Letters for July 10, 2003
Free spenders: Congrats to Bob Norman for exposing the City of Hollywood's financial screwing of its citizens by the "unholy troika" of the mayor, Mara Giulianti; the developers (too numerous to name); and the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff ("Incentivize This," July 3). At least, that's how it appears to me -- and many others here in Hollywood who continue to ask: "Why all the incentives?"
How cozy too that former City Attorney Alan Koslow, who was run out of city government in Hollywood after a sex scandal, is now the front man for most of the developers who come to City Hall with their hands out for freebie cash. (Of course, Koslow is a partner at Becker & Poliakoff!) That Bernie Friedman, another Becker & Poliakoff henchman, is the city's lobbyist means the conflicts of interest would be apparent even to Ray Charles. In the meantime, Mayor Mara continues to write about her honeymoon with Donny (her hubby) and her vacation in a local freebie newspaper (Sun-Times), which is too gutless to demand she explain the financial giveaways she continues to oversee.
What we're getting in Hollywood is a financial fucking by an egomaniacal mayor and her henchmen. Ever heard of impact fees, Mayor Mara?
Besmirch, indeed! Thanks for a great exposé. Why is the mayor guaranteeing a $6 million taxpayer/CRA gift to Alan Koslow and friends for building a 24-story condo on valuable property adjacent to Young Circle Park? Might other developers offer the city incentives such as donating a park for this privilege?
Incentives? This same developer wants to build an albatross 25-story condo on the Great Southern Hotel site. The mayor had asked a highly qualified panel to advise the city. The members agreed this is a bad concept, and all considered a 12-story building more suitable.
In Hollywood, there seems to be a suspect relationship between lobbyists and the officials they helped get elected. Because the officials can't write city checks to themselves, it appears they participate in well-planned schemes to gain access to the city treasury/CRA in the name of "incentives." Look at the soon-to-be-approved Koslow/Berman La Piazza II deal in which the city is providing $8.1 million to build a no-bid "public" garage. Berman will get 500 of the 670 spaces, enabling him to meet his required condo-parking obligation, the same as giving him an extra $6 million profit at taxpayer/CRA expense in addition to rewards for failure. Take your choice: ignorance, incompetence, or corruption?
Hollywood's arts park will honor the vision of city founder Joseph W. Young. If Mr. Young could see these scams, this "art," and the oversized buildings to be built on his park that will blatantly violate his deed, his spirit would haunt those deed violators and those who besmirch the public trust by abusing taxpayers' trust and CRA funds.
If he can't do it, Bob can! Trevor Aaronson's article "Political Pull" (June 26) is full of half-truths and innuendo. The most glaring of these is the repeated references to the "lucrative towing contract" between the Broward Sheriff's Office and Mac's Towing to tow in Dania Beach. No such contract exists. Mac's towing operates under terms of service of a contract that expired several years ago.
If patrons of Harbor Grille were parking at adjoining property, it is that property owner's right to have the vehicles in question removed. If indeed the drive shaft on Mr. Whitney's van was damaged, why has he not presented Mac's Towing with a claim? The article states that, when they arrived at Mac's Towing, "Riding a wave of liquid courage, Whitney and Harding reclaimed their automobiles." Does that imply that they were intoxicated at that time? I hope not.
The New Times does a disservice to the people of Dania Beach by attacking the integrity of a good and dedicated public servant. I find it questionable, even laughable, that the only fellow commissioner quoted in the article was Bob Mikes, a paranoid demagogue who has built his political career by trashing the reputations of others. Mr. Mikes has served with ten other commissioners in his 15 years on the dais and has questioned the integrity of every one of them.
I have followed Dania Beach politics for nearly 20 years. I have been privileged to know Mac McElyea for about 12 years. He is as honest as they come. He has given far more to the City of Dania Beach than he could ever get back.
The prez, particularly: Regarding Eric Alan Barton's June 26 "Bloodletting": South Florida Blood Bank is having financial trouble? Isn't that a shame? No, what's really a shame is that it is trying to balance its budget on the backs of its employees. If the CEO and all the vice presidents took a 10 percent pay cut, that would easily balance the budget and everyone could keep their jobs. Actually, I think the president should take a 30 percent cut for coming up with the outrageous idea to begin with.
West Palm Beach
Or gays: I came across Bob Norman's articles on Mark Foley ("Out with the Truth," May 8, May 22, June 5) while researching the U.S. representative's blatant political attack against the Lake Como Resort for its teenage naturist summer camp.
