School board should drop ‘parental rights’ pretense: Letters to the Editor, Sept. 17, 2023

Shame on the ‘Poll Tax 3’

First and foremost, thank you to Brevard County Commissioners Goodson and Peltner for supporting free and fair elections and ensuring that voters are informed about their ballots. So many people in our county do not have access to computers, do not take the newspaper and have no easy access to election information. Commissioners Tobias, Pritchett and Steele don’t care if voters have to struggle to get election information after years of having supervisors making it easily accessible. They are hoping their constituents miss a few elections by withholding this time honored and effective tool.

Furthermore, thanks to Supervisor Bobanic for insisting on providing postage for mail-in ballots, stating that no voter should have to pay to cast a vote. That actually used to be the norm in this country called a poll tax. Its purpose was to discourage poor and minority voters from voting for representation. It also is illegal. Seems like old times.

More:Brevard County Commission’s 3-2 vote ends funding for mailing of sample ballots to voters

It’s hard to see what advantage Poll Taxers Tobias, Pritchett and Steele gain from this. Don’t be fooled by them blaming this on budgetary concerns. If that is truly the case, then Tobia would have found other, perhaps more appropriate line items to defund. This sounds more and more like an attempt to further shrink voter participation, especially in the primaries, thus strengthening their “bases.”

Shame, shame, shame on the Poll Tax Three. 

Karen Andreas, Merritt Island, Brevard County Commissioner, District 2, 1990-1994

Whamond on 'Biden Crime Famly'

School board’s ‘parental rights’ pretense

I watched the recent Brevard school board meeting on YouTube. When it came time for the report on sports, the director’s words were, “It’s all about the numbers,” i.e., team scores.

A more prolonged discussion ensued on the absurd subject of how to read censored book excerpts without reaching the ears of random 4-year-olds watching the channel. It wasn’t until Jennifer Jenkins responded to the impassioned comments of the public that the festering wound of sexual hazing was acknowledged. I thank her for that, and for FLORIDA TODAY’s reportage.

More:Brevard school board mulls no longer broadcasting public comment in light of HB 1069

I suggest that reducing sports to win or lose is without educational value, as is proven by the frat boy culture that thrives in that department. And the same mentality that hides that painful reality pervades our school board, whose inflated sense of self-importance prevents them from assigning book choice to a qualified committee of educational experts.

Board members, it’s time to stop pretending that you are representing “parental rights” when you are denying their children a true education.

Bonnie Ida, Melbourne

Superintendent Mark Rendell, foreground, is pictured at the Aug. 22 Brevard school board meeting in Viera.

What about student welfare?

So the Brevard school board has sent a loud, clear message to students and the community. Bullying, harassment, and even sexual assult are all OK, if done in pursuit of a successful, exciting football season.

I hope the parents of the student/victims will promptly sue the board. They should demand, as a minimum, termination of all coaches, and the athletic director, from coaching and teaching jobs with the district. The standard is simple: They either knew, or should have known what was going on, and stopped it. Their failure to do so is inexcusable. If they truly did not know, than they were not doing the job they were hired for. This is not the NFL; they should be concerned with student welfare more than a won/loss record.

When I played Little League baseball (granted, in the 1960s), an intoxicated mom entered the dugout, berating the umpires for our loss. The coach immediately ordered her out, then physically shoved her out, stating, “You can’t use that language in front of these kids.” Where do we go to find coaches like that for our kids today?

Craig Graham, Melbourne

Academic freedom in jeopardy

The University of Florida has been riding high recently. It has been named the fifth-best public university by U.S. News and the No. 1 public university by the Wall Street Journal just last week. Those achievements were not accomplished overnight but through a multiyear effort to compete and excel academically. 

Now comes a new university president, of questionable qualifications, appointed by the university’s highly politicized board of directors and a like-minded search committee with some bad ideas on how to “improve” the education system of the state’s flagship university.

Academic freedom, it seems, is on shaky ground in the state of Florida. Gov. DeSantis and his henchmen are now making it more difficult for faculty to achieve tenure and further empowering the new president to have the final say on any faculty grievances.  

These changes and others will serve one purpose discouraging distinguished scholars from outside the state from wanting to come to work for the state of Florida. Over time we will see our rankings and the accompanying prestige diminish if the board of governors have their way.

