A proud bipartisan moment
September 19 marked a rare day of our political voices working together for the good of all of Brevard County. After intense public scrutiny, the county commission voted unanimously to fully fund the supervisor of elections' 2023-2024 budget, in spite of John Tobia's initial cut which would have eliminated mailed sample ballots and prepaid postage on mail ballots.
I had joined many others in our community in contacting the county commissioners' offices in regard to this issue, which Tobia mentioned, saying he didn't think the chair of the Democrats had "ever communicated so much with Republicans."
I've said it before: Republicans are not my enemy. They are the opposition party to mine. I will work with anyone who has an eye to justice for people. On Sept. 19, Republican voters joined me in this effort. I remain proud of a moment when we, the people, put the community before politics.
Pamela Castellana, Melbourne, is the chair of Brevard Democrats.
Power in public engagement
In today’s hyper-partisan political environment, it’s hard to imagine people across the political spectrum working together to create change in our local government. But this week, Brevard voters proved it can be done.
After the County Commission voted 3-2 on Sept. 5 to remove funding for sample ballots and vote-by-mail (VBM) return postage, organizations and individuals encouraged voters to make their voices heard. The commissioners received an overwhelming number of phone calls and emails arguing the benefits of these services. At the final budget meeting on Sept. 19, both the Brevard Republican and Democratic leadership, the League of Women Voters and several individuals provided public comment in favor of these services. With all this public pressure, the commissioners voted 5-0 to re-instate the funding.
The success of our democratic republic not only depends on having educated and engaged voters; it also depends on having elected officials represent the majority will of the people, even if they don’t agree with it personally. Our elected officials need to know that we will hold them accountable at the next election.
This week’s reversal of defunding sample ballots and VBM postage is how representative democracy is supposed to work. We hope that this week’s win for the voters will energize people to make their voices heard. It reminds us that, despite our political differences, there are issues we agree on. We can make our voices heard and create change.
Suzanne Taylor, Melbourne, is president of the League of Women Voters of the Space Coast.
Do we really need all those satellites?
SpaceX has launched over 50,000 satellites since 2019 to make internet service affordable and available on every continent. I have looked into service here in Melbourne which was quoted at $100-plus, which is $45 more than I pay right now.
My friends and I are wondering if all these satellites are necessary
Geraldine Hoyt, Melbourne
Ladapo and 'bad science'
Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo again advised against the new COVID-19 shots, based on a medical study, which showed a very small risk of a rare heart condition in young men who received a COVID shot. He seized upon that to proclaim that the shot was risky for young men. That study was severely criticized by experts for several reasons. The worst? The authors ignored all the people who didn't get the vaccination, then died of COVID.
They then looked for problems among the vaccinated — who were still alive. This is very bad science.
Think of seatbelts. We know they prevent many deaths and injuries in violent wrecks. But a few people get a broken clavicle from the top belt. A very few thus have a complication, such as a blood infection, from that. My analogy: If someone studied only people who used seatbelts, they could conclude that using seatbelts was not a good idea because of the chance of getting a blood infection. (Guessing Ladaopo would ...) But what about all the non-belted? Sure, no blood infections, but many would be dead, maimed or paralyzed by getting thrown through the windshield or window.
Same with COVID vaccines. Only the people who didn't die of the bigger, more dangerous problem have the very small chance to suffer the problem that Ladapo is using to advise against the shot. His advice is not supported by the data or endorsed by any reputable medical experts.
Joel McGinley, Merritt Island
Don't politicize vaccines
There have been many letters to the editor that have thrilled me as they aligned with my views favoring democracy, sane politics, the freedom to read what we want and to live life and make personal choices as desired. Let's not forget working towards an end to racism and antisemitism and reasonable gun control.
I felt no need to add another letter to the mix until I read the ridiculous, inaccurate comments expressed by Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s surgeon general. His comments severely downplay the need for COVID vaccines while greatly exaggerating the vaccines’ dangers. As a respiratory therapist for over 43 years I feel a great need to describe the reality I experienced caring for horribly sick COVID patients ranging in age from 23 to over 80. Every COVID patient I took care of on a ventilator from November 2021 through August 2022 was unvaccinated. These were the sickest of the sick. Some didn’t survive and many of those who did have hearts, lungs, brains and bodies that are ruined forever. Many will require supplemental oxygen use the rest of their lives. Before they left our facility they were all happy to be vaccinated and most expressed that they’d made a terrible decision initially by refusing it.
Without a doubt, an uncaring, immoral surgeon general giving life-threatening advice to the public is truly the real danger. Please keep your loved ones alive and well and don’t politicize modern medicine and vaccines. They’re some of our greatest assets and must be embraced.
Kenneth Weiss, West Melbourne
'I choose to be positive'
It’s the old “Darwin Effect.” If you actually believe you are not one of the millions who can die from COVID, then listen to Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and don’t get the shot. While you are at it, don’t fasten your safety belt in the car, don’t ride your bike in bike lanes, don’t let your kid read whatever they want to read … should I go on with the “don'ts” and all the negatives?
Personally, I want a nation of “can dos." I want my family to be safe — we get vaccines. I want my family not to die in a crash — we wear seat belts and I ride my bike in safety zones whenever possible. And as for reading, if your kid picks up an unsuitable (in your eyes) book, chances are it will go over their head. Let the kids just read. Before you ban, restrict and forbid, know the obvious reaction — they will figure out a way to do it.
Let’s be a bit more positive. How can I help my neighbor? How can I provide food for a sick friend? C an I help someone with less than I have? What can I do today to make life better? Negative or positive — it is your choice.
This is a good time for reevaluation. I choose to be positive, proactive in a good way, I choose to help, not hinder, and encourage not discourage. Will you take the lead and be a better person as well?
Laura Petruska, Melbourne
In response to Suzy Leonard's Sept. 19 article on cursing, I agree and have the following story from my past (about 40 years ago).
I was single and part of a group of about 15 fellows who went out to dinner once a month known as “Guys Night Out." It was my turn to host it and I selected a well-known restaurant called “Three Brothers” which was Serbian and owned by an old friend of mine.
We arrived and had drinks, met the owner and ordered. All of us were in our 30s and 40s and middle-class professionals. Our conversation soon became a bit loud and a couple of guys got a bit obnoxious, using the “F” word. There were a few table around us with genteel diners who were justifiably offended and as I was the host, I went over and apologized. Then I stayed after the guys left and apologized to the owner for my friends. I then told them at the next months dinner what I thought of their thoughtless, rude, inconsiderate comments.
I, too, am a firm believer in free speech, but also in common sense and consideration of others.
Tim Riordan, Melbourne
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Do we need all these satellites? Letters to the Editor, Sept. 27, 2023