The Biscayne Times

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Dec 18th
December 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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December 2012

In his story about the future of gambling in Miami and elsewhere in Florida, Erik Bojnansky notes that the Genting Group is making plans to do an end run around our state legislators and go straight to the people with a referendum on legalizing casino-style games of chance.

As Long as Politicians Can Keep Pulling in Cash from Casino Interests, Don’t Expect Any Votes Anytime Soon

bigstock_Mail_Button_1727945In his story about the future of gambling in Miami and elsewhere in Florida (“You Can Bet on It,” November 2012), Erik Bojnansky notes that the Genting Group is making plans to do an end run around our state legislators and go straight to the people with a referendum on legalizing casino-style games of chance.

A big reason Genting is probably going to do that was illustrated in the two informational boxes accompanying the story. They showed the millions of dollars the company has been funneling to political groups and individual politicians. The numbers are staggering.

As long as Genting’s top brass are willing to throw that kind of money at politicians all over the state, why should the pols ever resolve the gambling question? If they can string along Genting for another few years without actually doing anything, it’s just that much more cash in their pockets.

It looks like Genting, in poker terms I’m sure they understand well, is preparing to call the politicians’’ bluff. I like that, because I dislike our politicians even more than I dislike gambling.

Jonathan Harbrough
Miami

 

Editor’s note: For more on the Genting Group and its proposed Resorts World Miami, see “Historic Monument or Monumentally Ugly,” page 53.

 

If the Future of Voting Is Snail Mail, Won’t We Need a Postal Service That Actually Works?

Obviously Jack King wrote his column “Voter Fraud That Works” (November 2012) before election day, but it was a portent of the voting debacle that unfolded: Excessively long wait times in line caused by an enormously long ballot with multiple amendments, initiatives, straw ballots, and printing in three languages. This was on top of the normal glitches in ballot printing, machinery, and human failures that always haunt Florida voting.

I am a core member of the MoveOn.org Miami Council. I would like to know if Biscayne Times and its readers would participate in initiating a proposed Florida constitutional amendment to switch all state voting to 100 percent by mail, which, as reported in Jack King’s piece, has been successfully working in Oregon and Washington State for years.

Just think of the improvement in efficiency, the money savings, and the elimination of travel to and wait time at polling places. In addition, I am sure that the percentage response of registered voters would be increased substantially. With the money saved, the counties could even offer a small cash rebate to all who returned their ballot, just like the Nielsen television balloting.

The goal should be 100 percent participation, not the 25 percent we see in most elections.

Printing all ballots in three languages is also in need of adjustment. All ballots should of course be printed in English, with an additional printing in one other language, as a selected option recorded on your voter registration card. There is absolutely no reason to print all ballots in three languages.

We at MoveOn would probably initiate it with a petition at Signon.org, funneled through the MoveOn state network, followed by letters to the editor at various state newspapers.

We would love for Biscayne Times to be involved at the start. What do you think?

Alfred Sasiadek
MoveOn.org Miami Council

 

Political Hit Squads of Miami Shores: They Never Saw an Obama Sign They Wouldn’t Steal

If Jack King thinks the only problems with last month’s election occurred at polling places and with absentee ballots, he doesn’t know Miami Shores very well. Now that the election is over, for better or worse, it’s time for someone to take a look at the undercurrent of political warfare in the Shores.

The most recent “terrorist” attacks on Democrats was just business as usual in “Pleasantville.”

Twenty-four hours after the first Obama-Biden yard signs went up in the vicinity of 96th Street and NE 6th Avenue, all were stolen. This is the same location where, in our local election two years ago, a candidate’s sign was defaced with the word “FAGGOT” scrawled across it.

The Shores police department, when contacted immediately after the incident, assured the homeowner: “We’ll write a report.”

To add insult to injury, our code enforcement “professionals” followed up after the stolen signs on 96th Street were replaced -- by confiscating all but one of the replacement signs. These were confiscated, not merely requested to be removed, and to date no one knows their whereabouts.

