I took the June issue of Florida Trend out of my mailbox, walked into the house, randomly opened it to page 10, and the very first thing I read was Marcia Mann's letter chastising Tom Fullerton's recent article on the lottery for being "recent revisionist in the extreme."
My luck with anything associated with the lottery is at least consistent. With all due respect to Florida Lottery Secretary Mann, she nor anyone else in state government should throw rocks. She, too, I am afraid, is guilty of revisionist history, or perhaps she like so many in Tallahassee simply presumes the state's citizens to be pathologically forgetful. The Legislature sold the lottery to the people based on their solemn commitment that the lottery would fund "enhancements" to education and not be used to supplement the core budget. Immediately upon passage, the education budget was reduced, the lottery money used to back-fill the reductions, and the purloined education money was used to further fuel that exercise in futility known as the HRS.
The legislators flat-out lied to the people and Secretary Mann, in her adamant defense of their misdeeds, aligns herself more with the problem than the solution. What is the solution? Read Georgia's lottery law and how it distributed the proceeds. They learned from our experience, to be sure.
Anthony D. Deakains
Thank you for printing the May story on "The New Look of Florida's Film Industry" and thereby bringing attention to this state's best-kept business secret.
Indeed, the economic benefits of such a clean industry on the state's economy must amaze some; add to the formula the free tourism publicity for Florida, implicitly included in every video, film, and photo shoot, and the impact is inestimable.
Please also note that schools offering film studies, including the University of Miami, Florida State, the University of Central Florida, and Valencia and Miami-Dade community colleges, are doing their part in providing an infrastructure for the development of the film industry in this state. More than 300 students are enrolled in the University of Miami's motion picture program, majoring in production, script writing, film criticism, and the business of film. Those students provide an intern work force for the film industry here, and, upon graduation, find themselves playing an active role in what is an ever-growing positive business for this state.
Robert Stahr Hosmon, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean & Director of Development
University of Miami
Ten years ago I came out of prison after serving a ten-year stretch for bank robbery. Through a series of fortuitous opportunities, I managed to become a member of the South Florida film industry, working my way up to be a free lance production manager and line producer of TV commercials. Throughout that period, while striving to lead a creative and productive life, I found myself on more than one occasion involved with my colleagues in public policy disputes having to do with issues that affected the state's film industry.
As a result of those efforts, I find myself labeled in the May issue of your magazine as "felonious critic," "ex-con accuser," and "raving bank robber" [FT, "True Lies in Tallahassee," May 1995]. When you can't kill the message, the choice is always to go after the messenger. When that person is an ex-con, then it's easy to play on the ingrained social stereotyping which denigrates people who've been in prison to the marginalized citizenship reserved for social pariahs. In this public policy fight, I put forth my ideas with honest conviction, energy and skillful use of words, supported with overwhelming documentation from public records. I did this openly and in the public arena, repeatedly calling for a public dialogue on the issues, and enlisting the support of hundreds of my colleagues when...their help was required.
Most importantly, all the names that I've been called have not been able to negate the list of five governmental investigations, both concluded and on-going, initiated by my efforts, which overwhelmingly support the major contentions that I have raised about the questionable behavior of the Florida Entertainment Commission and its misuse of funds. Somehow, your writer conveniently forgot to mention or cite any reference to the voluminous documented evidence which supports the notion that the Florida Entertainment Commission has managed, all by itself, to turn a large segment of the state's film community into angry critics. But then again, why let the truth spoil a good spin job.
In addition, your publication did not reveal that it currently has two separate printing contracts with the Florida Department of Commerce which raised a question of your publication's biased reporting on the Commerce Department's actions in this fiasco.
Your writer revealed a personal bias in his professional responsibility to report the facts. He went out of his way to ignore the obvious examples of abuse of public trust, mismanagement and misuse of public funds documented in both the State Comptroller's report and the independent investigation undertaken by the Florida Depart of Transportation IG. He chose instead to mislead your readers by defaming my efforts as the "ravings of a former bank robber," and labeling me as a "felonious critic."
I consider both of those descriptions to be defaming, implying that I am currently involved in criminal activity, as well as mentally unstable, and demand an apology and retraction. This letter will serve as a formal notice pursuant to the requirements of Florida Statute 770.01. So much for Florida Trend's journalistic responsibility to report fairly and accurately on an issue of vital importance to the citizens of this state.
By way of clarification, Trend Magazines, Inc., the parent of Florida Trend, bid for and won a contract to publish a business guide and directory for the Florida Department of Commerce. It also has a contract with the Florida International Affairs Foundation, under the Office of the Governor. Neither contract involves the editorial staff of Florida Trend.
Just saw your May 1995 issue with the picture of a "beat up" Cindy Crawford on the cover and find it terribly distasteful. It has provoked such angry feelings toward your magazine that I had to write this letter. To see a woman portrayed in such a manner, in a business publication, is beyond belief.
There is no question that the film industry is becoming a major force in Florida; however, you could have used better taste in selecting a representation of that industry.
