Friday, July 2, 2010
Letters to the editor

Topless protest, nude beach not connected

Media reports may have led the public to believe that the top-free protest announced for Duval Street for July 4 is directly related to the clothing-optional beach proposal, because a few of the same individuals are involved in both.

The organization of which I am president, South Florida Free Beaches, is a proponent of a designated clothing-optional beach area in Key West. According to unverified media reports, the top-free protest is supported by the National Organization for Women.

As a practical example of the distinction between the issues, for many years now the city of Miami Beach has allowed women to sunbathe top-free on all public beaches. This may be a 14th Amendment gender equality issue. It's perhaps more a pragmatic decision, because many women tourists from other countries expect this freedom. Since that time, the city has experienced few complaints. SFFB supports this policy, as it was the prime proponent in the early '90s.

However, Miami-Dade County has recognized only one area within Haulover Beach Park as a designated nude sunbathing and skinny-dipping zone. The Key West clothing-optional beach proposal likewise seeks to limit this use to one designated beach section.

It should be noted that the Miami Beach top-free policy was instituted not through public protests, but through discussions with the city. Certainly, the First Amendment guarantees citizens certain rights of protest and petition for redress of grievances. However, since SFFB is not aware of what discussions may or may not have taken place with the city of Key West on the top-free issue -- as distinct from the designated clothing-optional beach proposal -- it has chosen not to become involved with the present top-free protest.

In the end, it is up to the citizens and officials of Key West whether to support a designated clothing-optional beach area, top-free sunbathing for women, neither, or both. Examining without prejudice the experiences in Miami Beach and at Haulover Park should be a key element in that decision.

Richard Mason

Miami Gardens

Beautiful students obviously were spies

The news media is giving a lot of play to the 11 Russian spies just arrested, and special attention to the one single and attractive girl spy. This hits a nerve with me and a personal experience I had with the KGB.

Years ago, I ... decided to return to Europe, where I had spent many years while in the Air Force. I was responsible for the operation of a large correctional system in Jacksonville and decided to take a "busman's holiday" and study the European criminal justice system. I signed up for a summer study tour in 1974 at University of Muenster studying the German criminal justice system, and at the University of Warsaw studying the Polish system. Our group stayed in each university's housing with the local students.

While in Warsaw, we met a visiting group of students from the University of Moscow who were housed in our building. There were 18 girls and four boys, all in their early 20s. The girls were not only good looking, but all 18 were all "10s" or knockout good-looking. We had the occasion on several nights to have prolonged discussions with them (my focus was the girls).

My FSU degree is public administration, so I am very knowledgeable about American government. The entire Russian group spoke perfect English -- with an American, not British accent -- and it quickly became obvious how intelligent they were. I quizzed them on the American government system, and I was amazed how knowledgeable they were. I asked very detailed questions, and as a professor, I would have given them all an A-plus grade.

They really enjoyed this exchange because they looked at it as a learning experience. They spoke flawless English, German and French -- most of us spoke at least German or French. I think they were there studying the Polish language, and who knows what else.

It was a most pleasant experience, and I could see them in their role later, on assignment in the U.S., seeking American secrets, and being very successful in getting the information. Who would say no?

Robert Page