Speak Up

Higher standards

Re the Aug. 4 story by David Smiley, “Is there space in governor race for two wealthy, Jewish Democrats from South Florida?”

I object to using the Jewish religion to identify the two candidates running for Florida governor. The tone of this headline is offensive, with negative stereotyping. Would you use any other religion to identify a candidate in order to influence a vote?

The headline does not reflect objective, respectful reporting — nor does it meet the high standards of the Miami Herald.

Norma Rosenfeld,

Miami Beach

Stop the hurt

Re the Aug. 4 story “School probe finds little fault with handling of Cruz:” The consultant’s report will contribute to the discussion about how to prevent the next school shooting.

A school director in Ohio says that we should start with, “Schools should not hurt,” in our quest to redesign procedures at schools.

D. Scott Looney, headmaster of Hawken School in Cleveland focuses on grading (the A-to-F system began in 1897 at Mount Holyoke College). Studies show that, “Grades tend to reduce the motivation to learn.”

Students replace, “What more can I learn?” with “What do I need to do to get an A?” Looney then links pressure to perform with students’ mental health.

Stanford University’s provost observed that, “We are seeing students struggling with mental health concerns, ranging from self-esteem to depression, anxiety and … suicidal behavior.”

Looney proposes a new transcript based on achieving skills (like badges) to eliminate the pressure of GPA. See Looney’s project at Mastery.org; 150 private schools aim to eliminate grading.

Let’s look at how current structures and procedures, perhaps, have provoked mental anguish in students, and ask, “What can we change so that school stops hurting?”

Steve McCrea,

Fort Lauderdale

Revised confusion

I just reviewed the eight revisions to the Florida Constitution that will be on the November ballot.

This is available to the public on the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) web site, flcrc.gov. Each proposal is listed with a number and title, and ballot wording.

If you are confused about each proposal, click “Proposal Text: Web Page,” which provides the Florida Statute and, in red with strike outs, shows the proposed changes.

A bundled example — only three of the revisions are presented without bundling — is P 6006 Property Rights/Removal of Obsolete Provision/Criminal Statutes.

It is confusing, and the ballot wording is purposely deceptive. If we support the red deletions, are we allowing “aliens ineligible for citizenship” to own and inherit property?

Are we talking Russian oligarchs? North Korean high command? Who are these “aliens?” And that dilemma is just one part of this confusing revision triad. No surprise that the language is confusing, but so is the CRC explanation.

I’m a writer and poet, with a few years of college under my belt, and I can’t wrap my mind around the proposed language, which seems vague and deceptive. This will surely slow down the voting process.

And, many voters may skip the revisions altogether.

We need journalists, fluent in legalese, to translate these revisions for us, before the November election.

Pat Bonner Milone,


Bleak future

Lake Okeechobee is severely polluted and the coastlines are coated in green algae. Then there is the red tide. Florida’s environment has been abused and then ignored by Tallahassee. Now we all are paying the price. Tourism will be affected.

Now we hear that Washington and, specifically President Trump, are removing many EPA standards put in place to protect the environment. They need to come to Florida and see what those kinds of decisions can cause.

Politicians need to get out of the back pockets of interest groups and think of everyone’s future — before we don’t have one.

Debbie Graper,

Cutler Bay

Medical diversity

Reading the Herald’s Aug. 5 front section, I saw a two-page advertisement for the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute at Baptist Health South Florida. On page 2, there were photos of 89 doctors affiliated with this institution.

What caught my eye was that only six were women and none were black.

Not a pretty picture.

This lack of diversity, in 2018, is depressing and demoralizing.

Medical schools and hospitals must do much better in their recruiting efforts.

In the immortal words of Marvin Gaye, “What’s going on?”

It is time to right a wrong.

Monica Harvey,

Miami Shores

The wrong focus

Republicans have accused mainstream media of fake news. But the Aug. 4 story “Facing protesters, Putnam quips: ‘Hasta la vista, baby’ ” about the 2018 Candidate Forum, hosted by the Federated Republican Women of North Dade, oversimplified Adam Putnam’s speech, which was the last 10 minutes of the program. The story said, “Putnam railed against the media, very few of whom attended the event.” In addition to the Herald, camera crews from local English and Spanish television stations were in attendance.

Purporting to be a member of our group, someone delivered a profane quote regarding candidate Ron DeSantis, enabling the writer to depict our group as uneducated, fearful of competition and disorganized. Meanwhile, 15 of our candidates faced their rivals, sharing the same room in harmony. A dozen Hialeah police officers served as security and crowd control.

The writer exaggerated references to our president and the presence of “Red hats bearing the MAGA slogan,” to the point where even patriotic and GOP merchandise was branded Trump-themed. The Herald’s credibility as a news source was damaged by the inaccuracy of this article.

Ada Fennell, Hialeah

Not in soundbites

My thanks to the Miami Herald for the service provided in allowing us to hear all five candidates for the Democratic governor’s nomination. It was an excellent forum, and I appreciated the effort made.

The sound was uneven and for much of the program I found it difficult to hear the representative from the Palm Beach Post. But kudos to the panel and to the Herald for bringing us a chance to hear more than soundbites from the candidates.

Marilyn Caplin,

Coral Gables

Feeling assaulted

I suggest that all politicians stop sending text messages and robocalls asking for my vote. All they are doing is antagonizing me — and losing my vote. I don’t need this assault to help me to make up my mind.

Carlos Segrera, Miami