Don't cut cultural grants; look into sheriff's 'shenanigans': Letters, Aug. 21, 2022

Investigate sheriff's 'shenanigans'

Shame on the "Shady Sheriff."

According to FLORIDA TODAY articles (8/5, 7/17), 3 Brevard candidates for public office have alleged that Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey pressured them to drop out of their race: Kimberly Musselman (County Court, Group 4), Chris Hattaway (County Commissioner – D2) and Shawn Overdorf (School Board). They also claim that Ivey offered them political jobs paying up to $50,000 in exchange for dropping out.

Presumably, Sheriff Ivey wants to eliminate these well-qualified candidates so that his favored candidates can win.  His shenanigans are aimed at subverting our democracy — the voters be damned —and consolidating power within his personal fiefdom.

So far, Ivey is mum on the issue.

These allegations deserve a full investigation and, if they are true, Ivey should be held accountable for ethics violations under F.S. 112.313(6), as well as criminal bribery charges under F.S. 838.015.

Additionally, Brevard voters can tell Shady Sheriff Ivey that self-dealing and political plundering will not be tolerated by rejecting Ivey’s endorsed candidates if they fail to strongly condemn his unethical conduct.

Suzanne Gibbs, Merritt Island

Ivey is not above the law

I have to agree with Robert Casey who in FLORIDA TODAY on Aug. 14 criticized Sheriff Ivey for alleged outrageous conduct.

Does Sheriff Ivey think he is above the law, allegedly offering candidates better-paying political jobs if they drop out of current races so his endorsed candidates can win?

He and his office need to be investigated immediately by the U.S. Attorney's office or FBI as well as the FDLE.

Gov. DeSantis needs to remove this sheriff immediately as he did with the state attorney in Tampa.

Ivey said of FLORIDA TODAY: “They are nothing but a pebble in my shoe."

He is always in front of the camera bragging how well he and his department are doing and asking the County Commission to increase his budget.

He might think FLORIDA TODAY is a "pebble in his shoe" but at least they are honest and fair when it comes to people who are using their office to violate the law, and will investigate the alleged crime thoroughly before printing the story.

Bruce Mochwart, Melbourne

Chris Hattaway, a Cocoa police officer and candidate for County Commission District 2, said Sheriff Wayne Ivey  offered to help get him a job if he dropped out of the race. Here, Hattaway announces his commission run at Cocoa's Riverfront Park in May 2022.
Chris Hattaway, a Cocoa police officer and candidate for County Commission District 2, said Sheriff Wayne Ivey offered to help get him a job if he dropped out of the race. Here, Hattaway announces his commission run at Cocoa's Riverfront Park in May 2022.

Consider being a guardian ad litem

We are united yet divided. United in decrying the mass murders of random humans, divided by anger and defensiveness. United in wanting to help, divided as to faith in a solution.

What can we do to help? We can help the living children. I take comfort in being a certified volunteer guardian ad litem (GAL) advocating for children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected. We urgently need more volunteers to help these children. In Brevard there are almost 1,000 children who have been removed from their homes, but only 70% have assigned GALs.

These children have been removed from their parents, most often because of drug abuse or domestic violence situations that put the children in harm’s way. This is so traumatic for them. They all love their parents, no matter how they have been treated, and suddenly they are taken from their homes. If they are lucky, they will get to stay with a relative they know; alternatively, they will be placed in a foster home. The little ones cannot understand what has happened; the older children don’t understand why it happened. Can you imagine how they feel?

The judge assigns the Guardian ad Litem Program to advocate for the children. Each child is assigned a GAL team composed of a volunteer GAL, their staff supervisor, and an attorney. You can choose a case based on interest, location of child, or age group. You become the one constant figure for the child as they go through this trauma. Your reward? Love, smiles, and appreciation.

Volunteer information: Cynthia Rickerd, 321-271-1304, email Cynthia.Rickerd@gal.fl.gov.

Ann Coburn, Cocoa

Bill Day
Bill Day

Keep PACE program going in Brevard

About a year and a half ago, I acquired PACE financing to get a new roof. I own multiple properties, and at the time, all of my properties needed new roofs so I could maintain my insurance policy. PACE, or Property Assessed Clean Energy, was a great way to take care of this problem quickly, without having to break the bank with loads of cash up front.

Everything was straightforward and problem-free with PACE. I didn’t need to get tangled up in the lengthy process of qualifying for a loan, worry about high-interest rates or deal with extensive credit checks.

PACE was there when I needed it, but that won’t be the case for others in Brevard County. With the government terminating the program, there will be fewer avenues for folks to access the funding they need. In my view, the government has gone too far here and should leave it up to homeowners to decide how they want to finance their upgrades.

