Speak Up

Federal funds

Re the June 5 letter “Hurricane-ready:” It appears that state Sen. Rene Garcia is on board with the state accepting FEMA funds from the federal government for hurricane relief.

But can Floridians also count on him to fight for accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid? Doing so will provide health insurance to thousands of economically challenged Floridians, protecting them and their families from potentially devastating healthcare costs.

Also, Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago did not “suggest that Gov. Scott ignored a storm.” On the contrary, she suggested that Scott played up the storm for political purposes.

Ken Clark, Coral Gables

Get involved

Feb. 14 is a day that forever will weigh heavy on the hearts of each member of the small, tight-knit community of Parkland, the town that raised me.

Out of the darkness of that day have come beautiful movements and organizations honoring the lives of those lost: Change the Ref, founded by Manuel and Patricia Oliver, parents of Joaquin Oliver; Meadow’s Movement, founded by Andrew and Hunter Pollack, father and brother of Meadow Pollack; the March For Our Lives movement; and many others.

In a nation plagued with school shootings, we too often witness jarring, polarized political debate that divides, rather than unites, us. I implore all Americans to engage with these movements and listen. Each hopes to heal and empower our country to be a better, safer place in their own unique way. It is the least we can do to honor and remember the 17 souls taken away from us far too soon.

Chris Nordstrom, Parkland

Dangerous drive

Everywhere I drive in Miami, I am behind someone using a cell phone. They are easy to spot: weaving back and forth, driving slowly, not moving when the light turns green because they are dialing.

If the police began a drive to end this dangerous phone use, we would all be safer. Just park on a corner and wait. They’ll be giving tickets right and left.

Ardis Bourland, Palmetto Bay

Beach vote

Miami Beach District 5 voters, it is up to us to really “drain the swamp.” Early voting starts June 9; it’s easy and convenient. Eileen Higgins is our choice. She is someone who cares about our district and is not associated to any ex-government official. Just vote.

Manuel Pardo, Miami Beach

End sugar subsidies

Congress is once again considering the farm bill, in which many taxpayers in South Florida might show little interest. The legislation should include the elimination one of the most wasteful government programs devised: sugar subsidies.

The possible termination of this program is vitally important to South Florida for many reasons. It is a classic example of a reverse “Robin Hood,” in this case, a few sugar producers get rich and American taxpayers essentially pay the bill.

A steady number of candy makers (because of the inflated costs) move jobs to countries such as the Philippines and Guatemala. The job loss is another negative result of the sugar program. The inflated subsides also increase the cost of candy products and baked goods to American consumers.

In Florida, the long term environmental damage to the Everglades from sugar cane farming produces pollution and impedes the natural flow of water southward. A bipartisan coalition in Congress could truly serve American taxpayers, workers, businesses, consumers and our environment by ending the expensive federal sugar subsidies.

Timothy Seale, Kendall

NCAA softball

I’m disappointed that the Herald has not covered the Softball World Series. The young women who participate in the sport are amazing athletes and demonstrate excellent sportsmanship. They are a positive influence for young girls and deserve acknowledgment for their achievements.

Florida State is playing in the championship finals for the first time. I’m a proud mother and grandmother of Florida Gators, but I think we should all support the FSU team in their efforts.

Kathleen Leitner, Miami Lakes

A better Miami

The final paragraph in the Herald’s June 5 editorial, “Supreme Court punts on gay vs. religious rights,” ends with the comment, “‘No Negroes allowed,” “No Jews need apply” still burn within the memories of many spurned Americans.”

And still does with me, too. I arrived to this wonderful country from Cuba with a permanent-resident visa in January 1964. I was shocked to find that some of the apartment buildings for rent in downtown Miami had a sign in capital letters, next to the water fountains marked “white” and “black,” No Cubans. No Blacks. No Pets.

I am proud that, along with many other Cubans, I worked hard, washing dishes, packing tomatoes in Perrine and doing other menial but decent jobs. We helped make Miami what it is today — a cosmopolitan city that even Europeans envy.

I give thanks to the good Lord that there are no more signs. As a Christian, I continue to pray and hope for a day when there is no more discrimination of any kind in our country.

Hugo Castro, Miami

Reverential act

Now that Fox News mistakenly used a photo of an Eagles player kneeling in prayer before a game to illustrate a story on President Trump rescinding his invitation to the Eagles because some players kneeled during the national anthem, we can allow that both actions by the players are indeed very much alike.

Both are reverential — one seeking an intervention by a supreme being, the other by a democratic civil society.

Ralph Remis, Miami

Déjà vu

Regarding the forceful separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, I tried to think back to when this practice had been used before. Then it struck me: Nazi Germany.

Is history repeating itself so soon?

Mark Schwartz, Miami