Reader responds to ‘Wilton Manors Ponzi Scheme’

Gentlemen:

Good morning -- I had to write a note to you about the Wilton Manors ponzi scheme article and the follow up.

It is my understanding that Rick Kuhn has come under some criticism for speaking out against this extraordinary and reprehensible chain of events that has affected some of the members of the Wilton Station Association -- the full impact of which has yet to be determined.

I have known this gentleman for some time, and know him to be a good businessman, a straightforward individual, and an understanding friend.

What shocks me most is that someone who has been defrauded by illegal activity would be criticized for standing up for his rights.

Moreover; as someone who has been the president of an association on several occasions, it is astonishing to me that a Board of Directors has given a sanctioned endorsement of someone who might turn out to be involved in something which may be determined to be illegal.

As a fiduciary of the members of the association, it is incumbent upon members of a board to exhibit real and dedicated due diligence for all activities which affect the association, particularly when someone is employed by the association.

Even the slightest taint of activity, which may be illegal, should be carefully scrutinized, investigated, and not dismissed in a cavalier and self-indulgent manner. This policy should also be that of the management company as well.

There is no end to the devious nature of those who would take advantage of others, nor is there a limit to the methods used to achieve a nefarious end result.

And to use a well know quote, paraphrased here: "Evil flourishes when good men do nothing."

Yours,
Charles Bryant
Fort Lauderdale

Why Does SFGN Hate America

Your [Norm Kent’s] latest editorial “The Tabula Rasa of a New Year” suggest that we clean slate for the New Year and ends with listing many of the old ills of America. Which is it?

In my lifetime most of the problems you listed as part of America have been addressed. In the 60's the President and the Reverend King referred to his people as Negroes — not Blacks or African Americans. No one uses that word today. Things have changed. In case you haven't noticed we now have a Black President and Attorney General. We have three women and a Black man on the Supreme Court. Three recent Secretary's of State were women, one of them Black. The previous Speaker of the House of Representatives was a woman. A crazy woman, but a woman none the less.

There were several things that America did in my lifetime that you failed to mention. We won World War II and ended the Holocaust. After the war we spent billions to re-build Europe. We helped Japan to establish a democracy. We created the United Nations and still provide most of the funding for its numerous humanitarian and peace-keeping programs. We passed the GI Bill to help veterans get an education and buy homes. You speak as though shock treatment was an American invention and aimed at gays. In fact it was an accepted treatment throughout the developed world. In the 50's however, we found a cure for polio and put an end to the iron lung. In the 80's we identified and developed treatment for the HIV virus. You failed to mention any of those accomplishments of "Evil America."

America is the most generous country in the world and has been for a long time. When was the last time you heard of a natural disaster that didn't include relief efforts from America. And we're pretty generous to our own as well. Each day millions of school kids receive free breakfasts and lunches and sometimes free dinners. Each month a family of four on welfare receives more than $600 a month in food stamps. In fact, since the "Great Society" and the "War on Poverty" were instituted the American people have generously contributed between seven to nine trillion dollars to the poor and needy of this country. Seven to nine trillion dollars! Think about that.

I know America isn't perfect as your publication often reminds us. But, for the life me, I can't understand why you found it necessary to end this New Year's message with a vitriolic attack on America

First Gay Customers

Dear Piero;

I am proud to report that MotoVermont has finally broken motorcycle rental barriers by having had its first openly gay customers today! They were a bit guarded at first, but when I found out that one of the ladies was from Hollywood, FL I nonchalantly mentioned my Uncle (I still refer to you as that, sounds more personal than godfather) is a creator and contributor at SFGN — all barriers were dropped. They are both huge fans and loyal readers! They finally opened up and I was able to get a feel for what they were looking for out of their trip. I mapped out a route I thought they would like and some eclectic stops I thought they'd like and they just left a message that they were having an amazing time so far and all the recommendations were spot-on. Just wanted to share that with you.

Eric Milano

“Cops Accused of Entrapping Gay Men”

Your expose was great, you should be very proud of it. I have to say – and you may find this controversial, whilst I obviously disagree with wasting any tax funded police time to entrap anyone having sex… WHAT IS IT WITH GAY MEN AND PARKS???????????????????