Code enforcement removed more than a dozen Obama-Biden signs in Miami Shores, supposedly because they were “in violation of the code.”

More than 24 Obama-Biden signs were stolen from the yards of Miami Shores residents. This was not coincidental mischief. All Obama yard signs on 96th Street and all signs on NE 6th Avenue, plus signs on NE 2nd Avenue, NE 101st Street, and NE 5th Avenue were removed in a sweep on October 13, the morning of the Miami Shores street fair.

This, the third wave of yard-sign theft, kept the buzz going at the street fair. Rumors abounded that a resident or residents were paying a bounty for Obama signs. We have no idea as yet if that was a fact, but the political “hit squad” exists.

We in the “peaceful” village of Miami Shores seem to have a piece of our democratic fabric shot full of holes each election season. In the world of trend-watching, this trend is decidedly not our friend.

I know of no one in the Shore’s “Pineapple Republic” ruling elite who will stand up on this issue. Perhaps it’s time to assiduously ask that question of our leaders.

Bob Domlesky
Miami Shores

 

From One Wino to Another: We’ll Drink to That!

I just wanted to write a quick note and let you know how much I enjoy and appreciate your regularly published wine columns by Bill Citara (“Vino: Red, white, and you -- agreeable wine for $12 or less”).

As someone in the industry working as a wine steward, wine reviewer, and blogger I look forward to every issue.

I am always excited to see what new topic or wine Bill is helping me to discover, agree with, or even at times disagree on. Please keep them coming.

Salud!

Ernest M. Gonzalez
Whine and Cheers for Wine
www.WhineAndCheersForWine.com

 

Cop, Biker, Hippie, Womanizer, Intelligent Businessman? That Could Only Be Neil

When I read Erik Bojnansky’s story about Tobacco Road’s 100th anniversary (“Soul Survivor,” November 2012), I was reminded of the old saying: “History is written by the winners.” In this case, by the last man standing.

I think my old friend Neil Katzman was given short shrift. Neil was a cop, biker, hippie, womanizer (but weren’t we all…), and a very intelligent businessman.

When he bought Tobacco Road in 1977, it was just barely surviving. He saw the potential of the Brickell area not unlike those who saw the potential of South Beach. Neil worked hard to keep the bar going, and by the time he sold it after the police raid in 1981, it was a successful enterprise.

Neil lived life to its fullest. His house was a hangout for a variety of characters, both men and women. There seemed to always be a party there, and his gynecological examining chair was a big hit.

So wherever Neil is, whether living on a boat in the Grove, in Mexico, or Tahiti, I’m sure it’s party time.

Alfred McKnight
El Portal



Hey, Commish, Fix This Before Trying That

In response to Jay Beskin’s Neighborhood Correspondents column “Other Side of the Tracks” (November 2012), I ask the former Aventura commissioner this: Instead of thinking about Aventura’s future expansion into western territories, why not think about fixing the traffic problem at Biscayne Boulevard and Miami Gardens? Fixing it now. It gets worse by the minute!

Or instead of fixing the traffic problem at said intersection, maybe we should take advantage of it and have police officers write traffic tickets on the railroad crossings.

C’mon. commish. Fix one before you start another!

Jorge Fregonese
Formerly Aventura, now North Miami Beach

 

More Memories, More Tales, More Brewe

Crystal Brewe’s articles make you not only think about the way you are parenting, she always tends to brings in wonderful, nostalgic memories in her column, ones that jolt my own (“Kids and the City”).

Her writing speaks to you, asks you to learn and feel good about your parenting skills, regardless of the subject matter. They are as well very interesting and great summations.

She needs to write more articles and perhaps have a second column in Biscayne Times. Her skills and voice are an asset to the BT without a shadow of a doubt.

Debra Savittieri
Scottsdale, Arizona
 

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