+ Facts on proposed charter
As the principal drafter of the proposed new charter for the city of Sarasota, I want to reply to the May 15 letter from Eileen Normile.
Ms. Normile starts out praising the checks and balances in the U.S. Constitution and complains that the proposed charter goes much further in giving powers to the elected mayor. This is simply not true.
The whole point of the new charter is to create a government based on checks and balances (and separation of powers). It provides for an elected executive and an elected legislative body similar to those found in the federal and state constitutions rather than the current charter that grants all power to an elected commission and an appointed city manager.
Ms. Normile makes five specific criticisms of the proposed charter, ranging from giving the mayor veto power over acts of the City Commission to weakening the commission. These changes are, in fact, an effort to establish a government based on checks and balances, not weaken them.
She also complains that the mayor is not subject to the state’s Sunshine law. True, because that law by its terms applies only to the members of the same deliberative body, not to a separate elected official. For that reason it does not apply to a meeting between a commissioner and the city manager.
She also complains that the mayor could fire city department heads. True, but again that is the same power the U.S. president and state governors have.
The title of the website operated by Ms. Normile’s group, “nobossmayor.com,” is indicative of the distorted view of the proposed charter expressed in her letter. The proposed charter does not create a boss mayor, just a mayor with traditional executive powers common at all levels of government — federal, state and local.
One thing on which I do agree with Ms. Normile — read the proposed charter. It is found on the website itstimesarasota.com. Readers will find a charter that is only half as long as the current charter and written in plain English rather than the legalese in the current charter.
Robert J. Martineau
Distinguished research professor of law emeritus
University of Cincinnati
+ Plaudits for ‘the moment’
In an age when nearly every person one meets seems more critical than ever, it is my sincerest wish that you receive nothing but plaudits for the tenor and content of “Remember the Fallen.”
I suppose that’s to be expected because my only son, Sean, served four years with the Marines, including a stint in Iraq, from which he returned in 2005.
Above and beyond my personal rationale for identifying with your perspective is the wealth of information and richness of “the moment” with which you regaled us.
May God bless Missouri’s Henry Wright, those who mourned with him and you for your efforts. Add to that my heartfelt, “God bless America.”
May that good Lord safeguard the integrity of this country now, and always.
Michael J. O’Loughlin
+ Honor their memory
It is with great pleasure that I read your insightful editorial in the May 22 issue of the Sarasota Observer.
I spent the war years in England and observed the buildup of the armed forces under General Eisenhower during the war against Nazism. We were elated on June 6 when allied forces landed in Normandy and fought the good fight against the Germans in the beginning of the onslaught.
Your editorial put the retaking of Europe in its starkest light: the forces of good against evil. The very thought of a reversal in this fight was something we in England did not and could not even entertain nor tolerate. The whole of our future was at stake, and we could not even imagine what it would have been like to have the Germans win this fight.
Yes, we won the battles to come and prevailed, but at a great cost. Churchill lost his re-election in Britain, and a Labor government was installed. It seemed like the defeat of German socialism was transplanted by a new English socialism. Is that what we fought for?
We thought we were thrown out of the pot into the fire of socialism!
Thank you for your insightful view of the D-Day invasion and the facts surrounding events that followed. I pray that our country will forever appreciate the many sacrifices our soldiers made in the fight in Europe. I hope we as a nation will never forget this and that we will honor their memory till the end of time.
+ Politicians instigate wars
Your recent May 22 editorial commemorating Memorial Day was exceptionally well done.
I have also seen the front page of Parade showing the graves of two young men at the Arlington National Cemetery. One young man was 27 at the time of his death, the other 29, both Naval Academy graduates. Tragic, indeed. An absolute shame.
Viewing those headstones, prompted me to consider the frequent mantra heard and read everywhere: “They died for our freedom.”
What “freedom for Americans” did they actually die for? The American Revolution, The War of 1812 and World War II were about freedom per se, but what about the other wars and armed conflicts that have killed many thousands of American young men and women?
The Civil War was instigated by politicians and political activists (abolitionists). Mexican American War — politicians and special interest groups, again. World War I — politicians involving the U.S in a European quagmire of multiple government conflicts and issues. Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan — all politician instigated, based on a dysfunctional, defective foreign policy.
The common denominator: politicians.
Vic Cameron, USMC