I just wanted to thank you for your article concerning the CityLink Music Fest (Bandwidth, December 21). I witnessed the shortened performance by Neptune B and the scary yuppies who didn't understand that a local music showcase was going on. Neptune B was one of the bands I had gone to the fest to see. I thought there might be trouble when we walked into Tarpon Bend, right before the band played, and the club was rocking out to booty music.
Neptune B sounded good. There were people watching and applauding, and most of them had purchased drinks from the bar. I think it was a great thing that most of the clubs in the area wanted to take part, but the clubs need to understand that the Music Fest is designed to give local bands an opportunity to be heard.
I've tried to write to CityLink with my comments, but their e-mail contacts and message boards on their Website don't work.
Thank you for writing an article that was completely in sync with the Music Fest.
NSU Radio X (WKPX 88.5 FM)
First a fan letter to Whitby:
Bob Whitby's story ("Hollywood Tattler", December 14) was interesting. I hope Joe Schneider will be heard from again. Political info is interesting to baby boomers. Thank you, Mr. Whitby, for bringing this to light. I'll be watching for your columns.
via the Internet
Then one to Joe:
I really enjoyed reading Joe's column. It gave the politics of Hollywood a new flavor. The rose-colored glasses were truly disposed of. Maybe New Times could give Joe a spot.
Thank you for writing such an accurate story. Mr. Schneider is an honest and caring human being. He is a concerned citizen and we appreciate him in the neighborhood. I live on his block and my son plays with his children. Joe cares about what goes on in our community and is compelled to share the information with us. I think it is terrible that his article was eliminated from the paper. Thanks you for telling the people what is really going on!!
Name Withheld by Request
A Diplomatic Disaster:
What's happening in Hollywood? Why did the Diplomat's attorneys ask for a continuance of 2.5 hours before the city commission meeting last Wednesday?
Many citizens who keep a low profile are finally, and justifiably, up in arms about the Diplomat's request to become a tax-free district. And if the attorneys continue to postpone, we will fight harder. The commission will have to listen to the will of the people. Hollywood appears to be run like a private fiefdom, and it's getting worse.
Joe Schneider, who had every right to criticize city politics, was suddenly replaced by none other than our mayor in The Digest, leaving no dissenting voice. Does City Hall really think the citizens of Hollywood are that naive and stupid?
No hero, but a craven self-promoter:
I was fascinated by the article regarding the firing of attorney/part-time columnist Joe Schneider from The Digest. You attempted to put an Oliver Stone/conspiracy theory spin on a simple operation of business: Mr. Schneider didn't deliver the product that the boss wanted.
Schneider's column, "Hollywood Watch," appeared in the news/features section of the paper. Instead of making familial observations in the manner of the late Ray Recchi of the Sun-Sentinel, or social commentary like Leonard Pitts of The Herald, he offered sharply critical opinions that were based solely on political views and current events. In addition, he represented his own conclusions as facts and his own opinions as the "voice" of the rest of the citizens of Hollywood. I have no problem with that kind of writing, provided that it is clearly identified as political opinion or commentary, that it appears on the editorial page like the columns of George Wills or Molly Ivins, and that it is not mixed in among news articles to give it a greater weight of "truth" than it deserves. The Herald and the Sun-Sentinel would never have tolerated that kind of inappropriate news/feature writing, and it's unfortunate that it took The Digest six months to correct the situation.
To offer a balanced perspective, the story also should have mentioned that, in addition to working on Mark Hanna's campaign to unseat Commissioner Cathy Anderson, Joe Schneider has toiled over the last ten years to defeat almost every incumbent on the Hollywood city commission. He even served as campaign manager for former Commissioner John Coleman, who was Mayor Mara Giulianti's most bitter political adversary. Clearly he lacks even a hint of objectivity on commission-related issues and his columns reflected this. That's fine on the op-ed page but totally unacceptable when mixed in with the news. His publisher apparently agreed with this point of view.
The story also failed to mention the ongoing rumors of Joe Schneider's political ambitions. Based on his current residence, his two options would be to challenge either Mayor Giulianti or Commissioner Anderson. Is it simply a coincidence that, in words attributed to The Digest's publisher, Mr. Schneider "hammered" Giulianti and Anderson "issue after issue?" I think not.
I've met Joe Schneider a few times and agree with you that he appears to be a very nice man. I disagree with him on most issues, but I like him and appreciate the time he volunteers on various city boards. Nonetheless it is absurd to portray him as some kind of victim or martyr.
At best he is a political operative who had some fun while making the best of an opportunity for as long as it was given to him. At worst he has been inappropriately using a free public forum to lay the groundwork for political campaigns. Either way, The Digest has regained some credibility by canceling his column.
Russell R. Chard