Vero Beach, Martin growth, road issues; bridge woes; JFK…

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Vero Beach can learn about traffic from Omaha

Laurence Reisman’s trip through Omaha in his Nov. 5 column was a trip down memory lane for me. I lived there for 38 years and was very involved in community, civic and political activities.

My business was real estate, especially the redevelopment of the older sections of the city Reisman was writing about.

One of those memories of Omaha may be applicable to Vero Beach’s current struggle with the Twin Pairs. From his description of Omaha, he probably was not in South Omaha along 24th Street, a bustling business district with its own unique character served by that four-lane throughfare: 24th Street, connecting far North Omaha to far South Omaha where it terminates at Railroad Avenue.

Our city planners thought it would be a wonderful idea to take that busy four-lane through street at its very south end and reduce it to two lanes with improved sidewalks, landscaping and chevron parking. Its purpose was much like that for reducing the Twin Pairs. A wheelbarrow of money was spent on the project ― not sure of the cost-benefit ratio. Hard to discern.

Lo, these many years later, that road configuration is still intact; however, as written, the benefit is deceptive. From my experience, the constrained road with the chevron parking was and is a traffic congestion nightmare — relieved only by the fact this configuration was located at the south end, or terminus, of the throughfare ― very much unlike what is being proposed in Vero Beach, where the throughfare continues to the Gulf of Mexico.

I would suggest caution in making this very undoable commitment.

Tom Peschio, Vero Beach

Vero Beach must look ahead, not go backward

It was great to read Laurence Reisman’s column Nov. 5 regarding the Twin Pairs in Vero Beach.

It finally gives me hope there is some common sense being used. Can you imagine people trying to parallel park when there’s only two lanes going through? One will most definitely be blocked during that challenge.

I still haven’t gotten past all the money that has been spent on these numerous studies. What a waste. All that money could’ve been used to enhance downtown.

With the huge increase in population (note all the new houses that will be built on 58th Street and those that have been built on State Road 60 and 27th Avenue, just to name a few), why would anyone think it was a good idea to narrow the road? Quite frankly, I do not believe the reports that say this would not be an issue during an evacuation.

Once again, I would rather see dollars be put into an enhancement of the downtown area. Even closing off 14th Avenue to make a pedestrian mall area would be great.

Let’s move ahead with good things for Vero Beach, not go backward.

Cheryl Hambrock, Vero Beach

Praise all ‘commandoes’ who fight against bad development

Columnist Blake Fontenay criticized “keyboard commandoes” who use social media and written communication to object to development projects without taking a proactive role in protecting our environment.

The criticism from someone who makes his living as a keyboard commando was unfair and unjustified.

As an attorney who has worked for decades to encourage smart growth and environmental conservation throughout the Treasure Coast, I tell residents the best way to impact their neighborhoods is to speak out ― loudly and often, in person or by written or verbal communication to their representatives. And, of course, at the ballot box.

The Loxa-Lucie Headwaters Initiative is a praiseworthy project. The Guardians of Martin County, Treasured Lands Foundation and Conservation Fund are to be commended for purchasing environmentally valuable land to restore and preserve.

Other organizations and individuals are proactive in protecting nature and community character, including the Martin County Conservation Alliance, Native Plant Society, Democratic Environmental Caucus and others who rescue native plants from soon-to-be-developed property, conduct educational campaigns and circulate petitions for local initiatives and constitutional amendments.

But don’t belittle the importance of citizens who send an email or letter to local government officers or mark a ballot to send a message to those who cater to developers. For residents who lack the financial or physical resources to be proactive in community development and preservation efforts, communicating with local government is critically important.

Kudos to The Guardians, Treasured Lands Foundation and Conservation Fund for the Loxa-Lucie Headwaters Initiative. And kudos to the Native Plant Society, Martin County Conservation Alliance, Democratic Environmental Caucus and other proactive organizations.

Kudos as well to keyboard commandos who speak out for their community, the environment and good local government ― including Treasure Coast Newspapers reporters, editors and columnists.

Virginia Sherlock, Stuart

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The column referenced specifically called out those who only engage in social media rants, not those who use other methods to bring about change.)

Back to the future with Alma Lee Loy, aka 17th Street Bridge

It seems we are back to the future on the 17th Street Bridge project: stationary equipment and supplies, with no workers in sight.

We all watched with frustration as the original project lingered and lingered with no activity from workers, only to end up with a bankrupt contractor.

Who administers these contracts? What named state employees are charged with ensuring this project proceeds on the contractual pace? Does this contract have penalty provisions if project stage timing benchmarks are not met?

Have we learned nothing from the previous 17th Street and Wabasso bridges contractual and performance fiascos? Shouldn’t there be massive crews working diligently on the “Alma Lee Loy” right now and continually into the immediate future?

Paul Keeler, Indian River Shores

Like it light late? Here’s why standard time makes more sense

I implore our government to make standard time the time for all time.

This “falling back” and “springing forward” every few months offers absolutely no benefit, saves no energy and stresses me every time I have to set the clock forward. I know people who have missed their flights and work meetings, and some even have missed church services on those horrible “spring forward” Sunday mornings.

During standard time, I arise naturally at 4 in the morning. As a parent of two children, those early hours enable me to pray, get some work done and even exercise before school preparations begin. During daylight saving time, I wake up naturally at the same time, yet find myself an hour behind.

Ideally, government policy furthers some economic or social good. Having an “extra hour” of light at the end of the day offers no economic benefit because no one works an hour longer, especially in summer.

