Palm Bay mayor shirks duty; DeSantis’ cruel message: Letters to the Editor, May 14, 2023

Gun Rights

Women’s rowing matters, too

In February a federal judge directed Florida Tech in a preliminary injunction order to immediately reinstate men’s varsity rowing. If an agreement is not reached during mediation a trial is pending for September 2024. There was evidence Florida Tech violated Title IX federal law when it demoted men’s varsity rowing to club status. However, this leaves women’s varsity rowing, also demoted, in limbo. If Florida Tech does not take action in the next year, the 50 years of success and prestige women’s rowing has brought to Florida Tech will be lost.   

The Florida Tech women’s varsity program was on the path to a medal in the 2023 NCAA Division II Championships. However, the university’s June 28, 2022, surprise decision that demoted women’s varsity rowing to club status devastated the women’s program. Only five women rowed that fall. Rowing in a women’s 4 with coxswain, those five young athletes, four freshmen and one sophomore, continued on and placed third in October at the internationally famous Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston. This spring they won the 2023 Florida State Championship and the 2023 Southern Regional Championships in Tennessee, beating all varsity college-funded teams. 

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Women’s rowing is in the Sunshine State Conference and has brought tremendous prestige and recognition to the university since its inception in the 1970s. I was privileged to be part of the first competitive women’s boat in 1972. The university, under incoming President Dr. John Nicklow, can and must find a way to reinstate women’s rowing while maintaining Title IX compliance. 

Marian Dionne, Rockledge

Mayor shirks his duty to city

Palm Bay Mayor Rob Medina has created a vacuum in the Palm Bay City council until 2024 because, he says, God spoke to him and told him not to attend vital meetings to appoint a replacement for Peter Filiberto. In doing so he shirked his responsibility to those of us on Earth who elected him and depended on him to do his sworn duties as mayor.

I’m not questioning his loyalty to God, but could it be he was concerned that the other three council members would put another Democrat on the council?

It is disturbing that our mayor is hearing voices. It may be time to visit a doctor, which is advice I would give to any friend or relative because that is no laughing matter.

Brenda Callahan, Palm Bay

More: Brevard school board approves new superintendent contract; annual salary set at $250,000

School board dilemma

What if I told you that one of our recently elected school board members had been arrested twice and also had a bankruptcy in their past? Most people would laugh and say no way.

Unfortunately, I’m not joking.

How is it that we have a sitting school board member with a criminal history and bankruptcy overseeing a billion-dollar budget? If he can’t manage his own finances then how is he going to manage the school board budget? And how is it possible that the same school board member who was recently told that he is not able to teach until 2024 in the county which he oversees is still on the school board? Gene Trent, the first-term school board member for District 2, was recently found to not have been truthful on his BPS job application by denying that he had ever been arrested.

During his brief time in office, Trent has been accused of being unethical and untruthful for not disclosing his past criminal history on the BPS application for employment. Was he hoping that nobody would find out?

Mr. Trent has a shadowy past and during his victorious campaign last year, ran according to the playbook which hammered his opponents that he was the most qualified, a fiscal conservative with nothing to hide in his past.

The cracks in Trent’s façade made news in late 2022. We need to properly vet candidates. Brevard Public Schools deserve better.

Susan Hodgers, Viera

Do legislators care about us at all?

Politics, in my view, is masterminded by marauders in power, who persecute marginalized communities over issues that nary affect them. The past few months in Tallahassee have proved no exception. To be frank, the governor, Legislature and state courts have run amok with laws and issues that don’t affect me, but do affect my family and friends directly.

Immigration and budgets come to mind. With hurricane season around the corner, who’s going to repair and build our houses after a direct hit? Just look around Florida, at abandoned local farms and new construction sites. Refugees will go where they are welcome and needed for their work. So housing and food will be scarce due to lack of foresight and respect for refugees.

As for the budget, it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that law firms will gobble up money defending these frivolous laws, past, present and future, bills we Florida taxpayers will pay. From bathrooms to boardrooms and Mickey to menstrual cycles, we the citizens of Florida are being hoodwinked.

Our future deserves better, not just for the few, but for all. Vote in 2024 to defeat the marauders.

