Letters for April 1, 2004

Criminals: We Love 'em

But this copper has some sense:I just finished reading Trevor Aaronson's March 25 article regarding Johnny Mamone ("The Snitch"). I thought I would provide you with a little more information in respect to his so-called family life and "non-criminal" activities.

For more than 21 years, I served as a police officer with the City of Fort Lauderdale Police Department. The vast majority of my career was spent assigned to the department's organized crime unit. My duties included investigation of members of both traditional and non-traditional organized crime groups.

As the Commander of the Organized Crime Division, and also the coach of my son's football team in Coral Springs, I was shocked when I walked up to the athletic center and found Johnny Mamone handing out football equipment. Over the next several months I noted and reported on Mamone's activities. What further surprised me was that many of the other parents knew of the rumors of his past, and he was still openly accepted as a football coach and mentor to young kids. What is wrong with these parents who are happy to have a criminal interacting with their children?

Mamone would on occasion bring his team of 8-year-old kids to the game in a black limo and then take them out for ice cream after the game. Many of the parents thought it was great -- taking pictures of their kids riding in a limo with a notorious Mob member. What were they thinking?

Mamone's indictments came down just before the Junior Super Bowl games. I was working with the FBI, trying to convince them to time the arrest to occur during halftime. After the game, I was handed a petition that asked the federal judge to allow Mamone a bond. These petitions were being passed around by soccer moms as if they were inviting someone to attend a Tupperware party. I declined to sign but offered the following: "If he does get out, why don't we arrange to have a parade with Mamone as the Grand Marshal?" Again, what were these people thinking?

After retiring from FLPD, I relocated out of state. Part of the reason was because of what I just described. Everywhere you go, you find criminals, but only in South Florida are they placed on a pedestal.

Thomas J. Tiderington Police Chief Plymouth Township, MI Would that make him an assoholic?:As a long-time reader, first-time responder, I thoroughly enjoyed Courtney Hambright's Night Court column about Assman's Wacky World ("Rear Entry," March 25). Courtney is a true talent and a woman who has proven she can hold her own in a party bar, even when alongside a true party professional like the Assman. I would like to get my hands on some bootleg copies of her research tapes from that night if at all possible, regardless of her price.

As a first-time patron (but now an Assoholic Anonymous regular), I just happened to be at Assman's the same night that Ms. Hambright was there for her story. I also strapped on a rubber ass and papier mâché top hat decorated with tiny plastic palm trees and partook in the fun that seems to permeate the newly opened restaurant/nightclub. Courtney was too unnerved by the blatant assumption that the place treats women like nothing but objects. There's nothing unassuming about the smiles on the men's and women's faces, nor anything wrong with people defining their own concept of what being wacky is all about. Thank God there is finally a place in Fort Lauderdale that caters to having fun. If Courtney so desires, on her next visit she can bring an anti-sexism paddle and discipline any man that only looks at women to check out their asses. The irony is that, while such behavior will garnish a lifetime ban from a place like Shooters, it just may land her a job offer from Assman.

I love the place, and I'm not alone. The Assman is a real person, the type of charismatic guy everyone loves to be around, someone who knows how to have fun at no one's expense. He makes people feel important, welcome, a part of a family of people dedicated to enjoying life.

Bob Dovolina Oakland Park

That one's a potboiler:I took great offense to the title of Trevor Aaronson's piece ("Father Gomorrah," March 18), having met this gentle man -- John Joseph Reid -- on many occasions. But after I finished it, I decided that your title would get more people to read the excellent and balanced story. You are a credit to your trade!

Jim Eckels Fort Lauderdale

The doc's just trying to help: I am a registered nurse who works in labor and delivery, and I read Celeste Fraser Delgado's article, "Cuts You Up" (March 18), with great interest. It appears that New Times is trying to educate the public about choices in childbirth, for which I commend you. But I am concerned that you have attempted to do so in a biased and very dangerous way.

You fail to mention why Janessa Wasserman had a C-section with her first son. You imply that it was unnecessary, stating that she was "failing to progress," yet the fact that she had an internal fetal monitor indicates that there must have been signs throughout her labor of some sort of fetal distress. Being an attorney, what would Mrs. Wasserman have done if the C-section was not done and she delivered a baby with severe brain damage?

Vaginal Birth After Cesareans (VBACs) are done successfully all the time, and patients must sign extensive consents indicating that they are aware of the risks. If Mrs. Wasserman was willing to accept these risks, then more power to her. I just happen to feel that most people would rather have a repeat cesarean section and a healthy mother and baby than accept the guilt and responsibility if anything were to go wrong.

When things go wrong in birth, they do so very quickly. This is why it is critical for physicians, nurses, midwives, doulas, and families to work together to allow room for medical intervention when necessary.

What I feel the public also doesn't understand is that there is a difference between lay midwives, who have minimal medical background and training, and certified nurse midwives, who are registered nurses with training in labor and birth. I can't tell you how many cases I have seen in which high-risk patients have labored with a lay midwife and then come into the hospital at the last minute with obvious signs of prolonged fetal distress. I have to tell you, the outcome is often very poor. But then, who gets blamed? Not the midwife with no medical training or malpractice insurance.

You quote Cher Durham as saying, "Why would you want be medicated if you don't have to? Why would you want a needle in your spine?" The answer is simple: You don't!

With regard to elective C-sections, you must consider the Hispanic culture here in South Florida. I can't tell you how many patients come in from South America wanting to schedule my C-section, only to be horrified to be told that, no, we do not just schedule C-sections for no reason and that they will be having a vaginal delivery. Sure, some doctors are willing to do this, but very few will promote unnecessary risky surgical intervention.

The answer to all of this: Education, education, education! Please, if things go wrong and you need a C-section, understand that it's not your fault, it's not our fault, things happen, and look at your beautiful new baby and realize: This is what it's all about.

Samantha Roher Hollywood

P.S. Just a final observation: You state that during Cher Durham's delivery, "For a moment, the baby is stuck, snagging her mother's insides with her left hand." Hmm... They must have x-ray vision! That would be really useful in hospitals so we could see what's going on inside the womb!

Stay home, pregnant lady: I am so honored to read an article featuring the midwife who delivered my first and only child. I think every woman who is capable of natural child birth should have Corina Fitch by her side! She is dedicated, knowledgeable, and skillful in her craft. When reading this article, it frightened me to think that C-sections would be considered elective means of childbirth. I hope Corina's voice, as well as others for the cause, will be heard in high places!

Janeia Okantah Miramar ... for nothing left to lose: "Excellent" is the only word I can use to describe Bob Norman's recent articles on the North Broward Hospital District. My own experiences with this entity have me convinced that it is a bottomless pit of slime.

Michael Europe Via the Internet So a little delay bothers you?:I sympathize with Linda Acevedo's son (Letters, March 18). How fortunate that he only had to wait a couple of months to have the pin removed from his wrist. I broke my wrist over six years ago, Sein Lwin performed surgery, inserted a pin, and I still have it ("A Screw Loose," Bob Norman, March 11)! After a fixater was removed (12 weeks following surgery), I was put off over and over again, told the pin wasn't ready to come out, but when it was, it could be done either in Dr. Lwin's office or under local anesthesia as an outpatient. I kept calling his office for months -- either he was out of town or had an emergency and wasn't available. When I finally was able to get an appointment again, he told me the pin had been in my wrist so long that it had grown into the bone and I would need to undergo general anesthesia at Broward General Medical Center. I declined!

Jeanne Lawrence Fort Lauderdale

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