Letters for July 27, 2003
Can you stay clean in Hollywood? I read Bob Norman's column "Mayor Mintz" (July 17) and would be remiss if I did not respond. First of all, kudos to the writer. I myself have said almost everything that was written in the article.
In 1990, I was Sal Oliveri's campaign manager and treasurer. With the help of hundreds of dissidents, we unseated Mara Giulianti by educating residents on exactly how she imposed her will on every decision in Hollywood. Unfortunately, Oliveri sold out to lobbyists Alan Koslow and Bernie Friedman.
I do hope Mintz can overturn the corruption that exists in Hollywood. However, if you recall, Mara was the one who enticed Mintz to move here and spend money developing downtown. Hollywood incumbents are notorious for placing shills on ballots to dilute the votes and guarantee their re-election. Mintz has very sound ideas regarding Hollywood's infrastructure, and all one has to do is visit the west side of town to see the need for development. Mara and her lackeys have spent millions to improve a downtown area that is like a morgue during both day and night.
I will follow Mintz and his promises, and I hope you do also. If Mintz holds true to his beliefs, I will work like a beaver to see him elected, and I know many others will join in. Keep up the good work, and I hope to see continuing articles.
'Fess up, Eric: I'm writing to lament the vein in which the article "Gunning for Profit" (July 10) was written by Eric Alan Barton. Mr. Barton could have considered a holistic approach to solving the problem of gunrunning but instead elected through subtle and sometimes less-than-subtle jabs to build a case for gun control. Clearly, the writer of this article is for gun control because he makes a point of belittling the NRA and its approach to solving such problems. What Barton labels as "among the nation's most lenient" gun laws others would call "among the nation's least draconian." I reveal here and now that I am pro-gun. I wish this author would do his readers the courtesy of openly doing the same about his political beliefs. Some other points:
1) Terrorists do not, in fact, need the U.S. as a supply of firearms. AK assault rifles (the fully auto ones) are readily available for less than $100 (I've seen figures as low as $10) in the Horn of Africa (which is a hotbed of al Qaeda activity). Why would these terrorists go through the trouble of purchasing guns they would have to convert to full auto and then circuitously ship to the Middle East?
2) I happen to hold a Concealed Weapon or Firearm License from the State of Florida. Taking a gun safety class was a sensible prerequisite for my license. I waited about a month to receive my license. It may be that Mr. Barton misunderstood what he was being told (some really good investigative reporting would have been to sit through the class and see what happened). Or perhaps something illegal or at least irregular is going on. Unless Miami-Dade County is issuing permits or there is an alternate process at work, something fishy is going on. In short, I would like to see a follow-up investigation. As an NRA member, I want that to stop and I want it to stop now. Not five minutes from now.
3) The simplest solution to dealing with the minority of lawbreakers who slink into gun shows is to better fund the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. If people are abusing laws, then they need to go to prison for such abuse, and they ought to stay there for a long time.
Bryant Wade Capley
The law is the law, right? Deceit and incompetence are ugly words that rarely describe content seen in mass media. It is unfortunate that these same words now describe Eric Alan Barton's article. It was filled with inaccuracies that were either intentional or display an utter failure to verify data. For example, Mr. Barton quotes Doug Thurmond as saying that anyone can "just go take the class," referring to a two-hour concealed-weapons permit class offered at gun shows. "Then you can take home anything you want -- today." This statement is completely false. First of all, the Florida concealed-weapons permit application takes a minimum of one month for the state to complete. It would be illegal for anyone to purchase a weapon and leave with it that same day. Even if the permit were valid at the moment it was applied for, which it is not, a buyer of a handgun would still need to wait till the mandatory federal three-day waiting period lapsed. As Mr. Barton pointed out elsewhere in the article, Broward has a five-day waiting period on all weapon purchases that would also apply.
Mr. Barton writes, "With Florida's weak gun laws, there's little chance federal agents will know if a gunrunner is stockpiling weapons." Not true. Every firearms dealer in the country is required to submit an ATF form whenever "an unlicensed person has acquired two or more pistols at one time or during five consecutive business days." This form must be sent to the ATF and local law enforcement officials. Furthermore, whenever a weapon is purchased, a background check must be performed.
