Letters to the Editor
Dubya gets down and hypocritical: In New Times' November 23 issue, letter writer Lucy Keller, a native Texan, says Vice President Al Gore is "... setting an example for our young people that, if you do not like the rules, you can break them." That statement should refer to George W. Bush, Ms. Keller, the "do as I say, not as I sign" man.
Dubya signed into law in Texas the following (and please correct me if I'm wrong): Ballots may not be counted unless: (1) at least two corners of the chad are detached; (2) light is visible through the hole; (3) indentation on the chad from the stiletto or other object is present and indicates a clearly ascertainable intent of the voter to vote; or (4) the chad reflects by other means a clearly ascertainable intent of the voter to vote." Again, do as I say, not as I sign.
Another Keller quote: "... pushed through by mob rule." That's the GOP, again and again! Intimidation in Miami to stop the recount, "banana republic"style; thugs from all over the country, including an army of motorcyclists, rally in front of the Broward and Palm Beach courthouses to intimidate. They forgot Broward and Palm Beach are not Miami.
Dear Lucy, the "sore loser" (your words) who refuses to abide by the Constitution is your beloved Dubya, who recently rejected a Florida Supreme Court decision -- crying to the U.S. Supreme Court -- saying that this body is there to "make the laws," not to interpret them. Loser! And [he's] ignorant, too. If he were so confident of his victory, why did he start this mess by requesting an injunction to stop a perfectly legal manual count? It all boils down to commonsense questions: What is the GOP afraid of? Why didn't it request a manual count in other counties? Why did they try to stop the recount in Miami-Dade by intimidation? It might very well turn out in his favor! To cut a long, truculent story short, I ask you to open your mind a little by reading the following uncontested books: Firewall (Lawrence E. Walsh), The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton (Joe Conason and Gene Lyons) and Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (Anthony Summers). For more details on the Florida election, please read the letter from Arianna Rose following yours in New Times.
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No, thank YOU: Thank you for taking the time to write an article relating to me ("Blowing Smoke," Roger Williams and Bob Whitby, November 23). I must, however, correct the record. I have not ever been nor am I now a Gore operative. I have never called myself a Gore operative or inferred I was. I am a political person who has supported over 20 Republican candidates and over 20 Democratic candidates. I have done this openly and on the record. While it would be fair to call me a political operative -- and on some occasions I have been called a Democratic operative by Republicans and a Republican operative by Democrats -- I am in no form or manner a Gore operative. If there was anything I said that led to this confusion, I am sorry.
As for the loss concerning Commissioner Maude Ford Lee, please note she is no longer a Palm Beach County commissioner. She is a beaten incumbent who was supported with every significant endorsement. She had large funding and the support of most elected officials. In spite of all this, she lost a race that all political viewers felt she could not lose. In addition there is now a law in Palm Beach County that no speaker in a public building can remove the American flag as was done. I do not perceive this as a losing circumstance.
Again, I respect your view on these matters and thank you for your time.
Roger Williams responds: During a November 22 telephone conversation with New Times, Mr. Fladell, while referring to George W. Bush supporters, said, "I guess they're onto me as a Democratic operative for Gore." He is, however, partially correct in challenging our assertion that he lost his battle to unseat District 5 Palm Beach County Commissioner Maude Ford Lee. Addie Greene defeated Lee in a primary election approximately a year after Mr. Fladell termed Lee a racist. Fladell's comment may have contributed to that result.
Broward publisher slashes Strouse: Knowing Chuck Strouse's talent, I was surprised at Undercurrents on November 9. He said our interview was going to be included in a column, and it certainly was. Looks like it was ghostwritten by the Sun-Sentinel.
There is something just plain wrong in it. My daughter does not go to Flanagan High. She did at one time but now does not. Chuck did not ask me about that.
The implied perspective is off base, too. Do you really think we decide business deals or community support based on where my daughter does or doesn't go to school? I currently have a son at Nova and have had other children in the past few years graduate from Nova and Western High.
Flanagan approached us about supporting its stadium project because we are the market leader in South Broward and have a long history of school support, including at Flanagan. Before the school was built, we had already laid the groundwork for a partnership agreement with the administrators.
A final point that bears on this: The Herald last year received one of the major annual partnership awards from the Broward School District because of partnerships we have with many schools across Broward. Flanagan is a big project, but it fits into our history and tradition of support.
On another subject, I appreciate the comment about the enormous respect colleagues have for me (and I for them), but I have to tell you again I really was comfortable and still am with the convention center issue. I respect the ethical discussion surrounding this. I believe it's wrong for journalists to be hamstrung in their reporting by the newspaper's business deals, and I and Alberto Ibargüen are adamant that business deals should never influence coverage.
While our commitment to unencumbered journalism is complete, I don't believe that the journalism side should handicap the paper's ability to make business deals that are good for the paper and in this case good for the community, if all is aboveboard.
In any column you can choose how to frame the issues. Let me suggest you have another way to frame this whole issue of competition between the Sun-Sentinel and The Herald, and I hope you agree this might also be good commentary and perspective for people to know:
The Sun-Sentinel has lost circulation in Broward since 1998, growing glacially in Dade and in the southern part of Palm Beach County.... [S]outh of I-595 in Broward County, they have less circulation than we do, and always have.... [Y]ou mentioned the Swap Shop deal in North Broward, where people buy The Herald, but you did not mention that the Sun-Sentinel has a massive hawker program that is among the biggest in the country, yet it struggles with sales. Hawkers are an initiative -- a trick? -- they use in much greater emphasis than we do....
[A]nd finally, think about this: The Sun-Sentinel has a circulation lead in the southern 20 percent or so of Palm Beach County, the upper 60 percent of Broward, and despite repeated attempts, it has made virtually no progress in Miami-Dade. They recently gave up on their Spanish weeklies in Dade.
Questions: What is the local paper in South Broward? In Dade? For the vast majority of Palm Beach? What is the South Florida Sun-Sentinel masthead they have developed? Is that intended to make people think they are a regional paper? The paper of North Broward/South Palm Beach?
They are doing their best, and I have respect for my counterparts at the Sun-Sentinel. But they are still trying to define their market. Meanwhile we continue to be the circulation leader in the state, the region, in South Broward, in Miami-Dade, and in Spanish.
I'd rather be in our position than theirs.
If you want to explore these issues further, I will be glad to help. But I don't think you need my help -- the facts are out in plain view.
Broward Publisher, The Herald
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