Letters for February 13, 2003

Rot on top

 Remember, Miriam is downstairs: It isn't just the Rev. Dozell Varner Jr. who feels that Broward Supervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant has been targeted by those who are of questionable character or ethics ("Miriam for President," Susan Eastman, February 6). It isn't just a borderline economic issue in the minority communities -- I know of where I speak. I served as Miriam's executive administrative liaison and got to see first-hand the ugliness, vicious tricks, and games being played right within her office by long-time employees. I watched as local political brokers twisted the truth and, in most cases, the truth be damned -- they just made it up as they went along.

Talk about questionable deals? How about Democratic State Rep. Stacy Ritter's husband (Russ Klenet) being the paid lobbyist for the voting-machine vendor? Those machines had not even been certified when the County Commission jumped in with both feet. It's time for people to understand that a woman who would not accept a Christmas gift from ES&S (the machine vendor) due to ethical questions was told, "Gee, the commissioners all accepted them!" Who has the standards, morals, ethics, and guts to represent the voters of Broward? MIRIAM OLIPHANT DOES!

This is not a black-versus-white issue. It's a matter of standing up for what is right and fighting against what is rotting on the fourth floor of the governmental center!

Lisa Strachan

Tamarac

He got a doc-to-rate, boyz: Rebekah Gleaves wasted many good words on Weston students Danny Dickey and Oscar Lopez in her January 30 article, "Ghetto Preppy." Why not instead describe the accomplishments of Weston students who meet their academic obligations and do not engage in constant rebellion against mild administrative school regulations that are promulgated to avoid chaos in the educational system?

Ms. Gleaves' article, while interesting and well-written, did not -- despite the headline -- give firm evidence that Cypress Bay High Schoolers were "unfairly targeted because they dress hip-hop." To the contrary, one's dress is a behavioral statement. Why should students affirm an attitude of nonconformity when mild conformance is an aid to stable social structure at school?

Dickey and Lopez may well attain success in their lives. I hope they do. But it would be much better that we all work toward a little more conformity with a little less stress and with greater tact in the way we conduct our lives.

Leo Shatin, Ph.D

Boca Raton

Community college is for smarties, stupid: I really appreciated Rebekah Gleaves' article "Ghetto Preppy." As a 30-something marketing manager, I sometimes feel as if I need to lead a double life. However, I am writing this letter as a result of something she said in the story: "[Mr. Dickey] fears his future education options will begin and end with community college, a track that will make reaching his goals more difficult."

Although it has been many years since I attended Palm Beach Community College, I remember not only having to have a diploma but also providing copies of my SAT scores, etc. If these were not up to par, there were many remedial courses available to students. After receiving a quality education, I transferred to the University of Florida, where I received my degree. Had I not had the transfer pass from PBCC, chances are I would have had to sit out a year at UF, since the average GPA for acceptance is about 3.6.

I am afraid that by putting the above quote in your article -- which I am sure was read by many students -- you make it seem as if community college is a last resort. Many lawyers, journalists, and, yes, even record-industry execs used the skills they learned in smaller classes, with more engaged professors, at the local community college.

Pam Reeves

via the Internet

Good story, bad boys: The subject that Rebekah Gleaves is trying to attack in "Ghetto Preppy" is one that is often ignored in high schools and, I must say, one that I was happy to see someone tackle. Unfortunately, I cannot feel sorry for a 16-year-old kid who wears $200 of Sean John clothes, expensive sneakers, and a single diamond stud in his left ear that looks real.

I know both of the boys interviewed in the article, and if she was trying to get a point across, she picked the wrong boys to do it. Also, she might have wanted to check out some of the "facts" that she cited about the boys' school grades, assignments, and behavior before trying to pass them off as fact. Taking the word of two 16-year-old boys and then printing their comments was not the smartest thing to do. I suggest that the next time Rebekah Gleaves tries to tackle an important topic such as this one, she back up her points with solid facts.

Tina Zervigon

via the Internet

You're tasteless: The "Taste" Menu Guide was mainly a nonevent (February 6). There were reviews of eating places but very few actual menus. So why call it a menu guide? Disappointing. I expected better.

Ray McCleery

Pembroke Pines

Editor's Note: "Taste," a product of this newspaper's business department, was just a sampling of our restaurant listings, which can be found online at newtimesbpb.com. Advertisers' menus are at newtimesbpb.com/menuguide.

Humble but lovable: I picked up New Times the other night at work and, while trying to pass time, read Jeff Stratton's January 30 "Rock Me Like a Hurricane" story. I am fortunate enough to have discovered Coldplay and also attended the recent concert. I think Stratton nailed something right on the head: "Yet despite the heart-felt sing-alongs, the message did not appear to get through." I'm an avid Coldplay fan, partially because of the group's musical talent but more for their humility (what makes them truly great, as you mentioned) and their empathetic and altruistic political views.

I liken them more to a "Radiohead-type" group rather than U2. As great a band as U2 is, its members are well-aware of their stature and power, which negates any humility they might think they have, although I believe their minds are in the right place. Living in Seattle for a few years made me realize that some of the best music, along with political messages, will never be heard by the masses. But for Coldplay to have crossed over into the mainstream vicinity and still maintain its messages of humility and altruism I believe is a message the band is trying to get across, which I didn't feel was being acknowledged.

Hopefully South Florida listeners will start appreciating the messages in Coldplay's songs and learn a valuable lesson from the band... A kind heart and a subtle touch of cynicism mixed with a positive attitude is a step in the right direction. I enjoyed the article.

Michael Piskosz

Coral Springs

That Jerry is shaken, not stirred: When reading Mike Seely's review of Round Room by Phish (Shortcuts, January 30), what I came to ponder was whether Mr. Seely had ever really let himself go and listened to the music and the love that is so much a part of it. Because if he had, then he would feel it in Bob Weir and the rest of the Other Ones as strong as ever -- yes, even after all these years.

If he had the slightest appreciation for them, he would know that Jerry Garcia and the whole Head population was and is all about the love, the music, and the love of the music. Phish is absolutely amazing, and we're all beyond ecstatic to have them back, but that's no excuse to bash the Dead. We're all in this together, and if you think for one minute that Jerry's stirring in his grave, it's only because he's still groovin' to the music.

Brittany Reilly

West Palm Beach

And Norman knows truth: Bob Norman's January 23 story, "Corruption and Nothingness," was great. It's about time someone wrote of the corruption in Broward.

Pete Brewer

Hollywood

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