No-sleep idea for Vero; bad restaurants; Brian Mast, guns; Israel 

Gun Rights

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If restaurants want to stay open, they must avoid these mistakes

For several months now, when we go out to dine, I’m increasingly annoyed by the actions of the establishments and in many instances refuse to go back. There are three things that bother me enough that I will cease eating at a place.

1. A restaurant charges me 4,000% more for a cup of coffee than it costs. For a dining establishment, the cost is about 10 cents, yet some charge almost $4. Restaurant operators obviously think the consumer is stupid, and they are also afraid to raise the cost of the meal for fear we won’t go. They should be honest with the consumer rather than devious.

2. Many have those computers that ask for tips and tell us how much to give. It’s just another way of attempting to humiliate the consumer into paying for what is technically free service, but what’s now used to pay the help.

3. I’m always annoyed when a company starts telling consumers its political positions. I am there to eat, not to have its political position pushed on me, no matter which way it leans.

Hopefully, restaurant operators might read this letter and make some changes because they have lost us. Just look at what happened to Bud Light.

Edward Marasi, Port St. Lucie

No-sleeping option for downtown Vero Beach

I enjoyed Laurence Reisman’s recent column on Vero’s downtown.

It seems that benches are a factor in both enjoyment of the area, and attracting people who sleep on them. 

Perhaps installing single-seat chairs would be an option. They would be comfortable to sit in, but not facilitate sleeping.

Walt Stachnik, Vero Beach

Proposed Martin County development would create traffic nightmare

As a longtime resident and property owner on SW Lost River Road, I write to share the concerns of many of my fellow neighbors, who are opposed to the proposed development of 98 new homes on a little over 12 acres of land.SW Lost River Road to the north of SW Kanner Highway provides the only access to more than 240 homes across three separate communities, as well as to four extended operating hours businesses catering to and attracting traffic from Interstate 95, which include a Marriott hotel, a Cracker Barrel restaurant, a Chevron gas station, and a McDonald’s. The only access road to SW Lost River Road is via a four-way junction with SW Kanner Highway, which is known to be blocked by traffic at peak travel times, resulting in significant delays.The planned 98-home development would potentially increase residential traffic by over 40%, increasing gridlock and potentially causing serious traffic accidents.To date, our concerns have not been adequately addressed by the developer or by Martin County’s Growth Management Department. Therefore, the current application for this project should be denied.Additionally, any application approval should be contingent upon the developer providing an alternate means of vehicular access, which does not rely solely on SW Lost River Road or the current four-way junction at SW Lost River Road for the aforementioned safety concerns.On behalf of my fellow residents, we respectfully urge Martin County’s commissioners to reject staff recommendations to approve this project. We also urge our fellow residents to turn out in large numbers at the upcoming hearing at 9 a.m. Nov. 7 at the Martin County Commission Chambers to make your voices heard.

The safety and quality of life of our community are at stake!John Kazanjian, Stuart

Ever wonder why we have a dysfunctional political system?

This newspaper recently published the article “Teacher killed in attack in France,” which reported on an Islamic radical of Chechen origin who slit a teacher’s throat on Oct. 13.  An on-scene officer said: “It was a horrible thing to see this poor man who was killed on the job by a lunatic.” 

Chechen terrorists, like Hamas militants, have a shameful history of attacking schools and killing children and staff. Sadly, this is nothing new. (But it does stoke my anxiety about those American groups that have made political capital out of verbally assaulting educators as part of their “anti-woke” campaigns.)  

However, I want to focus on the word “lunatic,” defined as “a mentally ill person (not in a technical sense)” (i.e., an individual who behaves as though he has a psychological disorder).  Call it temporary insanity. 

Many of those Americans who attacked the U.S. Capitol Building Jan. 6, 2021, were undoubtedly lunatics — men and women driven to a state of temporary insanity by a disgruntled president who knew he’d lost the election fairly but spread the “Big Lie” that it was stolen from him, a lie proven false in court 62 times.  But many individuals cling mindlessly to their desperate fantasies.

Then we have the lunatics who comprise white supremacist groups — men and women driven insane (temporarily?) by their unconstrained hatred of people of color, homosexuals, Jews, Muslims and members of other religious minorities not affiliated with white Christian nationalists (who belong to their own class of the lunatic fringe). They stockpile weapons, prep for war, meet in secret and spread their sinister propaganda on the dark web. And they call themselves “patriots,” an example of ironic lunacy.

