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Letters for 02.19.2004

Prosecute 'em: In reference to Bob Norman's columns on NBHD: great reporting. As a Miami-Dade County teacher, I am so tired of all the corruption in the very places we should most be able to count on. For shame. The Broward Hospital Board should be treated just like teachers' union leader Pat Tornillo in Miami -- fined and jailed. How dare they steal from the sick and needy! Three cheers for those physicians who stood up to the crooked dealings. It's wonderful to know there are people with ethics. Throw the rascals out! Let's get the board out and put those doctors who stood up to them on the board instead.

What happens to the doctors for standing up against this dishonesty? They probably lose their jobs. Disgraceful! Where are the Broward officials and state attorney while all of this is going on?

Sondra Kapp

North Miami

Save 'em:I work for the North Broward Hospital District and was not aware of all the inside stuff that has been happening. Bob Norman's articles (January 29, February 5, February 12) on the district are very informative and make me pray harder for the people in our leadership of the district. Keep up the good work!

Name withheld

Via the Internet

Canonize him: Bob Norman's reporting on NBHD has been great. Thank you for bringing this corruption to the awareness of all of us. Keep it up, and hopefully change will follow.

Name withheld by request

Fort Lauderdale

Pat him on the butt, and send 'im back in: Congrats to Bob Norman on his bravery in uncovering the NBHD greed. Don't give up. The public's health is at stake.

Name withheld by request

Via the Internet

Amplify him: Bob Norman's columns about the NBHD's money-hungry crooks need to be put out to the public by way of other newspapers and TV stations throughout Florida. This is an election year, and things need to change.

NBHD has robbed enough people of their money and health-care services. There will not be any doctors to deliver babies at Broward General Medical Center. This is a concern for not only personnel but for the patients. The local papers and TV stations have not reported what Bob has, and it makes me wonder if they too are working for the money-hungry crooks. I'm an employee of that unit for 27 years.

We employees deserve district CEO Wil Trower's 48 percent raise because we have put up with this rape and robbery of health care professionals. Please see that the right people see this article, for it is the truth, and there are people out there who won't report the truth. Thank you.

Name withheld by request

Fort Lauderdale

And crucify him: On Sunday, February 1, 2004, New Times staff writer Bob Norman violated North Broward Hospital District's policy and procedures during his unannounced visit to Broward General Medical Center. Mr. Norman blatantly intruded into patient care areas in which he had no legitimate business and violated the privacy of hospitalized patients. In addition, he deliberately deceived hospital staff by failing to identify himself and his purpose prior to questioning them.

That Mr. Norman was escorted by a physician does not mitigate his egregious conduct. He was fully aware, having been previously advised on several occasions, that he was required to contact Sara Howley, director of media relations, for access to the district's hospitals and medical facilities.

Media policies are common standards in health care. This is well known by journalists and media outlets both locally and nationally. Educated journalists are also familiar with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), the federal laws that protect patient privacy. Mr. Norman is obviously unmindful of those protections.

Mr. Norman displayed a shocking disregard for the very patients that New Times claims to champion. Moreover, he blatantly violated journalistic ethics, and his conduct cast a poor reflection on journalists in general. In the future, Mr. Norman will be subject to the same guidelines as all other members of the news media, and he will not be allowed access to our facilities unless he has complied with those policies and his request has been approved.

Wil Trower, President/CEO

North Broward Hospital District

Fort Lauderdale

Editor's note: Bob Norman never violated any patient's privacy nor deceived anyone. He talked to not one patient during a quiet and respectful tour, which he took in a Broward General doctor's company.

He will kick your fesses: I want to take exception to some of the negative comments made by Lee Klein concerning Chez Laurent. ("Chez Blasé," January 29)

I am a French teacher, and I have traveled extensively throughout France. I think that Chez Laurent is the epitome of a little French bistro in the south of France. Nowhere inside the restaurant is anyone trying to imitate elegant Paris dining. The entire atmosphere instantly takes me to bistros in towns of Provence such as Arles and Aix en Provence, where mismatched tables are covered with colorful, faded, mismatched tablecloths and napkins. That's part of the charm, and I think Chez Laurent has captured it perfectly.

The menu is typically provincial (south of France, remember?) and would have to include Italian-style pasta (take a look at a map, Mr. Klein!). And I disagree with your opinion on the cuisine. The canard aux framboises (duck in raspberry-Bordeaux sauce) was as delicious as any duck entrée I've eaten anywhere in France. And duck is one of my favorite French dishes. (You remove the skin because it is mostly fat!) Anything I have eaten at Chez Laurent has been delicious, and the food presentation is always excellent.

I think your critique of this restaurant was mean-spirited and hurtful. You have entirely missed the "heart and soul" of this cafe. The food, ambiance, music, and the uniqueness of this charming French bistro in South Florida cause me to return as often as possible when we are in the area. I recommend Chez Laurent to all my friends and acquaintances.

Mr. Klein, you owe an apology to Chez Laurent. It's obvious to me that you haven't spent much time in real French bistros -- at least, not in the France I know. You have misspoken and possibly discouraged new patrons from enjoying a wonderful dining experience. Quelle dommage! Shame on you.

Phyllis Klym

Madisonville, Kentucky

Or at least she wishes she were: Auntie Mame Misrepresents Courtney Hambright. The letters written recently in response to Courtney Hambright's January 8 column, "G-strings at the Boardwalk" unfairly misrepresent her as well as her remarks about drag queen Auntie Mame. First, the letters wrongly characterize Courtney's funny, if critical, review of Mame's show as a personal attack. Given Auntie Mame's many years working in show business, it's surprising that she fails to understand how a review works. In addition, Auntie Mame's (and her supporters') claims that Ms. Hambright somehow wronged her for giving her a bad review after all the good deeds she has done are rather silly. Courtney's comments in no way questioned the integrity of the man who plays Auntie Mame.

Another reason we are surprised by the negative backlash to Courtney's column is that her catty critique of Auntie Mame uses language and tone that are very similar to that frequently used by drag queens themselves.

We were also put off by all the comments that basically asked what Hambright, as a straight female, was doing in or writing about a gay bar. This separatist attitude seems rather counterproductive. Moreover, Hambright is well-suited to comment on gay nightlife. For years she has been an enthusiastic supporter of the gay community. We were friends with her at Princeton where she was a member of the university's Pride Alliance. In addition, many of Hambright's closest friends (including us) are gay, and she has an openly gay brother.

Hambright is very much attuned to gay culture and society, and her comments about Auntie Mame should not be viewed as those of a disparaging outsider, but rather as those of a sassy gal having fun with, not at the expense of, a fabulous drag queen.

Jay Bartlett, New York City

Adam Benz, Washington, D.C.


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