A couple of days ago, I visited the website he set up to promote his actions. I used the scripted page I found there to send a response against his actions to Gov. Bush and other politicians. I had checked the box requesting that a confirmation copy be sent to my mailbox when the message(s) were delivered. I never received such copies.
Perhaps Mr. Foley believes he can polish his image in the eyes of the party bosses and voters by taking on a family business instead of a real problem. His sexual orientation would have had no impact on my opinion of his political ability. His apparent attempt to distract us from the issue has turned me firmly against him.
I for one will speak against him at every opportunity and vote against him in the coming election as well as all elections that he may enter in the future.
Get off your stilted horse: Jeff Stratton equates multiculturalism, lack of fan base, and even elitism as causes for the temporary demise of the Florida Philharmonic (Bandwidth, May 8, 15, and 22). Not only do I disagree but I find his comments to be typical of the shortsighted and intellectually lacking discourse on classical music so common to the citizenry of South Florida. I find that his multicultural and elitist argument has no grounds. I love classical music, and so do many of my closest friends and relatives. These people include elitists like my mother the factory worker and my father the truck driver. In other cities, including rich and conservative San Francisco and Seattle, the classical music scene is doing quite well, even with a lackluster economy. It may surprise Mr. Stratton that some of the people who love classical music happen to be Hispanic, black, young, poor, and even cool.
The issue is depth, Mr. Stratton. Classical music is more than Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach. It is an art form that is taken up by the young and old, rich and poor; it is multicultural, and it reflects one of the last voices of depth in a society that worships at the altar of shallowness and stupidity. A city that cannot support the fine arts, that prides itself on how "cool" and "hip" it is, is a city that will cut its own cultural throat.
I agree that an institution that does not engage its community with innovative programming and caters to its richest patrons will indeed find itself in trouble. I encourage Mr. Stratton to engage himself more deeply within this art form and stop looking at it through the lens of what is popular and what sells. At the end of it all, he may find himself surprisingly enriched.
Odorific: Far be it for me to criticize Jeff Stratton's hipness; that is obviously the only thing he has going for him. But I couldn't help but detect a certain odor emanating from his articles on the philharmonic, and the source of it was his snobbiness. I am so sick of "rockers" looking down their noses at "classically trained" musicians. Of course, the "rockers," like Stratton, are the ones making all the money, and the "classically trained" are eating cat food, right? Did Stratton even realize that one of the musicians you interviewed made a living as a rock and jazz musician prior to joining the philharmonic? Did he just leave that out of the piece? Oh, of course, his editor took it out! We certainly wouldn't want dear reader thinking that one of those stuffy, snobby, "classically trained" types was actually hip!
Concert halls are the domain of the culturally elite. People with wealth and power have a need to show an interest in the higher aspirations of humanity. People with wealth and power also tend to have gray hair. This is nothing new, and it doesn't mean that when they die, classical music will die with them. They will be replaced by other people with graying hair and wealth and power. There will always be an audience for classical music.
John Corigliano is writing symphonies now that are instant classics. And guess what? He's hip! In other cities, young people with open minds are attending symphony orchestra concerts and not because they think they are supposed to like it. They do so because they see it as an alternative to 4/4 time, to three-note melodies, to two-chord harmonies, and to incessant, thrumming, bass-driven backbeats. It doesn't happen much in this city -- who knows why? Your attitude certainly doesn't help. I suppose it just isn't hip enough.
Classically trained cellist and punk rock veteran
via the Internet
Not anti-Semitic: In the first paragraph of Susan Eastman's story about condos ("Where the Condos Are," May 8), she mentions Brooklyn hood Chris Paciello -- and in the next sentence, she mentions Jewish mobster Meyer Lansky. Why didn't she mention what religion Paciello is? Is a person's religion mentioned only if he or she is a Jew? You didn't mention any of the other people's religion, just their names; why mention the person was a Jew if that has nothing to do with his being a mobster? I would like to know. Do you want to show Jews in a bad light?
via the Internet
New Times talks turkey: Thank you! Thank you so much for Wyatt Olson's April 24 article "Out of Touch." I have been trying to make people aware of these same issues since these machines were voted into service. I asked the Palm Beach county commissioners not to approve of anything without paper receipts. My complain fell on deaf ears.
How can we get Olson's article published in the mainstream media? Everyone must be made aware of the problems with these touch-screen machines.
Susan B. Chamish
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