We have dysfunctional politics because too many Americans support radical politicians and their media provocateurs. 

Cray Little, Vero Beach

Want to keep carnage off Treasure Coast? Replace Brian Mast

We all heard about the nut in Maine who killed 18 people with an assault-style weapon.

We ask ourselves what can we do to help in keeping this from happening on the Treasure Coast. We can replace our U.S. representative, Brian Mast, who is in bed with the National Rifle Association and seems to think it should stay legal to own a military assault-style weapon.

Tom Tomlinson, Palm City

House Speaker Mike Johnson invokes Lord’s name, so …

The Bible, according to newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson:

“The Bible is very clear that God is the one that raises up those in authority,” he said after accepting the speaker’s gavel. “And I believe that God has ordained and allowed each one of us to be brought here for this specific time.”

Oh, heavens. Bless your heart, Mr. Speaker, but it’s blasphemy to blame the Almighty for the recent chaotic behavior of House Republicans and the insanity that has gripped the MAGA extremists in the chamber.

Republicans elected Johnson after three agonizing weeks of tribal warfare. Unlike his mentor, Jim Jordan, who failed miserably in his own bid for the speakership, Johnson has the charm and demeanor of a reasonable man. To the contrary, he is in fact a rabid ideologue whose positions are at odds with the majority of Americans.

Mr. Speaker is an evangelical firebrand who would use his pulpit to ban abortion and same-sex marriage nationwide.

The carnage in Maine on the night of his election won’t alter his devout belief in the sanctity of assault weapons.

He opposes aid to Ukraine, and so supports the malevolent Vladimir Putin, who by Johnson’s biblical interpretation also was “raised up” by God to his position of authority.

Mr. Speaker is more than an election denier. He’s a conspiracy theorist who blessed the Big Lie that led to insurrection and death and destruction at the Capitol.

He used his legislative powers to recruit House Republicans to sign a bogus legal brief supporting a bogus lawsuit that sought to overturn the 2020 election results. He also crafted the former president’s attempt to block certification of the election.

God may have inspired the nation’s founders, but Johnson’s selection and all else that happens in Congress today is truly profane.

Richard Leonard, Vero Beach

Fruits, vegetables: Eating healthy not always possible

Anna Santacroce is correct in that eating healthy keeps you healthier. However, the one point that is missing is the cost of doing so.

Many Americans are currently struggling to keep afloat. Prices everywhere are up, especially at grocery stores.

So, when your budget is limited, as with lower-income people and those who rely on programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, do you buy fresh or canned fruits and vegetables?

Most will tell you they rely on canned goods to stretch their food dollars. Canned goods are cheaper than fresh. The majority of canned fruits and vegetables are processed with additives, including sugar and salt.

Canned goods don’t require refrigeration and don’t “spoil” in a few days if not eaten. Check out your local food banks/Meals on Wheels programs: Do they provide fresh? Not many do.

Purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables as Ms. Santacroce mentions is the best choice, but at what price? Check out the price of fresh fruit vs. the price of a can of fruit cocktail. This is the fallacy of telling people to eat healthy.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are out of the equation for the most part, for those who have limited funds. It boils down to quantity vs quality. In the end, quantity usually wins.

We always seem to have money to assist foreign countries, but why don’t we spend these funds taking care of our own?

It way past time to end hunger in America.

Jan Belwood, Palm City

Remember Samuel Johnson when you look at today’s politics

When on April 7, 1775, noted English writer, poet, playwright, essayist and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, who published one of the most influential dictionaries in history, wrote “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” he certainly wasn’t criticizing either true patriots or patriotism.  

Instead, Johnson was surely referring to the likes of Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, as well as groups like Moms for Liberty and the Freedom Caucus. These groups and self-absorbed, narcissistic, power-hungry individuals use self-anointed titles such as “patriot” and “true American” for churlish political theater, to spew incendiary rhetoric and to divide us into counterproductive and divisive tribal camps, all the while attempting to gain dictatorial power over us as Americans and to sell us on their indeed warped, hate-filled, divisive, bigoted, racist, isolationist, homophobic and truly loathsome agenda that is anything but patriotic in the true sense of the word as it relates to Americans who love their country and want all Americans to be free and succeed.

