The Biscayne Times

Jul 21st
Letters April 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by BT Readers   
April 2018

bigstock_Mail_Button_1727945Miami’s Broken Trust

Regarding David Villano’s story “In Trees We Trust” (March 2018), this is a fantastic article about a topic that we need to address in our city.

I am really concerned with the way old trees are disappearing, in particular after Irma, in which thousands of trees were cut with the excuse of being tilted by winds.

Commissioners have to do something about replanting trees with the $3 million in the Tree Trust Fund, and the misuse of funds in overpayments to Ynigo Landscaping look to me like something to be investigated.

Please continue to address this matter. Thank you.

Carmen Iglesias


Another Call to Investigate

Great story from David Villano (“In Trees We Trust”) on the city’s (pardon the expression) shady dealings with developers at the expense of proper tree planting and canopy for its neighborhoods.

This is the stuff that makes Miami a national embarrassment. I loved the part where the assistant director of Miami’s planning department said: “Proper planning takes time. You don’t want to just throw trees into the ground.” They’ve had nearly a decade to implement the city’s Tree Master Plan!

And as for Ms. Quatisha Oguntoyinbo-Rashad and her little fiefdom, they should be put under investigation. How dare she claim she doesn’t know how her department works -- after four years and her history as an 18-year veteran of city hall? How dare she not find time to fill out important paperwork that is part of her job?

Samantha Gonzalez


Canopy Debacle Has a History

As usual, it is always a great pleasure to receive and read Biscayne Times. I really enjoyed the March cover story by David Villano dedicated to the role played by our local authorities in the disappearance of our needed tree canopy -- especially in the Upper Eastside.

However, I believe there were some key components that were left unmentioned, which will give readers a broader perspective of the reasons why the tree canopy along Biscayne Boulevard is almost absent.

City documents, plus an article in the New York Times, reveal how a group of local activists (God, I hate how newspapers abuse that term) or self-called activists (as I prefer to call them) from the Morningside Civic Association manipulated the fate of what was supposed to become the tree canopy that would provide essential shade and encourage pedestrian traffic along Biscayne Boulevard.

This demonstrates once again that the leaders of such organizations, who as far as I understand have zero background in architectural and urban planning or landscaping, were allowed (with the help of a corrupt commissioner) to destroy the future of our corridor.

Readers can also refer to a Biscayne Times article (“Battle for the Royals,” February 2010) dedicated to another activist whose uninformed battle also affected the fate of the corridor’s tree canopy.

Jorge Sanchez
Palm Grove


Take a Bow, BT

The March edition of Biscayne Times was one of your best issues. Lots of really good contributors and information.

Particular thanks for your continued columns by Jack King. Keep up the good work!

Roberta Leonard
North Miami


Bottom Line, Seriously

After skimming through yet another predictably moronic and quite frankly tiring Jack King commentary, this one slamming the Florida Legislature for not doing enough on gun control legislation (“Loathsome Legislature,” March 2018), one has to wonder why the political left, and the media in particular, always find it easier to blame the easiest and least culpable target, but never dare to address the real root of the problem, which of course is far more complicated and politically incorrect to address.

That would be this: a generation raised without any moral or ethical guidance, a generation raised in single-parent households without formal discipline or respect, a generation raised on a steady diet of violent and desensitizing TV programming and video gaming.

The next time a terrorist or deranged person mows down a group of unsuspecting tourists with a truck or goes on a stabbing spree with a kitchen knife, I would love to hear the same activists and politicians calling for a ban on trucks and knives.

Ironically, states that have imposed Draconian gun laws -- like Illinois, California, Maryland, and New York -- all now boast the highest per capita gun-related crime rates. Why? Because only the bad guys now have guns and have nothing to lose by using them.

That said, if progressives like Mr. King are so insistent on additional gun control measures, perhaps they should first understand just how regulated the gun industry actually is, along with the fact that governmental incompetence is the primary culprit for not preventing tragic shooting events of late, by failing to enforce regulations already on the books.

Almost every knee-jerk proposal coming across social media reveals a grave misunderstanding of the issue. All licensed dealers, importers, or manufacturers conduct background checks -- some 273 million since 1998 -- that stop many prohibited groups from purchasing firearms, including domestic abusers, felons, illegal aliens, and many others.

Automatic weapons are already restricted for civilians or shielded by prohibitive costs and regulations. The majority of guns purchased in America are semi-automatic, meaning one pull of the trigger fires one bullet. This applies to both handguns and hunting rifles.

“Assault rifle” merely describes a gun’s aesthetics and features, not its mechanisms. Suppressors do not silence a gun or even meaningfully suppress the sound for bystanders. They merely reduce the volume to protect shooters’ hearing. Certain states, Florida included, already impose a waiting period of three or more days for gun purchases by unlicensed buyers.

Bottom line: Guns have never been the problem, but rule of law and the integrity of the system almost always are. Whether it is due to human depravity or mental derangement, violence exists, and we must safeguard our systems while preserving the right to defend ourselves.

If we want to take gun violence seriously, we must take law seriously. We must respect the laws already on the books and prosecute those who break them.

Lastly, another person’s criminality and irresponsibility is irrelevant to the fundamental liberties of law-abiding citizens. We shouldn’t surrender our free-speech rights because another person uses theirs to troll social media.

We shouldn’t surrender our right to free exercise of religion because another person joins a cult.

And we shouldn’t have to surrender our inherent and inalienable right to self-defense because a man across town decides to murder someone or kill himself.

Kent Bonde
Miami Shores


Letters about Letters

It’s enough to say that the editor of Biscayne Times has chosen to do something most editors won’t do. He agreed to publish a letter without insisting the writer publicly identify himself (“Letters,” March 2018).

I have no doubt the BT’s editor recognized the valuable parts of the argument the writer made, and he didn’t want to lose those parts. But it seems to be generally accepted that if people want to communicate in open forums, they have to do it openly, without trying to be anonymous.

Would the writer catch flak for his or her views? Sure. And some support, too. But that’s what having a conversation is about. If you can’t stand the heat, as they say...

As for letter-writer Albert Diaz (March 2018), he could not have been clearer. He correctly points out that I don’t know him -- I’ve never met him -- and it’s unfair and wrong-headed of me to make any assumptions about him just on the basis of a letter he wrote earlier.

He makes equally clear that he has my number precisely, because although he has never met me, he did read a letter I wrote (February 2018).

Thanks, Mr Diaz. I think I understand it now.

Fred Jonas
Biscayne Park




Mark Sell’s March neighborhood correspondent’s column, “Show Them Up,” incorrectly reported the percentage of tax-base increases in North Miami and North Miami Beach. North Miami’s $2.8 billion tax base is up 33 percent since 2013, and North Miami Beach’s $2.5 billion tax base is up 45 percent.

Also, North Miami Beach’s reserves are now at $25 million, not $20 million. An audit report was released after deadline.


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