Dear Mr. Rothaus, I am truly appalled at the firing of Ms. Carol Coombes from her position as Director of the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. It is a particularly heinous act as she may now lose her citizenship, which The Herald takes particular attention in pointing out to all its readers. And to all who my want her considerable talents in the future. To characterize her as "flamboyant" is a ridiculous adjective to use from a Herald Writer such as Mr. Rothaus, who is supposed to report objectively on the Gay, Lesbian,Bi-Sexual and Transgender community in South Florida. I rarely agree with his opinions and choices of coverage, but that is my own bias, and has nothing to do with this editorial.
Ms. Coombes and I are professional acquaintances, and along with Harvey Burstein, who was quoted heavily in the article, I was among the first few supporters of the Festival, giving substantial, at least for me, donations to each of the first two years, and again in the last two festivals. I also served on the marketing committee in the early years of the festival, and as a screener for the 2006 festival.
I believe I speak from experience that she is an extraordinary professional, as is the rest of the staff, including Kareem Tabsch, who stepped down before the Board had a chance to fire him also.
What is wrong with this picture? I do not know the Board Members who made the decision to "rebuild this festival." But I respect and agree with Mr. Burstein that she was "micromanaged."
And we cannot forget the role of South Florida's GLBT Community in not rising to the occasion to match a very genourous matching grant. If all those that attended the Festival had given an extra $5, the Festival would have received a substantial infusion of needed money. Thank you for letting me express my opinion.