DeSantis views, voting, menstruation, dead manatees; Vero Beach downtown | Feb. 12 Letters
Time to save waterways that make coast a treasure
Your Feb. 5 editorial, "Manatees have been dying at record rate; help them live now," was spot on. Now I have to ask: "How?"
I have been selling real estate on the Treasure Coast since 2002 and still come across ocean access waterfront homes in Martin and St. Lucie counties, where public sewers are available, but the homeowners won't hook up to them. How can that be allowed?
Other municipalities located on the the St. Lucie River or Intracoastal Waterway have rejected installing public sewers. Why is a septic tank even allowed within 1,000 feet of the St. Lucie River or Intracoastal?
Then we have the aquatic herbicides used in every subdivision "lake," which is really a drainage pond. Most of these lake/drainage pond "peaceful views" overflow into to the river and carry herbicides with them.
When I first visited Florida in 1966, as a teenager, I was in awe of the ocean. When I heard the term "Intracoastal," I asked my hosts what the Intracoastal was. They replied that "it is America's biggest toilet and it flushes twice a day." At the time, I thought they were joking.
Local anglers, snowbirds and tourists used to enjoy fishing the seagrass flats for seatrout and pompano. Sometimes they were lucky enough to see a manatee. Now these same flats are void of aquatic vegetation, as well as fish.
Overdevelopment, pollution and discharges from Lake Okeechobee are ruining the greatest real treasure that existed on the Treasure Coast.
Jim Weix, Palm City
Vero Beach not attractive as you enter downtown
Vero Beach City Council members should try driving eastbound on State Road 60 coming up on the "Downtown Vero Beach" monument. As you pass the monument, what do you see? A decrepit mustard yellow apartment building with boarded-up windows, cars parked on the lawn: a real eyesore.
Can code enforcement tell us this building is compliant with fire safety regulations? It looks like a real dump.
By the way, the monument can really use a makeover, pulling out the green hedges and installing seasonal color. Right now it's really boring.
Eric Schrader, Vero Beach
Twin Pairs has nothing to do with Vero Beach retail exodus
The Vero Beach City Council should not continue plans to reduce lanes of the Twin Pairs on State Road 60.
Instead, reduce the large number of “No Parking, Towing Enforced” signs south of the Twin Pairs, where downtown is actually happening, along the 14 Street/Old Dixie Highway corridor, to provide nightly restaurant supporters and daytime shoppers safe free parking.
Face it, the north side of the Pairs has been withering away since construction and expansion of the Indian River Mall. This multifaceted retail draw has lately been exacerbated at the cost of downtown businesses by the expediential retail growth along the 20th Street/State Road 60 corridor west of 43rd Avenue since. In other words, that north half of downtown business growth opportunity is over, and reducing the Twin Pairs will not save it.
However, by allowing public parking south of the Pairs, in the numerous empty lots next to and behind buildings in and around those that are now restricted, this south side can not only become commercially more successful, but more user friendly as well.
It is also my opinion that supporters of lane reductions are oblivious to the impending high-speed train traffic flow and the danger and noise that will be a detriment to downtown.
David Lutz, Vero Beach
Given law change, you must renew your absentee ballot request
Many thanks to every voter for helping Martin County’s turnout in the 2022 general election secure the fifth-highest turnout rate in the state with 65% casting 77,907 ballots ― with 26,400, or 34%, of those ballots cast by mail.
As we go through our to-do list in preparation for upcoming elections, we want to remind readers about important statewide legislative changes regarding voting by mail.
Requests for vote-by-mail ballots must be renewed after every general election cycle. If you plan to vote by mail in upcoming elections, take this time to renew your request for a ballot.
Some additional reminders about vote-by-mail ballots: They cannot be forwarded, so to receive your ballot at a different address, you must first contact the elections office at 772-288-5637 or visit MartinVotes.gov.
You can also consult our website to verify your completed and returned ballot arrived safely at our office by simply clicking on the tab, “Track Your Ballot.” We must receive it no later than 7 p.m. Election Day. You can even personally deliver it to one of our secure ballot intake stations at our Stuart office or announced early voting sites.
Florida is a no-excuse state, so voters need not give a reason to request a vote-by-mail ballot. Every ballot — whether cast by mail or in-person — is counted no matter how close an election.
Make sure you’re election-ready — renew your request to vote by mail today.
Vicki Davis is Martin County's supervisor of elections.
Should Florida use rank choice voting?
Our election system is not the best democratic system.
When three or more candidates run for office, we sometimes have winners with only 35% of the vote. This means 65% did not vote for the winner. So does the winner represent the (district) majority of the voters?
It's also open to the corrupt use of ghost candidates entering to siphon votes away from one's opponent to steal an election. It also manipulates one to vote for one of the two major parties, saying not to (waste) throw your vote away on someone you really like and support.
Rank choice voting, sometimes called instant runoff voting, is a much more democratic form of voting. It calls for a majority, 50% plus 1, to win elections. It would eliminate the ghost candidate effect in elections.
