Letters for May 16, 2002 | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Letters for May 16, 2002

Is the good Rev. Kennedy, well, you know...? I just wanted to say Ashley Fantz put together a great story about Richard Murphy defense of homosexual rights against one of the most powerful homophobes in today's world of televised evangelism, the Rev. James Kennedy ("Cross Purposes," May 2).

It's amazing how people flock to this church that preaches hate and discriminates against homosexual people; you'd think that people would be more open-minded as time goes by -- by sheer tiredness if nothing else -- and that everyone would accept almost all kinds of lifestyles in our age. But it is not so with the Rev. Kennedy's congregation and message.

I personally never ever liked the man. His face always seemed to me insincere and with a fake and empty, generic expression, just like Hollywood's faces: cold and untruthful. It is most definitely not a face that a true Christian person would have if God were indeed living within him.

I totally support Murphy's efforts to really show the world what this congregation stands for: hate and discrimination instead of love and understanding and acceptance for all, no matter who or what that person is. And who knows how much pain Kennedy's message has caused to untold many?

But I also wanted to say what I learned a long, long, long time ago, something that is usually true but is rarely preached in this country: "Tell me what you are usually bragging and preaching about and I will tell you what you are really lacking," or something like that; since I learned it in Spanish, that's the closest translation I can think of. In other words, I would not doubt for one second that this Rev. Kennedy has been plagued all his life (now only a truly frustrated façade of happiness and 1950s "wholesomeness") by deeply rooted homosexual feelings. So maybe after all, we should be feeling sorry for none other than his holiness himself.

I praise New Times and Fantz for putting out such good, informative, awakening stories. I hope you keep doing it often.

Fernando Gonzalez
via the Internet

Y gracias, jefe: Thanks to Gaspar González for his story about Vicente Lopez and Los Cubanos Libres baseball academy ("El Béisbolista," April 18). It brought back good memories. I was one of those children lucky enough to be in Los Cubanos Libres in the early 1970s. I remember playing for Matanzas and wearing an orange jersey with black lettering. I also played for the Oakland team, coached by Julio "Jiquí" Moreno, who would drive as many as five kids in his green sedan to the games on Saturday mornings.

Vicente was, and apparently continues to be, a humble, beautiful person with tremendous energy. My father couldn't take me to weekday practices because he worked nights, so Vicente would pick me up, along with other kids who couldn't get to practice. He didn't have to. Vicente as well as Julio pitched batting practice, making sure every player got to hit. Vicente and Julio cared about every one of us -- at least, that's how they made me feel.

I am very grateful to Vicente Lopez and Julio Moreno for giving kids like me the chance to play organized baseball, and to my father, who enrolled me in the league, took me to games, and watched me play on Saturdays at Edison Park.

José M. Blanco

Hollywood-style: Warning to the people of Hollywood -- "Funeral Home Two" is in the works. Years ago, Mayor Mara Giulianti spent $900,000 more than the appraised price to purchase a funeral home for the Art and Culture Center. After losing an election over the controversy, she issued a letter apologizing for her misdeed. Activists condemned the overpayment as a political payoff. The center has evolved into a nice facility just like the new Performing Arts Theater, but both are grossly underattended. Lack of interest or incompetence?

Blowhard Director Cynthia Miller (who falsely accused Editor Chuck Strouse of not taking notes during his interview with her several months ago) promised she would not need a nickel from the city. She also claimed only three people are against the arts park (which was discussed in Strouse's April 18 "Undercurrents" and May 9 Letters). That is a fork-tongued claim.

It's now $537,000 a year in tax dollars for the Art and Culture Center later. Parks Director David Flaherty, at a June 14, 2001, meeting, indicated that he was "not really happy" and would cut them off this year if they didn't improve. Instead, the city gave Miller additional booking responsibility for the theater and additional funding. A perfect example of the Peter Principle and why our taxes soar. Flaherty also stated the parks department had better attendance when it ran the show. With no serious financial oversight, the place has become an opportunity to launder tax dollars. Twenty-eight performances with a total attendance of 3000, less the freebies, translates to tax subsidies of over $179 per ticket in the name of the arts. Hope they all/few enjoyed the show.

Now, each family will be forced by the mayor to pay about $500 per household in taxes to finance a facility -- the Arts Park -- that will likely be underused. This Young Circle project is touted to be for everyone -- the Arts and Culture Center is also for everyone. Have you attended an event recently? Ever? Typically, the country-club set patronizes the arts. Orangebrook golfers drink beer, not champagne. The mayor has misconstrued the workings of the Merry Men and has become "Robbinghood," taking from the poor (taxpayers) to give to the rich. Mayor -- do some charity balls and get additional grants. Stay out of our pockets.

I would ask where the feasibility study is to determine the potential success of this $12 million-and-rising Arts Park. The city's select consultants are paid to offer whatever results city officials want. Could this become the next downtown Hollywood, needing $35 million-and-rising with no end in sight?

Joseph W. Young imposed restrictions when he deeded his park to the people. He had the wisdom to recognize that unscrupulous, ungrateful politicians would do their best to reinterpret/misinterpret the legalese of the deed rather than accept its simple premise just reconfirmed in a letter to our commission by the Young family: No building on the park!

When the original bandstand built by Young burned down, the city sought and got the permission from Mrs. Young to rebuild it. Mayor Giulianti's arrogance is blatant because she does not seek permission for her follies. Additionally, she refuses to honor the incredibly gracious and magnanimous offer by the Young family --which could abide by the wish of the people for this Arts Park if it were approved in a referendum. Young Circle is the people's park, not only the mayor's. Pomposity and disrespect abound when officials ignore the legacy of the Young family.

The mayor refuses to say why no referendum. There's not enough champagne to inebriate our sensible-and-stingy, no-public-funding-for-the-arts voters. As a result, we will soon have to gulp down another tax increase. Which experts are going to run this facility -- Miller? Will it compete with local dance studios? Why not beautify the park for all the people to enjoy, rather than possibly destroy its uniqueness with 40,000-square-foot, multistory buildings.

Removing 290 spaces for the arts circle leaves 1160 restaurant patrons searching for parking. An official said the people will find a way to park. Good answer! The Arts Park backers also lied to the County Commission when they touted additional parking for the arts. Actually, there will be 259 fewer spaces. And the big one: How much more taxes to financially support a 12-to-whatever-million dollar facility? We get what we deserve. We pay federally for the arts. Get grants and private funding, and find another place. Citizens, if you don't say no, don't complain about being financially raped by special interests for the arts!

Howard Sher