Bill Lundell, Indian Harbour Beach

Another day, another mass shooting

On May 6 — or as Republican lawmakers would see it, just another Saturday a mass shooting in Allen, Texas, left eight innocent people dead at the hands of someone with an assault-type rifle. I wonder if they would feel any different if it was a loved one of theirs who was senselessly murdered.

These lawmakers are seemingly callous in their actions because they are deeply indebted to and pandering to the NRA and the crazies who own these weapons so that they can keep their cushy jobs and the power that comes with them. Any obligation to actually doing anything to help and protect their constituents is far down their to-do list. AR-type assault rifles based on the Colt Armalite Rifle (hence AR) are designed to do one thing and one thing only: Kill as many people as quickly and as efficiently as possible. This is not a hunting rifle or used for plinking cans. It’s right there in the name: assault. There is no legitimate use for these weapons in the hands of non-military or non-police personnel. None.

Proponents disingenuously state that it’s a mental health issue. I have a news flash for you: Other countries have the same mental illnesses in their countries but they don’t have regular mass slaughters. Military armaments such as .50 caliber machine guns, M60s, etc., are off-limits to the public, AR-type weapons with the same killing power should be, too.

Ed Dean, Merritt Island

Age doesn’t define a person

People age at different rates depending on genetic makeup, lifestyle, and luck. We can’t change our genes, but we can extend our lives by choosing a healthy lifestyle, and we are lucky if we escape serious accidents and illnesses. So far, Joe Biden seems to have all three factors in his favor.

Some people are concerned about President Biden’s age, since he is running for a second term. We should not think that just because he will be 86 before a second term would end, that is a reason to think he wouldn’t finish his job. Jimmy Carter is 98 years old. Joe Biden would have to live 12 years after completing a second term to reach former President Carter’s current age.

President Biden responds to questions about his age by saying, “Watch me.” We should not only watch him; we should also consider his record as president. He has had an amazing series of successes; the most important, in my opinion, is that he has restored our status as a leader in the foreign theater.

I just celebrated my 90th birthday with a skydive from 18,000 feet. And I love my current (volunteer) job.

Margaret Broussard, West Melbourne

DeSantis’ words ring hollow for many

“Politics is a team sport. You gotta build that bench,” DeSantis said in Wisconsin recently. “… Because of our efforts, for the first time since the Civil War era, there is not a single Democrat elected to statewide office in the Sunshine State.”

Ask a young person or Black American how that sounds to them. DeSantis has already outlawed any school communication regarding the struggle for racial equality that might make whites feel uncomfortable.

I’ve heard his speeches and its cruel message. What is DeSantis’ platform? Woke culture war domination? Fear-mongering of LGBTQ citizens, a women’s right to choose, immigrants, and racial justice education (CRT)? Election Police goon squads? Gerrymandering? Authoritarianism? All of that.  

What has the Florida Legislature done to make his “policy” reality? A six-week ban on abortions, “permitless carry” with no training or background check, stealing public-school funds for private schools or subsidized homeschooling regardless of income, expanding death penalty law (defying the Supreme Court), restricting city and state home rule, ending renter protections and homeowner rights to seek legal redress, union busting, and unreasoned book banning.  

What about public policy with strong support? Government transparency. Common sense gun control. Home insurance affordability. An unbigoted educational system that respects the free exchange of ideas, and honest teaching of history. Freedom of the press. Open political debate.

Nope. Punishing big business, state employees, and citizens who dare speak against dear leader’s direction is his game. Taking away your rights and pushing toward a new civil war.

Jeff Dorman, Satellite Beach

More: Immigration checkpoints: Are there any in Florida?

Most immigrants just seek better life

Gov. DeSantis recently stated, “Nobody has a right to immigrate to this country, no foreigner. We determine, as Americans, what type of immigration system benefits our country.”

Had Native Americans been afforded the opportunity to establish an immigration system to select foreigners allowed into this country, perhaps their lands would not have been appropriated, customs forbidden and their languages all but eradicated, overpowered by interlopers.

Does DeSantis fear a reenactment of foreigners and immigrants potentially overthrowing our government, appropriating lands, disavowing customs, and eradicating languages by invaders?

Are all immigrants to be viewed as criminals, drug dealers, and rapists as our former president asserted? In every society there are bad seeds, but most are good people escaping deplorable dictatorships in search of a better life, willing to work hard to achieve that goal.

Gregory W. Hewitt, Melbourne

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