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Saturday, October 31, 2015


The Miami Herald printed my letter to the editor today,
                          ANOTHER SARNOFF?
Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff’s Oct. 29 letter, "Leaving city of Miami dais proudly", rambles on about the great things he’s done for the city and complains about his critics.
In truth, Sarnoff has done some positive things but many disagreeable ones as well.
The gap between his thoughts and the public has grown wide.
While I first supported him I soon found him to be remote, self-righteous, and unwilling to share his intentions with the citizenry.
We need someone to replace Sarnoff who will be open and straight with us.
The Grove needs additional parking, yet the Mary Street parking garage was recently sold to a developer.
He didn’t like our much-loved symbol of the old Grove, Scotty’s Landing Restaurant, so he handed it over to a developer friend.
City garages, parks and property are being given out to big-money interests like there’s a garage sale going on.
Sarnoff is term-limited and his current project is to get his wife, Teresa, elected to replace him.
In campaigning for her he tells us she is the most qualified candidate, but does he really believe this?
I would love to hear him say, I love this job and hate to leave it.
Your vote for my wife will allow me to extend my term another four years.
Glenn Terry, Coconut Grove

The letter above was the edited version of my original letter (below)

Dear Editor,
     Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff writes like a robot with a few wires missing. In his October 29 Miami

Herald letter he rambles on about the great things he's done for the city, complains about his critics and ends with Francis Bacon's cryptic line, "Truth will be the daughter of time".
      In truth, Mr. Sarnoff has done some good things for Miami but many disagreeable ones as well.  The gap between his thoughts and the public has grown wide.  While I first supported him years ago I soon found him to be remote, self-righteous, and unwilling to share his intentions with the citizenry.
    We need someone to replace Sarnoff that will be open and straight with the people he represents. We are tired of being deceived.
    The Grove needs additional parking yet the Mary Street parking garage was recently sold to a developer. The voters had no idea he was having a "garage sale". We still can't figure it out.
     Sarnoff didn't like our much-loved symbol of the old Grove, Scotty's Landing restaurant, so he handed it over to developer friends. City parks and property are being given out to big-money interests like there's a garage sale going on at City Hall.
      Commissioner Sarnoff showed up at a public meeting last month to discuss commuters speeding dangerously through the South Grove. He chose to lecture us on how we -the people attending the meeting- were causing the problem because "we talk on cell phones while driving".  He added incongruously, "I'm guilty too. I texted while driving here tonight".  Sarnoff can be so out-of-touch with his constituents.
      Mr. Sarnoff is term-limited, forced to give up his office. His current project is to get his wife, Teresa Sarnoff, elected to replace him. In campaigning for her he tells us she is most qualified candidate to lead District Two but does he really believe this?  I would love to hear him say, "I love this job and hate to leave it. Your vote for  my wife will allow me to extend my term another four years." 
     Sadly, he is unable to say anything like that.  If truth is the daughter of time, its son is deception.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015


    Someone asked me recently, "Can you think of any reason why anyone would vote for Teresa Sarnoff to be our next city commissioner?".  I pondered this question long and hard until I came up with,

                 THERESA SARNOFF

10. Likes dogs

9. High school graduate

8. A "Sarnoff" but not by blood

7. Once operated heavy equipment in her family's construction business

6. Untainted by a record of relevant experience

5. Last name is evocative of an intoxicating beverage

4. Champion  of unaffordable housing

3. Can make a cake from scratch

2. Already has developers' home numbers on speed dial

1. Best candidate money can buy


Sunday, October 25, 2015


       On Tuesday morning Scott Peterson will shimmy up my school's flagpole in West Kendall. It's not on a dare, the 56 year-old does this everyday. He is a fourth generation flagpole repairman.

