Letters to the Editor | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Letters to the Editor

Leave 'im behind bars: Bob Norman's "A Single Hair" (June 28) was quite an interesting article... but Michael Rivera is still a scumbag. I can only assume that his incarceration, legally correct or not, for the past 14 years has led to many a little girl NOT being molested.

Can't you guys find a Ward Cleaver clone who was falsely imprisoned? Along with the follow-up story of how the "Beaver" grew up to be a maladjusted, overweight adult because of BSO's mistake? Now that would be some good reading.

After reading your story, I think Mr. Rivera is JUST FINE where he is -- away from my kids.

Bruce Wheatley
via the Internet

Forget that old apartheid thing, whydoncha: My parents and I read Amy Roe's article ("Generation Exodus," June 21). We are Americans who lived in Africa for many years, from 1971 to 1978, 1980 to 1989, and 1992 to 2000. We still have friends and family in southern Africa.

We found your story skewed. Do you think that, by focusing on a particular group of South Africans (to some extent self-selected because they are ex-pats and because they patronize a local ex-pat bar or live in ex-pat hostels), that you've TRUTHFULLY represented South Africans here in Florida and in the United States AS A WHOLE? I doubt it. You admit in your story these ex-pats are indeed diverse and politically divided; what is common is that they are white. At that point it seemed to me your story became weaker.

It certainly is easier to take a racial, apartheid tack when writing about South Africa and South Africans. Readers know what apartheid was. You can easily then find a select group of South Africans who prove your case -- characteristically racist, white male/Afrikaner/embittered/alcoholic/rugby fanatics (take your pick). Or conversely it becomes easier to view a few white South Africans as conscientious white liberals who knew the evils all along, who knew what life was like in the South African townships for blacks, et cetera.

I wonder if a lot of ex-pat South Africans here read your story and felt the same as I do. Might I suggest you write a series of stories on things Americans and ex-South Africans don't already know of or don't recognize off the bat as stereotypical or recycled? There are other stories far more interesting and challenging that you can write. And on the positive side, what of the South Africans who are actually enriching this part of Florida in more ways than illegal work or griping?

Cathy Burns

Her bro' is affirmative-actioned out: Just read your article, and I really can sympathize with much of what your interviewees said. I have been in the United States for 13 years and my heart still aches for home. I know many white South Africans had high hopes for the new South Africa and were willing to put their blood, sweat and tears into building the "Rainbow Nation," but for many that dream is long gone. A personal example: My brother has been out of work for almost two years. He has a degree in the social sciences and is attempting to hone his computer skills with additional study. But as he said to me last week, "I don't know why I'm doing it; I can't get a job." With affirmative-action legislation in force, he is on the very bottom of the pile when it comes to job applicants -- all because he is a white male.

He wants to continue to live in South Africa, but at age 32 with no job, prospects don't look good. In a country swamped by a "catching-up" education system and AIDS, one would think that leaders would jump at the kind of skills he can bring to the table. But he continues to send out hundreds of résumés a week to no avail. He is depressed, and I am heartbroken that our home, the country that we grew up in, will not allow him to contribute to its future.

Yes, apartheid was a terrible disease, and yes, my brother and I both benefited from it. But the truth of the matter is, things have changed and my brother is attempting to change with them. Yet he is being denied the chance to play a role in the process. The only thing left for him is bitterness and anger.

Thank you for highlighting both ends of the ex-pat S.A. scale -- the ones who took their racism with them and those of us who would rather move on.

Gail Glover
New York, New York

Only this writer matters when it comes to Derek Cintron: What if, Jeff? What if, in your column of June 14 ("Bandwidth," Jeff Stratton), you did some responsible reporting and gave the other guy at the Poor House a call to verify the story? I'm the only guy to whom Derek Cintron spoke about bookings -- note the s. Had [Stratton and I] spoken, some of the things you might have found out are: Before Cintron played his "only" date at the Poor House, he was asked if he had three sets of originals, to which he responded, "Yes I do." The fact that he played covers, regardless of what they were, to quote Christopher Walken from the movie True Romance, "is of minor fucking importance." What's of major fucking importance, Jeff, is volume. Derek was informed about volume control prior to his gig.

Had you called, Jeff, you would have found out how I explained to him that the Poor House is nothing but cement, windows, and mirrors. Sound bounces around very easily, which makes it almost impossible for my bartenders to take a drink order. Derek assured me that would be no problem. As far as what happened between Jay [Hemple] and Derek, I don't even think they spoke. I was there for the first set, and I thought they were great. The next day I got reports that Derek would not control his volume, which explains why Jay was upset. I called Derek to find out what was up with the volume and to inform him that he would lose his weekend date and that I couldn't afford to lose customers due to volume. But I told him he could keep his next dates in June and July. I also said that, if he could prove to me he could control the volume and work with my employees, I would put him into the weekend rotation. I did so because I like his music, Jeff, but then again I also like Julio Iglesias.

So, it came as a total surprise to me when Derek called on June 6. He said he wasn't booked. But Jeff, why would I advertise that Cintron was booked June 7 if he wasn't? That would make me as bad at business as you are at reporting. Jeff, if only you had called, maybe you would have been writing about the sensational performance by Derek Cintron at the Poor House on June 7 and about his upcoming date in July.

Jeff, seeing as I'm the only one who could have thwarted Derek (not Jay Hemple), and I never did, one of us is lying. If you were misled, that's unfortunate. If only you had called.... But, there's no question in my mind who shouldn't be writing for New Times.

Robert Pignone
via the Internet

Derek Cintron responds: Just wanted to back you up and state once and for all and for the record:

Bob [Pignone] himself told me what Jay Hemple said. I didn't exaggerate his comments at all; I repeated them verbatim. I even have a witness. (Bob also spoke to my guitar player, Tony Medina.) The last conversation I had with Bob from the Poor House ended with the following statement: "Jay doesn't want you playing here again at all, so I have to cancel your May 26th Saturday-night gig, but I'll call you back if I can get you in on another Thursday night." No call came.

The Poor House's calendar is irrelevant; our band was never notified of any pending show beyond May 26. That is why WE NEVER KNEW ABOUT THE JUNE 7 SHOW or any other supposed performance, for that matter. Everything in the New Times article was truthful and accurate, and everything stated here is the same. Anyone attacking Jeff Stratton for writing untruthful stuff in that last article should be talking to me!