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What You Missed This Week in La Gaceta

From As We Heard It, by Patrick Manteiga

► School Board member Steve Cona was proud to tell us of one of his projects. The start-up International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Alonso High School in Town ‘N Country is attracting Hispanics. The first class will be made up of 50 percent Hispanic students. …(to read more, buy a paper)

► We wrote on May 1, “It seems there is great concern this election cycle that women will have some advantage over men. Two judicial candidates moved in the last few weeks for gender matchups. Ashley Ivanov chose to run against Michael Scionti because he is a male. …”
We wrote this based on people she is talking to telling us that is why she got out of the race she was in with Wendy DePaul and Scott Stephens.
Ivanov felt our comment was a great transgression. Her “campaign committee” sent us an email about the above excerpt and it stated this “…is a false statement and is an example of sexist speculation that undermines journalism.”
The committee then asked, “Can you please promptly inform when the false statement will be removed?” Ivanov also schooled us on journalistic writing with, “When a statement about me is what you heard from someone else, it is hearsay.” We call that an unnamed source and is the mother’s milk of this column.
The learning curve can be tough for novice candidates. Unless all of La Gaceta’s subscribers want to send us back their May 1 editions so we can cut out that line, I don’t think removal is possible. We informed Ivanov that if you have a beef with a newspaper article, you can ask for the offender to print a retraction or clarification and/or offer a rebuttal, but removal would require a higher power than ours.
In her last of a string of emails, she wrote, “My choice of group is based on the running mate being new to the bench and my diverse legal experience.”
We don’t think her opponent, Judge Michael Scionti, thinks he is her “running mate” and we find it difficult to think being five years and four months into a six-year term on the bench is new, but let’s entertain that being new was part of her targeting.
Why didn’t Ivanov run against Lyann Goudie or Lindsay Alvarez? Neither served a day as judge but won their races unopposed. Why didn’t she choose Judge Michael Williams or Judge Thomas Palermo, who both have less time on the bench than Scionti? She also could have targeted Judge Robert Bauman, Judge Laura Ward or Judge Barbara Twine-Thomas, who were all elected the same year as Scionti. If five years is “new,” does that mean Ivanov is “new to practicing law in Florida? She was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2015. Judge Scionti was elected to the bench in 2014.
Ivanov also mentioned her diverse legal experience was why she chose Judge Scionti. That also doesn’t seem quite right. He has 25 years as a lawyer; she has 10.
Ivanov mentions only probate and estate planning on her campaign website, which doesn’t seem like a long list of diverse legal experience.
Scionti has been a prosecutor and a defense lawyer. He served in all three branches of government – judicial, legislative and executive. He’s been a civilian and military judge. In his five years on the bench, he’s served in Veterans Treatment Court, Juvenile Delinquency Court and Family Court.
He served the U.S. Department of State and the military and helped Afghanistan establish its court system, advised commanders on Geneva Convention issues and presided over the initial investigation of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq.
It’s odd to think Ivanov chose Judge Scionti because her diverse legal experience compares favorably to his.(to read more, buy a paper)

► Perennial School Board candidate Bill Person filed again to run for the School Board District 1 seat against Steve Cona. … Person must be hanging his chances of victory in a rematch on the fact that he led in the primary over Cona 41.14 percent to 36.13 percent in 2018. Maybe he believes if he and Cona are the only two to qualify that he can beat him in August as his did two years ago. …(to read more, buy a paper)

► The Democratic primary race for Clerk of the Circuit Court is heating up.
Barry Edwards called us to share that a poll Kevin Beckner’s campaign paid for showed him up by 13 points. Cindy Stuart shot back that of course it did – Beckner paid for it. She then rolled out her new endorsements. Public Defender Julianne Holt and County Commissioner Kimberly Overman have joined the Stuart bandwagon along with new School Superintendent Addison Davis and former School Superintendent Jeff Eakins.
She also reminded us that Matriarch of the local Democratic Party and current Clerk of the Circuit Court Pat Frank is in full support of her.
The Beckner campaign, through its consultant Barry Edwards, let it be known it was impossible for Stuart to win with Beckner’s big lead in Beckner’s poll and his big lead in fundraising, $104,937 to $22,857.
Stuart has been in the race for less than 30 days and Beckner is already declaring her campaign dead in the water. Stuart says to wait a minute and take another look at their cash on hand, which has Beckner with $66,842 to Stuart’s $21,819. That is not much of a spread. If you look at the big monthly retainers to consultants Beckner is paying, his burn rate of cash is fast. Stuart has just started fundraising and thinks she can catch up.
Stuart has won two School Board races. Beckner won two County Commission races and lost a clerk of the circuit court race. The Democratic primary has a lot more women voters than men and Democratic women like voting for Democratic women. Stuart currently holds an elected office, Beckner does not.
The Beckner people might not want to claim victory before the first vote is cast. It’s a little presumptuous.(to read more, buy a paper)

► We are sad to see Andrew Arena passed away at the age of 88 on May 9. He was one half of the singing Arena Twins. Andrew and his twin, Sammy, had talent that took them from performing at the Cuban Club in the Fiesta in Tampa to the finest ballrooms in New York, Las Vegas, the Catskills and Miami. They had a recording contract with Kapp Records and later with Columbia Records. Andrew served in the military and later entertained troops traveling with the USO. He was a star in our Latin community, a good man and beloved by his family. He used that talent to bring joy to others. May he rest in peace.(to read more, buy a paper)

