Letters for October 2, 2003

Kid Power

Bushwhacked in Fort Lauderdale:I agree with Tailpipe (September 25) that forcing out Fort Lauderdale City Manager Floyd Johnson looked like a city commission-led conspiracy. And, it now looks like the total cost of blaming Floyd Johnson for the commissioners' collective inability to manage the city's finances will be $308,875. The original motion to dump the city manager was made by Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson in the midst of a business discussion of the city's finances. Well, that is one ploy to get off the hot seat. It reminds me of another one of the commissioners' ill-timed missiles: when she made a motion to sue the Broward County Commissioners if they did not continue to expand the airport the way she wanted them to. Now, that's what I call a loose cannon. And don't you know it, the strong mayor wannabe, Jim Naugle, voted for that issue too. During all of this, it seems to me that only Commissioner Dean Trantalis and Vice Mayor Carlton Moore have shown the level of leadership needed during this difficult situation. Also, the target of the "Blame The City Manager" campaign -- Floyd Johnson -- did not panic and showed his professionalism throughout the assault.

My point for commissioners: Start managing the city in a professional manner, and put aside your petty political differences and aspirations.

Ed Summers

via the Internet

Play ball, you munchkins!: I just wanted to write a quick note of congratulations on Rebecca Meiser's September 18 story about the lack of recess in schools. I have been speaking about this with local public schools and parents, and I have found it to be a key issue. I remember having P.E. every single day growing up and was amazed to find out children today typically have it on a rotating schedule at best. The side effects, from increased anxiety to obesity, of not having a certain level of activity can have negative health, emotional, and economic impacts on children.

That being said, I recently changed careers from running a technology consulting firm to owning a child development company called Playball. I would be more than willing to participate in any efforts to help further the cause.

Derick Wilder

Plantation

Or free him to ramble:Having read Ronald Mangravite's article titled "Reality Theater" in the September 18 issue of New Times, I'm responding to what I believe to be the point, namely that America's current crisis makes civil political debate impossible, allows protest to be called treason, and dissuades people from listening to one another. I agree with the premise that power is a corrupting influence on human beings. And power is disguised by many different masks. Some of the masks take on the appearance of money, fame, scholarship, altruism, political leadership, and others not here listed.

I also agree with the premise that we, as human beings, measure other human beings by our own yardstick. More directly stated: A dishonest person quickly suspects others of being dishonest, and those hungry for power quickly suspect others of being hungry for power. Those who behave in a self-serving way quickly suspect others of behaving in self-serving ways.

Can we accept the idea that only those people who are personally honest, sincere in their stated reasons for their pursuit of power, knowledgeable of past history and are capable envoys, can be perceived as trustworthy arbiters of policy? If there is the hint of a flaw in personal character, who among us will forgive the personal history of a person that gives rise to those personal flaws? And in order to allow the emergence of political leadership, to what degree do we need to have all the details of a politician's personal history?

Politicians are human beings. Are they corrupted by ambition? And does the introduction of money or ego add to an element of confusion? In my opinion, the more variables there are in the mix, the greater the public's confusion over the real issues.

If we can be more honest about our stated motives, clarity will be introduced into public discourse. Acceptance of the simple fact that personal weaknesses are character traits for all human beings will open the door a little wider to forgiveness. There are some people who have more character weaknesses than others. What are minor transgressions and what are major transgressions?

The issue of forgiveness is a topic worthy of public debate. What transgressions can be accorded forgiveness? Who amongst us is not damaged by life?

Robert Olkin

North Miami

Or maybe a migration morass:All the people of the press should use their power of influence in a good way and make all readers aware of the baloney out there. It is utterly pathetic that we have been subjected to such things as a shoddy immigration service ("Forgotten 9/11," Bob Norman, September 11). Perhaps a gentle reminder of Pearl Har- bor would jog a few memories. Did it not happen because the United States got lazy and did not properly protect itself?

Darla Schwerin

Via the Internet

Cure Stupidity? Dr. Phil?: Thanks for filling in the blanks on Mohamed Atta's activities and time line in the United States. I think Dr. Phil needs to expand his efforts to fight obesity in America to include stupidity.

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