Speak Up

The GEO Group’s service maligned

The Miami Herald’s online May 2 opinion column by Fabiola Santiago, “Who benefits from Florida’s sweeping bid to turn police into ICE agents? Big GOP donor,” mischaracterizes The GEO Group’s role as a government service provider. Attacks aimed at our operations are politically motivated, misplaced and deliberately mischaracterize what we do and don’t do.

The contractual services we provide today are no different than the services we provided — for eight years — under the Obama Administration, and under Democrat and Republican administrations since 1987.

Immigration policies, including those governing ICE, are decided by policymakers.

Our company plays absolutely no role in passing, setting, or advocating for or against criminal justice or immigration laws at the local, state or federal levels.

Like any contractor engaged in public-private partnerships, we follow and adhere to strict standards and oversight set by our government partners.

Our 23,000 employees are proud of our record in providing safe, humane, culturally-sensitive environments for those assigned to our care.

We welcome the opportunity to have an open dialogue with anyone, including Miami Herald staff, to address the common mischaracterizations of our company’s role and record as a government service provider.

David J. Venturella,

senior vice president,

business development,

The GEO Group, Boca Raton

Derby dilemma

Greg Cote’s May 7 Sports opinion, “Stewards’ ruling stains Derby forever,” is way off base; the stewards did the right thing.

Luis Saez veered his horse to the right, in the path of two other horses, a move that could have had tragic results.

The steward had it right, regardless of the magnitude of the race. Don’t blame the steward, don’t blame the horse; blame the jockey.

Fernando Cuellar,


Clearing the air

The April 29 news article, “Trump appointee to NOAA has history of fighting the National Weather Service” is incorrect in many ways. I have not fought the National Weather Service. The opposite is true.

The preeminent American Meteorological Society honored me in 2014 for “outstanding, highly principled leadership of the American weather industry over five decades and fostering strong cooperation between private sector and government weather services.”

Additionally, the four past directors of the National Weather Service, spanning from 1988 to 2012, all endorsed me to become the head of its parent agency, NOAA.

The story states this is the second time this year AccuWeather faces accusations. This is false. I have not even worked there this year.

It is true that I do not have a formal science degree, but I was a post-doctoral fellow for two years at Penn State’s Center for Air Environment Studies and was CEO of the world’s best known weather science company, AccuWeather.

NOAA has plenty of expert scientists; what it needs is the organization leadership I can bring.

Barry Lee Myers,

NOAA administrator


State College, PA

Tax hurts seniors

In the April 29 Herald article, “FL lawmakers pass broad healthcare changes easing hospital rules, adding drug imports,” State Rep. Ray Rodrigues said, “What happens in Florida gets noticed by the rest of the country.”

As a former nurse and hospital administrator, I’m appalled that Congress has failed to suspend the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) and protect seniors from rising premiums. If the tax goes into effect in 2020, seniors with Medicare Advantage plans — including me — could see premiums increase by $500 per couple each year.

My family works hard for what we earn. That financial burden would change the way we live. My husband is a Vietnam veteran living with the after-effects of Agent Orange exposure. Our representatives in Congress should be fighting for him — not raising the cost of his care. U.S. Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio should step up and stop the HIT. Senior health care isn’t a game.

Teresa Botts,


Money is power

Venezuelan leader Juan Guaidó does not need American or other foreign troops to regain authority in Venezuela. He just needs a Free World commitment to have a plan to pay the deserters more money to come over to his side!

Maduro gets money to pay his troops from oil and foreign (read Cuban/Russian) support. We are promising nothing and have no plan for a Democratic/capitalistic transition that pays the military to defect.

The secret to the stability and growth of Cuba and Nicaragua is the overt joint military ownership/licensing of hotels and out right majority ownership of major businesses. Think of our military owning the Fontainebleau and Disney hotels, and a couple of Hiltons. Sure would cut down on our income taxes!

We do not need armies, just banks to pay the troops. Rockets and bombs are obsolete. Money talks and is the real weapon to win in the 21st century!

Joseph Mazzarese,

Miami Beach

Ticket search

What a terrible waste of time, energy, money — and a win for Trump. The mass of Democratic candidates will deride each other for the next year and a half.

Forget primaries. Pick the ticket now — like a Pope is selected. Put all those running in a room with no windows and lock the door. When they agree on a ticket (and hopefully a platform), let them out to campaign against our carnival barker president, instead of each other.

Mark Zientz, Miami

Driving us crazy

I moved to Florida in 1979. I was already an experienced driver, so navigating a car on wide roads in generally good weather was fairly simple. About five years ago, Florida became the third most-populous state. With more cars on the road, driving became difficult, unpleasant, and dangerous on a daily basis.

As our country descends into partisanship and division, the hostility that is often displayed in politics seems to be reflected in increasingly aggressive driving.

Instead of focusing on common ground, whether driving on the same roads or living in the same country, it feels like everything is a competition.

Either we become community-oriented or we continue to fight one another.

What do you choose?

Cynthia Harnist, Plantation

Scott mails it in

I wonder if I am the only Floridian wondering if our junior U.S. Senator is working on behalf of his constituents in Florida.

Ollie Daniels,

Pembroke Pines