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What You Missed This Week in La Gaceta

From As We Heard It, by Patrick Manteiga

► Below is the complete text of Chirs Ingram’s Facebook post about his reasoning for resigning from the Rotary Club of Tampa:

“Why I have resigned from the Rotary Club of Tampa:

“I have been a member of three Rotary clubs over the last 19 years, the last eight of them as a member of the Rotary Club of Tampa. My dad is a Rotarian, and my grandfather helped found the Rotary Club of Naples in the early 1950s. Last year, I served as the 104th president of the Tampa Club.

“During my tenure, it was brought to my attention by a female club member that several clubs in our district host “stag” social/fund raising events where women are not allowed; she was rightfully offended by this. After contemplating the matter, I brought this discriminatory activity to the attention to my club’s board.

“After lengthy discussion, the board unanimously voted to have me, as president, write a letter to the offending clubs asking them to stop hosting “stag” events. The request was based on common sense and decency, and Rotary’s “4-way test.” That test says, you should ask yourself of the things you think, say, and do…1) Is it the truth? 2) Is it fair to all concerned? 3) Does it build good-will and better friendships? 4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

“In my letter to the two clubs, I pointed out how telling women they can’t attend a club fund raiser because they are women is a clear violation of #2, #3 and #4 of the test. One of the clubs replied that they would take our concerns under advisement (which was code for “go stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.”). The other never replied despite my repeated attempts to reach the club’s president after our letter had been sent.

“When I reported this to the Tampa club’s board, it unanimously voted to submit a legislative proposal to the district. The proposal banned discrimination of all types (gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc.) by Rotary clubs. It should have been voted on at the district level, which if passed, would have then been sent to Rotary International for consideration. It would be a long process, but this was the start to right a wrong.

“In late January, the board’s proposal was submitted to the district governor who then should have called for a vote of the proposal at a district conference. It never happened. Five months later, we had heard nothing. At my prompt, our club’s president inquired as to the status of the proposal. From this point forward, things went south.

“We got excuses from the district governor about lost paperwork and missed opportunities. When she finally (with just two weeks left in her term) shared the proposal with the district, someone felt the language was too broad and we were asked to delay the proposal another year. Our club leadership determined the proposal as written should be considered as is. So, in a last-minute act of sabotage, the district governor called a vote by email, but only after her lieutenants had lobbied against the effort and without allowing our club to make its case to the other clubs in the district.

“As you can imagine, the effort failed.

“As such, it will be at least another year of games before the proposal can be reconsidered, and another year of clubs in our district treating women with disrespect.

“Although the outgoing and incoming presidents of the Rotary Club of Tampa have assured me they intend to push for its passage again next year (and I don’t doubt them), I am resigning nonetheless.

“I have reason to believe the district leadership will continue to play games and continue to fail to stand up and do what’s right. The gamesmanship, manipulation and hypocrisy of these individuals who state the 4-way test while condoning discrimination of women is mind-blowing.

“What’s next?

“Will it be okay to turn blacks, gays, Jews, Mexicans, Muslims, or Hispanics from certain Rotary events because of who they are, as clubs are permitted to do to women? What’s to stop them? Of course, at any time, district leadership could have stepped in and asked the offending clubs to cease and desist with their stag events –but they didn’t. Just as they could have spoken out publicly in favor of the legislative proposal – but didn’t. Asking those clubs to stop may or may not have worked (clubs are largely autonomous and are free to conduct their business as they see fit, so long as they don’t violate Rotary rules, and there is no rule against stag events). But the fact is, they didn’t try, because they either don’t care, lack the leadership skills to do the right thing, or are more concerned about offending members of the clubs holding stag events, than they are the rest of the world of Rotarians (most of whom are good people and find discrimination offensive).

“Simply put, this matter should have been resolved two years ago when our club brought it to the attention of a previous district governor and the respective offending clubs. Women should not be treated as second-class citizens anywhere – much less by an organization (or its affiliates) which espouses to be about serving the community and values honesty and doing the right thing. Oh, the hypocrisy.

“The “leadership” at the district level has failed to apply the 4-way test and appears more interested in maintaining the status quo (which is condoning of discrimination against women), than doing the right thing.

“Why? You would have to ask the female district governor that (yes, a female district governor has failed to stand up for women – two female district governors in a row actually). I imagine it has something to do with not wanting to upset the good ol’ boys or concerns that doing so will cause members to quit, or maybe it’s just wanting to be liked. I don’t know. Only she knows why she has allowed this to continue, and why she played these games.

“All I know is, very late in the game, she said she supported our efforts – yet her actions (losing our paperwork, never speaking out in favor either privately or publicly for it, dispatching her lieutenants to lobby against it, etc.) shows me she was never for it. So much for being truthful.

“On Wednesday I resigned from the Rotary Club of Tampa, and am publicly stating why, as a matter of conscience. I have three daughters and I can’t look them in the eye as a member of an organization like Rotary, when said organization thinks it is okay to exclude them from activities just because they are women. Perhaps my outing this matter will result in a public outcry from Rotarians for the district leadership to abandon their hypocrisy and force them to do the right thing with the legislative proposal; or perhaps she could just call the offending clubs and ask them to stop hosting events that prohibit women – and that violates the 4-way test.”(to read more, buy a paper)

► New candidates keep filing for Tampa City Council. Former Tampa City Councilman Joe Caetano and former State House candidate Walter Smith have joined Joseph Citro in the citywide District 1 race.
David Loos filed in the South Tampa District 4 race, joining Bill Carlson and Salvatore Guagliardo, Jr.(to read more, buy a paper)