Pay close attention to those who attempt to cloak themselves in self-anointed titles such as “patriot“ and the like. You will find that they may be far from true patriots, and that they offer us neither liberty nor freedom. Indeed, they may be scoundrels.

Tom Going, Vero Beach

Protesting gangs show we have a Fifth Column in our midst

After watching gangs of anti-Semites and pro-Palestinians rampage and destroy property without consequence, it occurred to me we have a Fifth Column in our midst.

Google the definition of a Fifth Column. It fits perfectly.  

Jim Grant, Jensen Beach

Trying to understand what happened in Israel Oct. 7

Jewish people who subscribe to Jewish culture and heritage but do not believe in a supreme being cannot understand why some people hate them for being Jewish.

Most of these secular Jews are kind, decent and considerate of others. That’s the heritage they cherish. On a spiritual level, however, most devout Jews and Christians believe Jews have a special everlasting covenant relationship with God Almighty.

The Old and New testaments repeatedly state this. In Isaiah, it says the mountains and hills might depart, but God’s covenant with Israel will not.

If you are Satan and you want to prove that God is not omnipotent, a quick solution would be to do away with all Jews. During the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler actually diverted trains needed for his troops so they could be used to send Jews to the death camps. That made no sense from a rational point of view. But Hitler was not rational. The evil spiritual world that Hitler chose to align himself with for his own aggrandizement sought the eradication of all Jews.

The Oct. 7 atrocities by mostly young Hamas men on Jewish women, men and children I believe is only understandable from the viewpoint of a spiritual attack.

There are Christians, however, who rationalize this horrendous attack by contending Israel displaced the Palestinians and the atrocities, though not justified, are understandable. These same Christians, in my opinion, don’t believe there is a Satan. The only evil in the world is their own original sin.

If you consider yourself a Christian, as I do, ask yourself when was the last time your preacher even mentioned that Satan exists. That is preaching, but not teaching.

Stanford Erickson, author of “How to Be Wiser Than King Solomon,” lives in Vero Beach.

Ever come across the true definition of a bad egg?      

Have you ever referred to anyone as a bad egg?

I suppose not. However, I just remember from some past experience a reference that so-and-so was a bad egg … so please indulge me while I expand on this for a moment.

I suppose I am like the majority of Americans who find the diatribe and hate-filled rhetoric of Donald Trump, who traffics in anti-Democrat tropes, to be stunningly anti-American by definition.

Pure and simple, he is bent on removing the Constitution. It does not suit his needs. In short, he wishes to become a dictator or a strong man, if you prefer. 

By fabricating falsehoods such as the election was stolen, he plays to the fears of those who feel democracy is not working for them anymore and that in his words: “You have to fight like hell or you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

How do we approach or deal with someone who aspires to tear down our republic … someone who has already made inroads by corrupting the majority of the Republican legislators in the House?

We do so by taking seriously the definition used by his niece, who describes him as the most dangerous man on Earth.

In short, he should be made to follow the law, the same as any other citizen. He should be held accountable for his actions, the same as any other citizen.

The expression that someone is a bad egg originated in the novel “Captain Priest,” written in 1855 by Samuel A. Hammett and was used to describe someone who was bad, unreliable and dishonest.

Fast forward to present:

The ex-president has exhibited corruption in his business and personal dealings and is attempting to remove democratic processes. There is little doubt Trump is the quintessential bad egg.

Roy Bickford, Vero Beach

Why would anyone want to have an AR-15 or AK-47?

There are so many reasons to vote out Trumpian Republicans, one being the lack of courage to vote for gun-control legislation.

Cut out the “it’s a mental health problem” garbage: If there were no AR-15s or AK-47s available, what would these “mental health” killers use to murder as many people as possible in such a short time?

We are approaching a count of two mass shootings a day, possibly more by the end of the year. What reason do buyers of these weapons give themselves for buying an assault rifle? Do they hunt animals, not people, with them? The result of that would be a dead animal not even fit to “dress.”

And for people killed with one, it often requires relatives to provide DNA to identify them (think of the Uvalde children).

Do assault-weapon owners believe they are protecting their homes from the dozens of people they expect to invade them? Or could it be that an assault rifle increases testosterone?

For God’s sake — and I mean it literally — stop the insanity of making assault weapons so available.

Anne Brakman, Vero Beach

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