       I'd seen him hanging around my school's office, a PTA volunteer selling school uniforms and such. Dozens of mothers do this but a dad is unusual.  When I introduced myself he told me he was not just a volunteer but the group's president.  "Wow", I said adding, "How do you find the time to help so much?"  He told me quietly, "I have my own business, I am a flagpole specialist".

      I have dozens of questions for people like Scott.  I learned that the Peterson family, "Peterson & Son", has been in business for 89 years.  His wife, Arelys, (also a school volunteer) takes the calls and he climbs the poles.  With over 400 Miami-Dade schools as clients alone, he stays busy.
      Most poles have problems with the pulleys at the top.  If it breaks or the rope gets a kink, your flag isn't going anywhere. In bad neighborhoods vandals steal the rope.  There's only one way to get the new one back on top.
       Fifty years a school principal might send a kid like me, rope in teeth, climbing to the top.  Heck, we used to do that in Boy Scouts as a part of a fitness test.  It was exhilarating up there plus you had the thrill of sliding down.

     That isn't allowed anymore.  School rules and lawyers looking for business stopped that. Scott is the only licensed contractor in the county that maintains flag poles.  
   Want one of your own?  He can install them too.  His clients are schools, government buildings, and residents who prefer to fly Old Glory properly.

      I asked him why he doesn't use a hydraulic "cherry-picker" to hoist himself up. Peterson pointed out that they're expensive and not always easy to maintain adding, "Taking my time I can climb a 30-footer in five minutes.  I have cherry-picker competition but those people take twice as long to show up and charge twice as much".  
      "Can you do this forever?", I asked.  He told me his dad  climbed flagstaffs until he was 82.  "He only stopped because I made him", Scott added.
       Our school's pole is having pulley problems. If Tuesday's weather is good my students will be cheering as Mr. Peterson heads up.  Who knows, it may inspire one of us to take up a new profession. 


Wednesday, October 21, 2015


      The Miami Herald doesn't always get it right.  I sat down with their editorial board forty years ago. I was one of the candidates they were interviewing for county judge.
    At the time the Herald had a huge circulation and their recommendations could help a candidate considerably. That's not the case now but having their endorsement can still be helpful. Yesterday  the newspaper recommended Ken Russell for District Two commissioner in the November 3rd election. 

      That's unfortunate, he's not the best candidate. The Herald seems to like him because he is a "businessman" (so is Rick Scott) and he says he is pro-development.  The editorial board acknowledges that his background includes business failures and a lack of civic engagement (Ken has never voted in a local election) but that didn't seem to faze them.  

       The most qualified candidate is Grace Solares.  Grace has been a committed community advocate for nearly 20 years. I have seen her in action, working on her own dime and time fighting to protect taxpayers and preserve a better quality of life for Miami residents. She didn’t get asked to do this; she stepped up to the plate because she believes in Miami.
        This election gives all of us an opportunity to stand with her.  Unlike Russell, Grace Solares has worked tirelessly for years to help us. This is why I'll be voting for her. 

PS:  Forty years ago when I was running for judge, the Herald recommended someone else and that person won the election.  A year later he quit so he could open his own Burger King.


Monday, October 19, 2015


    We are having an important city election in two weeks.  Voters will choose Coconut Grove's (and District Two's) city commissioner.  Of the nine candidates, Grace Solares is the best person to represent us in City Hall.

   Francesca and I got to know her when the three of us served on the committee to fight for Scotty's Landing two years ago.  We learned that Grace's involvement in our community goes back nearly 20 years. The North Grove resident is the President of  Miami-Roads Neighborhood Association, Vice-President of Miami Neighborhoods United, and the President of the Urban Environment League.  She's served on many city and county committees.  None of the other candidates have anything close to her experience.

