Regarding Paul Demko's article ("Out of the Closet and Into Battle," March 25), I have additional information in which your readers may be interested.
Mr. Ken Wolf contacted me and requested an endorsement for nomination to the vacant seat on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. As a board member of both the Dolphin Democratic Club and PRIDE South Florida, I had official stationery on hand representing both organizations; but I also had the common sense to recognize that use of either type of stationery would be inappropriate and misleading. I used my personal-professional stationery.
I have served on several boards of directors with Mr. Wolf, including the Dolphin Democratic Club. I asked Mr. Wolf whether I should mention his ten years of efforts for this club as well as many years of Democratic Party political efforts. Mr. Wolf responded that the vacancy was a nonpolitical party seat and that it would be unfair, unethical, and irresponsible to raise party issues, even if it may have had a positive effect on the voting of the mayor and/or council members.
At the last Dolphin Democratic Board meeting, I attempted to raise the issue of the council vacancy and request individual support for Mr. Wolf. But Mr. [Bill] Salicco gaveled me to silence, and the issue was neither discussed by the Board nor presented to the general membership ([the general meeting] occurring immediately thereafter). So you can only barely understand my shock to see that Mr. Salicco, acting as president of the Dolphin Board, took such a last-minute and aggressive action [in his letter to Council].
Rather than judging the motives and actions of those mentioned in Demko's article, this letter is intended to demonstrate the highly ethical character and actions of Mr. Wolf. However, I cannot resist commenting on my disappointment at Mr. [Richard] Cimoch's evaluation of the gay community, "... [T]hey would bitch about the denomination of the bills," and Mr. Salicco's lack of properly raising the issue with either the board or the general membership.
Gretchen L. Hasselkus
New Times: Clueless When It Comes to the Homeless
I am beginning to question your motives for publishing another story about the purported "failure" of the HAC (Homeless Assistance Center) to act as a homelessness cure-all ("Down and Out in Broward County," Harris Meyer, March 18).
Throughout the contentious struggle to site, build, and operate the facility, I never heard anyone say it was a cure-all. I wish it were. It's a beginning for Broward County governments to deal with social problems in a new way. It's a beginning for the disadvantaged who want to take responsibility for themselves. It's a beginning for the entire county to offer the troubled "host" communities an opportunity to rebuild their quality of life and redevelop economic opportunities for everyone's growth.
It is neither punitive nor inappropriate for a rehabilitative facility to require residents to actively participate in their own life's changes. Most of us in society face similar responsibilities and choices every day. The learning process has to start somewhere. Why not at the HAC? The citizens of Broward County are certainly doing what they can -- indeed, it may be all they know how to do. Most people want to help in a constructive manner to elevate the status quo. Anyone struggling to maintain the caretaking mentality of Tent City by advocating for "wet shelters" is out of touch with the taxpayers footing the HAC's bill via the relinquished penny-a-gallon gas tax. If anything different is to be done, the public needs to be educated as to their role in the solution or participation in the problem.
It's time for New Times to write articles that educate the public about supporting a continuum of care and stop fostering "compassion fatigue" by printing the same old "poor me" stories that lead to nowhere. Even your subject Willis' mother had the courage to exercise "tough love."
I think Mayor Naugle and Commissioner Tim Smith are right. The pity party for chronic homeless people is over. It's time they went home.
Amy Jones Hamilton