Give kids a chance: I am currently a guardian ad litem in Palm Beach County. My heart goes out to Mr. Reisfeld as I, too, have experienced negative actions for "speaking out" ("Guardian Gone," Wyatt Olson, April 26). The Department of Children and Families, the courts, and the attorneys are overburdened, and the children fall through the cracks every day. Tenacity and aggressiveness are often unwelcome but very much needed to get things done for the children. I often think about giving up my role as a guardian because it is frustrating and sad. I work full-time and am a parent, and as you probably know, being a guardian takes up a lot of time. Things MUST change or more and more children will end up being pushed around in the system. These children deserve a chance to be placed in permanent homes and loved. They deserve an education and a future. Kudos to Irv!
Gina L. Gourley
via the Internet
Bureaucratic boneheads made her quit: Thank you for your truthful and detailed article in New Times about the guardian ad litem program. I resigned [as a GAL] in 1999 because I lost respect for the program and the system.
The straw that broke this camel's back was the following: I spent several hours observing a hostile, disturbed five-year-old in school and wrote a detailed report, which was backed up by several teachers' letters, begging for immediate and long-term psychiatric evaluation and care. The judge had obviously not even glanced at my report when he asked me to verbally describe the behavior. After I described some quite horrific attacks on other children that I had witnessed and suggested that this was a future Columbine kid, he said, "Well, boys will be boys," and moved on to other matters.
What your article does not mention is the number of guardians who were lost because of the rule that you may not drive your guardian kids in your car. This took away the wonderful satisfaction of birthday outings, et cetera. I was once reprimanded because I drove a kid for an urgent blood test. I picked up the kid at school and had her back in an hour. The caregiver asked me to do this because she had finally escaped welfare and was afraid to leave work. Without the results of this test, this epileptic child could not have gone to a scheduled appointment with a neurologist the next day. (The doctor was tops in his field and donating his time. I wanted the child to get benefit from his care.) I became convinced that I could help my case families more if I were not a guardian and have kept contact with them.
There must be hundreds of similar stories. Do another article. Expose this terrible waste of volunteer talent and caring.
He has "pro" written all over 'im: Regarding your series on backyard wrestling ("Backyard Bloodbath," Bob Norman, April 5 and 12): Why would it be such a problem to have a wrestling organization for teenagers? I mean, I've heard of ninth graders who wrestle professionally. There is nothing wrong with that. But I disagree with backyard wrestling. Those guys will kill each other before they ever come close to their "dream."
I would love to wrestle professionally! I want to sooo bad! But there is nowhere I can go to do that. That is why you have backyard wrestling. We teenagers can't go anywhere to get "training"; there is no organization we can join. Instead, if we want to wrestle, all we have is our own back yard. Naturally this has devastating effects on a person's body, but WE WANT TO WRESTLE. This is not a sport they have in high school.
So what can we do?? I don't know, but I don't participate in backyard wrestling. I just wish there was a way I could wrestle, other than doing it on my trampoline. There is no other way of doing this. I would love to wrestle professionally; I would bleed a lot in my matches but not to the lengths of those guys in your story (which by the way, was a great story). I'm not crazy or even stupid. I believe I have fairly good knowledge about the sports-entertainment industry.
via the Internet
Hard-core talk: My friends and I were very impressed with your article on backyard wrestling. We have never read New Times before, but the picture of John Ulloa on the cover was a shock to us, so we scooped up a few copies of it and showed everyone. You understand what backyard wrestling is all about and weren't as quick to judge and bash it as professional wrestlers, politicians, and parents.
Casey "SpYdEr" Vas and Jason "Dirtbag" Cravero
via the Internet
P.S. If you would like to see our Web page, HcW (Hard Core Wrestling), the address is: www.acmecity.com/games/scorcher/668.
Leave the violence to him: Your article on backyard wrestling was quite intense. I am in a backyard federation in Washington Township, New Jersey. We have come a long way from the beginning, and we are one of the most-talked-about things going around town. We are called THW -- True Hardcore Wrestling.
Just because we are named this doesn't mean we are all-out hard-core. We don't go anywhere near as far as those guys in your article. We have had five shows since the start, and each time we get more fans. Our last show was the granddaddy of them all with nearly 100 people. Our first show we had 7!
We advise our younger crowd, which usually attends with parents, to please leave the graphic violence to us.
via the Internet
An old grudge, a New Times response: With friends like these, who needs enemies? Bill Meredith's letter (Letters, April 12) is just another example of why South Florida indie concert promotion is such a thankless endeavor. In ten years I've done more for the local music scene than perhaps any other promoter. My professionalism and credibility are beyond reproach. If I were as incompetent as Bill insinuates, I don't think bands like Fugazi would be calling me to book their shows.
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Bill seems to have a five-year-old chip on his shoulder because I was unable to "promote" a performance by Jason Bonham (a marginal-at-best drummer who lives off his father's legacy) into a Led Zeppelin gig. He also mentions that he didn't get $50 he says his band was due for the show, which had to be moved just weeks before the date because the original club closed without notice (an all-too-frequent bane of promoters). It's standard practice for local acts to get little or no pay when opening for a national artist. Most are happy just to play for the exposure and prestige. I often have to lobby hard to make sure local bands get a slot on national tours, which usually offer no additional money. Bands that have great potential or a good local following usually are compensated (I once paid an up-and-coming Limp Bizkit $50 and a case of beer, and they were grateful), but Bill's band was neither.
I'm sorry if he misunderstood or misconstrued any statement I made when booking his band, but this show lost a great deal of money, and nothing was promised in local support. I could have booked any number of other deserving local artists, but Bill was a friend, and I thought I was doing him a favor. His problems with the sound, tour manager, and Bonham were unfortunate but beyond my control. The sound company hired was the best available. Bonham, his tour manager, and booking agent were all jerks -- obviously trying to cash in on the legend of Bonham's late father.
If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't even have booked such a lame-ass show. I almost canceled it after Bonham arrived two hours late for the gig, but the club was able to extend the performance time as a favor to me. The show was indeed a debacle, but I remained on the premises until all business was done and fulfilled all my obligations. I have never "disappeared" from one of my shows. It's odd that Bill waited five years to air his grievances. Sour grapes that his bands have never amounted to anything? Who knows. One thing is certain: South Florida concert promoters have enough problems without having to deal with ungrateful, whiny local musicians.
via the Internet