South Miami

Letter: South Miami mayor is a mosquito-control novice

It was reassuring to learn in Soapbox ( Mosquito spraying can have negative consequences, Aug. 17) that South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, a professor of biology at Florida International University, has discovered what most residents of his city knew decades ago – that mosquitoes breed in standing water, including the contents of bromeliads. But it wasn’t reassuring to learn that Stoddard apparently now feels qualified to advise the rest of us about his belated discovery – and to impose on all his neighbors his own conclusions about the impact of mosquito spraying in this region. If Stoddard had lived here during the weeks after Hurricane Andrew, he might have acquired a greater understanding of how far the quality of human life can deteriorate in a former swamp when mosquito spraying is suspended even temporarily.

This problem is rarely caused by the “derelict swimming pools” as Stoddard implies he will be hunting down via aerial imagery at the expense of South Miami’s taxpayers. And to minimize further concern about the validity of Mayor Stoddard’s analytical conclusions, I also would ask him to disclose whatever substantiation he may have for his finding that “most residents of South Miami … support (his) commitment to keep mosquitoes at bay through better-directed methods than insecticide application to entire neighborhoods.”

Mayor Stoddard may have eliminated the mosquitoes in his own backyard that had proliferated there due to his own inexperience with real-world South Florida mosquitoes; what he hasn’t yet grasped is that his neighbors were not equally ignorant or neglectful – and that his own mosquito infestation had not been caused by their ignorance of the lesson Stoddard is so proud of having learned himself and now so generously wishes to teach to an electorate that he clearly views as being in great need of his scientific insight.

Peter Myers, South Miami

‘Voice’ doesn’t endorse candidates

As current chair of the Palmetto Bay Village Voice, I would like to clarify the role of the Voice in our community which is “to seek total transparency from our village government, while informing and educating village residents about issues of community interest.” In carrying out this mission, the Voice may occasionally take advocacy positions on issues of clear public value, as we have in support of two new fire stations in Palmetto Bay, full online disclosure of village check registers, and advocating for changes in village election dates to allow for greater voter inclusion in the election process.

While the Voice strives to be fully aware of all major political issues within the village (representatives attend virtually all council meetings), we are a totally non-partisan organization that does not favor or endorse candidates. In the past, when members of our board have decided to run for public office, they have been required to resign their seat on the board.

I hope that this helps your readers understand what the Palmetto Bay Village Voice is striving to do. We believe that an informed electorate is essential to maintaining good government in our community.

Chet England, Palmetto Bay

Note: The writer is not related to Palmetto Bay mayoral candidate Peter England.

How to sound off

To submit your letter, e-mail, or write Soapbox, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Miami, FL 33172. Fax: 305-376-5287. Letters must address a specific LOCAL issue, and must be signed with a name, city or neighborhood, as well as a telephone number for verification purposes. Letters more than 350 words will not be accepted, and writers are limited to one letter every four weeks. Letters will run as space allows, and may be edited for length, style and clarity. The deadline for letters is noon Wednesday.