In London, the nature loving happens on Hampstead Heath, perhaps you remember George Michael ? – Seriously, it’s not like he can’t afford a hotel room, do the smell of trees turn you all on? Because, let’s be honest, outdoor sex looks far better in aftershave adverts than it is in reality… That said, everyone knows you don’t go to Hampstead Heath at night unless you are a peeping Tom or hoping to shag George Michael. … no police and everyone gets along happily.. God Save the Queen (s).

Daniela B.

The "Kay Jewlers" story

We received a print copy of your Feb. 1 edition of SFGN in the mail in which Pier writes about his shopping experience in our Kay Jewelers store in Boca Town Center.

We were very pleased to read how happy Pier was, and proud of the service he and his partner received, and how they were treated by our store team. We pride ourselves on superior customer service as an important differentiator, especially when customers have so many shopping choices today.

I have shown Pier’s column to our Executive team and we would like to acknowledge the recognition by Pier of our team member, Aviva Zinberg, in our company newsletter and wanted to make sure that was okay with you.

We hope you’ll share our appreciation with Pier, and forward our very best wishes to him and his partner.

David A. Bouffard
Vice President, Public Relations
375 Ghent Road
Akron OH 44333

A Thank You

Dear Jason:

Kudos on the most recent issue of SFGN. You are definitely earning your salary. I am glad they have someone as skilled, competent, and community based as yourself to lead this publication.

Thank you, Mr. Kent, and the entire staff for being such beacons of information, community leadership, community building, and breaking news. I am proud to be able to get your publication each week at Church of Our Savior in Boynton Beach (and also have it available for our congregants and members).

I am also very grateful to all of you for providing us all with this most valuable community resource. I cannot wait until you grow statewide.

Keep up the good work and God Bless you all for your service, passion, and leadership.

Ed
Deacon Ed Kaczperski
Church of Our Savior, MCC
Boynton Beach Florida

Newseum Respond’s to ‘Almost All The News That Fit’

Dear Jason,

During Mr. Pier Angelo’s recent visit to the Newseum in Washington, D.C. we left him with the mistaken impression that there is nothing about gay rights, people or news in our exhibits. While no single exhibit focuses on gays in the media, we should have suggested he visit several areas of the museum that focus on this subject.

For example, in the News History Gallery on level five, Randy Shilts, one of the first openly gay journalists at a major newspaper is profiled in a display titled “Civil Rights: Using the Media for Social Change.” His reports led to a best-seller about bungled government attempts to deal with the AIDS epidemic - “And the Band Played On.”

Nearby in the same gallery we have a 1981 issue of the gay-oriented New York Native, one of the first publications to address AIDS. In our newspeople database, accessible via digital kiosks, we profile Leroy Aarons who founded the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association in 1990. In 1989, as executive editor of the Oakland Tribune, he surprised the American Society of Newspaper Editors by declaring his homosexuality while presenting a confidential survey of gay journalists. The database also includes Lisa Ben, who in 1947 founded a magazine for lesbians called Vice Versa, and who has been called the “founding mother” of the contemporary gay and lesbian press. And in our First Amendment Gallery on level four, one of the current First Amendment issues is the question of whether students have the right to discuss their homosexuality at school or to publicly speak out against being gay.

We appreciate the opportunity to respond and apologize for leaving Mr. Angelo with an incomplete look at the museum. Beginning this fall we will add information to our visitor guide that directs guests to these and other areas of the museum that focus on gay issues.

Sincerely,
Jonathan Thompson
Senior Manager/Media Relations - NEWSEUM
Newseum.org

Salvation Army responds to SFGN article

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your November 29th article, “Why You Shouldn’t Donate to The Salvation Army.”

Let me first of all state emphatically, The Salvation Army is open and inclusive to all people. Anyone who comes through our doors will receive help based on their need and our capacity to assist. We serve around 30 million Americans in need each and every year from a variety of backgrounds – we do not pick and choose who we serve based on religion, sexual orientation or any other factor. This promise goes to the core of our beliefs as laid out in our organizational Mission Statement:

“The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

Any instance of discrimination is in direct opposition to our core beliefs and is against all of our policy.

Some have raised concerns about our organizational position statement on homosexuality. Because The Salvation Army is a church, we do have theological positions on a variety of topics, including homosexuality, which are intended for our church members and officers. We recognize that people of good faith may disagree with some of these positions but they are based on our reading and interpretation of the Bible.

