Letters to the Editor

Increasing Florida’s minimum wage will hurt workers

The proposed ballot initiative to raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour has a lot of feel-good appeal, but behind all the warm and fuzzies lies a plethora of unintended consequences. An increase like this would have disastrous impacts on businesses and individuals alike.

If passed, this amendment would result in a 77 percent increase in labor costs in six years. Additionally, the proposed ballot initiative does nothing to address Florida’s tip credit, which is frozen at $3.02.

If this proposed amendment makes it onto the ballot and is passed by voters, tipped employees will earn a cash wage of $11.98-an-hour. The majority of Florida’s businesses cannot afford that increase, and the hospitality industry is no different. Business owners will be forced to find solutions to control costs, and these solutions will have a direct impact on Florida’s 1.4 million hospitality workers. Solutions include reducing the number of employees and the hours that remaining employees work and seeking labor alternatives like automation.

When business owners are forced to make these tough choices to keep their doors open, everyone is hurt. Entry-level and opportunity jobs become more difficult to find, and the path to the middle class narrows. The men and women of the hospitality industry are the faces of Florida’s tourism industry. It is imperative that we preserve their jobs and protect the opportunities afforded to those who ensure our state is warm and welcoming for guests.

We are already seeing a move to automation in states that have drastically increased their minimum wage, so it is more critical than ever that we band together to protect Florida’s hospitality jobs. Now is the time to act. While a $15-an-hour minimum wage may sound appealing, it is certainly not good for the people.

Carol B. Dover

president and CEO of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association

Tallahassee

Sister Jeanne

While not in the league of her Elián Gonzalez decision or as impactful as building Barry University’s campus, for me, Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin was a more personal influence.

When I was appointed to her President’s Advisory Council on Jewish Studies in the late ’80s, I was so overwhelmed by her purity of purpose that I left the meeting and wrote a check.

Subsequently serving as chair of that Council, I was taken by how she closely held the Jewish community to her heart and worked mightily at interfaith relations. Her dancing at the Palm Bay Club was a charming fundraising gimmick that I saw.

Her humility was evident in a small, consistent gesture: She preferred warm cola because that’s how she had to drink it in her early days of ministering to Native American youngsters.

Her heart and humanity were always with the people.

Norma A. Orovitz

Bay Harbor Islands

Is war imminent?

The campaign season is upon us and, coincidentally, Donald Trump seems to be inching — if not broad jumping — his way into a war with Iran.

Donald Trump is a liar. After his election, I was concerned about our having to send our soldiers into a war based on his word. Now here we are, very close to that nightmare scenario.

I do not trust the Iranian leadership, but with Trump wanting to play to his supporters any way he can and with his track record of fear mongering, hate mongering and lying, I trust him and his administration even less. I cannot think of a much worse situation for our country to be in.

Leon Botkin, Miami

Affordable homes

Re the Miami Herald’s affordable-housing project and the Realtor who wrote the June 19 letter “Cost of homes: I’m always amazed how some people focus on the details and miss the entire forest.

With an average household income of $60,000, at $540 square feet, that average family can afford 518 square feet in Coral Gables, or 20 percent bigger than my garage in Kendall.

The point was well taken by the Herald: the average family today can’t afford the average home in Miami-Dade.

Marcelo Salup,

Coral Gables

This is no shelter

The Herald’s choice of words, “shelter” and “camp” for the children’s prison in Homestead is misleading. They lead leads your readers to assume that this facility might be a beneficial place for lost children when in fact, most of these children are kept from relatives in the United States who could truly shelter them.

Would you have called Auschwittz a “shelter” during World War II? Shelters and camps are voluntary places that help people. The inhabitants are allowed to leave.

The migrant children’s detention center in Homestead is a result of fear, hatred, greed and racism. The profits from the private center are the primary incentive for keeping it open.

Kudos to U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and others for calling attention to one dangerous aspect of this travesty. Instead of working on an evacuation plan, the leaders are requesting approval for an increase so they can detain up to 3,200 children.

Moving 3,000 teenagers quickly will be a challenging task. We might have learned a lesson from Hurricane Katrina.

A place with fences, guards and guns is a prison, not a shelter.

Sarah Marter, Key Largo

Fear vs. duty

Scot Peterson, the deputy who “chose” to not confront an attacker armed with an AR-15 inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, had no choice.

Fear is designed to protect us, to keep us alive. Each of us responds differently to the area of brains that launches our reactions to threatening situations. Peterson’s brain no doubt recognized that he would face death by going up against a weapon of that magnitude.

This is pure physiology, not cowardice or any of the various other emotionally driven labels thoughtlessly assigned to this man’s natural response to a deadly threat.

Rick Soskis, Havana, Fl.

Forget America

I wonder what Neil Diamond thinks of President Trump’s immigration policy: It’s not “Coming to America.”

Jim Rudolph,

Miami

A vote for Biden

I am a 73-year-old white male. The world I grew up in was different in many ways from the world in which I now live. I, too, am different. The know-it-all teenager became a husband, then a father, then a grandfather. Over the past half century, I have experienced many things that educated me, changed me and altered my opinions. I am a different and, I hope, a wiser person than I was 10 or 30 years ago. If we don’t change and grow, what is the purpose of living?

Joe Biden is being attacked for positions he took or opinions he expressed earlier in his career. But they are irrelevant. The positions he takes and the opinions he holds today are all that count.

That he was able to work with fellow congressmen from across the aisle, however hateful or distasteful their public positions or opinions might have been is a sign of maturity and pragmatism that this Congress desperately needs. It is because people like Biden were able to talk to, and work with those segregationist bigots, that civil rights eventually became the law of the land.

In an ideal world, I would like a presidential candidate whose youth and idealism could inspire me to imagine a new and even better America than the one I know and love. But given the reality of the world we live in, I want a president who can take us back to a world where truth and decency still count.

I want to go with Joe.

Patrick Alexander

Coral Gables

Camps Redux

The harsh criticism being heaped upon Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her use of the term “concentration camp” underscores the fact that the term, which will forever be linked to the Nazi genocidal infrastructure of the 1940’s, was euphemistic from the start.

Those “camps” should have been referred to as “extermination” or “death” camps. But someone chose the milder phrase “concentration camp,” which describes any open-space detention facility (including the areas where Japanese Americans were “interned” during that same time period), and now the unspoken semantic rule is that, if a place doesn’t resemble Auschwitz, you are grossly insensitive if you call it a “concentration camp.”

I am willing to presume that Ocasio-Cortez was unaware of this rule. She was, however, almost certainly seeking the benefit of the negative connotation that most of us attach to the term “concentration camp.” On balance, I think she is receiving excessive criticism for her use of this term.

Marc Rohr, Plantation

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