Letters for August 21, 2003

An artistic conflict

No sense of humor about My Job:All I can say is - TERRIBLE SATIRE. At least that is what I think Edmund Newton was attempting in his August 14 story, "Plop Art" -- since publishing this article as anything else would be an amazingly irresponsible act for a news organization. Public art is up for satire as much as anything else -- but make it intelligent, make it funny, and make it responsible. The only good satire was provided by your art director, who put a giant toilet on the beach. I only wish a public artist had made the toilet. It could act as a constant reminder of how we Floridians directly pollute the ocean and vote for elected officials who protect the polluters. Imagine the cost savings and public impact of this visual image on the beach. It would be more powerful than pamphlets begging people to do the right thing. Public dialogue is ONE function of the artworks depicted. And if the writer had bothered to think or just ask, he might have found real material to make his jokes at least funny. I am ready at anytime to write the counter article.

Glenn Weiss

Public Art Consultant

Delray Beach

Plop this, Glenn:Thank you for Edmund Newton's excellent article on pop art ("Plop Art," August 14). He exposes the wordy rationalizations of the art gang, which seeks to justify non-aesthetic, costly assemblages; they cost us, the public, many dollars that could be better spent on human services. Yes, the cash could also pay for art that uplifts the human spirit, not chaos and destruction.

Our environment, and the symbols within our environment, have an enormous effect upon us. The type of junk that masquerades as "art" has a profoundly negative effect upon our mood and our sense of well-being. Edmund Newton and co-writer Rebecca Meiser deserve praise for their acumen, also for their willingness to stand up to the art gang.

Leo Shatin

Boca Raton

Shame on you, free weekly:I'm responding to Wyatt Olson's August 7 story "Catered to Death." Although I was glad to see that you tried to help readers understand how intelligent and generous Mr. Pecora was as a person and look beyond his final actions, I was very upset by your cover page and the tone of the story. I found the blood and gun on a catering tray to be quite distasteful. I can't understand why you could not envision that it would bring tremendous sadness and heartbreak to the catering hall employees (especially those who were there that morning), the employees' families, and the families and friends of the deceased. The employees are amazing people who came together as a group to honor the people that they had respected. And they ran that place without skipping a beat. You refer to the morale being low, and I can only assume that you received this quote from someone right after the tragedy. These people are a family that made it through the storm together. They should be recognized and commended for that.

Candy Korenstein

West Palm Beach

Listen up, Larry! Regarding Trevor Aaronson's story, "No Fare," in the July 31 issue of New Times, I wanted to offer some feedback and a possible follow-up idea. My husband and I own Prestige Limousines, Inc. in Boca Raton. We are licensed in Broward and Palm Beach counties. For several years now, many licensed limousine companies have been struggling with the Consumer Affairs authorities to do something to improve enforcement of regulation in Broward.

We are constantly trying to get business from local (Boca Raton area) hotels, condominiums, and restaurants, only to be undermined by the relationships that the front desk people have built with illegal "gypsy" companies through payoffs, etc. And gypsy companies (or one-man illegal operations) are soliciting at the Fort Lauderdale Airport and are not being ticketed for hanging around baggage claim, waiting for passengers who are looking for a ride.

Gypsy drivers, who have side-deals (payoffs essentially) going with baggage handlers and airline associates, are not ticketed. Nor are they escorted off airport property, fined, and made to appear in front of the committee (at Consumer Affairs). And if they are ticketed, we found out that they merely have to come up with a silly excuse that they were waiting on a "prearranged fare" or were "picking up a friend" or were using an unlicensed vehicle "because their Town Car broke down the day before..." Why is it that we pay so much money per vehicle each year to be licensed (and we have to go through inspections) if the companies that aren't paying are not being punished?

With a serious crackdown once or twice a month at the airport, we should be able to get these guys off the streets, out of the hotels, out of the airport, and back home to look for employment at a licensed cab or limo service.

The people at Consumer Affairs don't care to acknowledge the advantages of not paying the costly license fees, insurance costs, the pricey car loans for luxury sedans and limousines. Maybe if Larry Kaplan, assistant director of the county Consumer Affairs Division, was a chauffeur at baggage claim, eyeing the gypsy drivers, he would feel that more needed to be done.

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