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Letters for November 22-28, 2007

Long, Real, and Painful

History may fade, but it doesn't die: I am an outsider moving to Dania Beach in 2003, ignorant of the history of the community ("Wish I Was in Dixie," Ashley Harrell, November 15). I was oblivious to the racial history that preceded me in Dania. After moving here, I suggested to an African-American friend to buy property here. He has a law degree and is a white-collar professional. Yet he asked me how he might be accepted in Dania! How, then, might black citizens, who do not have advanced degrees and economic security, feel about acceptance?

Evidently, the history of racism, as your article pointed out, is long and real and painful.

The Rev. Emmett A. Coyne

Dania Beach

What's in a profile? South Florida has a high record of racial profiling. People will not get along with one another unless we start to change our attitudes about the world. Although it may be an ugly place to live in, our world is also the most beautiful place in all of creation.

Though racial problems in our world will never be abolished, it is fortunate that we can spot this problem. The problem is not created by the white people in our community. It is our self-centered attitude that has to be changed.

Izzet Oubari

Deerfield Beach

I remember Chester Byrd: You did a crackerjack job of investigating Dania Beach. However, you appear to be in error when you cite Bobbie Grace as the city's first black mayor. Grace was the city's first black female mayor. The honorable Chester Byrd (deceased) was not only mayor but commissioner back in the early 1980s. Mayor Byrd was a fine mayor, leader, and educator. He was an honest, fair, calm man, as well as one of the nicest guys I ever had the pleasure of working with. He was instrumental in bringing change to the community during this time. There is a park named in his honor in the College Gardens subdivision.

Name withheld by request

Dania Beach

Editor's note: The letter writer is correct. The late Chester Byrd was Dania Beach's second black commissioner, and in 1983, he became its first black mayor.

Keep Out of Court

Dickensian justice can still grind you up in SoFla: I am a resident of Palm Beach County who attends Calvary and just read your article ("Judgment Day," Thomas Francis, November 8), and I am so outraged by it. I have never met Rick Stembridge at church or heard of him, but I am glad you covered the story and tried to remain unbiased, giving all the facts as they occurred. It is difficult to tell if Stembridge is an honest man or not, but it is clear he had a successful business and had assets to his name. He also belongs to a church where God will keep him accountable. But the sick part of all this is the judicial system. I think that for the most part, he is an innocent man, and that after being screwed over by the court system, he tried to protect what he had left, realizing that the court system doesn't work.

It makes me sick to my stomach to see judges and lawyers ruin people's lives like little pawns that don't matter. The average person just gets eaten alive if he just enters a courtroom these days in South Florida, all because the lawyers, judges, courts, and big companies have bigger pockets, more power, and all the connections. It's not about justice anymore; it's about who plays golf with whom. The taxpayer who pays for this system to protect him gets bent over if he should ever need to use it. It's time we all come together and not put up with this bullshit anymore or the courts will soon rule and ruin everyone's lives with no way to stop them. And the lawyers will be right there in bed with them.

Christopher Raymond

Boca Raton

You Want a Newspaper?

It's just business, right? If the Sun-Sentinel spiked the story out of an abundance of caution because Gulfstream is an advertiser, that's OK ("Cripple the Presses," Bob Norman, November 8). They need the money, right? I mean, you do want to see the newspaper published every day. Democracy is served. And the coins keep coming.

Admond Fixoby

Loudoun County, Virginia

The changing face of print journalism: I was a reporter for the Sun-Sentinel back in the early 1960s, when it was new and feisty and locally owned by the Gore (not Al) family. This would never have happened then. Disgraceful.

Jeff Reynolds

Ijamsville, Maryland

Fur Us Not

Let 'em keep their own coats: I was disappointed to read in Gail Shepherd's article "Don't Thai Me Down, Babe" (Dish, August 16) about a "fox-fur" cloak. Couldn't you have said "faux-fur" instead? There is immense animal suffering inherent in the fur trade.

Karen Newman

Fort Lauderdale


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