► The Ybor City Development Corporation (YCDC) recently held an election for its officers, necessitated by the resignation of Chairman Tony LaColla, who is relocating to Washington, D.C.
The YCDC’s new chairman is Grant Mehlich, vice chairman is Gene Siudut, secretary is Joe Citro and Treasurer is Liz Welch.(to read more, buy a paper)

From Chairman of the Bored, by Gene Siudut

► … If wins and losses are a measure of coaching youth developmental basketball, I’d say I’ve been a success, with 22 wins against 11 losses. If developing young players is the measure, I’m not as sure.
Different players require different levels of attention. In a team atmosphere, my job is to take big concepts and make them digestible and applicable to the pre-teen mind. At the same time, some boys are naturally gifted enough to grasp the game and others need a lot more prodding.
I get just one hour per week for practice, so the lessons we learn in practice have to be simple, quick and important. At no point can I show favoritism toward one player over another or I would lose the confidence of the team, and therein lies the problem. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From O’Pinions To Go, by Joe O’Neill

► It was a Bullish week for USF.
Most notably, it won recognition as one of Florida’s “preeminent” universities. Move over, Florida and Florida State.
It means prestige and more annual funding, which can lead to even more prestige. It came as a result of USF meeting targeted goals – from incoming-student GPAs and six-year graduation rates to achieving national renown for ratcheting numbers of patents and research dollars. The challenge will be to keep going across three campuses without compromising diversity. That’s how memberships in Phi Beta Kappa and the Association of American Universities happen. That’s next up.
It also made headlines with its hiring of a new athletic director. By all accounts, Michael Kelly, 47, the chief operating officer of the College Football Playoff and former USF associate AD under Lee Roy Selmon, checks all the boxes, including the one that says “no baggage.”
Kelly comes with a reputation as a well-organized, disciplined visionary for whom networking and thinking big are givens. A formidable agenda – from Power Five conference membership and upgraded facilities to a revitalized men’s basketball team – awaits. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From In Context, by Doris Weatherford

► If you think Mexico is sending drug dealers and rapists but also think Mexicans are taking Americans’ jobs, what exactly is it you do for a living?
And by the way, the majority of asylum seekers are not Mexicans; They are from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – countries where our CIA encouraged dictatorships. No one is coming from Costa Rica, the one real democracy in Central America and a nation that has no military.
Jared Kushner sat next to Nikki Haley on the floor of the United Nations, with him talking and her listening. His father is a convicted felon who served time in prison, and he is under investigation. Do you think that if a UN ambassador appointed by Hillary Clinton allowed someone like that to advise her, we all would have heard about it?
And the United States withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council! Protecting human rights is why we created the UN after World II! Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, Marshall and all the great heroes of that fought against fascism must be turning in their graves. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Silhouettes, an interview with Juan Santallana, by Tiffany Razzano

► … His aunt left Cuba several years earlier and his paternal grandfather made his father promise to join her in California where they could look out for each other. “My grandfather wanted us to have family nearby,” he said.
When they arrived, they learned their aunt wasn’t exactly living the lifestyle she had portrayed to her family back in Cuba. “My aunt used to send us pictures of nice houses they had and nice cars,” Santallana said. “But when we got here, we found out they were living in a little efficiency. There were no big cars.”
There weren’t many Cubans in the city, either. “There were little pockets,” he said, “but not as much as there are now.” …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Líneas de la memoria, por Gabriel Cartaya

► … El pasado 28 de junio nos reunimos un grupo de escritores, poetas, artistas, para dar inicio a una tertulia literaria que hemos nombrado “Cita en Ybor”. El lugar elegido para ello está en la esquina de la 7.ª Ave. y Calle 16, en Ybor City, donde queremos encontrarnos el último jueves de cada mes, a las seis y media de la tarde.
La idea la veníamos conversando el poeta Alberto Sicilia y yo en los últimos meses, pero no descubríamos el sitio apropiado. Lo comenté con Yanko Maceda, el dueño de Tabanero, cuando llegué a su lugar de elaboración y venta de tabacos con la intención de hacerle una entrevista, motivado por la elaboración manual de puros con que él revive los orígenes de Ybor City. Su respuesta fue inmediata:
-Puedes contar con este lugar.
Es una sala pequeña, pero al instante me pareció el lugar perfecto, por el alto simbolismo que encierra. El olor del tabaco se juntó al de la tinta de la palabra impresa desde el instante en que surgió la primera fábrica de Ybor City. Junto a Vicente Martínez Ybor, en 1886, llegó José Dolores Poyo, para imprimir el periódico El Yara, el primero en español que se editó en Tampa. Y en aquellos primeros años de expansión de una industria que colocó a Tampa como reina mundial, decenas de periodistas, escritores, poetas, músicos, dramaturgos, colmaron Ybor City. Entre ellos estaban Ramón Rivero, que hizo la Revista de Florida; Bonifacio Byrne, el poeta matancero que mejor ha cantado a la bandera cubana, Wenceslao Gálvez, y muchos más. … (to read more, buy a paper)

From Briznas culturales, por Leonardo Venta

► … El esperpento es una forma dramática creada por el escritor español Ramón María del Valle-Inclán en su última etapa como artífice y cuya definición nos la ofrece en Luces de bohemia (1920), Los cuernos de don Friolera (1921), así como en varios razonamientos y entrevistas.
La distorsión sistemática de la realidad, asociada al esperpento, devela los aspectos más grotescos y absurdos de la existencia, realiza un examen crítico de la contemporaneidad del autor a través de la deformación irónica e incita en el espectador la reevaluación de conceptos predeterminados, teniendo en consideración la pluralidad de significados que palpitan en un solo significante. …(to read more, buy a paper)

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