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Letters 04.15.04

I read Eric Alan Barton's April 8 article, "If Steve Had a Hammer." After a two-year hiatus, I am again running for the Broward Folk Club board of directors. I also have been involved in the issues covered in the article, although not firsthand. I noticed quite a few errors; however, I appreciate that Eric did not seem biased and made every attempt to give equal time to all.

Just keep in mind that many uninvolved may not understand exactly what the folk community is and the emotions and connection therein. So this current conflict may come across as petty. People not intimately involved think it is only about music. They either forget or do not realize the role that music has and can play in the world, especially folk music. Just look back at the '60s and see where much of the inspiration originated. Music is an incredible catalyst and unifier. It can be one's oldest friend or one's fiercest foe. Until you experience it, you cannot understand.

The biggest thrill I get is presenting or helping to present an artist or artists who bring the kind of smiles to others' faces where I know that they "get it." Ninety-five percent of all folk music in South Florida is produced by volunteers who love the music and spirit. I have been running a house concert series for the past year in which I take nothing. In fact, each concert costs me money. But I know it is worth every penny and bead of sweat.

Yes, we have our arguments, but doesn't every family?

I would love to invite everyone to a concert, house or otherwise, at least once. Just look on www.gotfolk.com at the calendar and pick one.

I come from 20 years of head-banging heavy metal and find this [folk music] community incredible. I still love my Ted Nugent and Judas Priest, but it cannot even come close to what this community has given me and still does. Remember, the deeper people care, the more outraged they become.

Dave Cambest

South Broward Folk Club

Via the Internet

Runnin' down the road: I am a member of the Broward Folk Club and was horrified to read "If Steve Had a Hammer." It has mistakes and portrays the club like a sitcom version of A Mighty Wind. Cheryl Valentine-Silberberg isn't the president of the club, and the lawsuit was a last-resort attempt to stop an ugly problem that has been going on since the Nagys took over the folk club.

In fact, the club was offered a deal that would have prevented a suit from being filed. The board didn't take the offer. Most of the members are not in favor of this lawsuit. The board simply decided to place half the club's savings toward a retainer. The pen is mightier than the sword, and Eric may have done more damage than to entertain, which it appears is what he was trying to do.

Peggy Salomonsson

Oakland Park

Lies, lies, everywhere lies: The quote attributed to me by Eric Alan Barton in "If Steve Had a Hammer" is almost wholly fabricated by him. First, I made it absolutely clear to him that I was not present at the February 16, 2004, meeting at which the incident occurred.

My knowledge is purely secondhand, obtained from others who were present. Second, the only part of the quote attributed to me that I did say was, "I don't think I would have shown the same restraint if someone had insulted my wife like that." The rest has been incorrectly attributed to me. Since I was not there and did not witness the event, I could not and would not relate to your reporter any firsthand testimony. A retraction or correction is in order.

Steven Glickstein

Tamarac

Eric Barton responds: The article titled "If Steve Had a Hammer" did contain two errors. First, the article mischaracterized a quote from Glickstein; he was not even at a February meeting of the Broward Folk Club to witness a disagreement. Second, the article misstated Valentine-Silberberg's title, which is "festival co-director customer relations, membership chairperson."

However, the article correctly reported the simmering debate within the Broward Folk Club, which is demonstrated by the numerous letters it generated and the ongoing debate among the group's e-mail listserv.

He's good going over the net: I read Eric Alan Barton's April 1 article, "Prelude to a Butt Whippin'," with interest, as I've come to many of the same conclusions. (I've only been to two or three meetings of the Democratic Executive Committee, but I quickly realized that they're pretty much a waste of my time.) I also questioned the many different Democratic clubs in Palm Beach County. I feel sorry for the candidates who have to travel around to all the different clubs; it's ridiculous. I'm telling my Democratic friends about this excellent article.

C.J. Conway

North Palm Beach

And bad coming back: I wonder if Carol Ann Loehndorf and Mike Aves had any idea that they were being sabotaged when they spoke with Eric Barton. Hopefully, they won't make that mistake a second time; nor will any of the other Democrats who contributed to this horrible story. I would also ask that Mr. Barton be careful when he speaks of any role of labor since I can happily say, I have never spoken to this man in my life.

I found Barton's comments about the Republican Party and its officers to be more positive. Maybe he should go back and ask Sid Dinerstein why he saw fit to go to a public hearing and speak against a living wage ordinance for workers who are paid under the poverty level in Palm Beach County. I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Barton and these other folks he seems to admire so much would not find those people interesting enough to do an article about, especially considering the personal criticism he had of Ms. Loehndorf's home. I don't know what kind of upbringing he has had, but where I come from, that is total disrespect.

Pat Emmert

President, Palm Beach-Treasure

Coast AFL-CIO

Riviera Beach

Even More About Eric He's not a fightin' writer: In regard to Eric Alan Barton's March 25 story, "West Palm Madness," from what I understand, the black men described in the story grew up in this neighborhood, playing on these courts. But they no longer live here. The black men get together on Sundays to play ball in the old neighborhood. The Hispanics come from all over the city to play in the devised tournament they have every Sunday. Normally, the blacks control the courts and order the Hispanic men to move to a second, rundown court; most of the time, they oblige. This time, they are attempting to stay on the court as long as possible.

I don't think the African-American men have the right to expect the Hispanics to clear the court when they arrive to play. Just because the blacks have been playing there for years and they used to live in the neighborhood doesn't give them any special privileges. The courts aren't theirs; the courts belong to the city. It's first come, first served. The thing that gets me is these are apparently educated, hard-working black men. Why is their first instinct to start a fight? Why don't they use their brains instead of their fists to work out some kind of an arrangement with the Hispanics? With 300 Hispanics and only a few black men, the odds aren't too good they would win.

Robert Moon

Fort Worth

And the Winner (Again) Is...: For the third straight year, New Times Broward-Palm Beach has dominated the Society for Professional Journalists' Green Eyeshade Awards in the weekly/monthly category. The contest includes entrants from the 11 Southeastern states. At a banquet held Saturday in Atlanta, the paper picked up three first places: Staff Writer Eric Alan Barton in nondeadline news, Managing Editor Edmund Newton in sports reporting, and Editor Chuck Strouse in serious commentary. Columnist Bob Norman took a second in sports commentary and a third in serious commentary. Trevor Aaronson took second in business reporting, Susan Eastman took a second in features, and art reviewer Michael Mills took second in criticism. One of our sister papers, Miami New Times, took home four awards, including first place in business reporting, features, and sports commentary.


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