Governor molding state in his own image
From 1956 to 1965, the state of Florida underwent a government-led witch hunt to root out civil rights activists, gay people and supposed communists from state institutions. As history begins to repeat itself, Florida’s current movement is serving to change the delivery of medical care and education in the name of Christianity.
The past few weeks have highlighted Gov. Ron DeSantis’ culture war on public education and the rollout of his “anti-woke” campaign as he begins what is being called a “hostile takeover” of New College.
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This is all a part of the DeSantis self-serving culture war on critical race theory, gender and LGBTQ+ issues, which is determined to abolish programs at the state level while creating what is being called “patriotic education.” This is all a part of his “march through” the institutions on his current hit list, which include Florida schools, hospitals and companies such as Disney.
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DeSantis, in his second term, continues to fulfill his ambitions here at home. He has no plans to stop his molding of schools, hospitals and corporations in his image and I fear that this conservative “freedom movement” is one of a frightening culture replacement.
Margaret Shaw, Sarasota
No transparency without public notices
The latest move of the Sarasota County commissioners is an absolute outrage. In deciding the county no longer will publish all of its public notices in the newspaper on matters such as rezoning requests, they are basically giving developers a free pass on having the public know what they have up their sleeves.
The county staff, apparently, is more interested in saving a little money than maintaining a free, open, transparent society.
More: County to stop posting many public notices in newspapers
It seems to me that when a developer wants a property rezoned, it should be the developer who pays a price for that, fully covering not only the advertising but also any other expenses related to having the county and its taxpayers consider that request.
Ending publication of notices in the newspapers is a bad decision for the general public, but a good play for developers.
Absent a reversal of this decision by the county commissioners, I would urge the Herald-Tribune to start a regular column, always in the same spot, where in plain English you inform citizens of upcoming hearings and the specific requests being made by developers, e.g., developer wants to change the zoning to allow a shopping center to be built on the corner of X and Y streets in North Venice.
Bob Clark, Venice
DeSantis must act against greenhouse gases
The front page of the Jan. 12 paper heralded Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “$3.5B environmental boost” that focused on Everglades restoration, safeguarding water quality and expanding wastewater grant programs.
While this is to be commended, DeSantis must do much more than adapt to climate change. He must also take action to mitigate greenhouse gases, the chief cause of climate change and warming oceans. The price tag for building resilience will only grow if we just pay to harden our infrastructure while allowing emissions to rise unchecked.
DeSantis needs to provide leadership in reducing carbon emissions by:
∎ Incentivizing business leaders to see sustainability as providing for long-range cost savings rather than as an expense.
∎ Encouraging innovation and collaboration to create products and services that reduce emissions.
∎ Accelerating the process and eliminating roadblocks to transitioning to a green economy.
∎ Establishing business/government partnerships that focus on creating jobs in a green economy.
∎ Encouraging the creation of the technology necessary to support a green economy.
Karen Curlin, Lakewood Ranch
Teach students to think freely, critically
I found the guest column by John Grant, a former Republican state senator, to be rather chilling when he lauded Gov. Ron DeSantis for working “to improve the lives of our children by protecting their schools and their minds.” It reminded me of O’Brien’s reminder to Winston, in Orwell’s “1984,” that the Party controls reality “because we control the mind. Reality is in the skull.”
Rather than dogma of any breed, if you teach children to think critically you won’t need to protect their minds. You give them what Carl Sagan called a “built-in (expletive) detector.”
Barry Spivey, Sarasota
Culture war overshadows success
It is unfortunate that some positive things the governor has promoted (a land preservation plan, toll road credits for frequent users and disaster assistance through tax rebates) are overshadowed by his war against diversity and inclusion.
I am very grateful my grandchildren are not in Florida but live in an area when kindness, diversity and inclusion are nurtured.Irene Ward, Lakewood Ranch