Letters for September 16-22, 2004

Military Intelligence

Really is an oxymoron: I am not surprised by Wyatt Olson's article, "The Hospital on the Hill" (September 9).We have the exact same situation in the Grand Junction Veterans Hospital here in Colorado. The atmosphere is one of retaliation and fear of job loss. The associate director, Patt Hitt, will contract out your job if you speak up for yourself, and this has occurred very often.

The local union has attempted to get the office of Inspector General involved, but as Olson points out, they are ineffectual and complacent. All VA hospitals should be investigated as a whole; the local pols would be shocked at the incompetence of people who hold the purse strings of millions and millions of tax dollars. Our budget ($25 million) is managed by a surgical nurse with no training in business management at all. VA does not hire MBAs.

John Stanton

Grand Junction, CO

Affliction of Ignorance

Does that mean bigotry?: Jeff Stratton's story, "Jamaica Yes Problem," (August 26) was very interesting. I have often wondered how gay Jamaican males survive in a culture of homophobia. I grew up in the hip-hop and reggae communities and often sang songs containing homophobic lyrics.

I, like most other males, had no clue of the severity of these lyrics. I don't always feel as though homosexuality is morally right; however, I do feel the need to begin to be more sensitive to gay men's choice of lifestyle. Your article has made me realize that I sometimes suffer from the same affliction of ignorance that has been instilled in me by my culture.

Les Allen

Miami

Anti-Sugar Rap

With a Cuban Beat: A very nice article on the Fanjul dynasty ("Bitter Sugar," Eric Alan Barton, August 26). How much money do they donate to the militant Cuban groups like Brigade 2506, Alpha 66, Omega 7, Brothers to the Rescue, and the politicians Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and her husband Dexter? Who does the Cuba embargo help? Florida Sugar maybe? Does it help Castro? You bet. Castro can say everything that is wrong in Cuba is our fault. Check out the incident under President Clinton when the Department of Defense lowered Cuba's threat level; find out who complained. Check out the second time "Los Van Van" came to the Miami Arena and see who told the Cubans to go out and protest.

The Fanjuls are scared the embargo will end, and they will lose their position. See how many times the Brothers to the Rescue flew over freaking Havana and dropped leaflets before they were shot down. Can you imagine it? Some Aero Caribbean plane flies up to Hialeah and starts dropping leaflets that say "All is Forgiven. Fidel Says Come Home"?

Since the stupid embargo has been in place, Fidel has not missed one meal. But a lot of his citizens have, I assure you. Follow the money. Follow the power, and then look at the poor people in the middle. They are getting screwed by both sides. Follow the money to the U.S. politicians that are afraid to upset a vocal greedy militant few because of campaign donations. If we would drop this embargo, Castro would be out of power very soon. Even Castro cannot fight consumerism. That is why he is afraid. Let's do the right thing. Ask Gorby if it works. Our foreign policy has been sold to the highest bidder for too long.

Barton has guts. Keep up the good work!

George Fredlund

Pompano Beach

What about the small pond?: "Bitter Sugar" was an interesting article: Big fish eats small fish. Period.

Thier Peraza

Miami

Big Boys Walk

Little guys suffer: Kudos to Bob Norman for his first-class investigative reporting regarding the North Broward Hospital District. As a long-time employee of the district, I have seen the culture go from one that helps those in need to one that helps the rich get richer. "The Big Lie" (August 26) and "Minority Report" (June 10) were classic examples of the sham that is perpetrated by the district and accounts for the alarming decline in employee morale. Amazing, isn't it, that the actual workforce of the district is still being asked to tighten its belt (including giving up jobs in some cases) in order to help a financially challenged employer?

Of course, this is only being asked of the rank and file, as it seems that high-level bureaucrats are indeed well paid. And where do the patients fit into this picture? I have to believe that they are nothing more than a means to the district's very greedy end. While the doctors, nurses, and front-line people are still some of the finest in South Florida, it is getting harder to deliver quality care in an atmosphere of greed, deception, and corruption. From the "working class" of the NBHD, a great big thanks to Bob for opening the eyes of the public and initiating investigations into the countless unethical (and illegal?) goings-on at the NBHD.

Name Withheld by Request

Via the Internet

Triple Win

New Times Broward/Palm Beach columnist Bob Norman picked up a first place in commentary in the recent Florida Press Club awards. Norman's work on the North Broward Hospital District finished second in the competition for the Francis DeVore Award for Public Service, which was won by former Sun-Sentinel editor Fred Schulte. New Times art critic Michael Mills picked up a third place in the competition.

 
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