The last example is so glaringly inaccurate that it borders on ridiculous. "Federal law has long protected gun dealers, so much so that ATF agents are forbidden from inspecting gun shops more than once a year." The law gives ATF agents the mechanism to, at any time during business hours, enter and search the premises of any gun dealer who is believed to have violated laws related to the sale of firearms.The one-year regulation refers only to the visits that the ATF makes to verify that dealers are filling in transfer and inventory paperwork properly.
Nick Davitian, Esq.
Attorney and federally licensed law enforcement firearms dealer
Eric Barton responds: If only we could all be so naive as to believe that gun-show dealers all follow the rules. As for the federal laws on gun store searches, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Miami tells a story slightly different from Mr. Davitian's, saying the law forbids more than one search a year without evidence that a crime has been committed. We'd take on the rest of the points, but, really, who can argue with the lawyerly ability to stretch the truth to support mass-gun ownership by terrorists?
The Bible tells us so: I really enjoyed reading Bob Norman's column on Margaret Hostetter ("Hangin' with the Church Lady," July 10). Those who cast the first stone! If homosexuality is a sin, so is divorce! A great book on this subject is The Good Book, written by Peter Gomes, a gay black pastor at Harvard University. Homosexuals were not mentioned in the Bible 'til the 1940s. Keep up the good work!
About that vast right-wing conspiracy... : I'd like to thank Bob Norman for writing such a prolific column on Margaret Hostetter. The idea of someone like that existing in this day and age is to me like trying to accept that Neanderthals still walk among us. You were very fair in your representation of her, and I'm glad, because to anyone with any common sense, she appears to be exactly as these people are -- mindless repressed fanatics with no original thoughts of their own or any characteristics that might even make her seem human. I've always thought politicians were just ugly celebrities in polyester.
It's sad when a scorned woman like that can't wake up from her sleep. She's brainwashed to the point of dangerous behavior, and she's being used as a tool by the right in exchange for some small recognition by a group of elite "white" people (if they even exist in this day and age, since everyone I know is mixed with something). The Bushes are the most demonic and backward people to come to power since the discovery of fire, and to me, they're a dictatorship die-nasty -- keeping America ignorant and selling them flags and religion in the country of religious freedom and the First Amendment. Something that I think needs investigation is the notion of Bush Sr. and the CIA. Can you ever "retire" from the CIA and live as a civilian? I highly doubt you can live outside the CIA at all, so what's really going on? You know what they say: If it looks like sh*t and it smells like sh*t, chances are it's sh*t. Thanks for letting me vent.
A conflict in her head: I belong to the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association here in Florida. I just want to congratulate Bob Norman for his article on Margaret Hostetter ("Hangin' with the Church Lady," July 10). It really shows how conflicted a religious person like this "Church Lady" can be with her own beliefs.
Those mysteriously absent condo-buyers: I would not spend much time worrying about 10,000 people moving into the downtown area ("Where the Condos Are," May 8). Fort Lauderdale may be living proof that money, manners, and intelligence don't come in the same package. However, there are not enough of them to fill all of the current development. Seventy percent pre-sold? My guess is its "resellers" who purchase the units at a discount early enough for the developer to get financing. When the condo nears completion, these units are on the market at or near the developer's asking price.
Why would the wealthy want to live here? To listen to Harley-Davidsons roar down Las Olas? To watch people race through red lights as though it's their birth right? To walk by that awful fountain at Andrews and Las Olas with the lights and kitsch music? To wonder if the porn shops have the moxie to create a mall in the likely-to-be-available museum? To have one's ears blown away by the cacophony of competing "music" blared throughout Riverwalk? Or to be amazed always at the infinite number of liquor licenses the city can issue to crappy bars along A1A?
An interesting observation my wife and I have made is the number of new condo units along A1A with absolutely no evidence of life in them. Time and again, we have noticed that there are very few lighted units. Expanding the criteria, we noticed that very few balconies have furniture on them. Then we noticed that they all have the same blinds and no draperies. Being ever so curious, we went down there with binoculars and took a closer look. Nope, no furniture either. Somehow, I don't see people who have sufficient funds to purchase these units being overly energy-conscious or unable to buy porch furniture, unique window treatments, or interior furnishings. It would be interesting to walk through the parking lots under these condos at night -- but I've already reached my conclusion.
I've lived here ten years now and time and time again have seen the first buyer of new homes on the isles take a loss when they sell them. There are fools, but not enough of them to fill the whole place.
Name Withheld by Request
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