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Letters for September 12, 2002

He's a heckuva nice and responsible guy: This letter is in reply to Bob Norman's September 5 article on former state Sen. John Grant, "Lapsed Ethics." First, I am a liberal Democrat in Broward County. Second, I have never met or spoken with Sen. Grant, or any of his staff. Third, I was never asked by anyone to give or donate money or help John Grant in any way.

In the year 2000, I had a claims bill that went before the Senate finance committee. Then-Sen. Grant was a member of that committee. The bill followed unanimous jury and appellate court decisions that had awarded me $850,000 from the Broward County School Board. Sen. Grant asked to see all the information on my case and bill before making a decision. According to my attorney, Scott Mager, Sen. Grant not only took up my cause, but gave a beautiful speech on my behalf; he then went on to introduce an amendment in my claims bill to increase the amount to $1 million. Sen. Grant was incensed with what the school board did to me in 1992 and throughout this case. His amendment failed.

I am the little guy. I could never be of any help to Sen. Grant. I was fighting a huge school system, and the sole political thing for Sen. Grant to do would have been to support the school board. Instead, the senator chose to help and fight for the little guy. He chose to uphold a unanimous jury and appellate decision. He chose to even go further when he studied all the details of the case. He chose right over power. To me, he will always be a hero.

As far as Gov. Bush putting former Sen. John Grant on the Florida Commission on Ethics, I believe no better choice is possible. In Yiddish, the term for Sen. John Grant would be mensch, meaning a good and decent person.

Andrew Scott Greene
Oakland Park

But his commission stinks: Regarding "Lapsed Ethics," I continue to be outraged by the actions of the state Ethics Commission. It recently decided not to punish Broward County Commissioner [Josephus] Eggelletion for violating state law by misusing his county-issued credit card. It seems members took no action because he reimbursed the county after having been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. This is analogous to forgiving a bank robber who returns the stolen money to the bank after he has been captured.

Several years ago I filed a complaint against Mayor Bill Griffin of Pompano Beach with the commission. After it dismissed the complaint because of insufficient evidence, I presented new evidence that the commission did not have before or which they had ignored. Then I requested the commission to reconsider the decision. I was advised they had no rule that would permit them to reopen the case. Every court in our country will review new material evidence, but not our state ethics commission.

In short, the public should not expect either the state attorney's office or the ethics commission to properly investigate and punish wrongdoers.

Edward Stanton
Pompano Beach

From the subtropical north country : I commend Felicia Levine for a very interesting article ("Across the Great Divide," August 29). As a member of The Gender Society of The Palm Beaches and an acquaintance of many of the persons mentioned, I'd like to applaud her sensitive and accurate approach. Save, of course, her description of Gloria as looking like Shirley MacLaine. If she ever wishes to do a follow-up, I'm sure we'd welcome her visit up north to our group.

Jannet Moore
Singer Island

Regier for Pope: Bob Norman's writing on the religious right ("De Regier,"August 29) is great. I would like his work on the front page of The Herald, especially now that Department of Children and Families nominee Jerry Regier is doing a public relations campaign and joking to the press, with Jeb as his straight man.

What's really scary is that the Cuban right wing and the old military right in North Florida have filled the Legislature with right-wing conservatives. What I thought was overlooked as a story was Jeb picking for the Florida Supreme Court Raul Cantero, the grandson of former Cuban President Fulgencio Batista. What, there were no Mussolinis around for the job?

Lou Bondi
via the Internet

Do those little things pen letters? I just read Susan Eastman's August 22 article, "Net Free," in the New Times. It is very good. I really enjoyed it.

Susan is a very good writer... her descriptions are vivid. Thanks from all butterfly lovers. My school kids and teachers are still very much interested in butterflies and other pollinators as I begin my fifth year of traveling from school to school teaching conservation of "the little things that run the world." Thanks again.

Colleen Wiggins
Royal Palm Beach

Lepidopterists galore: Susan Eastman writes beautifully. She has really captured the essence of who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Those of us who were profiled in her article really admire the way she "rolled up her sleeves" and got into this story.

The artful butterfly image on the front cover of the paper is really clever and eye-catching. I couldn't believe how quickly the news rack near my office emptied out! That told me there are a lot of people out there who are interested in learning about butterflies.

Thank you, New Times and Susan Eastman, for a job well done.

Lana Edwards
Delray Beach

Lepidopterist hospitality: Susan Eastman did a good job of bringing different points of view together and exposing the public to those of us who spend time off the beaten path in pursuit and enjoyment of butterflies. She was thorough, professional, and good company. We would welcome her back anytime.

Linda Cooper
Haines City, Florida

Hog-tie the mayor? Puhleez show some respect! The heat Bob Norman is keeping on Pompano Beach Mayor Bill Griffin is just what the doctor ordered ("Bad Connections," August 1). I just hope that it all hits the goddamn fan sooner that later. I busted my hump in Pompano for over a year to get Griffin and his cronies, problem being the Florida Ethics Commission is pretty friggin' ethically challenged. I really enjoy Bob Norman's stuff. Keep it up. "A public office is a public trust. The people shall have the right to secure and sustain that trust against abuse." Florida State Constitution: Article II, Sec. 3

Perhaps the people of Pompano Beach need to hog-tie Mayor Griffin and tattoo that on his swelled and empty head.

Frank Pitz
Perkasie, Pennsylvania

They just keep writing: In regard to Bob Norman's July 11 column, "First Pledge," I want to thank him for the coverage on the Newdow/pledge issue. And belated thanks for the coverage you gave it back when it began in Florida.

It is most distressing how this issue has been misrepresented in most of the media and by our legislators. I fear that the "religious liberty is fine, so long as it's my religion" advocates will never get it. Things will never change until people consider what it would be like to have "in Allah we trust" on our money! Rather, they react with knee-jerk responses, never considering what real religious liberty means. Keep up the good work.

Carol Smith
Madison, Wisconsin


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