Dave Weber, Cocoa

In a December 2021 photo, volunteers with Guardian ad Litem and Friends of Children of Brevard, the nonprofit charity that helps support the children in the Guardian ad Litem program, sort about 4,000 new holiday gifts for children in the Brevard County foster system.
In a December 2021 photo, volunteers with Guardian ad Litem and Friends of Children of Brevard, the nonprofit charity that helps support the children in the Guardian ad Litem program, sort about 4,000 new holiday gifts for children in the Brevard County foster system.

Cultural groups deserve support

The consideration to remove funding for 40 cultural organizations in Brevard County next year suggested by County Commissioner John Tobia is shortsighted at best, and crazy at worst.

Both Tobia and the current three county commissioners as well as the Tourist Development Council should realize, without question or debate, that these 40 cultural organizations are an integral part of what makes Brevard County attractive to residents, domestic vacationers and foreign vacationers alike. These organizations contribute to the tourist industry here, of service providers, hotels, stores and shops.  To not understand that is naïve.

Suggestions to use the mere $150,000 for other "political purposes" should be ignored. Previously, these grants totaled $175,000. It is my recommendation that that amount be restored, and the commission move on to important subjects and or issues that Brevard County taxpayers and tourists would support. Supporters of these cultural endeavors and the arts should contact their country commissions and tell them to support these Brevard organizations, with a total of $175,00 next fiscal year, and beyond.

Gary Neff, Merritt Island

Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, right, speaks during a news conference in 2020 in Tampa, Fla. Warren announced his decision not to prosecute dozens of protesters arrested on charges of unlawful assembly during a Black Lives Matter march on June 2. Looking on is Bishop Thomas Scott.
Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, right, speaks during a news conference in 2020 in Tampa, Fla. Warren announced his decision not to prosecute dozens of protesters arrested on charges of unlawful assembly during a Black Lives Matter march on June 2. Looking on is Bishop Thomas Scott.

State attorney's firing was wrong

The firing by Gov. DeSantis of State Attorney Andrew Warren, who was elected twice by the people of the 13th Judicial Circuit, is wrong.

I commend John Torres' recent column about this move by Gov. DeSantis, titled “DeSantis aiming to destroy democracy.” Mr. Torres knew it was the time to tell the truth, and if we don’t speak the truth, we soon won’t be allowed to.

Mary Ann Loafman, Indialantic

Dems deliver: inflation reduction act

On Aug. 16, President Biden and the Democrats in Congress proved that the government can work for the people, instead of special interests and corporations.

By signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law — one of the most significant laws in recent history — the American people won, and special interests lost. This law will cut prescription drug costs, lower health care costs, make investments in a clean energy economy, make the tax code fairer, and reduce the federal deficit.

Floridians and the citizens of Brevard County will benefit greatly from this historic legislation, as we are particularly affected by drug and health care costs and the effects of climate change on our lagoon and coastal communities.

Friends, elections matter. In the case of this bill, it would have never seen the light of day if Democrats didn't also control both chambers of Congress. Remember — in this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people. Republicans sided with the special interests.

We are proud to stand with our president and the meaningful legislation he fought for and delivered, including the CHIPS and Science Act, which will lower costs, create jobs, and strengthen our supply chains, while countering China; and the PACT Act, which delivers on his promise to American Veterans affected by burn pits and Agent Orange.

Well done, Mr. President.

Pamela Castellana, Melbourne, is the chair for the Brevard Democrats.

A Trump photo worth seeing

Donald Trump recently testified under oath In the New York attorney general's investigation into his business dealings, pleading the Fifth Amendment and refusing to answer any questions.

I wish there had been a photographer present; I've never seen a photo of Trump with his mouth closed.

Robert Palmquist, Palm Bay

'On the precipice of a disaster': Vote

This letter has been in my thoughts for months, but the things going on now in our state and country demand that I write it now.

A former president of the United States allegedly flushes documents down the toilet in the White House before he leaves and takes about 20 more boxes of highly classified data, allegedly including some to do with nuclear weapons, to his Florida home. Investigators months ago asked that missing documents be returned. It did not happen, so they got the right to enter said house to retrieve those documents.

All of a sudden, the DOJ has committed a crime? The former president did nothing wrong? Please, come to your senses. Republicans in Congress continue backing the former president, despite all the facts that have been discovered by the Jan. 6 committee as well.

We have armed people showing up at FBI offices, people telling law enforcement officers that they will die — and the former president says that the temperature in the country is going up.

Voters, please, please think all of this through. We have nationwide projects going on to better our country; the price of gasoline has gone down considerably; and at the moment we have law and order.

My voter registration says NPA, no party affiliation. I only care about our country and you. Please study everything and think of your children's and your grandchildren's future when you vote. We are on the precipice of a disaster.

Donald A. Barlow, Viera

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Don't cut arts grants; sheriff's not above law: Letters, Aug. 21, 2022