   We invited her to our house to meet the neighbors.  They left impressed by her background (UM grad, Phi Beta Kappa), her zeal (not afraid to take on big issues) and extensive background in law and community affairs.
   Francesca and I know most of the other candidates.  Ken Russell and Javier Gonzalez are good people as well.  When they get more experience in the civic arena they will be better qualified. There is nothing in Teresa Sarnoff's background that would make her a good commissioner.  There will probably be a run off and we hope she is not in it.
    Both of us have spent time campaigning with Grace. She is smart, savvy, and she has a big heart.  We hope you'll be giving her your vote on November 3d.

In South Coconut Grove,
Glenn Terry & Francesca Violich

Saturday, October 17, 2015


      A thousand of us marched in downtown Miami three days ago to protest sea level rise but you'd never know it if you read the Miami Herald. 
When I picked up my paper the next morning there was nothing there  (yes, I later heard there was a blurb in the digital edition but its not the same).  Our local paper no longer has the resources to cover every important story. It's not their fault.

     Like other newspapers, Miami's main source of reliable information continues to downsize.   Veteran Florida journalist, Diane McFarlin, points out,

“The math says it all: Most newsrooms are half the size they were 10 years ago. As a result, elected officials and bureaucrats are operating in the shadows to a greater extent than ever before … The scariest part of this is that citizens don’t know what they don’t know.”

   People marching in the streets are one thing but if newspapers die, how will anyone keep an eye on those intent on making our lives more difficult?  Who will dig in and report the truth?

    Maybe no one. Maybe we'll have 1984 in 2024.  The digital revolution has left an ominous gap and it's getting wider as newspapers become smaller.  Who would have thought that more information would give us less?

    I love the Miami Herald and so did my parents.  I have been reading it for sixty years.  Ten years ago they asked me to be a bi-weekly columnist for their Neighbors section.  It was a thrill and an honor to be a small part of the Herald team. They were reducing their staff then and five years later I got a phone call. My editor told me, as nicely as she could, that I was no longer needed. Hundreds of full-time Miami Herald writers, much more talented than me, got these calls. I'm sure every one was heart breaking.

     We'd like to blame the paper or the corporation that owns it but the fault really lies with us.  If we're not buying (and reading) newspapers, their owners must cut costs. They reduce staff, the size of the paper, and try new formats to boost circulation.
   The Herald's latest one, introduced last month, is a doozie.  If you still read it you know it has a very different look, more tabloid-like with huge photographs and       large       white       spaces.  

            Writers look uncomfortable in 3/4 photographs posing with their columns.   

Heck, New Times is easier on the eyes.  Too bad their content stinks.

    I use to grab the local section first but no longer; it is mixed in with national, business, entertainment, and international news.  It feels like the waiter is bringing me my appetizer, entree, and dessert all at once. 

     But again, I love our local paper and know what's left of the talented staff is cloistered -at their new, reduced-sized  headquarters- doing the best they can. No doubt their jobs have lousy hours, low-pay and are increasingly difficult. 

    My hat's off to them. I'll continue to subscribe to their diminishing attempt to spread the word as long as they can deliver. We will always need to hear "the truth" from people with the skills to find it.
    I appreciate their efforts as I want "to know what I don't know". We need to support professional journalists and newspapers like the Miami Herald. They are our best link to reliable information.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


    A thousand of us marched up Biscayne Boulevard  yesterday trying to keep Miami from sinking into the ocean. 


Sea level rise may soon do that.  

We were one of a dozen climate change rallies across the country.  We marched from County Hall to Biscayne Bay and up the boulevard.

We were encouraging people, especially our leaders, to take take global warming more seriously.

      It felt good to be marching in the street  for this important cause.


After the rally ended we started walking back to our car. The historic Olympia theater was lit up.
People were seated the opulent lobby listening to free, live music.

     More than a hundred jazz fans were enjoying the sounds, each other, and libations.  It happens every Wednesday at 6:30.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015


        Every voter in Miami's District 2 can now get  free stuff from Teresa's Sarnoff's well-funded campaign for city commissioner.
A young Teresa fan came to my door last week despite my roadside signs pushing her rival, Grace Solares.