From Chairman of the Bored, by Gene Siudut

► … I surmise that these are the people who would normally be causing the daily car accidents when traffic is at full capacity. One would think that with the recent severity in traffic accidents on I-75 and I-4 (pre-COVID) that the problem would work itself out. With idiots injuring/killing themselves, I want to believe their herd is thinning.
But I fear that is not the case. Like suicide bombers, no matter how many die, there always seems to be more of them. But also like suicide bombers, they often take innocent lives with them. The saying goes adversity does not build character, it reveals it. I would add adversity also reveals a-holes. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From O’Pinions To Go, by Joe O’Neill

► … It had been a while – more than a year – since a White House spokesperson actually held a news conference. That’s what the latest (fourth for those still counting) WH spokesperson, Kayleigh McEnany, did last Friday. She began problematically with a promise: “I will never lie to you, she underscored. “You have my word on that.”
She then undermined those words by noting that when it came to multiple charges of sexual harassment, assault and rape, her boss “always told the truth on these issues.” She also claimed that the upshot of the Mueller Report was “the complete and total exoneration of President Trump.”
Maybe self-serving revisionism isn’t a lie?
After that dubious debut – and given her de facto charge to misrepresent the prevaricator-in-chief – spokesperson credibility will continue to be a contradiction in terms. McEnany is simply next up as the official mouthpiece for a proven pathological liar who wants his brand defended at all costs, including, of course, veracity. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From In Context, by Doris Weatherford

► There still are a few things on my list of observations about our current crisis, but I’m depressed and tired of thinking about it — and especially about the Idiot-in-Chief. In addition to the new global hell that we all are going through, I have my personal hell, as Hubby has regressed because of the pandemic. I stopped him from watching the news a long time ago, but he sees the changes in the hospital and has become very anxious and paranoid.
Transferring him to another wing with a new staff of doctors and nurses certainly didn’t help, to say nothing about social workers who want to move him to a nursing home – the epicenter of the epidemic! …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Silhouettes, an interview with Kirk Ray Smith, by Tiffany Razzano

► Kirk Ray Smith didn’t have an easy childhood. He and his seven siblings were raised by their single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio. Crime, drugs, and alcohol were prevalent in the community and he struggled to stay out of trouble without any strong male role models in his life.
“It was very difficult growing up in that area. It was tough, but when you’re young, I didn’t even realize how rough it was until I grew up and went to the military, then came home,” he said. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Líneas de la memoria, por Gabriel Cartaya

► … Publicar una entrevista con Richard Muga en La Gaceta, el año en que arriba a los 80 de edad, es un imprescindible homenaje a quien ha dedicado una larga vida al servicio de nuestra comunidad, especialmente desde su profesión de abogado. Asimismo, nos honra dedicar un espacio a quien ha estado vinculado a esta publicación durante décadas, desde su temprana amistad con Roland Manteiga hasta la actualidad, en que escribe una columna para sus páginas.
La historia de un hombre que llegó adolescente a EE.UU. y con su esfuerzo se convirtió en un prestigioso abogado, es un ejemplo para los jóvenes que hoy se enfrentan a sus propias aspiraciones. Pero será mejor que este cubano-tampeño, inteligente, perseverante y bondadoso, nos hable de él.
¿Cuáles son los recuerdos más vívidos de su niñez en el pueblo de Morón, Cuba?
Morón en mis recuerdos es un pueblo alegre, con rica agricultura y grandes campos de caña e ingenios azucareros. Tambien tengo recuerdos de mi familia y los viajes anuales a la playa de Las Tinajas, donde teníamos una casa.
¿Qué circunstancias determinaron que usted, con 15 años, llegara a Estados Unidos en 1955?
Yo pasé al Instituto de segunda enseñanza con un año de adelanto, a través de un examen de admisión. Después de los primeros cursos comenzaron los paros de clases, debido a los altercados revolucionarias que comenzaban. Los apagones de luces, las amenazas de tiroteos, de lanzar veneno por el aire acondicionado de los cines, crearon un ambiente que me hizo pensar que nunca podría terminar mi educación en Cuba.
¿Cómo fueron los primeros años en Estados Unidos? …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Briznas culturales, por Leonardo Venta

► … “Nací en Sevilla una noche de julio de 1875, en el célebre palacio de las Dueñas, sito en la calle del mismo nombre”, relata Antonio Machado en el prólogo a la edición de sus Poesías completas.
Poeta, filósofo, solitario, eterno melancólico y consecuente humanista, Machado es una de las grandes figuras de la poesía universal y de la Generación del 98, un grupo de escritores preocupados por la regeneración de los valores morales y espirituales de la España finisecular.
A temprana edad se trasladó a Madrid. Además, residió en Francia, donde ejerció como traductor y catedrático de francés. Allí conoció a Rubén Darío, al que le uniría una gran amistad.
Su primera esposa, Leonor Izquierdo, muere en Soria en 1912, cuando ella contaba sólo veinte años de edad. Herido gravemente por la pérdida, Machado abandona Soria para establecerse en Baeza y, luego, en Segovia. …(to read more, buy a paper)

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