To send in your Letters to the Editor, email them to Jessica Luck at email@example.com. Letters pertaining to local issues receive priority. Letters may be edited for grammar and length.
+ Voice of reason
It is unfortunate that the recent editorial by Observer staff spent column inches denigrating the volunteers of The Citizens Voice rather than furthering the discussion about the merits of proposed changes to the governmental structure of the city of Sarasota.
The Citizens Voice — a political committee that opposes the proposed new city charter — is composed of a remarkable group of people who have given their time over the years to civic involvement on all sides of all issues. Some of our members are, in fact, in favor of an elected mayor — just not the behemoth created by this proposed charter. They understand that it is the charter that creates the mayor’s power and influence and that therefore not all elected mayors are created equal.
When the Constitution was written, the founders labored over the powers granted the newly created office of “president.” It wasn’t enough to say, “We want an elected leader,” or “We need a visionary.” They painstakingly inserted checks and balances into the document. That document gave us a Reagan president rather than a Putin president. Checks on the proposed strong mayor’s powers are sorely lacking in the proposed charter.
Our campaign message has been, and will continue to be: “Read the proposed charter before you decide if you want to sign a petition to put it on the ballot. Educate yourself first.” I would suggest that rather than following the Saul Alinsky method of distorting reality as your editorial suggests, we are trying mightily to avoid the ostrich approach summed up in one politician’s infamous statement, “We have to pass it first so we can find out what is in it.”
There is no distortion in the following facts regarding the proposed charter:
1. The mayor’s appointee to run the city would not be required to have any management or executive experience.
2. The re-districted City Commission would be weakened and divided.
3. The mayor could veto all commission ordinances, resolutions and appropriations.
4. The mayor could unilaterally fire all city department heads.
5. The mayor would operate out of the sunshine.
Your editorial urges people to go online and sign a petition. Since the language at the bottom of the petition is woefully inadequate in its description of the proposed charter, why not urge people to go online and actually read the document they are being asked to support?
For further clarification, I would encourage people to go to nobossmayor.com to read the frequently asked questions. The Citizens Voice has participated in forums and radio interviews and contributed newspaper editorials and articles — all in an attempt to educate and counter misinformation from charter proponents. Those materials are also on our website. It is never too early to be informed.
Eileen Walsh Normile
Chair of The Citizens Voice
+ Restoration is achievable
Certainly you have detailed the deplorable, depleted condition of our Republic and cited numerous factors.
The “Taxi Driver’s lament” is totally justified and as accurate as yours.
The Republic of the United States of America is most definitely seriously damaged, but not “gone.”
The basic foundation, although corrupted, damaged and corroded, remains in place. Restoration is definitely achievable.
People get the government they deserve; not all, of course, but the majority do.
It is a dichotomy, but for all the education in the society, civics and government education is defunct.
Unfortunately, corruption is at all levels of government, i.e. legislative, judicial, executive, state, bureaucracies, etc.
Lying, false statements, disinformation, dishonesty — from the White House to the State House — is the mode of operation in government today.
Academia and politicians are the two major factors of today’s corrupt and dysfunctional government and society.
Until the majority of citizens is to the point of desperation with the current oppressive, dysfunctional government, nothing will change.
Term limits would be a good start.
Victor J. Cameron
+ Stop being selfish
Regarding your editorial last week, “The Republic is gone,” perhaps the anonymous tax drive may be Edward Snowden?
Maybe if everybody would actually stop being so arrogant and selfish the republic would survive.
President George W. Bush’s idea of building a democracy in Iraq was misguided to say the least; they should have done more to save ours.
But then, the neo-conservatives have lousy and dangerous ideas anyway.
+ The disgrace of Benghazi
The Watergate break-in occurred June 17, 1972. President Nixon resigned Aug. 9, 1974. That’s 25 1/2 months.
The attack on the Benghazi Consulate and Annex occurred Sept. 11, 2012. As I write this, it has been just under 19 1/2 months since that attack.
Although the mainstream media appear to be administration lap dogs compared to the tenacious media of the 1970s, I remain hopeful that we will eventually get the truth about the Benghazi cover-up. Time takes time.
The recent release (only due to a lawsuit filed under the Freedom of Information Act!) of Deputy Director of Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes’ email directing Ambassador Susan Rice, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and other Obama administration key staff to portray the Benghazi terrorist attack as being “rooted in an internet video and not a failure of policy” is another chink in the cover-up armor.
The cover-up aside, let me get to the core of the disgrace of Benghazi for those who have never been in combat. When you are in combat, it doesn’t matter if you volunteered, if you were drafted, if you support the policy, if you don’t like the mission, if you changed your mind while you were there. None of that matters.
There is a sacred trust that if you get in trouble, I will come to help you. If I’m in trouble, you’ll come help me. No matter the circumstances! No matter the odds!