You would be able to vote for your best choice first and choose one of the other party candidates as your second choice, so as not to throw your vote away. It would open our the system to more choices and more voters, with a good reason to come out and vote.
It would also help get away from all the hate in campaigning, with the need for candidates to try to appeal to more than just their base to win elections.
I've found, 8 in 10 people have never heard of rank choice voting. It's being used in a couple of states and many cities. So please educate yourself, friends and family by learning more about rank choice voting by doing a little research. And let's call for and make Florida a "more" informed and democratic state with rank choice voting.
John Debus, Port St. Lucie
DeSantis right to keep woke agendas out of curriculum
In response to Carol Grube's letter Feb. 1 that her "head hurt" after reading Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration rejected the controversial AP African-American studies class proposed in Florida high schools as written as its subject matter is contrary to Florida law and lacks educational value. Maybe her stated migraine may not have not been so severe if she had known some of the following:
A Wall Street Journal editorial ("Ron DeSantis, Black History and CRT: Florida has a point in rejecting AP African-American Studies") described the class syllabus as beginning "innocuously enough," but devolving into instruction with several underlying political agendas: reparations for descendants of slaves in America; the Black Lives Matter movement, an organization rife with corruption and espousing the abolishment of police and prisons; Black Queer Studies, which shifts sexuality studies toward racial analysis; postracial racism and colorblindness, exploring concepts of racecraft and inequality; and intersectionality & activism, which encourages reading of Kimberle Crenshaw of Columbia Law School's text of work in "foundational CRT," which technically constitutes teaching critical race theory, a no-no currently under Florida law.
Gov. DeSantis is responsible for overseeing K-12 education in Florida and as such doesn't believe these or any political agendas belong in the curriculum. Let's get back to teaching the next generation of leaders how to think critically for themselves, not be influenced by "woke" ideology and progressive agendas.
David J. Chesley, Vero Beach
Florida 'constitutional carry' bill far from radical
Florida House Bill 543 is not "constitutional carry," where the citizen decides how to carry legal firearms. Florida now belongs to an exclusive club of five liberal states ― California, New York, Illinois, Hawaii ― who deny open carry.
You might notice in Pahrump, Nevada, a cowboy-hatted gentleman toting his favorite .44 or .45 in an expensive custom holster. It did not bother us, them or any of the lawmen who know these folks and respect their Second Amendment rights that clarify that First Amendment declaration also.
Worried about gun toters fouling our tourista business? Consider 2.6 million concealed weapon license holders are packing now. There could be a million more never bought into this government requirement. Thus, one in five or seven adults might be packing when you go shopping at Publix or take in that new movie.
County sheriffs have but to eliminate those firearms being toted by their several hundred convicted felons committing the vast majority of crimes.
Along the same lines, don't we wish the Tallahassee politicos would round up all those who overstay their visas?
Jim Matthews, Tequesta
Gasoline profits; government in debt: Wonder why?
News item: ExxonMobil posts record profits for 2022.
Something is very wrong here; the only answer is to start at the top: President Joe Biden, all elected officials, all CEOs and top paid executives of all the fuel companies need to be exposed and investigated. How many of these fine people have enormous stock holdings and are sharing in fleecing Americans?
My cost of living is affected not only at the gas pump, but the grocery store, the small business, the restaurants, etc. When fuel prices increase, we see everything increases as products need to be shipped, transferred, delivered, etc.. Thus, the increase in fuel prices has an effect on everything: food, heating, cooling, transportation.
ExxonMobil had net income of $55.7 billion for 2022. Where is regulation? Has greed just taken over? Why do the elected officials sit idle and do nothing?
Biden is giving away millions of dollars to fix infrastructure. Has anyone looked at where the money is going? At least some of the bridges and roads the president is helping to fix have tolls on them. Where is the toll money going? Who is spending this?
Biden just gave a $292 million grant to the Hudson Tunnel in New York; each vehicle is expected to pay about $4 per trip on an average. With about 100,000 vehicles per day passing through every day, that's about $146 million a year. If 50% goes to expenses, why isn’t the balance paying for their own repairs and infrastructure upgrades?
Why are we constantly expecting the government to pay for these items as it becomes a taxpayer burden?
Government is struggling with DEBT. Why?
Jason Shay, Palm City
FHSAA menstruation stance creepy
What's up with Florida? While Gov. Ron DeSantis touts freedom, we see oppression and creepy intrusion into the private health of our citizens by the Florida High School Athletics Association.
Why should girls have to disclose anything about their menstrual cycles?
Truly, I can't believe this is actually happening. This is creepy and sleazy.
The Sunshine State?
Richard Sheehan, Vero Beach
Biden deflates Trump in balloon contest
NPR reports there were three China spy balloons during President Donald Trump's administration. None were detected or disabled. Damage to the United States? Unknown.
The Biden administration detected one, followed it for a week, then shot it down, recovering essential intelligence. Damage to the U.S.: zero.
Biden, 1; Trump, negative 3.
Robert Gibbons, Stuart
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: DeSantis views, voting, guns, oil, dead manatees; Vero Beach | Letters