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Letters to the Editor

New Times is cliché-free: Thank you for recognizing Festival Tribe Musical Events as Best Festival for 2001 (Best of Broward Palm Beach, May 17). We agree! However, as a tribe, we felt we had to respond to the term "dirty, greasy hippies." We wanted to note that some of the folks of whom you speak have earned that road dust from a thousand concert halls, parking lots, and national forests. Others, of course, purchase their mud at expensive little boutiques.

The same holds true for our onstage talent. Some are local folks who play for the love of the music, others are regional and national touring acts from within our genre, and still others are temporary groupings of professional and amateur musicians visiting or living in South Florida. The fun is in discovering the surprises! Still we were a little disappointed that you missed two major countercultural clichés in your write-up (i.e., "Free Love" and "Protest Marches"). We were all pretty impressed with the comments, missing ONLY two clichés and all that. We look forward to these being included as you continue to laugh with the four generations and tens of millions of people around the globe who understand deep within themselves that They are Family!

With love and appreciation,

Barry Sacharow and the Family of Festival Tribe
via the Internet

Chris and his dad, Elwood: Chris Caulfield is a mess ("Beach Beat," Bob Norman, May 3). What was he thinking? You cannot walk up to a stranger, even someone you "recognize," and say, "Wanna smoke some weed?" It's suicidal, especially when you're skinny and six foot two. Why is he living on his own and not with his father? My opinion is that the dad is more to blame for this than anyone.

The kid talked smack to a young girl with a big boyfriend. If it were my girlfriend he said that to, I'd have done the same. He should have walked once he saw trouble. He is out looking for trouble, whether he wants to admit it or not. And tell Max to stop playing cops and robbers with his souped-up Caprice (what is he, a Blues Brother?) and start trying out for the role of dad.

Rick Rapp
via the Internet

Jackbooted Elián haters: As I read Chuck Strouse's column, "Elián Plus One" (April 19), I considered my long history in this community of dealing with Janet Reno, none of it positive. I have witnessed the physical abuse of a bag-and-baggage roundup without warrant by Border Patrol/INS, which was marginally sanctioned by uniformed officers of Metro-Dade. The subject of the arrest was deprived of oxygen off and on for about 25 minutes; his shoulder was wrenched from the socket. I am sure, from the sound when the jackboots of the INS agent hit his chest, that ribs were fractured. He was a man older than 70, and he never resisted arrest. Although I complained, no investigation ensued.

Admittedly the agents are trained for only five months. This is not preparation for law enforcement, as nonviolent apprehension takes more than two years of training. I understand the fear felt by the wife of agent Ricardo Ramirez. I have been "questioned" by INS. I am Caucasian and Native American. In "questionings" at or around the borders, if one speaks the language of excludables, one is immediately made to feel that one can be summarily excluded on a whim. These agents always carry sidearms, a clear show of force, and often unbutton them.

The Elián raid returned a political prisoner to political imprisonment and to a particularly odious family. People who have experienced political abuse have often had the support of family. Those of us who have not had that (and I am one of those) have suffered greatly. No country could be so blind as to consign a small child to this type of life in the name of family!

I do not know much of the raid because it was kept secret. Janet Reno could certainly not keep secret from me her ugly abuse of power in the Arthur McDuffie case; she was instrumental in the change of venue from Miami to Hillsborough County, a place that would never convict a cop, in a secret, holiday-weekend court order. And she played a role in refusing to pursue Timothy McVeigh before the Oklahoma City bombing. And she refused to prosecute felons in Miami-Dade County because she wanted to improve her statistical record for a run for attorney general.

On the surface Reno claims to be delegating authority. Underneath she has actively delayed or derailed. The ultimate travesty was having her cut the ribbon at the memorial for the Oklahoma City bombings. She really likes kicking people in the gut and does it at every opportunity. If some of those folks in Oklahoma knew what she really did, maybe they would not have invited her.

INS and the border patrol must have its budget slashed, be restrained to comply with the laws of this country, and be carefully observed with adequate oversight. This agency has repeatedly conspired against the U.S.

Annie Morris
via the Internet

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