That knowledge allows you to place yourself in combat; to carry out your mission. I have seen brave men die for that sacred trust. I personally have been both the helper and the recipient of such help.
Despite all the obfuscation, excuse making and political “spinning,” these facts have been established beyond dispute: No help was sent. That sacred trust was violated (by people who have never seen combat). There was no significant delay in notification. We knew right away. We had live feed in real time at the State Department. The attack lasted eight hours.
President Obama did not go to the Situation Room when notified that the consulate was under attack. No one in the administration went to the Situation Room. Not even for a staged photo-op.
Whatever your ideology, whatever your belief in the political assertions, denials and explanations, please remember those facts.
Those who were sacrificed deserve at least that.
+ How to counter Alinsky
Regarding your opinion column, “Our Republic is Gone” and your reference to the blogger, Taxi Hack and his writing entitled, “The Pig Trap”:
In 1962, when my New York City Army Reserve unit was recalled to active duty for a year during the Berlin crisis, I got to know a guy of Irish heritage who was still fighting the cause of the IRA. Michael was a big, handsome, smart guy whose main vocation was maitre d’ at various New York City restaurants, including the Roosevelt Grill.
He read a lot, especially the weekly Irish Echo, talked and argued a lot, drank a lot and was a very sociable guy. Sounds a lot like whoever wrote “The Pig Trap.” His job as a maitre d’ allowed him the time to live the way he wanted —getting into discussions while working, as well as when off the job.
I’ve got a question for you.
I’ve got quite a few smart and educated Democratic friends who voted for Obama the second time. When I asked why, one reason I got was that they “didn’t believe that Romney would do what he said he would.”
Another friend, when Sarah Palin’s name was mentioned during a group conversation, commented, “Oh, she’s dumb.”
After thinking about it, I came to believe that this thinking was due to the power of the press.
These folks are not Fox News watchers, and consequently have heard only good things about Obama and bad things about Romney and other conservative politicians from the mainstream press.
My question is: What’s the one best thing I could do or say, in discussions with these folks, that wouldn’t turn them off or have them just dismiss any suggestion?
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking that I may try asking them to think about where the country is now and asking them (pleading?) to listen to the first five minutes of Bill O’Reilly for just a couple of nights. I think that’s the best and most important part of his show — his “Talking Points” — when he objectively states his informed opinion.
But, just like my friend’s Sarah Palin comment, whenever you mention Bill O’Reilly to a Democrat, they think he’s a radical and a waste of time. And the reason for this is the mainstream press. They’re following the lead of the Obama administration by ridiculing him and Fox News (along with other conservative politicians).
And to quote, Saul Alinsky, the original community organizer, from his book, “Rules for Radicals” (1971), on page 128, in the chapter entitled ”Tactics”: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”
So asking people to listen to O’Reilly may not work. Do you have any idea how I may be able to get around this — or something totally different, another approach to take?
Thanks for any suggestions.
Tell your friends: “I know we don’t see things the same way, but I’m going to give you a list of books. Pick just one of them. I predict you’ll find any of them incredibly illuminating, if not life changing.”
• “I, Pencil,” Leonard Read (an essay)
• “Anything That’s Peaceful,” Leonard Read
• “Economics in One Lesson,” Henry Hazlitt
• “The Law,” Frederic Bastiat
• “Free to Choose,” Milton Friedman
• “Road to Serfdom,” Friedrich Hayek
• “The Debt Bomb,” Sen. Tom Coburn
• “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand
• “Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal,” Ayn Rand
• “The Virtue of Selfishness,” Ayn Rand
+ Decreasing supply doesn’t decrease demand
Sarasota Police Chief DiPino, celebrating the successful close of the two-year “Operation SRQ Cartel II,” said, “It’s important to recognize it’s supply and demand. If we go after supply, the demand will get thinner and thinner.”
Sad to say, it ain’t necessarily so. My observation is that the opposite is true: A reduction in the amount of drugs available will not and never has aided in reducing the demand. If it did, Prohibition would have been a great success.
Addiction is an emotional and physical disease that does not quit because it is harder to find the drug it needs. Difficult as it may be for some to believe, the need for a drug, including alcohol, is not a spigot that can be turned on and off at will. A reduction in supply but steady demand can drive drug prices up and force the addict to work harder (more crime and prostitution) to get their share of whatever is left in the supply chain.
Anyone having trouble understanding this logic can look back to the housing mania of 2003/04/05 in Sarasota where supply/inventory (homes for sale) was far fewer than the demands of buyers, causing prices to skyrocket and a bidding war to develop. Again, the short supply of homes for sale did not deter the buyer from wanting what was not there.
I have written this letter in hopes that it might bring to attention ways to become better educated on the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and the many silent ways active addiction affects our community and each of us individually.