Letters for October 13-19, 2005

That Hole in Your Chest

The real story behind the vest: Trevor Aaronson's September 29 story regarding Point Blank Body Armor ("Vested Interests") was wonderful and very accurate. I am a former employee of the company, the shipping/receiving supervisor for the "military division" branch in Deerfield Beach, and I have seen many quality issues overlooked in order to push orders out quicker. I brought my concerns up about producing quality versus quantity, but all to no avail -- their only concern was pushing orders out the door as quickly as possible. This rush was directed by Sandra Hatfield, the president of the company.

I have not brought this up earlier, because I did not want it to seem like I had vengeful intentions. That was more than a year ago, and I have a career making twice as much as I did there. My main concern is the lack of quality vests apparently still being shipped to our troops overseas (I have friends over there). The sweatshop sewing facility needs to change, and quality workers should be brought in. New management is a definite must. The quality concerns I saw violated the contracts that were signed with the military. When I brought it up, I was pushed away. It really needs to stop.

I worked at Point Blank for just over a year (around April 2003 to June 2004). I would like to do what I can to stop this. Whatever it takes. What could I do to help? Thank you very much!

Doug Sofranko

Via the Internet

No shield for corporate hustlers: "Vested Interests" is a great piece of journalism. Thanks to you, Alcee Hastings, and David Goldenberg, it will not be another good year for these corporate disgraces.

Eddie Kay

Via the Internet

I Am Furious Yellow

Twenty grand ain't spit: I cannot express my absolute disgust for you and the yellow journalism you spew. I can't believe New Times has stooped so low in your despicable article regarding Bertha Henry's relationship with her husband's newspaper ("Westside's Stories, Bob Norman, September 29). And to think that I used to believe you were performing a newsworthy service for readers.

How dare you raise an issue about the amount of money the county directs toward the Westside Gazette in the form of ads. Would you please contact the Sun-Sentinel and/or the Palm Beach Post and then have the integrity to confess your stupidity to your readership by informing them of just how much Broward County's purchasing department spends with major newspapers in the form of ads, public notices such as school board hearings, county meeting schedules, and upcoming topics? As you well know, the Sun-Sentinel charges two to three times -- or more -- for a full page what the Gazette charges.

Furthermore, county, city, and state government entities have historically bypassed minority newspapers in favor of spending taxpayer monies with major newspapers -- ostensibly to reach out to the maximum number of readers, irrespective of the fact that black newspapers continue to struggle to survive economically on the "crumbs" government entities send their way. And newspapers such as the Sun-Sentinel and Palm Beach Post are just like you -- they see no problem or moral dilemma with that.

I am blown away by the fact that the county spends only $20,000 a year with the Westside Gazette! I'd wager that is not even 1 percent of what Broward County spends with the Sun-Sentinel. In fact, I'm going to get on Bobby Henry for allowing such disparity in advertising to persist. I personally am appalled that they allow someone so idiotic as you to write for New Times. I will wager a guess that the feds and Charlie Crist declined to pursue this issue for the very reason that they know there is no case to pursue.

In fact, my feeling is that it's not even worth it to open Pandora's box like that. Are you sure that's all the county spends? I find that incredibly difficult to believe. I'm going to forward this information to the National Black Newspaper Publisher's Association. Maybe they would be interested in pursuing your claims as well. And last, by the way, the Westside Gazette does a lot more than puff pieces. But how would you know that? You're too busy spewing yellow journalism!

Kathy Boehnlein

Via the Internet

One Good Egg

Blanco keeps the motors revving: I just wanted to say how cool it was that you did a story on Rene Blanco ("Lord of the Dance," Jonathan Zwickel, September 22).

I first met him when he came to see my shows when I played with Secret P.E. Club. What a sweet guy with such great energy. We should all have fans who care as much as he does about local music. Thanks for taking the time to write about one of the good eggs.

Mindy Hertzon

Fort Lauderdale

Super Bob

Major opus, great read: I followed the weekly stories about the Weavers ("Finding Gary," August 4, 11, 18, and 25), and I must congratulate Bob Norman on a thorough job. I can only imagine the heartbreak and frustration endured by Mrs. Weaver and her two children. As for Norman, I cannot even come close to estimating how many hours were put into investigating and completing the story. I found it to be a superhuman effort on the writer's part.

Al Robbins

Via the Internet

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