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What You Missed This Week in La Gaceta

From As We Heard It, by Patrick Manteiga

La Gaceta Endorses (click name to read endorsement)

Circuit Court Judge Group 19
Michael Scionti

Circuit Court Judge Group 30
Helene Daniel

► Governor Ron DeSantis sent a message to bar owners when he had the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) crackdown on watering holes that violate State guidelines for bars to open.
The first victim was the Knight’s Pub in Orlando, which had its license suspended for breaking the 50-percent indoor-occupancy requirement. At this time, the pub had 13 employees and 28 customers test positive for COVID-19.
The governor said, “If you go in and it’s just like mayhem, like Dance Party USA, and it’s packed to the rafters, that’s just cut and dry, and that’s not just an innocent mistake.”
This is the same governor who invited the Republican National Convention to Jacksonville, Florida. Is the governor looking forward to a packed convention center at the end of the last night when the balloons drop from the rafters, people rising from their seats and clapping, shouting, hugging and dancing? Oh, Mayhem! What a party! … (to read more, buy a paper)

► The Hillsborough County Commission is considering an ordinance to allow residents to keep hens in a chicken coop in their yards.
The County might want to slow down on increasing the poultry population. The Centers for Disease Control reported an outbreak of salmonella nationwide that has been traced to the increase of backyard chickens. As grocery store eggs grew scarce and people spent more time at home, there was a trend to raise chickens so they could produce eggs for the home.
The problem is people treat the chickens more like pets than farm animals. Frequent handling of chickens can pass salmonella to humans.(to read more, buy a paper)

► The infamous NASCAR noose that was in the news now appears to just be a noose and not a racist-driven threat to Bubba Wallace, the only African-American who is a full-time driver on the circuit.
When the story first appeared, it was reported that a noose was left in the garage assigned to Wallace’s team at the Talladega Superspeedway.
This incident, placed in context of NASCAR banning the confederate flag from its races, led most people to believe some racist with access to the garages hung the noose as a message to Wallace that some in the south don’t take kindly to disrespecting ole Dixie. … In hindsight, considering how things are at the moment, one would hope the people with NASCAR might have taken a minute or two to try and figure it out before making it news.
On the other hand, NASCAR’s drivers, incensed at the noose incident, all pushed Wallace’s car to the front of the line before the race started as a show of solidarity.
So even a misleading story created a little good.(to read more, buy a paper)

► The all-Republican Walton County Commission voted to keep the confederate flag flying in front of the courthouse. Walton County is in the Florida Panhandle on what is called the Emerald Coast, aka Redneck Riviera. It’s between Pensacola and Tallahassee.(to read more, buy a paper)

► While walking into my doctor’s office this week, I read a sign on the door with a checklist of items visitors need to consider before entering. These little signs are now on almost every business door due to COVID-19.
One item read that if you have been in an area with a COVID-19 outbreak, you shouldn’t enter. Well, I live in Florida, so I failed that item. In fact where isn’t there a COVID-19 outbreak? Sure, some states are decreasing and some states, such as Florida, are exploding with new cases, but COVID-19 is everywhere.
A few weeks ago, I knew no one who had COVID-19. I now know several people. It’s getting a little close to home.(to read more, buy a paper)

From Chairman of the Bored, by Gene Siudut

► … As a writer, I crave the affirmation of my readers. As a representative of La Gaceta and several other organizations I have an obligation to keep my reputation and actions above water. In those ways, I do care what other people think, but that’s not really the point.
It’s really about vanity.
Owning objects to impress people or bringing attention to oneself for insignificant adoration is no way to live. I remember one of my dad’s pet peeves was if one of my siblings or I wore a shirt with a company logo across the chest, such as Nike or Adidas. He looked at it as us being billboards for companies and worse, we were paying them to do it. He also felt it was us trying to show off we had brand-named clothing. It was showing off to him and we thought he was crazy. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From O’Pinions To Go, by Joe O’Neill

