Florida Today Editor Can’t Abide By His Own Rules.

The editor of the Florida Today, John H. Torres, has an opinion piece in the newspaper entitled “Torres: School board decision to trim public comment is the right move.

In it, Torres tries to make the point that the School Board was right to limit the speaking time on non agenda items to one minute per speaker.

To an attempt to accomplish this goal, Torres starts out by playing the victim:

Florida Today Slings Mud At Sheriff Wayne Ivey.

There are times in life when people have to defend those they feel are not good people from attacks of other people that are not good.

One of those times is now.

Reporter Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon wrote what is essentially a hit piece on Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey entitled “‘Constitutional Sheriff’ Wayne Ivey says he’s a patriot. Others see something more menacing.”

We want to be clear here. We have problems with Ivey because he and sometimes his deputies do not uphold the Federal and Florida Constitution enough – not that he is disavowing the Constitutions altogether or thinks that he is above the Constitutions.

Florida Today: Rangel Labels BOCC Actions A “Farce.” (It Was.) Makes Farcical Arguments To Prove Her Point.

“I need to take a selfie before the launch…..”

Florida Today’s “public affairs and engagement editor” and a member of the Editorial Board Isadora Rangel has an op-ed piece concerning the recent resolution passed by the Brevard County Commission to “uphold and adhere to the principles embodied in the Constitution of the United States of America.”

We had written about this five days before Rangel. It is not that we are claiming that Rangel plagiarized our post, but there are some striking similarities.

For example:

RANGEL: No one seemed concerned that every commissioner already takes an oath of office that requires them to “support, protect and defend” the Constitution, making the resolution a moot point and mere political theater — or farce.

RoH: Right off the top, why is Isnardi seeking to pass a resolution, which by definition has no legal weight of the law behind it, saying “we want to protect the Constitution” when in fact upon taking the office of Commissioner, she and the other Commissioners take an oath to follow the laws of the State of Florida, the Florida Constitution and the United States Constitution?

Why the need for the resolution?

Florida Today Gets “New Law” Wrong.

In an article entitled New Florida laws: Daylight saving time, marriage age, opioids, criminal records the folks at the Florida Today wrote about a new law on mugshots saying:

Criminal Records: A person may request the removal of their arrest booking photo from a website or anywhere else where it can be publicly accessible. The request must be sent via registered mail and include proof of identification. This was approved during the 2017 session.

We do want to say that this article was written by the Associated Press and not the Florida Today. Still, if you publish it, on some level you have to own the accuracy of what is presented. As it turns out, what is presented is not accurate at all.

We had been following this law as it proceeded through the Legislature as it seems there are some issues with it as written and passed. However, what passed does not say what the Florida Today claims it does:

Section 1. (1) Any person or entity engaged in the business of publishing through a publicly accessible print or electronic medium or otherwise disseminating arrest booking photographs of persons who have previously been arrested may not solicit or accept a fee or other form of payment to remove the photographs.

(2) A person whose arrest booking photograph is published or otherwise disseminated, or his or her legal representative, may make a request, in writing, for the removal of an arrest booking photograph to the registered agent of the person or entity who published or otherwise disseminated the photograph. The written request for removal of the arrest booking photograph must be sent by registered mail and include sufficient proof of identification of the person whose arrest booking photograph was published or otherwise disseminated and specific information identifying the arrest booking photograph that the written request is seeking to remove. Within 10 days of receipt of the written request for removal of the arrest booking photograph, the person or entity who published or otherwise disseminated the photograph shall remove the arrest booking photograph without charge.

Another Stupid Letter To The Editor….

Our contestant for the day in writing silly letters that ignore facts is one Burton Green of Cocoa Beach who writes the Florida Today newspaper concerning the Obama administration, Susan Rice and pre-Iraq War intelligence.

Mr. Green writes:

Republican ‘hypocrisy’ over Susan Rice

Here it goes again. The hypocrisy wagon is being rolled out.

Republican pundits, Fox News commentators, Republicans Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain have already started the drumbeat

against U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who is being considered to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.

I am not opposed to fair criticism. But, please! Where were these voices when George Bush, Dick Cheney and others in the Bush administration were knowingly distorting or lying about Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. Not a peep. And not surprising.

Mr. Green seems to think that Ambassador Rice, who made statements that were known to be false before she even opened her mouth is the same thing as the long list of people, intelligence communities, and countries who rightfully claimed that Saddam Hussein did possess both the weapons of mass destruction and proscribed delivery systems.

No less than 10 intelligence agencies from other countries claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. In his final report to the UN before the start of the second Iraq War, weapons inspector Dr. Hans Blix says Hussein had the weapons and had not complied with the UN mandate to destroy them.

Perhaps the most damning statements to Mr. Green’s factually challenged thinking process and letter are statements from within the US government itself:

Stupid Letters To The Editor. Rights Come From Government?

We would have picked up on this letter to the editor no matter what. While the writer is from Satellite Beach, it is not the area from which the writer hails which caught our eye, but the lack of knowledge.

Ryan wrongly says rights from nature and God

Last Saturday, I watched the installation of Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as the deputy savior of “America’s Comeback Team” at Norfolk, Va.

When Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell introduced Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, he appeared on the bunting festooned battleship Wisconsin and proceeded

down the steps to the stage, where he introduced the “next president of the United States, Paul Ryan” (small gaffe, corrected later). Ryan then proceeded down the steps from the battleship to the stage.

I thought about the incongruity of these politicians, neither having any time in the military, entering off a World War II ship like returning heroes.

Congressman Ryan gave a stirring speech, declaring the Romney-Ryan team can save the country. Then he sent my head spinning. He said our rights come from nature and God, not the government. Wow. Here I thought our Founding Fathers formed a government that established our rights in the Constitution and further refined these rights in amendments to that document.

If he feels the government is not essential to those rights, why is he making a career out of government service?

Ed Miller
Satellite Beach

Let’s start with the easiest refutation of the point that rights are derived from government – our own Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

Contrary to Mr. Miller’s assertion, rights are derived from nature or God. It is not up to the government to establish those rights, but rather to protect those rights.

Want more?

What’s This? Another Satellite Beach Column In The Newspaper?

Patrick J. Utecht of Satellite Beach wrote a guest column in the Florida Today newspaper of July 12, 2012.

Mr. Utecht writes:

Much has been written and spoken about the excessive debt owed by the city of Satellite Beach, most of which has been simply wrong.

Persons running for election to the present City Council repeatedly told stories about the debt, to the point where people began to believe them.

The city does have debt, but did anyone tell you what that debt is for and when and how it will be paid off?

Before answering that question, ask yourself if you ever carried a mortgage on a home. Did you consider that as a debt or as an investment in your future?

Is there any real functional difference between carrying a mortgage for your home and the city carrying one that it has found to be in the long-term interest of all residents? During past years, Satellite Beach has borrowed money for projects such as the civic center, the police station and others. Were they worthwhile projects?

For general information, this city does have loans for less than $7 million, none of which is debt on the city’s general fund. That money was dedicated for purposes such as:

• Purchase and renovation of the David. R. Schechter Community Center and other capital assets. It will be retired (paid off) during fiscal year 2013-2014.

• State and federally mandated improvements to the city’s storm-water system, including those at DeSoto Parkway and Cassia Boulevard and along the city’s northern border. That fund will be paid off during FY 2018-2019.

• Community Redevelopment Fund:

A. Purchase of property on Sunrise Avenue (now dedicated as a park to Michael Crotty, former city manager) during a recent council meeting.

B. Purchase of Peg Legs property.

C. Improvements to Pelican Beach Park.

D. Partially fund construction of Hightower Beach Park.

The Redevelopment Fund will be retired during FY 2025-2026.

Are those dates reasonable? I think yes. In my opinion, the projects are/were essential for the future of Satellite Beach; that type of thinking is foresight, similar to why many of you incurred debt in buying a home for your family.

As I see it, the above city projects were undertaken for valid reasons. In my opinion, the funding plans and the uses appear to be reasonable and appropriate.

Mr. Utecht makes the analogy that debt within a city is similar to that of debt or a mortgage on a house. However, like all analogies, there are some differences and in this case, major differences.

This Doesn’t Compute.

We have a small confession to make. Years ago, when public interest in the internet was fairly new, when modem speeds were much slower, when email accounts had much lower storage, when email filters were not that sophisticated, and when people were getting 50 spam emails for every legitimate email, we secided to do something about it. We became part of a newsgroup and offline group that hated spamming. We were sick of emails for porn, adult products, hair loss products, skin cleaners, and everything in between. We often chuckle at people today who complain the get 5 or 10 pieces of spam in their computer inboxes. “Back in the day,” a mere 10 emails a day of spam would have been welcome.

The group divided the fight against spamming in a couple different ways. First, if there was no profit for the spammers, there was no reason to spam. We took part in contacting the companies that were funding spammers. Most of the legitimate companies looked into and broke off ties with spammers who continued to spam people even after entering “opt out” information. Other companies (such as the porn and adult product companies) could not be reached or did not care. Thousands and thousands of people across the country signed up to tell legitimate companies to stop sponsoring spam.

The group then went after the spammers themselves.

We contacted lawyers and authorities to make sure we were not in violation of any laws – especially mail fraud laws.

We won’t tell people what we did (we don’t want to give people ideas) but suffice it to say the spammers eventually cried “uncle” and stopped. The volume of spam dropped, giving spam filters a chance to come online to help protect people from unwanted spam in their inboxes.

We didn’t break any laws and were successful but we have always wondered about the morality of that escapade. Even though it was legal to do what we did, was it moral?

Luckily we don’t have to decide that issue right now, but the act of people sending unsolicited magazine subscriptions to the homes of the members of the City Council here in Satellite Beach brought to memory what we did in the past. We have decried the practice as childish and unproductive. We maintain such actions are morally wrong. There is a cost associated with getting a bill for a magazine one did not order. Postage, time, phone calls, etc are all required to resolve the issue. (We didn’t do anything like this the spammers. We did something similar, but different.) The distinction is there. Sending unsolicited magazines to someone’s home is just wrong.

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