Readers comment on monkeypox, candidates for School Board and Congress, and more

·5 min read

The impact of monkeypox

It is difficult not to fear monkeypox given the recent uproar. President Joe Biden declaring monkeypox a public health emergency takes me back to when COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency. It is easy to fall into panic, but let’s go over the facts about monkeypox

It is not a new disease. There is a vaccine for it that can be used after exposure. The smallpox vaccine also provides some protection. We are not as vulnerable to it as we were to COVID-19. But, if monkeypox spreads in Gainesville, it will not be difficult to predict who will suffer the most.

A nurse draws a syringe of the monkeypox vaccine.
A nurse draws a syringe of the monkeypox vaccine.

In the Alachua County Community Survey, 78% of respondents ranked access to health care as the most important factor in community health. Cost was ranked as the main barrier. The median Black household income in Alachua is $24,000 less than the median white household income. If monkeypox appeared in Gainesville, it is no secret that those with lower incomes will experience the worst outcomes.

Free community clinics should have protocols in place to help people navigate exposures to monkeypox, so if monkeypox spreads in Gainesville, the most vulnerable in our community have somewhere to go.

Mehrsa Razavi, medical student, University of Florida College of Medicine

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Antiquated technology

Thank you to Carol Lindsey and Shauna Junco for writing their piece in The Sun regarding the University of Florida’s plan to build the Central Energy Plant. As a recent graduate from UF, I would be ashamed if Kent Fuchs and the UF board of trustees went through with their current plan to build this plant. Not only does burning methane have extremely harmful health risks, the cost alone is egregious.

It is embarrassing to think that such an innovative institution would stoop to this antiquated method to uphold its growing energy needs when there are much cleaner and cheaper options. On the UF Central Energy Plant Project webpage, it states that they considered “environmental impact,” which is deceitful to its students and to the Gainesville community. The least they can do is be transparent about burning one of the most harmful fossil fuels to power their plant.

Alyssa Lewis, Gainesville

Quality candidates

Two years ago, I would have been hard-pressed to name an Alachua County School Board member. Then COVID came, laying bare — and in many cases exacerbating — the challenges facing our district.

I decided to get involved (better late than never), and for the past two years have had the opportunity to help advocate for students, teachers and families in Alachua County. Along the way, I met and worked with many dedicated public servants and community organizers, including School Board candidates Sarah Rockwell and Tina Certain.

Working with Sarah to improve school safety and expand community engagement has been downright humbling. Her combination of intelligence, hard work and kindness will make her an ideal School Board member, and I could not be more excited and grateful for her candidacy.

And after watching and attending too many School Board meetings to count, I challenge anyone to name a more qualified and impressive public servant than Tina Certain. Her fiscal expertise has been a consistent and invaluable contribution to the board, and she always comes prepared and ready to find a solution.

Sarah Rockwell and Tina Certain have my vote, and I strongly urge you to support them on or before Aug. 23.

David Kaplan, Gainesville 

Favored by independents

Independents are the key to U.S. Congress District 3. As he does in 2022, Dr. Tom Wells in both 2018 and 2020 enjoyed strong support from independents and arguably might have won the general election in both contests had he been the nominee. It was unfortunate that in 2020 Wells garnered 32% of the primary vote in a razor-thin, three-way race and narrowly missed the runoff.

In this upcoming race, only Wells has a realistic chance to flip the district. Based on the distribution of the new District 3 registered voters as of June 28, Republicans account for 43.2% of the voters, Democrats 35.1% and “others” (nearly all no party affiliation) 21.7%. These three groups voted in about equal percentages in the general election in 2020.

To overcome the Republican margin over Democrats, the Democratic candidate would need a daunting 68.7% or more of these other voters to win. Roe vs. Wade opposition will help any Democrat some, but not enough. Democrats, with the help of the others, must try to avoid a District 3 threepeat in 2022.

Democrats must support Wells in the upcoming August primary.

Jonathan J. Shuster, Gainesville 

Election pieces online 

The deadline has passed for submitting letters endorsing candidates in the upcoming election. For links to previous letters, opinion columns from the candidates, The Sun’s endorsements and videos of candidate interviews, visit bit.ly/august22electioncolumns.

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This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Letters on monkeypox, candidates for School Board and Congress, more