I believe you are doing a grave injustice to women by printing pictures such as this. The only thing this does is contribute to the degradation of and increased violence towards women.
If movies, television and video games wish to portray violence, we the general public can choose not to buy their products and hit them in the pocketbook where it hurts the most.
For you to put such a picture on a business magazine is totally uncalled for, and if this were my subscription, I would cancel it immediately. I believe your June cover should have a full-page apology printed right across it.
In Bad Taste
I am writing in regards to the most recent issue of Florida Trend magazine. The cover of your May 1995 issue is an offense to me as a subscriber of your magazine. I just recently renewed my subscription to Florida Trend because of the informative style of editing and presentation which you have undertaken.
I place Florida Trend in the patient reception area of my family-oriented orthodontics practice. Because of the cover of the May 1995 issue, I am not placing it there. Consequently, I feel that I have paid for a magazine that I am not able to utilize for reading purposes in my dental office. If Florida Trend continues to display these types of photographs, we will be forced to discontinue our subscription and support of your magazine.
William Johnson, D.D.S.
As formerly two-thirds of the ITT Community Development Corp. Planning Department, between 1975 and 1988, we would like to contribute some additional thoughts to your May 1995 article, "No More Company Town." After 25 years, what has been accomplished in Palm Coast and Flagler County?
* More than meeting its commitments, ITT has laid the groundwork of a vibrant local economy and social structure. We knew years ago that there were better dollar investments. But there was no finer way to demonstrate the company's integrity.
* In 1978, ITT crafted the Palm Coast Comprehensive Plan (CLUP) which served as the prototype for planning in Florida today. Managed correctly as a guide, Flagler County becomes the perpetual beneficiary of this pioneering effort.
* While standing behind a less than profitable venture, ITT helped steer the fledgling community through its adolescent stage of growth.
Now, rather than "what will we do without the company" handwringing, community and county leaders should realize that Palm Coast residents must assume responsibility for maintaining their first-class community. Transition is an integral part of the development process, and Palm Coast is a complex entity to manage. There is much work to do so that residents can maintain a sound investment and pleasant living environment. The long-expected transition to local control should not now be "trivialized" by outdated views of local responsibility.
Allen E. Salowe
Ponte Vedra Beach
David G. Tillis
The article "Downtown Revivals" published in Florida Trend earlier this year was recently brought to my attention. I felt it may be constructive to respond briefly.
Key West is privileged to be one of 35 Florida communities to benefit from the "Main Street" program but has clearly "marched to a different drummer."
Because Key West's experience with the "Main Street" strategy of revitalization has been quite different from the norm, it may be helpful to point out some of the significant differences.
The commercial area which Key West Main Street was organized to rejuvenate in 1991 is three blocks long, and it is the commercial core of the island's historic black neighborhood - adjoining but not part of the city's established and economically viable downtown area. At the inception of the program, there were only a handful of businesses in the Main Street area, and the enduring negative image - despite impressive improvement of the situation - of an area harboring drug-related activities was a major obstacle to effective revitalization.
The City of Key West provided the primary support for Key West Main Street during the first three years, in recognition of the limited base of support available for the program within the Main Street area and in expectation that the business community would take over the major support role when the benefit of the program became apparent. Dependence upon the city, while essential initially, may have been a deferment to development of an on-going base of support. Despite the impediments, the continued presence of a Main Street program in the community and the physical improvements to the streetscape and 30 neighborhood businesses achieved through a $560,000 CDBG grant are a positive influence on this fascinating and historic part of Key West.
Interim Main Street Manager
City of Key West
I've had the privilege of showing your January editorial, "Withdrawal," to many of my friends and neighbors as a demonstration of what our state cash flow rests upon. Your imagery in the latter elements of the editorial is indeed foreboding. A government dedicated solely to reimbursing old farts will soon be a government that falls - either due to internal civil strife or external takeovers.
As a confirmed Libertarian, politically active here in Florida, I am convinced that neither political party wishes to slow down the merry-go-round, in spite of Mr. Gingrich's latest protestations. The worst case is a slavish press that will not pillory the spenders. This is what makes your editorial so refreshing. Keep up the good work.
In reading your Letters in the May issue, I must ask: Do you get any positive letters? All the letters you printed were negative. This is a positive letter. I liked the Tallahassee special advertising section in May. It was an accurate account of our area. Those of us who are fortunate enough to live and work here have mixed emotions about letting everybody know we have it so good. Our pride runneth over!
Roy C. Young
I enjoyed reading the article that appeared in your May 1995 issue entitled "The Butterworth Variation." John D. McKinnon presents a very interesting account of the attorney general's professional career in Florida.
Throughout his career, Butterworth has been a credit to this state and the legal profession. He has never turned away from responsibility and accountability. His recent fight against the tobacco industry is just one example.
As Circuit Judge Miette Burnstein says, he takes "everything" seriously. As a practicing attorney in Fort Lauderdale, I can easily say that, although his years on the judicial bench were few, he was always fair-minded, prepared and displayed good judicial demeanor and temperament.
And yes, he seemed to always be serious.
Donald A. Wich, Jr.