Over the years, The Salvation Army has demonstrated a consistent ability to work with and alongside individuals and organizations that may not always be in agreement with our theology. They support us with time and financial resources because of a common cause commitment to serve people in need. Like Jesus, we strive to love the unloved and be compassionate to all – even when we disagree. Frankly, to act in any other way would contradict the very reason The Salvation Army was founded more than a century ago.

So, when you pass by a red kettle this Christmas, we hope you’ll consider chipping in. Your neighbors in need will thank you.

"Dream Catchers"

Dear Editor,

I want to thank you for publishing a great column last week, ‘The Dream Catchers,’ by Piero Guidugli.

It is rare to read about the American Indian in this vein and unheard of to combine the subject with homosexuality.

Today the American Indian is instantly associated with casinos and gambling. The original pioneers gave them small pox, an alien monotheistic religion, syphilis, alcoholism, guns and desperation. Now it's payback time and they are taking us for our deserved ride, with interest. People are flocking to their almost tax free mega venues to drink, gamble, and buy cheaper cigarettes, filling up the coffers of the reservations. There is a certain cosmic beauty and justice to it. As you said, Yin and Yang.

Kudos to SFGN.
Charlie

Some Readers Upset With ‘Prison Diaries’

Dear Editor,

I am writing you concerning your decision to give a convicted child pornographer a voice and column in SFGN.

I am a Gay man and Father that works with a group called DADsquared. We are a community of men working endlessly towards the day that all Gay men, with the calling to be Fathers, can see their dreams realized.

Your giving Mr. Reina this platform is truly deplorable on so many levels.

I hear from good, upstanding, law biding men on a daily basis that are turned away from Fatherhood by groups and organizations that still believe that many Gay men are pedophile's, you sir have just given them more of the perceived “proof they need.”

Mr. Reina says that he has accepted responsibility for what he has done and yet in his own words states in your paper, “I have never inflicted harm on any child or minor in my life, nor would I ever do so.”

That statement in itself is proof that he does not fully understand his role in his own actions. Distributing pornography containing boys as young as six having sex with older men and some appearing to be struggling is INDEED inflicting harm on a child, in the most heinous of ways. That distribution only fueled another pedophiles desires, which led to another boy, somewhere, being victimized, and Mr. Reina had a hand in that.

Mr. Reina also states that these actions were brought about due to his drug addiction which is also another deflection of personal responsibility, there are (sadly) thousands of Gay men suffering addiction and I can safety say that turning towards sexual child abuse is not the norm.

I also find it unbelievable that the paper states that in lieu of compensation for writing the column, as if he deserves to profit from his actions, Mr. Reina will be “paying it forward” by donating to his favorite PET charity... really... how about donating to an organization that advocates for the victims of child abuse?

SFGN is a leading publication working for the LGBT community; I can not understand why you made this extremely sad and dangerous decision.

You should be leading the community towards equality and helping us to transcend stereotypes, instead, these types of actions keep us bound to the past and to old societal negative beliefs.

I hope you reconsider this decision and remove his column from your publication.

Henry Amador

In response to "Papal White Smoke Poisonous for Gay Catholics"

Good day,

So sad, the article “Papal White Smoke Poisonous for Gay Catholics”. As a Catholic gay man I found this writing, insulting and disrespectful to me and my faith, but at best ‘typical and tacky’ of activist who seemingly HAVE to release their verbal venom. It only took hours before I was receiving calls and website articles screaming……“What a horrible choice for Pope”…..for GAYS! Since when have ‘gay issues’ become a priority to any church, faith, temple or belief. Gay men and women are being persecuted, beheaded and tortured and imprisoned in many parts of the world, how bout attacking those leaders, dictators and clergy ? The Catholic Church is always an easy target and seldom defends itself against these attacks. Do you REALLY think gay folks in Darfur, and other suffering countries are concerned about ‘gay marriage’ when they don’t have clean water to drink? Better half the Vatican be sold and given to those who really need basic substance and freedom to LIVE.

Most of the article was anticipated and predictable, sounded angry and jaded from a ’use to be a practicing Catholic” (I’m only assuming here)

but attacking one’s disability (whether the Pope’s or any other person‘s ) re: He has only one lung to spew” - now that was not respectful, kind, caring nor loving - hmm, all the those things that WE gay folk seek for ourselves.

Respectfully submitted, my opinion.

