"Planning" the life out of Las Olas: What really irks me about the city planning commission and the commissioners who voted on the proposal of an "isolated" condominium on the most prominent downtown Fort Lauderdale commercial/retail street ("Towering Rage," Amy Guthrie, July 26) is that they granted permission for this developer to build his high-rise with a minimum of retail exposure at street level, destroying the "flow" of Las Olas.
It is obvious that once past Cheesecake Factory, the retail sector ends, except for the few classy restaurants a bit farther west. The Las Olas retail avenue, for all its cachet, is still the equivalent of only four city blocks, hardly enough to qualify as a major shopping hub, even for a moderate-sized city. Fort Lauderdale, with its rapid growth of luxury condos and condo-hotels, needs more, not less, shopping. As a result, this major Hyde Park parcel was given short shrift by the narrow-minded commissioners. Not only is the planned condo set way back from the avenue, breaking up its harmony and consistency, but it fails to provide a much wider retail base that could have added to the flavor and excitement of Las Olas. Remember, retail exists only on the avenue. To have granted those setbacks and whittled the potential retail factor to a bare minimum was totally repulsive and disgusting in my opinion. The mayor and commissioners have utter lack of vision and foresight.
Caught with his chaps down: I'm laughing my ass off right now. I believe you pretty much nailed it ("Dirty Country," Marya Summers, July 26). You also filled in a few gaps for me and probably a few other folks.
Pete Stein, singer, Truckstop Coffee
Keep Us Together
Nobody should split the reggae beat: Freddie McGregor is misguided in his opinion ("Reggae's Compassion," Jonathan Cunningham, July 26), which he is entitled to. The idea of separating one genre into two also puts him into the minority among his equally and more accomplished peers, who feel otherwise about such an attempted separation. Any division weakens reggae as a whole. The attack waged by these alleged spokespeople for the homosexual community is on reggae, and there should be no such document penned by these outsiders seeking signatures from some of the most respected reggae insiders, who then are declared "OK" by standards only real to the outsiders. Bizarre. They didn't make reggae culture, and they shouldn't be trying to break it. This document marginalizes and divides whole groups of individuals (fans and industry pros alike) forced to have to take a position one way or another.
Stop covering this nonstory, or speak with more well-informed (less bitter?) reggae icons whom you have great access to in Florida.
New York City
Cops and Pols
This stuff starts to snowball: Larry Hoisington is a fine person, a loving father, and very well thought of by the people of Hollywood ("Father and Law," Thomas Francis, July 19), but Francis is very perceptive. The point of his article comes through loud and clear. The top level in our "All-American" city is sly and manipulative "Like Nowhere Else!"
The cover-ups, the games played with public record, the outright lies not only belong to the Hollywood Police Department but to Mara [Giulianti], her commission cronies, and the rest of the gang who wheel and deal in Hollywood and Broward.
Our mayor even had the nerve to blame the newspapers for the real-estate crisis in South Florida. "They only report the negative." But, Mara, baby, there is so much muck to find that has been piling up for so many years! Someone would have to stumble across the truth. It's just that Francis, Bob Norman, and many of their cohorts report it so well. Those "third rate" guys inspire the holy heck out of me!
Loss of Innocence
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Even from the best families: A fascinating article about Glenn Sandler ("Kill My Wife. Please!" Deirdra Funcheon, July 5). Glenn (as a youngster) lived several doors down from my wife and me in a small town in Massachusetts. He was polite and never in trouble. He used to shovel my driveway for a few dollars and a hot chocolate. I knew his parents well also. Glenn's father, Lenny, used to be a kid's clown and a photographer at bar mitzvahs and weddings. You might say we both were in the entertainment field — Lenny with his camera and me with my band. He started a very successful photography business, developing film for other photographers and restoring old pictures, etc. He was a very nice person, so my wife and I could not figure out what happened to Glenn.
An unbelievable story about a neighbor gone bad!