Letters September 2-8, 2004
Afflict the Sweet
Sweeten life for the afflicted: Bravo to Eric Alan Barton and New Times for the story on the Fanjul family and its wicked ways ("Bitter Sugar," August 26). This type of writing and the reporter's active prodding to force the Fanjuls to do right by injured employee José Gallardo is what sets journalism apart from all other jobs.
Skip Van Cel
Sweeten the Everglades: What a fantastic article on the Fanjuls, Scripps, and future of the Everglades Agricultural Area. It's long been common knowledge that once sugar farmers are done growing sugar, they will attempt to grow condos -- their ultimate crop. Never mind that development in the EAA has the potential to undo billions of dollars of work currently under way to restore the Everglades.
Before the sugar barons drained this land, the EAA was the headwaters of the River of Grass -- we need to have a restoration plan for the EAA before Big Sugar gets its development plan. Thanks for calling attention to this issue, which could permanently change the face of South Florida -- and definitely not for the better.
Lisa Interlandi, Regional Counsel
Environmental & Land Use Law Center Inc.
And sweeten the life cycle: "Bitter Sugar" was an interesting article: Big fish eats small fish. Period.
Keep your young'uns off the boardwalk: Regarding the August 19 Tailpipe item "Sex and the Suburb": I just wanted to provide some information regarding the situation at Wilton Manors' Colohatchee Park. It is a family place as there are basketball courts, volleyball courts, and a large playground for the kids.
Unfortunately, there are public restrooms within the park that are frequented by men looking for companions or dates. I have been to this park with my girlfriend and her 5-year-old son a few times. Most of the time, men walk into the park and to the restroom across a boardwalk, where they are kind of on the lookout.
One day, we were walking on the boardwalks and found two men quite close to each other who quickly got nervous and began straightening themselves up, i.e. tucking in shirts and covering up private parts. This is just a little creepy mostly because the 5-year-old, who was with us, could have been running ahead and happened upon the men first.
I am not a Bible thumper by any means and have quite a few friends and neighbors who lead alternative lifestyles. I don't believe that Big Brother is the answer, but maybe these men could take their action home or to someplace other than a park that is frequented by children and families.
I guess the police are just trying to enforce the law and don't know any other way to prosecute except to have it on tape. Maybe they could patrol these parks more often or have the park rangers patrol sometimes.
That doesn't involve free appetizers: I read Bob Norman's August 12 article on the South Florida Business Journal, "Sold Out," with some interest because I used to write for it back in the early 1990s. The publication has undergone several incarnations since then, but I always sensed a funny relationship between corporate and journalistic culture.
Personally, I have always been a little skeptical of the media because they are supported to a large degree by advertising. What is the role of a journalist? Are these people adjunct detectives and lawyers who lack a gun and a badge or a law license but still conduct investigations and advocate? Or are they employees of an entertainment enterprise, whose main job is to write entertaining articles that might help sell a publication?
Bye, bye Bober: Thanks to New Times for the most informative coverage of the Hollywood sewer scam ("River of Sludge," Bob Norman, July 29). If the information were known today about the misrepresentations of Utilities Director Whit Van Cott, Commissioner Keith Wasserstrom, Mayor Mara Giulanti, Seminole Richard Bowers, Bionative Technologies attorney Scott Marder, and Bioset about the non-contract contract between the sludge Bioset boys and the Seminole, would Commissioner Peter Bober have changed his vote to approve the contract? The answer -- yes.
Bober's original position/reason for wanting to rebid the biosolids contract was properly based on the people of Hollywood's perception that the procurement process was tainted. Did any fact or circumstance change after Bober's noble, principled, and proper stand for disapproving this contract? No! So why at the next meeting did he use all of the reasons that tainted the process as his reasons for changing his vote to approve the contract?
Bober has proven his willingness to publicly make outrageously immoral decisions, which is a required test for advancement in Florida politics. The only remaining question is whether to call him Peter Polluter or Flipper Bober.
The August 26 news story "Take This Job" misidentified one of Steven West's former employees. Mr. Ayala's first name is Jason. New Times regrets the error.
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