George T. Roman
Hollywood, Florida

Readers Praising SFGN’s ‘HIV Diaries’

Dear Ryan,

Thanks for your honest and revealing blog, "My HIV Diary." In this week's edition (Week 29, "Over It") you admitted that you'd stopped taking your antiretroviral medications for a week. This reality — that guys living with HIV get burnt out, and take drug holidays — is not generally acknowledged. While I worry about the impact of this drug holiday on you personally, I'm glad that your column has shined a light on this issue.

For any of your readers who don't know, the basic problem is this: In the hours since a last dose of your regimen, your body is progressively clearing out the medicines. Each of the different drugs in a multi-drug regimen has a different time to clearance (this is usually true even if you take a single pill regimen containing all the medicines in one pill). After your liver filters the other medicines out of your body, the one that's left is now basically trying to fight HIV by itself. (This is called monotherapy. The early days when doctors prescribed just AZT showed us how ineffective any one drug is against HIV).

The virus can then beat up on the one drug left in the bloodstream, mutating against it so that when a person decides to start taking their pills again, the regimen won't work as well, if at all. A few years ago, one large study found that some people who missed their doses or dosing time too often burned through all available medications in just six years. While that's the cost of missing pills, your blog points out that there's a psychological cost of taking them. Undertaking HIV treatment starts a lifelong commitment. You become married to your HIV pills. And until some future day that science makes a huge leap forward, at this time, you can't get a divorce.

There's a big push in the medical literature and at conferences now to get people living with HIV into early treatment (not just earlier than "too late," but earlier than nation's official recommendation). There's also a simultaneous push for guys to take these medicines in advance, to keep them from catching HIV in the first place. If a lifelong commitment to HIV meds is hard to keep even amongst guys fighting against an aggressive virus, how committed will people feel if they’re doing something that’s “optional” or "early"?

There have been tremendous advances in HIV medicines these past six years. But the medicines can't fight HIV unless they are taken. Your blog opens a discussion about why that's not always as simple as it sounds.

Best regards,
Stephen J. Fallon, Ph.D.

Dear Editor,

Bullying has been a top item of the LGBT rights agenda for the last few years. Although issues have progressed and law makers and non-profits are getting involved, this epidemic continues to exist. I believe that we need to get to the source of why bullying exists in order to address the problem. It is assumed by many that bullies are deeply insecure and they project their feelings of insecurity on easy targets.. But what if it is so much more than that? Are we ready as a society to really talk about why our kids are bullying their classmates even though they know right from wrong? I do agree that self-confidence and self-worth is part of the problem. Kids often act out what they have seen at home. I am not saying that we should blame everything on the parents, however; we need to realize that they need to be a part of the conversation. These kids who are bullying should be evaluated by a social worker or any type of mental health counselor. We also need to teach children emotional intelligence. These kids are not learning life skills. We need to teach our kids in school that every child is worthy and important because not every child has a safe place to call home. It is evident that these kids who are bullying are not getting the help they need from home or at school. Also, instead of relying on non-profits and the government to teach sensitivity classes, we should have these lessons everyday. Like any skill, we must practice everyday and learn from one another.

Thank you,
Nicole Rivera

Happy Fifth Anniversary

Congratulations on your up-coming Fifth Anniversary.

A lot has happened in those five years. You've grown in both depth and breath. The depth part is best seen in the various lengthy feature stories examining subjects of importance to our community. The operative word being "examining." Recent examples include detailed stories on PrEP, transgender issues, the crystal meth epidemic in the gay community, and homelessness where the extensive reporting gives needed and helpful insight into areas that simply can't be adequately covered in the normal course of weekly news stories. These stories are the "NPR of print journalism."

The growth in "breath" is seen every week in the kaleidoscope of articles and columns touching on local, national and international news items of interest to our community. These news stories are supplemented by columnists (some better than others, of course) but each brings a perspective that merits consideration.

The "breath" also includes your inserts of the Pride Center's Voice and the welcome new Wilton Manors Gazette which do a terrific job of keeping readers current on what's happening in these two important entities.

Extensive news, commentary, in-depth analysis, cultural coverage, a calendar of happenings, and even the helpfully large (sometimes size is important) classified and advertisements reflect five years of stunning growth, all to your readers advantage. And all on line, updated 24/7, too!

Well done! I look forward to five more--at least.

Sincerely,
Tom Jones


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