Letters for the issue of Sept 09, 2004
Everglades Paved Over?
In search of the truth: Re: Eric Alan Barton's "Bitter Sugar: (August 26), "We could never figure out where he was," says Gaston Cantens, the Fanjuls' new lobbyist for public relations, explaining why the richest farmers in the United States couldn't come to help a Mexican worker with 17 years' employment whose arm was ripped off by sugar-processing machinery.
We know where the former state representative from Miami, Mr. Cantens, is, and we know why he is where he is. Rep. Cantens, in the 2003 legislative session, was the driving force on behalf of the state's largest developers and landowners for a measure that provoked the biggest outcry against the Republican majority and Jeb Bush's tenure in Tallahassee. The measure was passed into law by Gov. Bush because it was his idea.The new law ensures that large landowners in lightly populated areas of Florida -- like the Fanjuls -- will never have to face angry neighbors in state court when they spread more suburban sprawl. It is a neat trick whose provisions benefit the biggest campaign contributors.
For his work, Mr. Cantens is now well-qualified to execute the plan for new developments that will turn polluting sugar fields into a recipe for disaster: huge profits, individual misery, tragedy for the state. Make no mistake: Once the Fanjuls' polluting interests plant cul de sacs and building pods in the Everglades Agricultural Area, restoration of the Everglades will never, ever happen. The costs will be incalculable -- and New Times is right to indicate that the profits to the Fanjuls will be on the order of many hundreds of millions. That is what we are sacrificing the Everglades for.
In anticipation of all that is now coming to pass -- and detailed in this excellent story -- the Sierra Club earlier this year withdrew its support for the charade called the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. The only thing comprehensive about it is how thoroughly the Everglades is getting trashed. The appropriate thing for the Palm Beach County Commission to do is to petition Jeb Bush to enact a building moratorium in the Everglades Agricultural Area until government agencies do what they promised years ago: a contingency plan for surface-water storage adequate to the purpose of restoring the Everglades.
Your elected officials and government are lying to you when they say the Everglades are being restored.
You took your time: What took New Times so long? I've been telling people about these scumbags for years. "Bitter Sugar" is one of the few stories that put their surnames with the company name. I am not complaining, just wondering. Good article.
Cornelius J. McCool Jr.
Tears for Tiers
No treatment for the poor: "The Big Lie" (Bob Norman, August 26) is a very good story about what is truly happening in the North Broward Hospital District. Having contact with approximately 6,000 homeless individuals in the last calendar year, putting 3,000 homeless individuals in programs and shelters in Broward County per year, we are fully aware of the problems that you have presented in your story.
Via the Internet
Where the Spotlight Lands
Be careful what you wish: I believe that Jesse Barber, Stephen Jordi's former Army sergeant, was accurate when he described Jordi as "a man who loved to get attention" ("Bombs for Babies," Trevor Aaronson, July 15). I also believe that this situation had little to do with a sincere concern for the "Plight of the Unborn" but rather has everything to do with Jordi drawing attention to himself.
Although the psychiatrist's comments may not be far from the truth, Jordi is still responsible for and should be held accountable for his own actions. I agree with Judge Cohn when he stated that a longer sentence "would more appropriately address the seriousness of the crime" and that Jordi will still be dangerous when he walks out of prison. I appreciate the efforts of all who had a hand in this case and look forward to moving on with life.
Timothy L. Jordi
Honest and rich: Gregory Weinkauf's review of Fahrenheit 9/11 was right on the mark ("George of the Bungle," June 24). I saw the movie last Friday, and I think Michael Moore has more integrity, courage, and honesty than all the anchors on CBS, NBC, MSNBC, etc.
Reining in the King
Felonies with a backslap and a smile: Good job on the boxing article ("King's Tarnished Crown," Trevor Aaronson, June 17). Don King is a good story, but Bob Arum deserved more scrutiny.
A federal boxing commission must be created. I hate big government, but in this case (maybe the only sports case), I see no other option. Too much money and too many idiots. The boxers are being raped, and the private boxing organizations are stealing with both hands... Thanks for a great read.
Farmers Branch, Texas
Just the Facts
The Aryan Brotherhood ain't that tough: I have been meaning to write to you since I read Bill Gallo's review of Carandiru in the June 3 New Times ("The Unlikely Lambs"). Unfortunately, I hadn't been able to get to Boca the weekend it played there. I am eagerly waiting for it to circulate again or for it to come out on video.
I enjoyed your review, but I want to correct a misconception you expressed that probably came from the New Yorker magazine this past February. The Aryan Brotherhood does not "control" any aspect of the U.S. prison system. Neither does any other nonuniformed group, gang, or band. The Department of Corrections perpetrates this phony illusion of gang power solely to keep the prisoners at one another's throats. Every prisoner in the entire U.S. prison system is under surveillance at all times. Guards give the go-ahead for rapes and murders as favors or punishment. Murders usually originate at the top -- or at least with the consent of those in charge.
The New Yorker mentioned Tommy Silverstein. He is one of the DOC/BOP's poster boys to justify "cruel and unusual punishment." Silverstein has been in total isolation in the basement of Leavenworth prison for more than 20 years. His murder of a guard named Klutts took authorities by surprise. For three years, Klutts had been taunting Silverstein and ripping up his artwork. The prison should have moved Silverstein from that tier.
I am glad that you chose to review Carandiru. Hector Babenco is a giant in the world of film. Thank you.
West Palm Beach
You'll be hearing a lot more about this: I wish there were more reporters like you. Please continue to dig a little deeper on things with the Scripps project ("The Great Slurp," Eric Alan Barton, June 3). I think there is more to it than meets the eye.
It seems Palm Beach County is in for some projects that don't follow logic. Natural gas pipelines, ARS wells, and Scripps are all tied to the Bushes in some interesting ways is all I get from the county. And agencies such as Army Corps of Engineers, SFWMD, etc. That's a good question? Well, guess what? I want some really good answers, and all I hear is stuttering or evasive lies. Please look further. I hope you continue on this story; it's not quite finished.
Remember That Sewage Deal?
And while we're talkin' about politics...: Congrats to Bob Norman for coming up with the line that "even when the [Hollywood] commission is dealing with raw sewage, it still reeks more than anything else in town." Obviously, Commissioner Keith Wasserstrom, who got his uncle, Arnold Goldman, a sales job at Schwing Bioset, the company that was awarded the city's sewage treatment deal -- even though it charged Hollywood almost $15 million more than Florida-N-Viro (who should have gotten the contract) -- has a big conflict of interest ("Justice Revised," May 20, and "Ooh, That Smell," April 15).
And so it goes in Hollywood, the "Diamond on the Coast," where the taxpayers get screwed again by a "gem" of a City Commission -- the same group of cafones who all were reelected! And Mayor Mara? What would you expect but her stinking hands all over this screw job... er, ah, "deal." Her son is Wasserstrom's law partner (how cozy!) and, as Wasserstrom said, "Her son is involved. The problem is that anything that inures to my benefit also inures to his benefit. So since they [Mayor Mara and his law partner] are family, she has the same conflict."
In closing, as not all the commissioners voted for this rancid deal that screws their constituents. I must applaud Commissioners Peter Bober and Fran Russo for not getting sucked into this Hollywood cesspool! To those who "recused" themselves -- but argued for Schwing Bioset -- and to those who voted for them -- you stink!
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