    He seemed harmless enough, a college student with a dozen dog leashes draped around his neck. One hand held "Teresa, Savior of Our Community" postcards and the other, "Vote Teresa!" shopping bags (with lots of Teresa stuff inside).  Seeing my dog he started with, "Could you use a new dog leash?"  It had something silly on it like "Let Teresa Lead the Way".

   I told him, "Thanks", I had too many leashes already.  I went on to say what I really wanted was a decent person to replace Teresa's husband, Commissioner Marc Sarnoff. The street walker told me he was supporting Teresa because Marc and his dad were friends and that Sarnoff had done many good things for Miami.  When I asked him to name one he pointed out that Mr. Sarnoff was replacing Scotty's Landing with a glitzy, new steakhouse.
   I told him, "That's a bad thing. Coconut Grove loves Scotty's".  
   When he told me Scotty's bathrooms were dirty I replied, "So what? We go there for the cold beer, to see our friends and the best bay view in Miami. The Sarnoffs are taking that away from us."
   He told me Marc Sarnoff's wife -the actual candidate-had done good things too like helping the homeless. He had no answer when I asked him why she only started helping them after she had decided to run.
   I pointed out that my choice, Grace Solares, had been helping our community for over twenty years -and- she fought to save Scotty's. 
    I told him that even though he was working for the least qualified candidate, I appreciated his getting involved in politics. Lord knows most of his brethren don't even bother to vote.
    As the UM student was leaving he asked once more if I wanted any of the free stuff he was offering.  He had no pencils so I opted for the wine stopper.  

Okay, truth be told, I accepted one of his smiling Teresa postcards which my friend, Carlos, quickly turned into a wine accessory. We may need a lot of inebriating beverages before this election is over.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

30 Feet on the Ocean, $40

    We're so spoiled. We don't go camping in the Florida Keys unless we can have our own private beach. Yesterday we  got lucky finding a camping spot at Long Key State Park.  Every site is on the ocean. 

There was plenty of time to admire clouds.

  We were glad we brought dinner.  The fish weren't biting

We later built a fire and began staring out at the great, dark Atlantic.  As the new moon hid, we imagined the faintest of glows on the horizon. Could it be Havana?  Above us the Milky Way was strewn across the sky like a handful glitter.  Eight hours later,

    the sun made its usual entrance

and I enjoyed a dip in the pool

surrounded by clouds, cool water and and sun-drenched air.  Every morning should begin like this.

Friday, October 9, 2015


EVERY NOW AND THEN Coconut Grove rocks.
     It will on Sunday night when one of our favorite bands, Iko-Iko. takes the stage at the Barnacle.  Gates open at 5:30 and ten bucks gets you in.  Bring a blanket and picnic dinner to fun-lovin' annual affair.  The blues begins at 6:30. We look forward to seeing you there.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015


     I was face-to-face with a three-hundred pound gorilla last week with just a window separating us. Description Eyes of gorilla.jpg  I've been having many amazing moments lately because someone keeps giving us free tickets to cool stuff.

    It's my librarian.  Go to the check-out counter of any public library in Miami-Dade County.  Ask, "What passes do you have?".
     The librarian will show you a list of a dozen or so local attractions.  If you show her a library card she will give you a ticket for four, good for a week.
The zoo deal alone saved us $72.

"Family of four" usually means four adults. At some places they interpret it to be two adults and two kids.  
We have used library passes for admission to the zoo, the Perez and Lowe art museums, and the Fruit and Spice Park lately.  If you want to try this call your local library first.  They can only give one 4-person pass to one attraction per week.  If they don't have what you want, call another one or ask, "When will the (zoo) pass be available again?". 

     There are three libraries within two miles of our house.  We usually use Coconut Grove's. Having less traffic than others, it always had a few of them available.
    It's a great opportunity and who knows? While you're there you just might want to check out a book.  They're free too.

Window in the Lowe's glass collection