Letters to the Editor

Children’s advocate Gus Barreiro touched many lives

Gus Barreiro left us too soon, but his spirit will be with us always.

As a former state legislator, longtime juvenile justice advocate, community leader in South Florida and member of The Children’s Trust family, Gustavo “Gus” Barreiro’s life was filled with enough accomplishments to fill any resume. But that wasn’t the half of it.

If you want to get a true measure of Gus’ life, all you have to do is speak with those who knew him, from his family and friends, to his colleagues or any children he crossed paths with throughout his life.

It wasn’t only that he was always ready to lend a helping hand to worthy causes, whether it was his job or not, and especially if it had to do with helping children. It was how he did it.

He could be funny, stern, gregarious, ideological or practical. He would approach problems in a variety of ways, but no matter the size or complexity, more often than not, Gus was a man who would bring solutions.

Gus passed away unexpectedly on August 16, and though at 60 he lived a life filled with love and empathy, those whose lives he touched will no doubt feel cheated that he was taken too soon, with so much warmth and strength still left to impart.

Despite leaving us too early, Gus’ legacy of giving and advocacy will stay with us forever. For those who want to honor that legacy, Gus’ family and The Children’s Trust, where he worked for the last four years, have designated a memorial fund in his name at the Voices For Children Foundation. For more information visit www.TheChildrensTrust.org.

A celebration of Gus’ life will take place Tuesday at noon at St. Brendan Catholic Church, 8725 SW 32nd St., Miami. We also encourage the public to visit our social media platforms and share stories about Gus as much to honor the work he did as to inspire others to live life with Gus’ same generosity and giving spirit.

James Haj,


The Children’s Trust,


Big wheel

Re the Aug. 11 story “It’s a Ferris wheel on steroids:” Excellent article! SkyRise Miami will finally provide us with a skyline that will be recognizable worldwide. It will feature three observation decks and several recreational facilities. Some say it will become known as “Miami’s Eiffel Tower.”

So why in the world do we need a Ferris wheel right next to SkyRise, which will detract from what would have been a beautiful, classy, iconic skyline? We don’t.

But hey, if we’re going to act and look like a bush-league town, let’s do it right. I propose a corn-dog concession, a house of mirrors and a merry-go-round next to the wheel.

What’s next, a roller coaster? The possibilities are endless.

Peter R. Evans,


Media manipulation

President Trump’s greatest asset in his bid for reelection may not be a vibrant economy, but rather a submissive media.

The White House’s refusal to conduct daily press briefings and the elimination of time-honored presidential news conferences have left the print and broadcast media craving for news content. The press at times has allowed its thirst for information to compromise a fundamental journalistic principle: Serve as watchdog over government.

In a democracy, the government should never dictate or restrict the news. The president’s chokehold on the flow of information, through strategic tweets and other methods, lets him control the narrative of the day.

The press has a choice, either reassert its constitutional authority or live with Trump’s label for a hallowed institution, Fake News, for an additional four years.

Jim Paladino, Tampa

Endless captivity

Along with atrocities occurring within prison walls, a new villain preys on isolated women: sex trafficking. Women imprisoned for prostitution or drug use are being contacted by unknown men who shower them with attention.

Most victims are alone with no caregiver, money or place to go after release. With inmate information posted online hours after arrest, hungry traffickers hunt websites for women who fit their preferences. The women open up to them, believing the attention is coming from an understanding individual, when in reality they’re being groomed by traffickers.

Months later, victims are released from prison into the keeping of pimps who control them with drugs and violence. The sweet dreams they were promised in letters become a plaguing nightmare. The victims are squeezed into a house with other women and sent to the corner while high off crack and desperation.

The victims are arrested again, labeled as prostitutes and sentenced to suffer a life in slavery. This outcome is preventable if the government improves guidelines for release, and keeps female prisoners safe when they are behind bars.

Jaynah Geneus,


Guns and Hammer

National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer embodies the misguided priorities of gun advocates in Florida and the nation. She urges legislators to consider the economic impact of restricting gun purchases above the saving of lives.

Apparently, our former governor, Sen. Rick Scott, “offered significant financial incentives” to 150 gun manufacturers to come to Florida.

Hammer threatens that even putting an amendment to prohibit the sale of assault rifles on the ballot will result in manufacturers leaving the state.

I say let them go, and let Marion Hammer go with them.

Marilyn Himmel,


Our kleptocracy

While there is bipartisan support to secure our elections, Senate leader Mitch McConnell is still refusing a vote. Why would anyone in Congress not call him out, with his ties to Russian-funded projects?

Why do Rep. Ted Deutch and Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott continue to support feckless liars and bottom feeders like McConnell and President Trump, whose sole intent is to fatten their pockets while destroying our democracy? What is this blind allegiance all about? Are all of my elected officials in on it?

Intelligence agencies have confirmed that we were, and are, being attacked on all fronts by the Russians. They don’t need guns or tanks, they have puppets in our government, and social-media moguls who stoke fear and prejudice across the country by allowing misinformation funded by Kremlin-connected oligarchs.

The fall of American democracy is on Deutch, Rubio and Scott. And we won’t forget. I urge my elected officials to do something now.

Michele Tillman,

Fort Lauderdale

Money over life

Is this a time when we place the earnings of a gun manufacturer above the value of a human life? For what purpose — other than military or police — is it valid to own a weapon that kills so many in just a few seconds?

Patricia A. Temple,

Coral Gables

Corporate charter

Re the Aug. 16 letter “KIPP gives low-income students a boost:” Why did the writer forget to include how many millions of dollars he’s gotten paid as executive director of the nonprofit KIPP Miami?

Just asking for the poor kids who have no choice but a corporate charter because their neighborhood public school has been shuttered by corrupt politicians.

Enrique Baloyra,

Biscayne Park

Boycott Shell

Last week, workers at a Shell petrochemical facility in Pittsburgh had to choose between attending a Trump rally or losing some of their pay for the week. This is outrageous.

Shell deserves to be boycotted for this action. No corporation or small business has the right to force their employees to support a specific political party or candidate.

Joyce Klein, Hollywood

Protected speech

Re the Aug. 18 letter “Freedoms betrayed:” Perhaps the writer should check to see if the First Amendment also protects President Trump’s condemnation of the speech of U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.

Conrad Planas,


Get over it

Leonard Pitts’ Aug. 18 opinion, “Ew! It’s such a bummer to have to hear about all that slavery stuff,” was on point. How sad that so many people complain about being subjected to lectures on slavery.

If they cannot learn from history tours and hope for a better tomorrow — and would rather listen to fake news — Pitts has a righteous response: “Well, frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Lynda Schomer Mecoli,