Letters for March 2-8, 2006

Buddy's Two Hats

The longest NY minute ever: Bob Norman has hit a nerve again with his exposé, "The GOP's Buddy" (February 23) about Buddy Nevins, who wears two hats as the Sun-Sentinel's political reporter and political columnist. Norman is fearlessly intrepid in the best tradition of the free press. He has pointed out the fact that Nevins' publicly stated support for Crist has disqualified him to continue wearing the political reporter's hat. As Bob Norman said in his The Daily Pulp blog,"if a real newspaper's political writer made a similar speech (like, say, the New York Times' Adam Nagourney), he'd be reassigned in a NY minute."

I was at the meeting and take issue with Norman on one point. Buddy did not make any "gay stereotyping statements" about his co-workers. He just commented that after writing his column opposing the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network's proposed partnership with the Broward School District, he felt "ostracized" by some of his colleagues for a while. I took that to mean homosexuals and perhaps others too.



Margaret Hostetter


Technically Speaking

Two projects or two phases — what's the dif?: I have read numerous articles in New Times in the past two years, which have referenced projects I have developed in Hollywood and incentives I have received from the CRA. Not once has the New Times reported the facts correctly.

Most recently, in your article entitled "Access Hollywood" by Trevor Aronson (February 16), Trevor writes "Berman received an incentive package worth an estimated $8 million to $13 million in October 2003 to build La Piazza II. Less than a year later, in April 2004, Berman received yet another incentive — this one worth $11 million to $14 million — to build the Radius on Young Circle." I would have, as Trevor writes, "arguably benefited the most," if Trevor's claims were true. But they are not. La Piazza II and Radius, which Trevor references as two separate projects with two separate incentive packages awarded in two separate years, are in fact the same project with only one developer agreement. I would be curious to hear your reply as to how such a blatant error in research could occur.

Steve Berman

FIRM Realty


Editor's note: It's true, we messed up by labeling La Piazza II and Radius two separate projects. But Berman's deal with the city of Hollywood is more complex than he makes it sound. The City Commission voted unanimously to give Berman an incentive package of up to $13 million to build the 311-unit La Piazza II, which included $8.1 million to build an 800-space parking garage. As part of the agreement, Berman has the option to lease 450 spaces for a reduced rate of $27 each per month. Prior to groundbreaking, as Berman points out, La Piazza II's name was changed to the Radius. Hollywood city officials subsequently stepped in to help Berman create a second phase for the project. In addition to the first round of incentives, the City Commission voted unanimously to use its eminent domain power to force the sale of a parking lot at the 1900 block of Tyler Street, where Berman will build a second condominium tower, this one with 105 units. Unlike the first incentive package, it's impossible to estimate the value of the eminent domain package. The Radius project is currently under construction at the north end of Young Circle.

They Have to Be Taught

A lesson in violating the Bill of Rights: I am a parent of a St. Thomas Aquinas freshman and am in complete agreement with your take on the recent Myspace-related discipline ("Stop the Internets!" Bob Norman, February 16). The administration's draconian approach caused great consternation to the students and, in my opinion, did not serve to teach them any values other than "might makes right." The papers grossly understated the extent of the discipline, but then again they relied on what the Archdiocese spokesperson told them.

Most of the St. Thomas parents I know do not appreciate the civil liberties aspect and think the school's intervention was perfectly fine. I, on the other hand, am shocked that a website not accessible from school would be deemed within the orbit of the school's disciplinary authority. Moreover, concepts as grossly inconsistent with our legal values as "guilt by association" were stated grounds for significant discipline.

The girl who was expelled (and make no mistake, she did not leave voluntarily) showed poor judgment, but poor judgment is part of adolescence. If children who use poor judgment are stigmatized and ostracized, their alienation grows. Although St. Thomas succeeded in scaring many students into deleting their myspace profiles, it may have missed the chance to instill the more important lesson of the need to voluntarily conform to social norms. St. Thomas should continue teaching its excellent curriculum and let parents remain on the point for instilling social values. I have been a reader of your excellent feature articles for many years and I commend you for your fearless approach on this issue.

Name withheld by request

Fort Lauderdale

Art Explained

Have you seen our clippings collection?: I am writing to you about Frons/Martin Gallery ("Cool, Calm, and Deflected," Michael Mills, January 19). The article was fine until Mr. Mills mentioned the Miro, Warhol, Picasso, and Dali book proofs. These pieces are not to be highlighted in an article, because they are just pages of a book that the gallery framed, and tries to sell as original artwork. The are not original artwork, signed by the artist, but torn pages of a book. Reading this article leads me to believe that Mr. Mills does not know his art, and leads me to question his opinion of the first half of the article, about the other works of art that the gallery has.

Jennifer Serfer


Editor's note: Sorry, Sister Windy. The prints in question are prized original proofs, which fetch a considerable price.

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