|Letters November 2016|
Millennial Outlook: Grim
Regarding John Dorschner’s recent cover story on changes in the news media (“Miami’s Media Mystery,” October 2016), it was of interest to read that the author, a highly regarded veteran of the Herald, has two adult sons who have no interest in local news and who read news content on their phone screens.
That made my stomach churn. These two men, in their late 20s and 30s, likely grew up in a household where news and accountability were held in the highest regard. If local news and in-depth feature reporting don’t interest them, what does that say about other young people growing up behind them, whose parents were not so closely bound to journalism, journalistic ethics, and the notion of public accountability?
Today’s news reporting is under threat from inside (see Donald Trump) and outside the profession. News for my grandchildren seems to concern celebrity hookups, hang-ups, smack-downs, and fashion. Media companies make matters worse by judging the quality of their success by the quantity of “clicks,” or what’s “trending.” And a news cycle seems to be judged by how long a network can draw out coverage of some craven insult or gaffe. It is sad and frightening, and lowers the bar for future news coverage.
Because I work in local media, I’d probably be fired if you printed my name, so thank you for keeping it anonymous.
Name Withheld by Request
You Won’t Believe What Happened Next...
Now that I think about it -- well, after I finished your cover story on how the media are grasping at anything to keep audiences -- I realize I’ve been getting really irritated by those phony attention-grabbing online headlines like “Five Reasons the Cubs Will Win” or “Three Ways to Better Sleep” or “Ten Rules for your IRA.” They’re as bad as those “Here’s Why You Should Never Wear Brown” or “You’ll Be Stunned by What Trump Really Thinks of Wall Street.” Click, click, click.
We are doomed. Thank goodness for public television, magazines, journals, and papers that still believe in substance, Biscayne Times included!
Jack King Wears the First Amendment Like Body Armor
I always read with interest my favorite sections of your paper, including but not limited to Jack King, the Biscayne Crime Beat, and of course our Greater Miami Shores neighborhood correspondent, John Ise.
Jack King never disappoints. Thank goodness for the Bill of Rights, particularly the First Amendment. He is most certainly entitled to his opinion, which is what the column is all about. Agree or not, read it or not, the Fourth Estate can be proud.
As for your October cover story (“Miami’s Media Mystery”), I am one of those old-fashioned, read-it-in-print people. No need to digitize or sell me on the news. A print person am I. Give me the facts, please, and just the facts. Unless, of course, the author is simply putting forth his or her opinion. I may not agree, but I accept that it is their right to express themselves.
As a 23-year resident of Greater Miami Shores, I follow our correspondent faithfully. In his October column, “Rules, Rules, and More Rules,” the subject of planning and zoning issues was most intriguing. Our council members need to come up with a better answer to the lack of coherence in these matters. Just because it is not written, it is forbidden? No butterfly gardens because they’re not a part of the code? If that’s what it takes, let us hear it -- and tell us the story behind every layer of the Village code.
Thank you, as always, for a job well done.
Joan L. Dunn
The current paranoia over bromeliads as a contributing factor in the spread of the Zika virus is incredibly overblown. So I was pleased to read the sensible, professionally responsive, and informative commentary from arborist Jeff Shimonski (“Don’t Blame Bromeliads!” October 2016).
There are so many more site conditions that hold rainwater runoff, and so much more discarded trash and detritus that capture and hold water that endanger public health, as Shimonski notes. An effective remediation policy -- rather than a knee-jerk reaction -- is mandated.
The uninformed “war” on bromeliads reflects a profound level of ignorance and an unfortunate misdirection of energy and capital. For homeowners, the solution is simple. Spray the cups of the bromeliad to wash out larvae and pupae, using a miscible oil, olive oil, or liquid detergent mixed with water. Repeat this activity every three or four days. Taking such responsible action is far more logical than carrying on a relentless war against the wonderful bromeliad.
Ted Baker, landscape architect
Bromeliads Off the Blacklist
Thanks to your columnist Jeff Shimonski and his explanations about the spread of the Zika virus. I love my bromeliads and am pleased to be able to keep them. I’m being very careful to check for standing water on my property, and would rather accept more personal responsibility for my health than live with the constant spray of pesticides.
Sheila Ann Stein
Looking for Info
That was a great article by Erik Bojnansky about renovating and giving some life back to the area along W. Dixie Highway (“Old Road, Big New Idea,” August 2016). I’m an artist looking for live/work space in Miami, and I’m very interested in this project. If there’s any more info about it, I would appreciate it.
Take a Second Look
I am president of Hightower Property Management, which manages the Sunset Palm Villas Condo Association near Larchmont Park. I read Janet Goodman’s “Park Patrol” article “Larchmont Gardens Inches Forward” (July 2016) and was a little shocked at the completely negative light portrayed.
Since our firm was hired in mid-2013, we have worked extremely hard to rectify issues in the area. Our efforts have resulted in property values going up and visible crime going down.
I would like to offer my cooperation in any way possible with any future stories relating to the park and surrounding areas. I can provide insight into the changes that have taken place and those which are scheduled.
Federal Laws Help Historic Districts Too
The spate of articles and letters in your publication on historic MiMo Biscayne Boulevard’s 35-foot height restriction fail (I think) to sufficiently mention a key factor in this debate.
It is this: In addition to local zoning ordinances governing historic districts, there are federal laws and guidelines that mandate what kind of building can be built in a historic district.
There are many historic districts in this great country of ours. It goes without saying that not all of them are subject to a 35-foot height restriction. But that doesn’t mean that developers can come in and build whatever they want.
When an area has been designated as historic, all new construction is subject to existing local and federal guidelines and codes. Those protections are already in place, with or without any kind of additional height restrictions.
No one is going to be allowed to build a 50-story skyscraper next to a two-story historic motel. Or even next to a one-story, non-historic dry cleaner. Not as long as the new construction is taking place within a district that has been designated as historic.
I’m a Miami native and a gung-ho preservationist -- I love our wide-open horizons. But when you have a commercial historic district like MiMo Biscayne Boulevard, you’re not talking about Pompeii.
This is not a dead zone or a museum. It’s a living, thriving commercial district, and to survive, businesses must be supported by an infrastructure that meets the needs of today’s customers. This might include allowing an extra floor for parking, shade trees, walkable sidewalks, attractive crosswalks, mixed-use three- or four-story buildings.
Each and every new project will be subject to approval by City of Miami zoning and historic and environmental preservation boards, and must also conform to federal codes. Each and every project will be vetted on how well it fits into the existing environment and how well it serves the historic district.
And we, the public, will be allowed to attend hearings and comment on each and every one.
Hopefully, this letter will remind people the next time this issue comes up for debate that removal or adjustments to the height restriction will not open the doors to unfettered and uncontrolled development.
Protections curbing unfettered, ill-considered development are already in place.
Volume 15, Issue 1, March 2017
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