Letters for July 11, 2002
Blowing the whistle on the DMV: After reading Chuck Strouse's June 27 column, "Security Collars," I want to offer encouragement on reporting a story that too many people are ignoring. Yes, it is a scary time for national security, and yes, we do have to live with inconveniences at the airport. But what happens when you take an already-overzealous police force and give it more liberty to arrest? Well, I think the result can be seen on the faces of the people who have been arrested in South Florida for noncriminal activity.
I know this from experience, which has taught me that law enforcement agencies are not interested only in protecting the public from criminals. They have another agenda. The amount of revenue derived from fines and penalties makes up such a large part of Florida's economy, one would have to ask if it is possible that such a revenue stream as arrests can become abused?
I don't want to waste your time with the details, but suffice it to say that a Department of Motor Vehicles employee drove into my fiancée's car and then was sent away as soon as the Highway Patrol got there. Can you say shafted? Because it feels a lot worse than it sounds.
Needless to say, they let the guy protect his job and took his word and the corroborating evidence of his coworker (who did not even see anything). One note of consolation: The lead officer was from New York City originally, and seeing my utter disbelief, he offered me this note of reassurance: In New York, this never would have happened and I would not have been in that situation. Some consolation.
What kills me is that they arrested my fiancée as well as me, even though the guy lied only once and said that she hit him. For 22 hours, they kept me in lockdown! But that is not what hurt. Knowing that my beautiful mate was suffering in that hellhole was enough to drive me insane. Nine months and $8000 later, our attorney was able to get the state attorney to offer a settlement: Pay a small fine. We paid it.
Florida is fast becoming a police state, one that has almost no sense of humor or fairness. They arrest men who do good, but they let men who are bad go free because they are part of the apparatus. Do you remember the story of the ex-cop who shot the young, hot-shot, real estate broker? How can a man with a gun get away with killing an unarmed man? Only in Florida.
Eric R. Wagner
via the Internet
Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch: It's not often that I'm moved to write a letter about a letter, but Harvey Slavin's nasty shot at former Miami New Times and now Herald columnist Jim DeFede in your letters section is hard to ignore (June 27).
If DeFede's relentless criticism of that hollow hack Alex Penelas is any indication of things to come, New Times readers can rest easily. The real question, Harvey, may well be when will the Herald show DeFede the door? To accuse him of making compromises before he's actually made any is unfair. So yes, keep the old powder dry. But in the meantime, don't shoot blanks.
Don't let him onto the shooting range: I was very impressed with Bob Norman's recent article concerning Bill Griffin, the mayor of Pompano Beach ("Swimming in Trouble," June 20). I am familiar with Griffin and have followed his brief but controversial career in politics. Anyway, Norman, keep up the good reporting. I look forward to reading more about your investigation on Bill and the gang that couldn't shoot straight.
via the Internet
Or out of the slime pit: On behalf of all the residents in my condo on the beach, I would like to thank Bob Norman for his recent article exposing our illustrious mayor for what he is -- a total slimeball. I think it took a lot of guts on Norman's part to share his facts with us, the taxpayers and voters. Of course, Griffin has already denied all the points brought up in the article. That's why we hope Norman will keep the pressure on in future articles. Again, thanks.
For a pop star's manly man: In regard to Jeff Stratton's June 13 story "Big Balls" -- how appropriate! Jewel got "hurt" at a branding. If she'd stay around long enough after the cowboy heroes and audience go home to their comfortable homes, she'd see real pain.
For example: eyes rubbed out from being jerked backward while running full speed, then dragged around and tied up, horns broken off, animals being killed for being unable to entertain the fools who pay to see this sad display of archaic, coliseum-like cruelty. And if she thinks castrating is "a part of life," then a little advice to her man, Ty Murray: Watch out for your other "jewels." In this case, the jewel turns out to be costume jewelry: pure cubic zirconia. By the way, they do use a buck strap in nearly all rodeos.
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