Letters for August 30 to September 5, 2007

Jungle Jim

Looking for a reason to forgive: Alas, there are many religious leaders and groups who have completely distanced themselves from Mayor Jim Naugle and his antigay diatribe ("C'mon, Get Happy!," Deirdra Funcheon, August 23). As the spiritual leader of Congregation Etz Chaim, Florida's only LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) synagogue, I believe it is time for all people of goodwill in Broward County to stand up and say — enough! Fort Lauderdale is one of the most progressive and welcoming cities in America, and yet we have a mayor who sees nothing wrong with verbally assaulting a sizable segment of the population. The greatest danger of all is that Naugle's ignorance and fear have the potential to lead to hatred and even, God forbid, violence. And now the mayor wants to enlist God in his campaign of defamation.

Forgiveness toward those who have hurt us is a hallmark of these holy days. I would love nothing more than to show compassion and forgiveness toward our mayor. He has hurt me and members of my LGBT community deeply. And yet, our tradition teaches us that before there can be forgiveness, the offender must express sincere remorse and regret for his actions. Sadly, Naugle doesn't seem to have a clue as to the terrible damage caused by his reckless words and actions. God alone knows what happened to the mayor in his own life that allows him to exhibit such callous and cruel behavior toward others.

I am so delighted to call sunny Fort Lauderdale my home. I am so ashamed and embarrassed to call Jim Naugle my mayor. Counting the days until his retirement...

Rabbi Harold F. Caminker

Fort Lauderdale

Find Your Hummus

Undiscovered Greek treasures: The fact that your weekly restaurant reviews are not hamstrung by advertising commitments or the offer of "a free lunch" has positioned you as the nonpareil arbiter of the not-to-be-missed dining establishments in our area.

In this week's Greek piece ("All Greek to Me," Gail Shepherd, August 23), though, you may have overlooked a gem in the pantheon of Greek eateries in the Palm Beaches. That is Taverna Yiasou. My dear friend Odis is the proprietor of this very authentic, family-owned and -operated restaurant. Though open only a few months, Yiasou ('"welcome" in Greek) is the next incarnation of the one the family owned in Delray Beach from 1989.

Cristiane Roget

West Palm Beach

The Surreal Life

The Powerball winner's daughter speaks: Being a child when my father won his millions, it wasn't hard for me to adapt to the situation ("Powerfall," Amy Guthrie, August 16). I got anything and everything that I wanted, even things I didn't want. Having money is something everyone wants and needs, but once you have it, nothing but trouble follows. I was so much happier without it, and so was my father. We didn't have to worry about paying the bills anymore or not having food in the house, but we did worry about people threatening our family and trying to take advantage of my father.

I have been through so much in the past six years. Actually, today is the six-year anniversary of my father winning the lottery, and I have been reflecting on this all day. Six years ago today, my life changed forever, and now I'm back to where I started: Ashland, Kentucky, a place where I never wanted to live again. But I'm starting a whole new life, a life with no money and, honestly, no worries. Even though I'm struggling right now, I am happier than ever. My dad has given me so much. He is doing very well, and, for everyone who is wondering, he isn't broke, and he is in good health. Our family is reconnecting and becoming close again for the first time in four years. I am finally glad that I have gotten to put my two cents into the story about my family.

Tiffani Edwards

Ashland, Kentucky

Goodie One-Shoe

When on-air self-congratulation equals backroom deal-making: It's nauseating how phonies like Stacy Ritter and Ken Gott­lieb ("Family Ties," Bob Norman, August 9), two pols who portrayed themselves as two "goodie two-shoes" when they hosted a political show on WINZ-AM (940) last year, are so embroiled in everything that's wrong with Broward County politics. Gott­lieb, the darling of Mayor Mara and the Hollywood insider cronies, sniffed around long enough to finally get those giveaways for his project on Adams Street. Much was written — all true — about the deal he was offered. Gottlieb can moan and bitch all he wants, but he knows he got preferred treatment. As for Ritter — the darling of the toe-fungus crowd in Broward — as soon as she could, she ran like hell to help oversee the Broward Commission's work on the airport expansion being done by URS, a firm her lobbyist/husband did work for. Rather than recuse herself from decisions about the project, she pulled a "Mara" and spoke up time and again on behalf of it. These two phonies (Gottlieb and Ritter), are just one more layer of bullcrap that the bagel-and-cream-cheese crowd in Broward admire.

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