The Biscayne Times

Jul 22nd
Letters October 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Written by BT Readers   
October 2017

A True Pit Bull Believer

bigstock_Mail_Button_1727945Thank you for Janet Goodman’s September cover story (“Bark vs. Bite”) and the pictures of all those lovable pit bulls. It was a touching and well-balanced story, and I’m only sorry that people may have missed it while getting ready for the storm.

I confess: I have adopted two adult (illegal) “squareheads,” rescues, and they’re happy, energetic, perfectly well-adjusted bundles of love who still think that if they squirm around enough, they’ll fit in my lap.

Then in that same issue, I saw the related story (“Animal Fighting Is Abuse”) in your “Pet Talk” column on animal fighting, also by Janet Goodman. The photo of the abused, scarred dog was heartbreaking. Reading about how people brutalize pit bulls to turn them into fighting dogs was stomach churning. And then I got angry. There’s no excuse for that kind of cruelty.

I hope the two articles inspire Miami-Dade officials to come down hard on people who traffic in dogfights. I also hope they follow the rest of the state and lift the ban so that more people locally can rescue these big-hearted but much maligned pooches.

Name Withheld by Request


They’re Sick to Cheer

I guess it’s true that animal stories always get letters to the editor. Well, here’s mine. I just finished the article “Animal Fighting Is Abuse.” If the accompanying photo of the horrific injuries on the dog’s face didn’t tell the whole sick story, the text did.

It is beyond despicable that some among us would cheer on the deliberate suffering, agony, and death of fellow creatures. It’s sick, but not a sickness.

Mason Scallot


That One-Person Difference

Reading the September 2017 issue of Biscayne Times today couldn’t have been more poignant. The article “Hurricane Watch” by Eleazar David Meléndez seems oddly prescient. While we (at a great distance from Miami) watch news coverage helplessly, I can’t help but wonder what you in the region are seeing and hearing about your own homes and neighbors. To hear tales of Bryan Norcross’s soothing and steady coverage from 1992 is to be reminded that one person can make a huge difference in a crisis.

I sincerely hope that Floridians have found their soothing and steady voice this time around in the midst of Irma. Stay safe, and please know that we are all rooting and praying for you, Florida.

Kristin Burke
Los Angeles, California


Eco-Art Is Eco-Smart

The article by Blanca Mesa, “The Second Nature” (September 2017), was a reminder of how much our coastline depends on mangrove forests for protection against the sea.

The mangrove artwork by Xavier Cortada was lovely -- as was the gesture of his “eco-art” distribution of mangrove seedlings across the city nearly 20 years ago. I didn’t live here then, so I didn’t know that those seedling had been replanted on Virginia Key and in the Bear Cut preserve, and now are helping to slow the waves that erode our waterfront.

I love stories like this, that remind us of increasing species extinction and how fragile our environment is.

Yolanda Henriquez-Cobo
North Miami


Old March Has Modern Resonance

Kudos to Biscayne Times and Jay Beskin for his Aventura column “Echoes of an Old Debate” (September 2017). This is a very appropriate time to discuss Nazis marching in Skokie, Illinois, in the late 1970s, and Beskin’s concise treatment of that issue and our feelings now as South Floridians is stunningly on point. Hard to draw the line between hate speech and free speech, but the former is disturbing and the latter, essential.

I often skip the Aventura column because I don’t live there, but I read it this time and want to say thanks.

John Chellino


Your Right vs. Mine

Regarding Jay Beskin’s “Echoes of an Old Debate”: It was a thoughtful essay and I appreciate the dilemma he faced years ago, trying to balance freedom of speech, even hate speech, with the freedom to feel safe in one’s country, and how it’s ultimately our safety as citizens that hinges on the First Amendment right.

A free society nonetheless requires vigilance, as Beskin put it, “to protect the innocent targets of virulent ideologies.” Someone’s right to wave a Nazi flag does not extend to the right to threaten to harm me or anyone else in any way.

People are pushing the envelope of human decency under the pretext of free speech claims. In the media and in politics, they are the ones who pander to the least empathetic, least tolerant, most fearful and tribal among us.

Kamara Huddleston
Bay Harbor Islands


Free Speech, Weaponized

The subheadline to Jay Beskin’s column on free speech was “Hate speech is still free speech.” That sums up a dilemma we face.

I finally think I understand why some of Europe’s laws against free speech are more restrictive than ours. In their own recent history, they’ve seen that it doesn’t take much to weaponize free speech and erode a society. It can be done in a decade or less.

They learned that it doesn’t take much to incite people to move from speaking hatefully to behaving hatefully, and then to murder and genocide and war.

Arthur Simmons

There’s Gold in His Green

Jeff Shimonski is worth his weight (or the weight of any of the trees in his garden) in gold. I read his columns religiously and clip them because, guaranteed, down the road a few months, I’ll need some piece of advice he has dispensed about yard or plant or tree maintenance.

This latest, “No Topping, Please” (September 2017), was no different. Now I’m seeing trees in a whole new light, and I see bad topping everywhere.

I still recall how unfortunate it was for our neighborhood when the powers-that-be in our HOA either didn’t know or care that cutting tree roots can kill trees (“Killed by Construction,” October 2015). We had a large and beautiful tree growing in the median of our cul-de-sac. They cut its roots for repaving the raised curb, and that tree is now yellow and dying, just as Shimonski predicted. I even spoke out about this and was ignored. What a shame.

He should be required reading for city workers and tree-trimming crews -- and ignorant homeowner association boards.

Name Withheld by Request
Highland Lakes


Curse You, Floatopia!

I saw the aftermath of the Floatopia event on South Beach in April of last year. It was the biggest mess I’ve ever seen. Unbelievably thoughtless of thousands of people to leave trash everywhere. It was so bad that I’m not at all surprised the county has taken to enforcing its old laws about banning any floating device in the water.

Margaret Griffis wrote about it up at Haulover (“Beach Bummed,” August 2017) as if it was an outrage. It may be a bit much to ban a boogie board, but I can’t blame people for overreacting. Floatopia was a disaster, and it spoiled fun at the beach for everyone. Never again.

Jodie Thaller
North Miami Beach


A Snail Mail Offer 

I like Biscayne Times but I don’t get it at my home. I’ve figured out a couple of places where I can pick it up, but usually they’re gone by the time I get there.

When that happens, I sometimes go to your website. All the stories are there, but not the big photos and not even the ads (talk about retro).

Eventually I discovered you can download a pdf version of each issue. Supposedly...

I’m not a techno geek, but I know my way around the Internet and can work a computer pretty well. However, that stupid process of downloading from your archives has driven me nuts. So much that I’ve given up trying. That’s frustrating, to say the least.

Why can’t you make it much easier to grab issues from your website? Not rocket science, right?

Daniel Carmona
North Miami


Editor’s note: Our apologies for any inconvenience. Rather than try to explain the download process, which is not all that complicated, it might be better to just mail you a copy each month. Split the cost with us?


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