Daylight saving time might even cause social harm: Back in 2008, the New England Journal of Medicine reported a significant increase in myocardial infarctions in the first week after “spring forward,” particularly in men. Abolishing DST could save lives.

Please, dearest leaders, give me my hour of natural, healthy productivity in the early mornings. End this un-American, unconstitutional and unwarranted “spring forward” mess once and for all.

Rev. Anil K. Singh, Jensen Beach

Don’t hold breath on Riverside Park boat ramp repair

Regarding the recent article on the damage to the Treasure Coast due to Hurricane Nicole, Vero Beach Public Works Director Matthew Mitts stated his employees are working on the Riverside Park boat ramp.

I got over there as fast as I could to see if they needed help, but nothing has changed and the ramps are still in disrepair.

David Habel, Vero Beach

I’m no Brian Mast fan, but he’s no gun fanatic

Tom Tomlinson recently said in a letter, referencing the recent murder of 18 innocents in Maine: “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.”

On Feb. 23, 2018, in a New York Times op-ed, Mast wrote: “I support the following: Defining what constitutes an assault or tactical firearm and not allowing them for future purchase … we should all be able to agree that the civilian version of the very deadly weapon that the Army issued to me should certainly qualify.”

You can find it online.

In 2020, the NRA gave Mast a grade of “F” and did not endorse him.

In 2022 the NRA gave Mast a grade of “D” and did not endorse him.

Explainer: I have never voted for Mast and very likely will not … ever. There are numerous reasons to vote Mast out of office, but this is not one of them.

Republican, Democrat or other … facts matter … truth matters. Seek them out.

Harvey Glatt, Port St. Lucie

Was there more to Kennedy assassination 60 years ago this month?

We are nearing the 60th anniversary of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, which occurred Nov. 22, 1963.

As most who were living at the time recall, his extremely wealthy father, Joe Kennedy, was reported to have bought him the election. And Jupiter Island reportedly refused Joe’s attempt to purchase property there.

(Remember “No Irish Need Apply?” People did not want a reported rum-running Irishman there.)

Once in office, after naming his younger brother, Bobby, as attorney general (never mind nepotism), the two authorized a change in immigration law.

Who knows if the “born with a silver spoon in their mouths” brothers felt guilty over their wealth or what their reasons were for basically ending European immigration and opening immigration to the third world. They did so in 1963, to be effective the following year.

And after all these years ― although the reports on the assassination were to be publicized — they have not been. Did Lee Harvey Oswald do it alone? Where did Jack Ruby fit in?

And where does the Ku Klux Klan fit in? We know it was formed to resist the Republican Party’s Reconstruction Era policies after the Civil War. The Republicans wanted Blacks to have political and economic equality. Southern Democrats did not — hence, the Jim Crow laws the Democrats passed in the South. We also know the KKK was formed to re-establish white supremacy ― no Jews, no Catholics (hence, burning crosses), no immigrants, etc.

All this information is readily available on Britannica, Wikipedia, etc., if you have not learned it in government schools.

Audrey Taggart, Hobe Sound

Women, children should rise up against warmongering men

As we witness yet another conflict in the Middle East between Israel and its Arab neighbors, it’s difficult to separate the good guys from the bad guys.

Whether you support the Israelis or the Arab nations, the fact remains that it is always the male species that begins these wars. While their needs for control of the vast lands have transpired for centuries with no resolve in sight, the main victims of these conflicts have been the women and children. There seems to be little to no regard for the lives of the innocent while the aggressive males fight their battles in search of more land to rule.

One can certainly understand the Israelis’ need to defend their property after years of being chased from land to land and finally finding their “home” back in their Holy Land. After years of pogroms and annihilation in other areas of the world, the Jews can now look to survival in Israel. And one can certainly understand the different Arab tribes’ needs to feel that they are being respected as neighbors in this ancient land that was parceled out by other nations after World War II.

Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist groups that have no respect for their own tribes, let alone a tribe of a different religion; they have wreaked havoc for years and we can see no relenting of this chaos. One may question what their final objective is with their behavior; both have stated that they would like to be successful in eliminating the Jewish population in Israel. Not a lot of hope for the region with that kind of statement. Perhaps the women and children of the world should rise up and join together in protest for the lack of peace in our world.

Sharon E. Garland, Hobe Sound

Demand removal of Hamas, Netanyahu administrations

Americans are losing our collective minds over the Palestine/Israel conflict. Civilians on both sides are getting killed, losing their homes and sense of safety and the authorities ― Hamas and Benjamin Netanyahu ― are bad actors and both bear responsibility for the war. Neither wants a two-state solution.

Netanyahu was first elected in 1996, taking over from Shimon Peres, one of the architects of the peace accords for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize. Netanyahu has served off and on and almost continually since 2009. His style of government has become increasingly authoritarian and lately he has been trying to dismantle the courts, the only authority over him.

He has made life for Palestinians miserable for some time. The people have basically been under siege.

The Israel police starting investigating Netanyahu in 2016, and in 2019 he was indicted for breach of trust, accepting bribes and fraud. The trial began in 2020 and is ongoing. Netanyahu is losing his grip on power. Massive rallies have happened with the intent of kicking him out.

Hamas won the vote in 2006 and there has been none since. The group has ruled as religious authoritarians. Its members built tunnels under homes with the largest under hospitals for their military command and that informs of their regard for their citizens. And don’t forget how this latest episode started.

I don’t have the space to give a complete history, but it is fraught on both sides. Instead of attacking the citizens of both countries who are hurting terribly, we need to be demanding both ruling parties are removed.

Jo Fuller, Port St. Lucie

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