Speak Up

Beyond words

While I am not a native English speaker, I thought I understood basic words and concepts such as “emergency,” and “compromise.” I don’t seem to understand how Trump’s threat to declare a national emergency can be averted if a compromise could be reached between the White House and the Democratic congressional leadership.

All the dictionary definitions I checked define emergency as unforeseen, unexpected, sudden, and dangerous situation that requires “immediate attention and action” from interfering with normal activities that may cause serious injury and/or loss of life. An emergency, then, creates conditions beyond the ordinary.

The immediacy of the situation in a real emergency is such that there would be no time or room for discussing compromise," defined (using the same dictionaries) as an agreement where people accept something different, reached “by each side making concessions.”

Trump is ready to accept concessions from the Democrat leadership, but would not budge from his demand of $5.7 billion.

This is not a language issue; rather, it is presidential abuse of power!

Clara Vertes,


Time to shine

The false confrontation in Washington, D.C. cries out for action by a creative legislator. If the failure of our immigration system is the root of the argument over a border wall, it furnishes our senator, Marco Rubio, with an opportunity for bold intervention.

This is the time for him to revisit the introduction of the once bipartisan reform bill, change the foolish narrative now occupying center stage, and moot the false argument that only a wall can save us.

Stand up, Senator! It could be your time.

Terence Connor,

Coral Gables

Misplaced passion

President Trump wants a wall to stop immigrants from coming into our country and committing crimes. He cites a few random instances where crimes were committed. He held the hands of grieving mothers and embraced grieving fathers. He used plurals, but I doubt that number exceeded four, if that many.

This, he says, is why we need a wall, and he is passionate about it. Where is this passion to do something about all the mass shootings that have occurred in this country?

Thousand Oaks, California, 11/17/18, 13 dead, 12 injured; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 10./18/18, 11 dead, 6 injured; Parkland, Florida, 2/14/18, 17 dead, 17 injured; Sutherland Springs, Texas, 11/5/17, 27 dead, 20 injured; and the granddaddy of them all, Las Vegas, Nevada, 10/1/17, 59 dead, 422 injured.

The president’s response to all of these? ”Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.”

I guess the immigrants did not contribute enough to his campaign and the campaigns of other Republicans to warrant legislative action, as the NRA has done.

It is hard to believe that our country has come to this sorry pass.

Bruce Hartman,



Re the Jan. 7 letter, “Climate is fine.” Really? Dennis from Marathon, Florida?

Climate deniers like yourself and many others will be waist high in water in 2030.

Allen Lundy,

Cooper City

Why just beaches?

I applaud Florida State Senator Joe Gruters for his proposal to ban smoking on all public beaches in Florida. But why just beaches?

Surely, smoking litter and exposure to smoke are also issues at public parks. At large gatherings such as music festivals, it is often impossible to find an area where one is not exposed to tobacco smoke, and I’m sure that discarded smoking materials add to the cleanup costs after such events.

I urge the Senate to expand the provisions of Senator Gruters’ bill to include all public parks in Florida. With less that 15 percent of adults smoking, it’s time we end their tyranny on the rest of us, and make our beaches and parks places we can all enjoy without exposure to tobacco smoke and smoking litter.

Larry Weil,


Point of light

Commercials have been annoying people for a long time. With the billions spent on them, they must work.

The motives of the advertisers in most commercials are clear. But I don’t understand the motive behind one particularly annoying commercial: The ubiquitous FPL commercial.

FPL brags about its low rates. But they could be even lower if money wasn’t spent on the annoying commercials. So what’s the point? Most people have no choice but to use FPL’s product.

John Goehl,

Biscayne Park

Of two minds

The Jan. 4 letter to the editor, “Do the math,” shows excellent simple division.

Unfortunately, the division within our country today isn’t so simple as arithmetic.

Marshall Sober,

Bay Harbor Islands

Helpful staff

As the New Year begins, it seems like the ideal time to express my thanks to the staff of Jackson Memorial Hospital’s emergency room.

In early December, the mother of a family friend was transported to Jackson. Sadly, she passed away, but the kindness of the hospital staff made me proud to call Miami home. They gave the family every consideration, providing a place and time for the family to gather and say their final good-byes.

Thank you and God bless the staff of Jackson Memorial’s emergency room.

Mary E. Rice,


Runway model

Re the White House’s misguided terrorist numbers and the proper response.

As U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that 4,000 potential/questionable terrorists are coming into our country by other means, it is clear that the wall should not go on the U.S.-Mexican border but rather in the middle of airport runways.

That will stop them.

Bruce Shpiner,


Shutdown answer

Congress and the president should demonstrate that they are fully committed to their respective causes and not just spouting empty gestures, by donating the full amount of their salaries, slush funds, and other perks toward paying essential government employees throughout the government shutdown. This should be a permanent solution for any future government shutdowns.

Congress should then step aside and hire professional negotiators to resolve the wall funding and other outstanding challenges.

This egocentric Congress has already demonstrated that it has lost all objectivity and has ceased to perform its job in the public’s best interest.

Fleta Stamen,