Letters for April 22, 2004

We're not in Roma

We're not in Roma, signori:Dude, you guys can write better than this. What major metropolitan area doesn't have a train ("Next Stop, Nowhere," Jeff Stratton, April 15)? Answer: L.A.. Rebuttal: L.A. also has east and west highways.

Although the Tri-Rail sucks in many respects, it does do something worthwhile. It needs serious refining and improving. I seldom ride it because of the schedule and the difficulty getting to the airports. Yes, often the people who ride public transportation can't afford cars. If they work menial jobs, they might not have the same polished appearance as, uh, polished people. From the tone of this article, I think Stratton hasn't done much train ridin'. If the Tri-Rail scares you, do not go to Italy.

When I-95 is terminally seized all day long (in 2010, when the rest of New Jersey moves to South Florida), you'll see a lot more people on the train.

Pete Ahwesh

West Palm Beach

Editor's note: Dude, Los Angeles has light rail. Cost to taxpayers: $2.5 billion per year.

Keep makin' love:I am writing this letter to you to express my thoughts abut the current mess that the Broward Folk Club finds itself in ("If Steve Had a Hammer," Eric Alan Barton, April 8). I am sorry to see this sort of thing happen. I have seen heartache in the club before, and I thought we were over it. It seems that the same people keep causing more.

I have been a club member since about 1993. I have taken on the challenge of volunteering at the festival in various roles since then but mostly as a director. As some of you know, in the mid-'90s, when we had the big rain, all of our funds were wiped out.

We basically started over with $300 in the bank, despite the fact that the other director chose not to continue the club and I did. I have worked the longest and the hardest to keep the festival and club going. No one has the right to complain more about money spent defending the frivolous lawsuit than I do. I am in full support of the board of directors of the club in its decision on this matter. We must get rid of this lawsuit and move on to a stronger club and a successful 2005 festival.

Keep singin' and dancin' and makin' love to the music.

Billy Messer

Oakland Park

Not lawsuits:I am writing this letter out of concern about the New Times article on the turmoil in the Broward Folk Club. I am all for freedom of speech, but I know the facts of the lawsuit against the Broward Folk Club and Peter Rimmel (its treasurer). I was at the board meeting where the offensive remarks were made, and can accurately relate what occurred.

Pete announced, in his official position, that I gave away two tickets to Robby Greenberg so that she and her friend Ray could use them to enter the festival illegally. I had been given several (about 20) complimentary tickets because I was bringing in a group of youths from the local high schools. These complimentary tickets were to be given to the families of these students.

Pete falsely stated that he had conducted an investigation that proved I gave away tickets or otherwise allowed Robby and her friend to use the tickets to enter the festival illegally. He stated that he had matched the numbers of the tickets given to me to those used by Robby and Ray. He then demanded that Robby be compelled to pay money to the folk club to compensate it for monies it allegedly lost through Robby's and my actions.

Although I immediately denied the accusation and in fact did not even know who Ray was, Pete refused to retract the accusation. I advised him that I had given no one complimentary tickets other than three parents of my students.

The truth of the matter was that Robby Greenberg was on the VIP guest of Ellen Bukstel -- one of the performers.

In short, there had been no investigation and no "matching" of tickets. Nor had Robby or I used any complimentary tickets improperly.

Pete then issued a lukewarm apology to me, but neither he nor anyone else from the board ever apologized to either Robby or Steve Greenberg, her husband.

When Steve, who was at the meeting, heard the false accusations against Robby, he got angry and accused Pete of constantly singling out his wife.

Unfortunately, Pete attacked both my integrity and Robby's integrity in front of at least 25 people, and although he apologized to me, he stood firm in his accusations. At the end of the meeting, there was a heated confrontation between Pete Rimmel and Steve Greenberg, but nothing physical occurred, and no physical threats were offered.

During the meeting, when the board was trying to establish a date for its next meeting, everyone was concerned it should not fall on Easter. Being Jewish, I requested the meeting not fall on Passover. In response to this request, Pete Rimmel turned to me and said, "Your people killed my people."

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