Letters for September 18, 2003
Hank is prickly but ahead of the game: I just read Wyatt Olson's excellent article on Hank Asher ("The Matrix: Unloaded") in the September 11 issue. It was very well-written. To my eye, he presented the first fact-based and judgment-free article on Hank.
I worked with Hank from the early days of Indar (I helped build the application he showed at DevCon) until last year, when the project I worked on was sold. The representations of him in Olson's article ring true. He's a walking conundrum, one minute jovial and generous, the next... well... not jovial. Working for him was both trying and rewarding, and I wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world.
What's left out of most articles is that Hank had much of the work on the Matrix done for no cost, for the sole purpose of helping protect the country. It seems, however, that no amount of good work can erase the difficult past of a talented man.
Anyway, I just wanted to write to you and thank you for a complete biography on a man I've known for years. You've answered many questions.
It's lyrical claptrap, dude! I am a 25-year veteran of the "Immigration Wars," recently retired. I held the positions of border patrol agent, special agent, and deportation officer. I was often frustrated by the disinterest of and/or active opposition from the American public, Congress, and the news media to the vigorous enforcement of immigration law.
New Times, in particular, could always be counted on to trumpet the cause of every immigrant advocate who challenged INS' attempts to enforce or enhance the laws on the books. New Times and the Miami Herald often quote INS' most vocal local critic, Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, who never met an alien who she thought deserved deportation.
I applaud New Times' belated (post 9/11) conversion to the ranks of stricter law enforcement advocates. Bob Norman's article "Forgotten 9/11" (September 11), however, is a misguided attempt to re-write history and shift the blame to the only people who have always really cared about immigration law enforcement.
If Norman's intent is really to promote law enforcement, which I doubt, maybe he should research:
(1) An article about the motivations of Ms. Little. Could it be that she has a secret grudge against the agency?
(2) An article about the beneficial impact (i.e., greatly reduced national crime rate) due to INS' removal of more than 300,000 convicted felons in the past five years. Wouldn't want to actually credit INS with doing something right, now would we?
Please spare us all your sanctimonious claptrap. New Times can lay a share of the 9/11 blame at its own feet. I challenge you to show me a pre-9/11 New Times article or editorial that ever advocated enforcement of any immigration law. Your newspaper has done nothing but lend aid and comfort to the enemies of enhanced enforcement. Your newspaper continues to unjustly attack and demoralize those dedicated public servants who tried, against the tide of public opinion (shaped by the news media), to uphold the law.
Good gardens ahead: Thank you for the incredible write-up in your Night & Day section ("Diggin' Up Weeds," Jason Budjinski, September 11). We really appreciate it. Cheers!
Adam Matza and Jim Seidel
Via the Internet
As spoken by Stratton: I enjoyed Jeff Stratton's September 4 article on the Cure's final LP, Bloodflowers; although I've got to disagree with Stratton regarding their best albums, which are The Head on the Door, Disintegration, and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.
The part of the article on New Order was good too. Has Stratton seen 24 Hour Party People? See it. Leaves you feeling melancholy. Bittersweet film. Anyway, God bless Jeff Stratton!
No strong arm here: This letter is in reference to paragraph seven of Trevor Aaronson's July 31 article, "No Fare." When I stated that Broward was not enforcing the regulations, it was in reference to the county's allowing commercial ground transportation vehicles to stage outside of the hotels instead of prearranging transportation. Contracts between myself and hotels in Broward County were never mentioned, nor was the Sheraton Yankee Clipper. I never accused any entity of accepting kickbacks or strong-arming any clientele. I believe everything that was said during my conversation with Aaronson was taken out of context. I appreciate New Times' help in clearing up this matter.
Trevor Aaronson responds: Mr. Alipour indeed mentioned the Yankee Clipper in response to my question about which hotels he "has contracts with." I appreciate his letter.
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