Letters to the Editor

Judge’s ruling is good for Miami-Dade commuters

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On Aug. 9, Leon County Circuit Court Judge John C. Cooper ruled that the state of Florida’s attempt to dissolve the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) is in direct conflict with Miami-Dade County’s constitutionally protected ability to make home-rule decisions.

In the 1990s, Miami was experiencing overwhelming population growth, but the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) was unable to provide adequate road improvements and expansion to meet demand.

Local political and business leaders, including the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, saw the need for a local, self-sustainable expressway authority.

The county paid FDOT about $93 million to obtain operational and financial control of its five expressways.

During the most recent legislative session, there was a push to convert MDX into a state agency. The intentions — reduced tolls for commuters — were admirable.

However, this resulted in the dissolution of MDX, a violation of Miami-Dade’s home-rule charter, and a lack of transition plan to the newly created authority.

The legislation created the Greater Miami Expressway Agency (GMX), forced it to lower tolls and limited its ability to increase tolls.

While this sounds like a good idea, in practice, Moody’s, Fitch and S&P all reduced MDX/GMX’s stellar bond rating because holders no longer had confidence in the terms of their investments.

This means higher interest rates, less capital for road projects and less money for road maintenance and expansion — unless we want to tax ourselves more to do it.

The court’s decision will likely be appealed by the state.

The Chamber continues to support MDX and our constitutional right to home rule.

Alfred Sanchez,

president and CEO,

Greater Miami

Chamber of Commerce

Checks don’t work

President Trump’s endorsement of background checks for gun control will not help curb the violence that plagues our country.

Most of the senseless massacres were committed by people who had no prior criminal history.

Republicans are wrong in saying that people, not guns, commit murders.

If the assault weapons and magazines had not been available, there is a high probability that the mass murders in Parkland, Orlando, El Paso, Las Vegas, etc., would not have been committed.

The public should only be permitted to have a hand gun or a hunting rifle.

Lillian A. Harrison,

Miami

Barr’s outrage

In no way do I minimize the heinous sexual abuse that Jeffrey Epstein perpetrated against underage girls. But I find the attention given to his case, especially in light of his suicide, exemplifies how different perpetrators receive different treatment.

From the outset, Epstein was granted a sweetheart deal. Rather than sex trafficking, he pleaded to a lesser charge, serving only 13 months with outrageous work-release privileges. None of his victims were notified about the plea deal, violating the Crime Victim’s Rights Act.

Outraged at Epstein’s suicide, Attorney General William Barr promises to thoroughly investigate Epstein’s co-conspirators and enablers, and those accountable for improperly supervising Epstein while he was jailed.

But where was Barr’s outrage and thorough investigation after the release of the Mueller report? Protecting President Trump and minimizing the findings of the report, Barr framed a version that Trump used to declare his full exoneration.

Surely, the ramifications of the Mueller report and the systematic obstruction of justice by Trump and this administration deserved the kind of attention Barr promises in handling Epstein’s case.

All Americans have been affected by the assault on our democracy from Trump and his enablers; Barr’s selective outrage strikes me as hypocritical.

Sheila Gewirtzman,

Plantation

We’re always great

During the XVIII Pan American Games that just concluded in Peru, I celebrated the 60th anniversary of my participation in the third Pan American Games in Chicago in 1959, as a member of Cuba’s national basketball team.

We had hopes and desires, but our dreams were dashed by a powerful Team USA, which included Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Bob Boozer and other luminary college stars.

A great American team dominated the Games in Lima this month in the same fashion. The team has been dominating around the globe year after year; a true representative of the greatest country in the world, which has never stopped being great.

To say that we need to “Make America Great Again” is redundant.

Nelson Benedico,

Miami

Gun control

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and his cohorts, who refuse to strengthen gun laws, including background checks and a ban on assault weapons, are as guilty as the men who massacred the people in El Paso and Dayton.

Ellen Abramson,

North Miami

Global security

I live in a small town, where the largest assertion of national security lies in miles of steel — the epitome of safety from murderers and rapists preparing to storm the southern border in a “Hispanic invasion.”

This is rhetoric not only from Patrick Crusius, the El Paso shooting suspect, but also from President Trump himself.

It is easy to see there is a problem with this mentality on national security. But what is less visible is the most obvious solution. National security comes from abroad as much as it comes from within.

Robert Gates, former secretary of defense, once said that, “Development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers.”

Wars shouldn’t be fought with soldiers, but with development and diplomacy. Defense through development works, especially when the enemy in mind isn’t a single country, but dangerous ideologies that arise from poverty.

The United States must be an international leader in improving living conditions for the poorest people around the world.

Mark Warburton,

Gainesville

Negative press

Miami Herald sports reporter Adam Beasley wrote a lot of negatives on the Miami Dolphins first preseason game. Terribly negative.

The Dolphins played with a new head coach, new coaches, two new quarterbacks and a team that played like a team. A good start for the first preseason game.

Coach Brian Flores said he was going to build a team, and it appears he has done so (though it’s too early to judge). Despite this, Beasley fills the sports section with criticism rather than writing about the positives.

The first preseason game was impressive for an entirely new Dolphins roll-out. If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything!

Edmund J. Mazzei, Sr.,

Coral Gables

Hushed bells

We are watching the death throes of the last vestiges of freedom in Hong Kong.

In ancient times, the Romans went to the Colosseum and enjoyed watching people succumb to violence and power. Now we watch, unaffected and often uninterested, as on television 8 million people are beaten, imprisoned and subdued into silent suffering.

The business world needs stability, so they never send to know for whom the bell tolls.

The only bell that matters is the one that announces the closing of the markets for the day.

Roberto Romero,

Snellville, GA

Still fighting

I want to thank the Miami Herald for the fine work on the Jeffrey Epstein story, which cuts across many levels.

Today, we have few institutions keeping the game fair. But the press is still in our corner. Thank you — and keep punching!

Jerry Fitz,

Nokomis

Predictable ending

The events leading to Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide remind me of the 1981 book by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez — “Chronicle of a Death Foretold.”

John F. Smithies,

Coral Gables

Clueless parents?

I have not read anything about the parents of the underage girls who were victimized by Jeffrey Epstein.

How come, if they were away for long periods of time, the parents or other relatives didn’t take any action — like trying to find them?

Also, these victims were recruited to give men massages. The parents didn’t suspect anything?

Please tell me what is missing from this puzzle?

Rita Alvarez,

Miami

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