Thursday’s letters: GOP a ‘fascist cult,’ jurors underpaid, seagrass in danger, more

Herald Tribune

Thursday’s letters: GOP a ‘fascist cult,’ jurors underpaid, seagrass in danger, more

Sarasota Herald-Tribune – February 10, 2022

A candlelight vigil is held outside the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2022, one year after the attack.
A candlelight vigil is held outside the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2022, one year after the attack.

How far the formerly great GOP has fallen

So, “ordinary American citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse”? This from the Republican National Committee. Has the GOP finally gone completely, insanely fascist for all to see?

Anybody with eyes, ears and a brain knows 100% that the domestic terrorist invasion of our Capitol Jan. 6 was not “legitimate” in any way! The insurrectionists beat Capitol police officers, causing many serious injuries and at least one death.

Legitimate? They brandished Nazi, Confederate and Trump flags. They caused great damage to the Capitol, even defecating in that sacred place and smearing it on walls and statues. Disgusting!

This latest move by the RNC shows just how repulsively low the formerly great party has fallen. It is now firmly a fascist cult, no longer a “political” party.

I cannot imagine how any American who cares about our country, our Constitution and our democracy could consider voting for any Republican for any office. I swear I will never vote for a politician with an “R” after his or her name. Period.

Dan Awalt, Bradenton

Don’t be fooled by political propaganda

Gauzy television ads and full-color mailers by the “Sun Coast Alliance” are urging Sarasota County voters to overturn our 2018 election results on March 8.

Who is Sun Coast Alliance? Why is it spending so much money on us?

Sun Coast Alliance is a Tallahassee political action committee that recently received $100,000 from something called “Serious Conservatives.” Who might its donors be? That information is “confidential.”

No surprise there. In 2018, Sarasota voted overwhelmingly to replace our antiquated, countywide system of electing county commissioners with single-member districts: Each district elects its own commissioner, the same way we elect state and federal representatives.

We voted for this change because we understand that a countywide voting system guarantees continued control of our commission by developers and large-money interests. Witness Siesta Key.

In 50-plus years, not one Democrat or independent has been elected to the commission.

The commissioners, outraged by the voters expressing their will, have forced another wasteful vote. And groups like “Serious Conservatives” and “Sun Coast Alliance” are doing their bidding.

Do not be deceived by the disingenuous propaganda you are receiving. Vote “no” on the charter amendment that seeks to reimpose the system we rejected four years ago.

Barbara J. Katz, Longboat Key

Jury pay in Florida embarrassingly low

This past year I became a permanent Florida resident and, as is the case in many states, I recently received a jury summons for the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, in Sarasota County.

I am over 70 years of age and retired. As such, I could easily check the appropriate box on the form and be permanently excused from jury duty. However, not unlike many other citizens, I believe it is your civic duty when called for such things to do so, if able, and I most likely will, but not before taking pen to paper to register my disappointment with the embarrassing compensation for jurors in Florida.

For those not aware, jurors in Florida state courts receive $15 per day for the first three days – if not paid by their employer – and $30 per day thereafter, with no mileage allowance, and gasoline currently costing nearly $3.50 per gallon, making Florida jury pay among the lowest in the country.

If the state can find millions to investigate unwarranted voter fraud claims, it can certainly find the few dollars needed for equitable juror compensation, given the cost of living today.

Edward F. McKee, Venice

Save seagrass beds by opposing Senate bill

Sometimes bills proposed in the Florida Legislature do not appear consequential until enacted and then their negative impact is realized too late. Florida Senate Bill 0198, which expands easements in seagrass mitigation, is one of those stealth measures with detrimental impact.

Seagrass is difficult to cultivate and takes years to establish. After seagrass beds are destroyed, replacing them is often unsuccessful and in no way compares to what was lost.

Seagrass is important because it provides shelter and food for manatees, fish, crabs and shellfish. Thousands of acres have been destroyed by pollution because of development, weak regulations and poor compliance, so we now have saltwater deserts devoid of life. Hundreds of manatees are dying of starvation.

Why would legislators even consider further destruction of existing vibrant seagrass? Our Florida coastal environment will be forever impacted and needs our proactive response.

Please alert our legislators to the harmful consequences of SB 0198 and request they vote against it.

Linda Vertefeuille, Bradenton

Author: John Hanno

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Bogan High School. Worked in Alaska after the earthquake. Joined U.S. Army at 17. Sergeant, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 84th Artillery, 7th Army. Member of 12 different unions, including 4 different locals of the I.B.E.W. Worked for fortune 50, 100 and 200 companies as an industrial electrician, electrical/electronic technician.