Promotion of ‘freedom’ overlooks commitment to equality
Recently in this space, a reader informed us the Florida Board of Education had notified the Indian River County School Board its “racial equity policy” was out of line with new state statutes. This should not be surprising considering the current status of politics in Florida.
The policy in question focuses on confronting institutional racism within the school district. But acknowledgment of racism and efforts to end it seem to be anathema to many citizens. In the face of their denial and resistance, I cannot remain silent.
Some of us white folks are keenly aware that systemic racism and elements of white superiority exist in our school district as well as in other institutions of our society. Much of that racism is unconscious and unintended, but nonetheless devastating to people of color. And it needs to be examined and confronted by the local school board and administrators. As I understand it, that is exactly what the Indian River County School District’s policy is all about, so let’s see that it is acted upon without delay.
Our nation was founded on the principles of freedom and equality. However, actions on the part of Florida’s governor and Legislature to promote “freedom” have sadly overlooked a much needed commitment to equality.
Jack Stiefel, Vero Beach
Government mustn’t be ‘primary solution’ to community needs
The Indian River County Taxpayers’ Association would like to highlight some actions taken by our local government in 2022.
County commissioners allocated $2.5 million to the Children’s Services Advisory Committee, funding 44 nonprofits. Though the millage rate was not raised, assessed property values increased revenue. Also, the land acquisition bond initiative was approved in November’s election.
Vero Beach City Council voted for a new stormwater assessment tax and gave $1 million to the school district for a special project.
Sebastian City Council is deciding on annexing almost 2,000 acres that will have a density and infrastructure impact city- and countywide.
Fellsmere annexed land that is being considered for development. The decisions made by the city council will impact the city and county tax base, infrastructure, and quality of life.
Indian River Shores showed good stewardship of taxpayer money. The city voted against the establishment of a children’s trust fund and declined to gift toward an undefined school project.
The school district of Indian River County increased the millage rate while serving fewer students and receiving millions in federal funding under Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief.
These actions our local governing bodies took involved limited input from the public. One duty of constituents is to understand how their money is spent and the return on investment received to the citizenry.
No matter how well intentioned the actions, ramifications must be considered. Our association supports a strong community; however, when our tax dollars are not expended in a manner that supports limited government, then we must hold our elected officials accountable.
Government isn’t the primary solution. We should let the ingenuity, creativity and resourcefulness of individuals provide the preferred goods and services to our community.
Jordan Stewart is president of the Indian River County Taxpayers’ Association.
Americans suffered while Bidens vacationed
So thoughtful of President Joe Biden and his bride to take a vacation on our taxpayer dollars utilizing the presidential jet to fly off to a warmer clime while people here are unable to heat their homes due to inflation and rising costs.
It must be nice not to have to worry if your flight has been/will be canceled due to bad weather. I’m positive Joe will investigate Southwest Airlines; maybe someone should investigate him instead.
The United States suffered the worst winter storm in centuries, thousands were without power, heat, food and basic necessities and many had died, but the Bidens were warm, dry and well fed.
Jan Belwood, Palm City
Compare Pelosi to Republican speakers of House
History will determine how good a speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi was. However, compare her to Republican speakers:
Mrs. Pelosi had more integrity than Newt Gingrich, who had to resign his speakership due to ethics violations, and Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert, who pleaded guilty of having sexually abused teenage boys. She was more effective than John Boehner, who could not control the “legislative terrorists” in his party. Or Paul Ryan, who gave up.
She had more courage and backbone than what we’ve seen of Kevin McCarthy, who was selling out America’s democracy to right-wing extremists who rule what was once the party of Lincoln. Republicans hated Nancy Pelosi because she’s also smarter and works harder.
Volumes can be written about today’s Republicans titled, “Profiles in Cowardice.”
Anthony Frigo, Jensen Beach
Congress gets a lot done in first week of year
Jan. 3rd was a disappointing day. Republicans again showed the country they do not stick together! Democrats always do.
I found myself talking to my TV again. My husband says no one on TV hears me or cares about what I have to say. The Republicans won the House and here they were, at odds on who will be its speaker.
On Jan. 4, the Freedom Caucus emerged with a message about representing its constituents and insisting on “changing” how things are done in “The People’s House.” Maybe some of the politicians do care. Maybe some are listening.
The next day more negotiations took place. The Freedom Caucus did not give up. Other names emerged, but Kevin McCarthy continued to get most Republican votes.
On Jan. 6, the Freedom Caucus would not give in. It wanted certain rules changed and more time to review bills. Politicians despised receiving a trillion-dollar spending package on Christmas Eve to review with an expectation of a decision days later.
I am not disappointed anymore. I’m actually amazed how the 20 holdouts were able to change some rules on how the House will function.
Republicans and Democrats know there is a major divide in our country. Democrats may not agree with the rule changes, yet everyone should agree government cannot and should not follow the “same old rules.” How can the “same, old” help the situation?
On Jan. 7, a speaker was elected in the wee hours. Many Americans watched history being made, how 400-plus men and women made changes without fists. With votes, discussions and negotiations, our republic was at work right before our eyes.
During the first week of Congress in 2023, nothing got done? I think a lot got done!
Jo-Ann Scotto, Vero Beach
Writer’s proud of being ‘woke’ ― to DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis declared war on “wokeness.” It’s so dangerous and scary, I guess I should thank him.
I am woke. I’m woke to HIM. I’m woke to his denying women autonomy over their own bodies, criminalizing abortion even for cases of rape or incest. I’m woke to him gaslighting racism, banning books, bullying LGBTs. I’m woke to him restricting voting, putting guns in the hands of disturbed young male murderers, demonizing “others,” promoting white supremacy.
I’m woke to DeSantis telling lies about vaccinations, which discourages parents and others from using these researched and evidence-supported tools for fighting disease and death. I’m woke to his grandstanding about immigration and the border instead of actually working collaboratively to do something about it.
I’m woke to the governor. He’s self-serving, instead of people-serving. He seeks to turn us against each other, instead of helping to find common ground to bring us together.
I’m woke to DeSantis and I’m proud of it.
Mike Eisenberg, Fort Pierce