The Man Who Wrote Too Much

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"He gets upset, but he's not an exception," says Zulay Dominguez Chirinos, a Herald editorial board member and the letters editor from 1990 to 1995. "There are people who would write every day. We're looking for all kinds of names. People who love to see their names in the paper tend to get offended because they tend to take it as a personal thing, and it's not."

Like many dailies The Herald has a 60-day rule that prohibits letter writers from appearing in the paper's editorial column more than once every two months. The rule is aimed at providing the newspaper's letters pages with a variety of voices, topics, and points of view.

"We published a letter of [Slavin's] not long ago, but he tends to write about one topic all the time," Chirinos says. "He often writes about Israel, and we've got a lot of people writing about Middle East affairs. We're looking for all kinds of names. It's understandable if we get a letter from Johnny Perez from Hialeah who's never written before, and we get a letter from Harvey Slavin, and the opinions are similar, we'll print the Perez letter to give someone else a chance."

Slavin thinks The Herald's policy is "bullshit." He claims a former editor once wrote him explaining that he cheapened what he had to say because he wrote so much. "You're saying to me you may publish my letters if I write less?" Slavin questioned. "I wrote her back and said, "What a great First Amendment foundation.' I said, "Stick it up your ass. I'll continue to write as long as I want to, and you can publish me or not.'"

This season-ticket holder hopes that the Heat doesn't raise its prices again just to accommodate this bloat at the top (his Lordship Pat Riley), especially since the team is still a bunch of overpaid sloths who think "defense" is something painted white.

-- September 24, 1995, Sun-Sentinel

Slavin has also attached his unflattering monikers to some of The Herald's staff: editorial writer Wyngate Payne ("Wyngate Pain in the Ass") and sports editor Edwin Pope ("a Southern cracker who's over the hill"). And don't get Slavin going about sports columnist Dan Le Batard, who also hosts his own national show on ESPN Radio, carried locally on WQAM-AM (560) Sunday mornings. "He's a pompous ass," Slavin snaps. "If he were any more double-jointed, he'd pat himself on the back. He has nothing to say that I don't already know."

A self-described sports nut, Slavin recalls playing intramural basketball and football while attending Nautilus Junior High School in Miami Beach. In the early '60s at Miami Beach Senior High, he followed the school's varsity basketball team all the way to the state championships, though he didn't play. His fervor for the games even sparked him to call in a prank on a local talk-radio sports program of the time, The Luther Evans Show. Slavin and a pal concocted a scheme in which Slavin called and rattled off a list of reasons why Beach High was superior to rival Miami High. Then his friend called and posed as a Miami High student who agreed with Slavin.

"We all thought we were wise guys," Slavin says. "In those days there was no pro basketball south of Philly, so they used to put on the Boston Celtics games down here. So I was a Celtics fan until the Heat came." He was enthusiastic enough about the 1988 expansion team to buy season tickets the very first day they were available. Slavin still holds his seats, but he's bitter about the prices and the new AmericanAirlines Arena, which changed his $29, seventh-row seats to 80 bucks a pop in the 18th row. Slavin cites lack of parking, uncomfortable seats, lousy acoustics, and owner Micky Arison's greedy need for high-priced boxes as some of the reasons the team's fan base appears to be dwindling.

According to Slavin The Herald's pro-arena stance was rooted in money: The paper owns land near the site. "Now they have power broker cronies of theirs pushing forward the [performing arts] center, so that their property becomes even more valuable," Slavin grouses.

Slavin further mocks The Herald for its recent television spots featuring sports columnist Le Batard. "It shows you how bad their sports department is. They refer to it as "the soul of sports,'" he sneers. "More like the ass-soul of sports."

Despite the repeated rhetorical spankings Slavin has given him, Le Batard lauds Slavin's passion and believes that the newspaper industry needs more readers engaged enough to respond. "He's relentless. He writes more than I do," says Le Batard. "He's certainly entitled to his opinion, and I love the Don Quixote in him, tilting at the windmills."

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Emma Trelles