Shared from the 1/31/2018 The Miami Herald eEdition

OPEN MIC

Politics obstructs Everglades Park restoration

As Chairman of the Herman Lucerne Foundation, I read with great interest the Jan. 29 article by Jenny Staletovich, “Aging facilities in park have fallen on hard times,” regarding Everglades National Park. I would like to make a correction.

All park-maintained channel markers in Florida Bay were repaired and missing markers were replaced prior to Hurricane Irma under the present Superintendent, Pedro Ramos. Our foundation helped to provide the necessary funds for the project.

We also intend to provide the needed funds to repair those markers damaged or destroyed by the hurricane.

The author was correct that the markers are intended to protect the sea grasses. Unfortunately, the sea grasses which are vital to the health of Florida Bay, have been severely decimated by the lack of a freshwater flow to the bay. This has resulted in tremendous algae growth, which has killed off most of our sea grasses by not allowing needed sunlight to penetrate to the grasses.

Our state leaders and the South Florida Water Management District are complicit in allowing this to continue happening in order to protect the subsidized sugar industry by accepting their campaign contributions at the expense of a healthy park.

Recently, our legislature has passed SB10, which is meant to help resolve this issue, but the Water Management District is playing politics and is extracting the teeth out of the bill. Our water supply, the economy of the Florida Keys, Everglades National Park, and the enjoyment of the park users, are dependent on the intended implementation of SB10.

I would like to see the Herald investigate this issue and provide an article which shows causation and what is required to restore the park and its waters to good health.

– Lloyd Wruble, Palmetto Bay

LESS-WARM WELCOME

Putting citizenship status on the U.S. Census will definitely hurt Florida. When historians review the Trump administration and argue its historical benefits and disadvantages, some — many? — may conclude that the greatest damage to America’s history of welcoming immigrants was done by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Stephen Miller, senior adviser to the president and Sessions’ former employee in the Senate.

Both of these men misunderstand that the most important characteristic of a future citizen is what drives them from the inside — not their skin color.

In rural areas — and some urban areas — of this country, there are many white citizens who were born into and remain on government assistance, even though they had no color or language barrier and they had access to a good public school system.

Their color has not helped them, but their lack of drive sure has hurt them and the economy.

– Juan A. Galan, Jr.,

Coral Gables

HEREAFTER VOTE

The U.S. Justice Department has requested that a question about citizenship be added to the 2020 census in order to assist them in administering the Voting Rights Act.

I tried to figure out how the information would help Justice and, in the process, started mentally reviewing the major voting scandals that occurred during my lifetime.

All of them, whether in Texas or New Jersey or Illinois, involved a cemetery vote.

I therefore would like to suggest that the Justice Department amend its request and direct it toward the 50 state Departments of Vital Statistics in order to target the group that is not entitled to vote but chooses to do so anyhow.

– Arnold Slotkin, Hollywood

BLOCKED ROADS

I would like to nominate for the Retro-Evolution Darwin Award of 2018 all the idiots who designed or approved the path of Miami Marathon on Jan. 28.

They managed to block — for several hours — access to the mainland for 12,000 residents of Key Biscayne, resulting in many missed flights and lots of difficulty accessing urgent care, etc.

Surely, Miami could do better!

– Pablo Zamora,

Key Biscayne

INTEGRITY

Surprise, surprise! Most FBI agents are biased against President Trump. Most Americans are biased against Trump.

All FBI agents must have at least a bachelor’s degree. The percentage of Americans who think that Trump lacks the necessary qualities to be president of the United States is significantly higher among those who have had the benefit of a higher education. Therefore, a majority of FBI agents would be disqualified from sitting on a jury in judgment of a case involving the president.

However, such abias does not disqualify someone from being a good investigator or detective. The essential attributes for these jobs are intelligence, honesty (no planting false evidence or withholding exculpatory evidence), and being a hard worker. Fortunately, FBI candidates are well vetted for integrity. Unfortunately, politicians are not.

– Bob Collins, Hollywood

‘DESPACITO’ CHEATED

Sunday’s Grammy Awards show offered further proof that we have not come as far as some of us previously thought. Hands down, the most popular song worldwide in 2017 was Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito.” It was watched more than 4 billion times on YouTube, a milestone no other song in history has ever attained.

“Despacito” was snubbed by the same small-mindedness that gave us a miscreant as president. It is disheartening to see such a clear-cut case of bias in the 21st century!

– Martin Bingham, Weston

NEW MEDICARE RULES

The federal government recently made the dangerous and unprecedented move to link doctors’ reimbursements for Part B drugs to their performance under Medicare’s new quality program. Part B drugs, which include complex infusion therapies used to treat diseases like arthritis and cancer, are typically administered by a specialist in an in-office setting.

Now, doctors’ ability to provide these treatments is in jeopardy. According to analysts, specialists who administer Part B therapies could see payment cuts of up to 29 percent as aresult of the new policy.

As a rheumatologist, my patients depend on these therapies. I am deeply worried the payment cuts will force some practices to stop administering Part B drugs altogether. Many practices already struggle with the overhead costs of obtaining and administering expensive infusion therapies. Very sick patients will then be forced to receive these treatments at the hospital or self-infuse at home.

We need to lower drug prices, but the government should be targeting the parties responsible for high drug costs — not the doctors who provide life-saving therapies, and certainly not the Medicare patients whose lives and well-being depend on them. I hope Congressional leaders will put the brakes on this dangerous policy now, before it’s too late.

– Rafael Rivas-Chacon,

Miami

NFL KNEELS

I was delighted to read Armando Salguero’s Jan. 26 opinion, “NFL takes sides on its grandest stage — chooses kneeling over ‘Please Stand.’ ”

I am somewhat of a fan and typically watch my favorite teams when they play and am always tuned into the Super Bowl. This year, I have not seen one game and will definitely not watch the big game!

I cannot believe the powers that be in the NFL have cared so little about a huge portion of their fan base and have simply turned a deaf ear to obvious dismay with the entire kneeling fiasco. Instead of trying to reach a compromise, they have drawn a firm line and gone entirely the other way, cowering to one side and piling it on.

I have been so upset with this. The very last straw was when they refused to allow a veteran’s group place an ad in their program. How dare they? I so appreciate this article and feel a little better knowing others are as disappointed as I am in the NFL!

– Debbie Binder, Homestead

"IN FLORIDA, A 7-YEAR-OLD BOY WAS ARRESTED FOR PUNCHING HIS TEACHER. A 7-YEAR-OLD BOY — OR AS THEY CALL THAT IN FLORIDA, A PRODIGY.
Conan O’Brien

See this article in the e-Edition Here