Tenure is an important and coveted goal for university faculty and politics has no place in those decisions.

Donald Thomas, Melbourne Beach

In an Aug. 31, 2023, photo, members of the audience stand and applaud remarks by a speaker at a New College of Florida board of trustees meeting in Sarasota. Emotions have run high since Gov. Ron DeSantis took over the progressive school.

Life pre-Biden full of progress

I was surprised reading a Sept. 3 letter containing these words:  “… we’ll get Trump back again and that is not good for anybody.” Who honestly believes that? A blue state newcomer? Folks with Trump derangement syndrome?

How quickly they forget.

Well, here’s what I remember from Trump’s time before Biden.

First we gained energy independence no more reliance on the Saudis, OPEC or Venezuela. For the first time in 70 years we became a net energy exporter and the world’s No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas. Our Strategic Petroleum Reserve was full, unlike today. Gasoline was just over $2 a gallon. The average family saved about $2,500 a year in lower electric and  gas prices. At one stop last week I paid nearly $4 a gallon. 

More:Let’s dump Trump in ash heap of American history: Letters to the Editor, Sept. 10, 2023

America gained 7 million new jobs. Middle-class family income increased about $6,000. The unemployment rate was 3.5%. Nearly 160 million Americans reported being employed, more than ever before. Unemployment rates for African Americans, Hispanics, veterans, disabled individuals and women all reached record lows. Nearly 7 million fewer people were on food stamps. 

Word limits prevent me from touting more progress under this boisterous businessman (like closing the southern border) but making Americans much  more prosperous is evidence enough.  

Biden’s first actions in office, canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline and stopping drilling on federal lands, reversed most of the progress I just highlighted. 

Lastly, we just can’t accept the climate change hoax as an argument for Biden’s actions.                                      

George Minto, Titusville

Former President Donald Trump is pictured at a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, on April 27, 2023.

Trump will get his day in court

In a Sept. 3 letter, members of the Brevard Republican Executive Committee asked an odd question: What was Trump’s crime?  

Read the indictments, BREC. It’s obvious that you have not. Your letter shows a lack of understanding of the charges, how the criminal justice system works, and respect for the rule of law.

This is no “freedom of speech issue.” Attempts to overturn an election have put many lesser politicians in jail.

Your perception may be colored by a persistent failure to hold people of power to account for their crimes. Ford pardoned Nixon for felonious crimes that would lock the average Joe away for decades. And derailed America’s faith in the rule of law and criminal justice system. As did the subsequent pardoning of every Civil War seditionist.  

I laugh when I hear Trump and his minions say, “If it could happen to Trump, it could happen to you.” Well, yes. If you break the law, you can be arrested and convicted.

Fani Willis did her job. The grand jury did their job. Now it is up to the courts and the jury to do their job. He’s presumed innocent until proven guilty, and juries will have the final say for every one of the 91 charges. Trump is a liar. A federal jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse. He’s a documented self-dealer from his own, now-shuttered charity. The truth will come out at trial. 

And yes, this is the USA. With liberty and justice for all.

Jeff Dorman, Satellite Beach

Hundreds participate in the National Action Network demonstration in response to Gov. Ron DeSantis' rejection of a high school African American history course, on Feb. 15, 2023, in Tallahassee.

‘Why teach the negative?’

The self-flagellation and push to have modern Americans abase themselves to atone for the sins of our forefathers has no place in our public schools. For the United States to remain a leader of the free world it must be proud of its own past, not paralyzed by it. 

Bogus theories about white supremacy and attempts to assign guilt for slavery to the current generation are wrong and dangerous. Slavery has existed for thousands of years. In fact, the word slave refers to millions of white Slavic peoples who were enslaved by the Moors in the ninth century and later by the Ottoman Turks. The African people were not enslaved because they were Black any more than the Slavs were enslaved because they were white.

When our nation was founded in 1783, slavery had existed in the Americas for over 250 years. But it is to our new nation’s credit that within a hundred years we fought a civil war to eliminate slavery in the United States of America. Within another four generations, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act. Within another generation we elected Barack Obama president. 

We must continue to ferret out the lingering impact of past race-based institutions and regulations. But the essence of our history is our astounding progress. It is an amazingly positive story. Why teach the negative? It only hurts us all by degrading the love of country essential to the survival of our republic.

Dave Riemondy, Indialantic

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