Speak Up

Marred MAST

It was sadly ironic to read the Miami Herald’s front page story about racism at MAST Academy on June 6: D-Day. On this date in 1944, our soldiers, at great sacrifice, stormed the beaches in Normandy in a seminal attack to destroy one of history’s most despicable racists, whose mission was to liquidate all Juden Neger und Zigeuner (Jews Negroes and Gypsies).

The cemetery markers are there to honor the highest price paid by our soldiers to eradicate this scourge of mankind , i. e., racial and ethnic hatred.

These MAST students are supposed to be the elite? My hope is that the haters are a historically ignorant minority and, at that age, probably a product of their parents’ bigotry. Yet whatever the cause or the numbers, the school must attempt to cleanse itself of this stain.

L. Gabriel Bach, Miami

American paradox

Now that the U.S. government has imposed tariffs on various products from Canada, Mexico and several European countries, I am reminded of the opening sentence in Barbara W. Tuchman’s excellent book, The March of Folly: “A phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interest.”

Guillermo Rocha, Miami

Rockland in court

Richard Grosso’s May 30 opinion, “Governments must realize that all growth is not good,” argues for “Natural lands help prevent the worse effects of climate change and sea level rise. Paving them eventually means that taxpayers will have to pay the hefty costs of cleaning up after hurricanes ... Using public money to protect natural areas instead of encouraging their development is smart economics.”

On May 24, Judge Spencer Eig heard arguments for and against paving over environmentally rare Pine Rocklands near Zoo Miami, and whether the notices sent out by Miami-Dade County, UM, and Ram Realty to a fraction of residents affected, failed to accurately notify the public of the magnitude of this development.

We pray Judge Eig rules for our environment, endangered species, smart sustainable growth. Citizens didn’t “sit on this” for four years before protesting. UM and Ram went out of their way to deceive the general public of their true intentions, never revealing what this project was by sitting on the truth until the ink was dry.

Linda Wanshel, Miami

Rogue president

President Trump has decided to wrap himself in the American flag. Instead of mediating a situation in which something can be argued on both sides, he has chosen to attack kneeling football players and use the issue to feed his base, which he will sorely need when the Mueller hammer comes down.

Here is a man who disparaged and dismissed the sacrifice and sufferings of Senator John McCain; meanwhile, Trump took five deferments and evaded the Vietnam draft with the flimsiest of reasons. Here is a man who has spent his entire life wrapped up in feeding his ego, his purse, and his most base desires.

Now we are to believe that he is the great patriot? One can’t help but be reminded of the famous saying of Samuel Johnson, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

Donald Trump has dragged the election process, and the office of the American presidency, through the mud. Better men and women will follow, but the stain will always remain. What is also concerning is that he has degraded the process and paved the way for future demagogues to follow his example.

Anthony Liotti, Sunny Isles Beach

China deal

A reader recently complained that President Trump did not exert the “death penalty” on ZTE. The reader does not acknowledge that ZTE buys parts from U.S. suppliers.

But more importantly, the reader does not see that China plays an integral part in the soon-to-be negotiations with North Korea. Evidently, the reader is very shortsighted, has not ever negotiated a complex deal, or he just hates President Trump.

Victor J. LaPorta, Palmetto Bay

Cell disservice

I am a volunteer at Homestead Hospital and for the past few weeks, the AT&T cell service has not been working in the building. Staff and visitors are having to go outside to use their phones. The patients are out of luck because most of them are too sick to leave their rooms, let alone go outside.

Multiple staff members have called AT&T only to be told that not enough people have complained for a case to be opened. This is a very unfair situation and it is time for AT&T to step up and resolve this problem.

Linda Emory, Homestead

Public interest

The numerous past indiscretions by elected officials continue to plague our election system. I would propose a law that individuals running for public office will have all nondisclosure agreements (NDA’s) that they instigated be invalidated. It would be difficult to institute given that Congress and Trump probably have thousands, but it would be a big step to impose it on those running for president or vice president.

This would allow anyone with grievances ample time (after they announce their candidacy) to bring forth matters that the public would find relevant. It would also likely lead to a better crop of candidates because their lawyers would tell them that any skeletons in their closet would likely be brought out.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it would certainly allow the public to be better informed about their elected officials.

David W. Irvine, Miami

Sick at heart

As a 77 year old white woman who was raised in the South, it made me sick to my stomach when I read about the Fort Pierce jury awarding a black family four cents in damages for the life of Gregory Hill.

If the young men in my generation had been shot through a closed door when they got drunk and did something stupid inside their own home, most of them would not have lived to become grandfathers.

This award is a prime example of just how terrible racism has become today. Until the 2016 Republican campaign displayed people in hoods carrying torches, and even running over and killing someone who opposed them, I was living with the impression that, having elected our first African-American president, we were better than that.

So, Gregory Hill was drunk and may have done something stupid, inside his own garage, and then closed the door. “Apparently,” as Leonard Pitts wrote in his June 6 column, “that’s a capital crime if you’re black.”

Finding against the families wouldn’t have been fair, but at least it wouldn’t have sent an insulting message. What is this country becoming? We should be ashamed of ourselves!

Barbara Lewis, Davie