Friday's letters: No 'good relations,' train track safety, Trumpism on way out

·4 min read
Venice Mayor Ron Feinsod accuses real estate developer Pat Neal of attempting to interfere in local government.
Venice Mayor Ron Feinsod accuses real estate developer Pat Neal of attempting to interfere in local government.

Venice mayor: Developer is no friend of mine

In an article Sept. 19 in the Herald-Tribune, developer Pat Neal claimed that he and I have “good relations.”

Really, Pat? Mr. Neal tried to get me to drop out of the race for Venice mayor three years ago (I have a witness to this conversation). Therefore, I find it ludicrous for him to suggest that we have any sort of relationship.

Current council candidate Ron Smith says that Mr. Neal tried to get him to drop out of the race.

It is just another reminder of how this developer attempts to interfere with our local government.

More: How to send a letter to the editor

Mr. Neal’s belief that he can influence our elections – by telling people to drop out of races or not run for election – goes against everything that I believe is in the best interest of local government.

To be clear, Mr. Neal, you and I do not have “good relations.”

Ron Feinsod, Venice mayor

Prevent deaths, injuries on train tracks

Although most Americans today know the dangers associated with distracted driving or texting while crossing the street, not enough attention is given to the dangerous and illegal risks people take around railroad tracks.

In Florida last year, there were 36 trespasser deaths and 21 injuries, along with 22 grade crossing fatalities and 46 crossing injuries (as of August 2022). In fact, every three hours a vehicle or person is struck by a train in the U.S.

So why is this happening and what can we do about it?

In our distracted society, people may become complacent or might not understand the need for caution near railroad tracks and trains. Pedestrians and drivers often simply do not realize that it is dangerous and illegal to walk on railroad tracks.

Everyone can save a life by sharing the rail safety message. Visit https://oli.org to take our Rail Safety Pledge and find safety tips.

Together we can stop track tragedies – during Rail Safety Week, Sept. 19-25, and every day of every week.

Peggy Smith, board chair, Florida Operation Lifesaver

Defeat Trump, Trumpism at ballot box

My tax law professor in Ann Arbor, who was a principal consultant to the IRS, came from a small town in Oklahoma. To provide perspective for his lessons and consultancy, he regularly would say, “If you were on Sputnik (yes, it was in the late ’50s), what would things look like?”

Viewed from today’s Sputnik, it’s oh-so-clear: The United States has been turned upside down by former President Donald Trump, an arrogant, narcissistic television entertainer whose glib style enchants both a gullible populace and opportunistic politicians.

To maintain our democracy, we must reject a charlatan huckster whose violations would have put you and me in jail long ago – and someone who is only interested in himself.

We must defeat Trumpism and its adherents at the ballot box.

Garo A. Partoyan, Osprey

Lessons tailored to grade level

A supporter of the new Parental Rights in Education law wrote Sept. 19 that a teacher in Palm Beach County had deleted the fact that Sally Ride, our country’s first female astronaut, was a lesbian so as not to run afoul of the new law (“Parental Rights law already working”).

The letter gave no information about what grade level was being taught or the actual subject, science or history. The objection was that astronaut Ride’s sexuality need not be mentioned at all.

I might agree, but I cannot evaluate her complaint on the information given.

If the grade level were high school, a simple factual statement should not be threatening to any student; if the students were lower elementary, the word “lesbian” would be beyond most of the children’s vocabulary and probably beyond the scope of the lesson plan – so leave it out.

Unfortunately, in the 200 words allowed it is not possible to present the context of a situation clearly.

At all grade levels, the teacher may have to explain why Ride was the first woman astronaut.  And the teacher had better be prepared to explain bias, prejudice and misogyny to elementary and high school students in age-appropriate terms!

Sandra J. Gander, Bradenton

Ag nominee has overcome challenges

Naomi Blemur, the Democratic nominee for agriculture commissioner, is the granddaughter of women farmers, a small business owner and a mother.

Blemur knows firsthand the struggles faced by her constituents and is committed to addressing hunger and poverty, health and well-being, clean water, affordable energy, innovation and more.

When critical decisions are being made in Tallahassee, I want someone with Blemur’s integrity and character sitting at the table.

Dawn Mann, Port Charlotte

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Venice mayor denies "good relations" with developer, Rail Safety Week