessly block all gay people from the pool of qualified parents -- keeping thousands of kids in foster care, waiting to be adopted.

This ban is a disgrace to our state, an insult to gay people, and a harm to the children denied a good home.

Betsy A. Craig
Jacksonville Beach

A wonderful vibe: "Making Airwaves" by Steve Ellman was an excellent story (March 14). It was well-researched and accurate. His writing skills are second to none.

Sally Beach
Lake Worth

Second-guessing authority...is Bob's job, bucko:I have just read Bob Norman's March 14 column titled "Activist, Interrupted." I am astounded by his ability to reweigh the evidence and come to a different conclusion than both the Broward State Attorney's Office and the Florida Commission on Ethics. For your information, a third agency also examined all of Ed Stanton's complaints against Mayor Griffin and determined that there was not probable cause to believe that Mayor Griffin had violated any law. The advocate of the attorney general of the State of Florida, who is legally charged with the duty to prosecute cases before the Ethics Commission, also concluded that there was no probable cause to believe that any law had been violated by Bill Griffin.

When Norman called me, I told him that I would provide him with a copy of the deposition I took of Stanton. I further told him that I believed that if he read this deposition, he would find that Mr. Stanton was confused and illogical, and that Stanton was operating under some obvious and grave misapprehensions that led him to the obviously wrong conclusion that Mayor Griffin was guilty of some violation of the law.

An interesting aspect of his article is that the supposedly principled and honest civic activist, Ed Stanton, paid $16,500 toward Mayor Griffin's legal bill, issued an apology to Bill Griffin's family, and agreed not to publicly criticize Bill Griffin in the future. Yet Stanton talked to Norman (that's about as public as one could get) and gave him an earful of criticism against Bill Griffin. This should tell you something about Ed Stanton.

The Broward State Attorney's Office, the Ethics Commission, and the Advocate of the Attorney General of the State of Florida all concluded that Bill Griffin did nothing wrong. These agencies are all staffed by experienced lawyers who are well-versed in Florida law and are charged with the obligation to enforce that law. On the other hand, you have Stanton who, though he is a lawyer, was never admitted to practice in Florida. All these groups agreed. Stanton did not. You do the math.

Stuart R. Michelson, Esq.
Fort Lauderdale

Truth be told...
...the Davie cops stink:Reading Chuck Strouse's March 7 column, "You Can't Handle the Truth!," I began to feel trepidation at the mention of Davie police. Then I felt outrage. I have my own tale of injustice and woe at the hands of the Davie police.

In 1999, my band, the Livid Kittens, played a show, as a favor for another band on the bill, at Club Q in Davie. A Davie police officer was on duty in the club that evening. We had a good crowd there to see us. The club refused us a guest list and bar tab, which was no big deal until the end of the evening, when the manager told me she wasn't paying us. I had barely begun my protest when she motioned to the officer, who proceeded to grab hold of me and violently push me out of the club. He tossed me to the sidewalk and ordered me to get in my car and leave immediately. I tried to tell him my girlfriend was still inside, but he threatened me with arrest if I didn't leave. I drove away, hoping friends would drive my girlfriend home. Ten minutes later, I cruised by, thinking maybe my girlfriend was in the parking lot, and I witnessed a large crowd and three or four police cars with lights flashing. The Davie police had arrested my girlfriend as well as a member of one of the other bands.

According to my band members and other witnesses, the Davie officer had decided to clear the club. My girlfriend had gone outside, seen that I was gone, and gone back inside to catch a ride with a friend. According to the officer, she "pushed him" (she is five-foot-3 and approximately 105 pounds and not very aggressive). According to her, she may have inadvertently brushed by him on her way to the ladies room to get a female friend to drive her home. Either way, he tackled her from behind, driving his knee into her back (causing her to urinate), then arrested her, charging her with battery on a law-enforcement officer, a felony.

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