► … As we now know, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, regrets having joined Trump for his controversial, presidential strut across Lafayette Square to St. John’s Church for that Bible-displaying, hypocritical photo op. Authorities used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the area of peaceful protestors. Gen. Milley says he regrets his participation – dressed in camouflage fatigues – because his presence “created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.” Chances are, it’s more regrettable – and visceral – than that. He knows that distinguished career notwithstanding, images showing him as a uniquely uniformed political prop for the worst president in U.S. history, are destined for America’s historical archives. He will never live this down. Too bad. But Trump enablers deserve infamy. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From In Context, by Doris Weatherford

► Under our almost totally Republican officialdom, Florida government becomes more and more arbitrary, inefficient, and chaotic. I hope that voters who put such unwarranted faith in buzz words – especially Jeb’s “People First!” and Rick Scott’s “Let’s Get to Work!”– will rewind to the days of Lawton Chiles and Bob Graham, when accountability and transparency meant something. It’s not just that today’s Tallahassee folks are inefficient: it seems they deliberately aim their poor service at poor people.
You’ve been reading for months now how the computer system for unemployment insurance repeatedly has broken down. Journalists have filed story after story about hundreds of thousands of people (and small businesses) who can’t get the money they have paid into this fund. Ron DeSantis’ troops make excuses and promises, but progress? Not so much. Meanwhile even middle-class families have to line up for free food, and there’s no income at all for the already poor. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Silhouettes, an interview with John Collins, by Tiffany Razzano

► Not long after founding the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance (SPAA) in 2012, executive director John Collins wanted to speed up St. Petersburg’s reputation as “a city of the arts.”
So, he decided to hang new banners declaring “The Arts Shine Here in St. Petersburg” throughout the city. This was an “aspirational message,” he said, one borrowed from the nearby city of Sarasota, which hadn’t used or lived up to the phrase in a while. St. Pete’s reputation as a global arts destination was still emerging at that point, but he knew the city’s potential. “So, we made it up,” he said, adding that they raised money to purchase and distribute banners throughout St. Petersburg. “The arts shine here. We’re a city of the arts. We made it up and then tried to make people earn it.” …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Líneas de la memoria, por Gabriel Cartaya

► … Cuando escuchamos las primeras noticias sobre la pandemia que desde China se extendió velozmente al mundo, no presentimos la intensidad de los daños que se nos avecinaban. La ascendente cifra de muertos con que Italia, España y otros países de Europa fueron informando de la catástrofe, nos sobrecogió antes de experimentar su llegada a Estados Unidos y su rápida expansión por el país. El confinamiento necesario, el cierre de miles de restaurantes, industrias, escuelas, los millones de desempleados y, lo más triste, la muerte de tantas personas, con todo su dramatismo, descolocó la vida que hemos construido alrededor de la familia y el entorno social.
El golpe cobra una definición palpable y más honda cuando la desaparición –de persona o lugar– se produce alrededor nuestro, interrumpiendo una relación a la que hemos estado acostumbrados. En Ybor City ha ocurrido con el cierre del restaurante Tropicana, que a los 57 años de vida anuncia su imposibilidad de sobrevivir al coronavirus. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Briznas culturales, por Leonardo Venta

► … Desde que un consternado duende me comunicara que Rosita Fornés había detenido para siempre su dilatado andar la madrugada del pasado 10 de junio, un imperioso anhelo de desperezarle con mi verbo lira ha luchado por superar este consabido temor de no llegar a conseguir con plenitud tan elevado anhelo.
Y heme aquí, acurrucado tras un críptico ciprés, sin saber qué decir, sin intenciones de hacer periodismo ni literatura, sin citar declaraciones de las llamadas celebridades, sin repasar machacadas historias, sin elucubrar estrategias y aproximaciones, ajeno a esa actitud distante y crítica que no sabe articular el lenguaje de una lágrima. …(to read more, buy a paper)

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