Letters November 2017 Print
Written by BT Readers   
November 2017

bigstock_Mail_Button_1727945Arnold Markowitz: Man of Adventure

Thanks for rerunning “5 Things Fishing Has Taught Me about Life,” (October 2017). I missed the first time it ran. My first reading of an Arnold Markowitz sea story was in the mid-1960s.

Arnold, alone in a small boat, circumnavigated the “Island of South Florida,” filing dispatches to the Miami Herald along the way (wherever he could find a telephone, which wasn’t often). I think it took a week.

He set off from the dock behind 1 Herald Plaza (now Once Herald Plaza) and motored south through Biscayne Bay, into Florida Bay to Flamingo, around Cape Sable and northward past the Ten Thousand Islands to Everglades City, then to Fort Myers and eastward up the Caloosahatchee River into Lake Okeechobee. Across the lake to the St. Lucie River to the east coast and south to Miami and the Herald dock.

Alone. Camping ashore at night.

I do not recall if he did any fishing but cannot imagine otherwise. I do recall his comments on insects.

Perhaps you can get him to recount this Ferdinand Magellan adventure for all of us.

Thanks again.

Larry Hobbs
Miami Shores


She’ll Take the Less Complicated Version

Just so you know, I have never fished a day in my life. And your October cover story, “5 Things Fishing Has Taught Me about Life,” didn’t make me sorry for what I’ve missed.

Even so, it was a damn fine article. How come Melville and Hemingway made life (and fishing) seem so much more complicated?

Tiffany Schwartz


DPZ, We Remember Your Promises

Regarding Erik Bojnansky’s story “Little Haiti’s Big No” (October 2017): Development plans for Design Place defy the stated goals of Miami 21 (our city zoning plan), but not its practice.

Consultants DPZ (Duany Plater-Zyberk) sold us on this plan as being so thorough as not to need variances or zoning changes, in contrast to our old plan’s “patchwork quilt” of constant changes per each developer’s need. But in actuality, Miami 21 is much more of a developer’s wet dream “by right.” The City of Miami reneged on its old promise, so that today variances and piecemeal changes are allowed and are now rampant.

Consider that, like most of the city, this Design Place land can “by right” have much more built on it than the old zoning code allowed. If it is granted status as a Special Area Plan, much more would be allowed.

We shouldn’t have to beg for open and civic spaces. They should be a requirement, especially for a project of this size. Other cities require far more public benefits from big developers than Miami does.

The significance of the ongoing elephant in the room -- that Miami has no comprehensive mass-transit plan but up-zones as though there is one -- cannot be overstated. Presenting a rail stop in the Design Place proposal is as much “fake news” as were DPZ’s and Commissioner Marc Sarnoff’s promises of a streetcar for NE 2nd Avenue. That area was thus up-zoned, and traffic there is a mess. Yes, ten years later, no one remembers that streetcar promise.

“Quality of life” is a phrase that might mean something when referencing an assisted-living home, but the words mean less than nothing for the community when you look at details proposed by the developers of this massive NE 54th Street project.

Richard Strell


“Miami Forever” Is a Drop in the Bucket

Blanca Mesa’s “Going Green” column on “The False Security of November’s Bond” in your October issue performed a profound service in terms of voter awareness for the upcoming $400 million Miami Forever bond issue.

Of course we must vote yes on the bond measure if we want to be able to keep our roads from flooding, build some seawalls, add more pumps. But it’s a drop in the bucket of the real need, which is more like $1 billion.

More important, where is the coordinated planning? Or do we just continue to upgrade and jerry-rig the system as we move from flood to flood? We need to hear more about interagency efforts among different municipalities. What protection will my community have if the city next door has no measures in place? Disasters don’t stop at the city limits.

And shame on politicians who say we shouldn’t pay to stay safe. And likewise, shame on politicians telling us this lone ballot measure is sufficient to hold back the sea. Reality is getting closer with each king tide and hurricane season.

We need to think as the Netherlands has done, developing 10-, 50-, 100-year plans that look at sea level rise holistically and include coordinated efforts countywide and statewide.

And we need so much more money than politicians can even think to say out loud.

Bettina Navaro
North Bay Village


New Dog Park Is a Real Downer

I finally went to the new Military Trail Dog Park this weekend and couldn’t believe what a disappointment it is. There is such a large space to work with, but they put two small fenced-in areas within the park itself.

It’s ridiculous. I was wondering if Janet Goodman was going to be writing about it.

I also noticed that they staked some of the trees but left others on the ground after Irma. These trees are expensive, and whoever is in charge should be correcting this. It’s easy to see why they fell. The hole they dug was way too small, and they left large coral rocks without enough room for root growth. This is one of reasons why trees fall.

Taxpayer dollars should be better spent.

Edelman Lopez


Editor’s note: Janet Goodman reviewed Military Trail Park in our January 2016 issue (“Bigger and Better: Military Trail Park Expansion Brings Praise from Shorecrest Neighborhood,” January 2016). The dog park had not yet been built at that time. Janet says she will revisit Military Trail and inspect the dog park. 


A Good Read, Not a Sermon

I almost always take great pleasure in reading the Biscayne Times. I actually put each issue near my favorite back-porch chair and finish it over the course of a few days. It’s the kind of paper that invites a thorough but leisurely read.

But I’m almost never interested in reading someone else’s spiritual musings, especially when those musings reveal an inability to separate concepts of mortality and meaning from religion. The world does not revolve around ontological riddles, and if mankind is ever to progress, we should concern ourselves more with ethical behavior than religion.

I’m referring to the article “Irma and the Foxhole Theory” (October 2017) by your Miami Shores correspondent John Ise. There are indeed atheists in foxholes, but the writer is quite right to assert that religion has been engaged in culture wars. And not just in this time and this country, but since the first victor in arms declared his or her apotheosis.

Mr. Ise is an engaging, affable writer, and I wish he would do more reporting. I read your paper to learn what is going on in my community, not to read a sermon, even of the humanist strain.

Marianne Nemo


A Good Read on Religion

Another great article by John Ise (“Irma and the Foxhole Theory”) on religion, spirituality, and the houses of worship in the greater Miami Shores area.

Carol Hoffman-Guzmán
Miami Shores


“Hire My Relatives” Should Be Our Motto

After reading the October story “Mayoral Mojo” by Erik Bojnansky, my big takeaway was the pervasive nepotism in Miami politics. Is everybody in office the child, spouse, in-law, sibling, or cousin of the previous holder of that office?

Seriously, there’s Xavier Suarez and his son. Frank Carollo and his brother. Bruno Barreiro and his wife. Tomás Regalado and his son. And those are just the ones mentioned in this story. And there was that guy Marc Sarnoff and his wife. I get more than a little nauseous when I think of all our local city and village governments.

This kind of clan advantage also appears on the national level with a few wealthy and politically connected families. This, sad to say, is how we move from democracy to oligarchy to plutocracy.

Teddy Fernandez