Speak Up

Affordable housing

Re the May 7 story, “Study offers possible solution to dire housing-affordability crisis:” The initiatives are a good idea as long as they are well done, highly scrutinized and financially monitored/budgeted. But I see the problem from a wider perspective.

Housing for the poor and low income population is a requirement, but how about affordable housing for the mid- to low-income population trying to live the American dream of owning a home?

As a real estate broker, I have never seen a more unaffordable and uneven market. Is it the greediness of developers? The greediness of Realtors/appraisers/mortgage lenders? Why are developers focusing on high-end condos? Rental projects?

I do not agree that there is no land in Miami for single family development; available parcels are being built with the maximum profitability for developers as a main goal.

By focusing on their profits, they are skewing the natural process that our young families need for their lives, their children and their successful retirement.

Our economy is perfect for home buying: Gross Domestic Product expansion, millions of new jobs, wage increases, low interest rates. The chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, Lawrence Yun, said it best: “If builders can ramp up production of lower-priced homes, plenty of business awaits them.”

Ana M. Valenti,


Culture hub closes

I was lucky enough to be at the Wynwood Yard on one of its final evenings recently. It has been well publicized that the space occupied by the Yard and O Cinema will be replaced by an 11-story complex with nearly 200 residential units.

The area was conceived by Tony Goldman, and became the most popular food, art and entertainment area in Miami-Dade. Della Heiman, the Yard’s founder, created a space that defined Wynwood, became its heart and soul. Development on this specific site is the end of the vibe that made the neighborhood special.

And while it is sad, it is less than a surprise, to most of those who made Wynwood a regular destination, how its success is now its downfall. The same developers who want to take advantage of its success are killing it. A too familiar story of short-sighted greed in South Florida.

Jeff Ostroff,


Restaurant Beverage Service,


County must act

Re the May 7 story, “Study offers possible solution to dire housing-affordability crisis:”The report makes six worthwhile and much needed recommendations. However, it only focuses on the City of Miami.

When we look at Miami-Dade County, it becomes clear the city is far more committed to successfully addressing its affordable housing crisis. The city commission first took a difficult political position of recommending a $100 million bond referendum for affordable housing development, which Miami voters ratified.

So, where is the county commission’s political fortitude to commit to a similar sized bond referendum? Given that the county budget is nearly eight times that of Miami, a county affordable housing referendum should be for at least $800 million. Now it’s time for the county mayor and commissioners to act.

Doug Mayer,


Just like Leona

During the presidential debate, Hillary Clinton told how Trump didn’t pay taxes during a critical year. His interrupted response during her presentation was, “Because I am smart.” So it is smart that one avoids paying taxes?

Leona Helmsley, deceased New York City hotel operator and real estate investor who earned the nickname Queen of Mean, (and who also didn’t pay contractors) reportedly said, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”

To our president, we average Americans are little people. Wasn’t it clear a long time ago that Trump has nothing but contempt for us, because we are not smart? He is correct, after all; he is the president and we continue to allow it.

Jeff Haller,

Cutler Bay

School shooting

Apparently, a school shooting has become so routine that the Miami Herald can place the story on page 8 and no photo or outrage is apparent.

The 18-year-old Colorado high school student who was killed is described as a man. This was a child who never got to become a man. He was a teenager with a future. The shooters were fellow students — not an adult and juvenile as described in news reports. These are kids shooting kids.

Because it is not in our community, is it just a minor event? Where is the outrage, the passion, the sadness, the calls for mental health? You can try to protect a school from outsiders, but this was a student who was allowed to be there. We may not be able to prevent it, but we cannot become immune or we are lost.

Linda Church,


Lacking sense

Alexander Vargas’ letter of May 7, “Take a pill,” has the audacity to suggest that letter writers who share great concern for our country’s democratic ideals due to questions concerning the president’s mental health and acts encroaching upon corruption, are the true sufferers of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Unlike that writer, when a patient has received multiple but similar diagnoses from their health professionals, it would take much (derangement or) foolishness to suggest one’s own course of treatment.

Marshall Sober,

Bay Harbor Islands

Too much plastic

Do you love to travel? Explore our beautiful earth? How would you feel if you couldn’t do that anymore? Our planet is suffering from pollution and we can stop it before it gets out of hand.

Experts predict more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. This seems far away, but it’s not.

Plastic pollution is at its all time high, with more than 100 million marine animals dying every year. You can make a difference. Start with something easy, like not using plastic straws and finding alternatives for them.

Plastic straws don’t decompose. They stay in our oceans and landfills for hundreds of years. This affects birds because they think it’s food. After that, the plastic breaks down into tiny pieces that are invisible to the naked eye. This causes fish and whales to die because they think it’s food.

Respect the earth and do more to save it.

Gianna Marrone,


Legal opinion

More than 650 former prosecutors say Trump would be indicted if he weren’t president. What do South Florida’s former prosecutors say?

Daniel F. Solomon,