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Archive for October 2020

La Gaceta endorses Owen for House District 59.

From “As We Heard It,” by Patrick Manteiga, Oct. 9, 2020

This is an open seat that represents the Brandon/Riverview area. Republican Michael Owen is a lawyer who practices mostly consumer protection law. He is a Brandon native and has been involved in the Brandon Chamber, Center Place and the Tony Saladino Tournament, to name a few.
He knows the district very well. He sounded a lot more moderate in our interview than his online presence makes him appear. He promises to work across the aisle and seems to want to find middle ground. He says he strongly supports the right to peacefully protest and would not support bills that would restrict free speech.
Democrat Andrew Learned serves in the U.S. Navy for 11 years and is now a reservist. He owns Grade Power Learning Center. He is very concerned about school overcrowding in his district and wants to end the rollback rate that keeps reducing the millage rate for schools to free up more money for education. He wants to demilitarize the police, provide more training and use social workers where more appropriate than uniformed officers.
Learned also wants to work across the aisle.
While we identify more with Learned’s Democratic values, the reality is the Florida House is controlled by Republicans. Owens seems to want to work with Democrats to advance good ideas.
La Gaceta endorses Michael Owen for State House District 59.

La Gaceta Endorses Valdes in State House District 62

From “As We Heard It,” by Patrick Manteiga, Sept. 25, 2020

Democratic incumbent Susan Valdes is facing Republican challenger Angel S. Urbina and Laurie Rodriguez-Person, who is NPA.
Representative Valdes is a passionate advocate for our children and public education. She is focused on the kids who fall in the cracks in the education system. The ones who get left behind in a system that says no child left behind. Her background as a former School Board member prepared her to speak with authority on education issues in our capital.
Valdes is also a strong voice for Latinos and their issues.
La Gaceta strongly endorses Susan Valdes for State Representative District 62.

La Gaceta endorses Rouson for State Senate District 19

From “As We Heard It,” by Patrick Manteiga, Sept. 25, 2020

This race has incumbent Democrat Darryl Rouson being challenged by Christina Paylan, who is running NPA but appears to side with Republicans. If elected, she wants a “total recall of the Criminal Justice System.” She also wants to hold “public trials for every judge and prosecutor who participated in a wrongful conviction.” These legislative goals are likely tied to the fact that she is a convicted felon and lost her license to practice medicine. She was a cosmetic surgeon. According to Florida Politics, “Paylan’s legal actions are so extensive in the 13th Judicial Circuit, Judge Greg Holder filed a ‘vexatious litigant’ order against Paylan,” which blocks her from filing lawsuits pro se.
Rouson is one of the hardest-working Senators in Tallahassee. When others have left the capitol for an event or party, Rouson is still working in the office. That’s why he is one of the more successful Democrats in a legislature dominated by Republicans.
Rouson’s personal story of overcoming drug addiction is inspirational and gives him a valuable perspective in dealing with the addiction crisis that grips many Floridians and ruins careers and families.
He has served honorably and deserves to be reelected. La Gaceta endorses Darryl Rouson for State Senate District 19.

La Gaceta endorses Biden and Harris for President and Vice President

From “As We Heard It,” by Patrick Manteiga, Sept. 25, 2020

Our endorsement for president is unlikely to move any of our readers. It seems almost everyone we know already knows where they side in the race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Trying to write a convincing argument would be a waste of time, but we are compelled to address this movement to describe this race as a choice of socialism vs. capitalism.
The Democratic Party, and even Joe Biden, have a long history that is easy enough to research. Neither the organization nor the man have suggested nationalizing businesses, controlling prices for all commodities, eliminating competition or changing the basics of our supply-and-demand economy.
Democrats have been responsible for some programs which Biden supports that are forms of socialism, such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration healthcare network, unemployment compensation, food stamps, farm subsidies, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), etc.
According to Trump’s commercial, he also supports most of the list.
These socialistic programs were created to address the citizens who were most vulnerable to a purely capitalist economy.
The Democrats and Biden would like to grow the Medicare system or a version of it to cover more citizens to address all the people at risk of not being able to access healthcare due to rising costs.
Democrats have led, with some Republican support, to set and increase a minimum wage, influencing industry and banking through tax incentives and penalties, regulate banking and the stock market, and hundreds of other pieces of legislation to make the system fairer and less vulnerable to abuse. These rules created a modern American economy that, according to Trump, is the greatest economy ever.
But on the street, we keep hearing people, especially Latinos, vocalize fears that Biden will drastically change America to a socialist nation. They frame their fear by saying Biden will make America into a Cuba or Venezuela.
The Castros, Maduros and Chavezes of the world did not create their governments by offering to expand access to healthcare or increasing the minimum wage. They, and dictators, autocrats and authoritarians before them, created their governmental systems by: attacking and dismantling the press; using government to attack opponents and enemies; using their armies inside of their nations to maintain peace; offering citizens internal enemies to blame for their problems, both real and imagined; attacking the courts and rule of law; replacing bureaucrats with sycophants and partisans; restricting protests critical of the government and organizing counter-protests; attacking intellectuals, academics and scientists, at best, as elitist and at worst, as enemies of the state; and preserving their power by claiming any elections that don’t result in their winning as corrupt and invalid.
These authoritarians also project that they are the embodiment of the state. That without them the state will fail. Without them holding power, internal enemies will create chaos. We can find quote after quote and cite action after action of Trump saying and doing all of the above.
While we don’t assign much belief in conspiracy theories, we do have some angst and worry that America is poised at a moment in our great democratic experiment to continue on a path laid down by presidents, legislators and courts over the last 90 years or to create a less balanced form of government – one where presidential power is greatly expanded.
We prefer the traditional checks and balances. We prefer a president who respects protocols and traditions laid down by presidents before him or her.
We prefer someone who serves all Americans and avoids creating divisions. We want a good person, someone we can respect.
La Gaceta endorses Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice President of the United States.

La Gaceta endorses Kemp for County Commission District 6

From “As We Heard It,” by Patrick Manteiga, Oct. 2, 2020

Democrat Pat Kemp is defending her countywide seat for the first time against Republican Sandy Murman, who has to leave her present County Commission seat due to term limits.
Murman is accessible, a good listener and certainly knows how the County Commission works, having served 10 years. We have a lot of respect for her.
The county needs a new direction. For years, development ran unchecked and infrastructure lagged way behind. This county needs more of everything – roads, mass transit, fire stations, parks, recreation facilities, sheriff’s deputies and a host of other needs. For too long, the Commission has refused to increase impact fees and taxes. We are way behind.
Pat Kemp is the face of the new County Commission. She has pushed to make development pay for a portion of its cost through impact fees. She has supported a sales tax for transportation. She wants to use a large part of transportation dollars for mass transit. She wants to rein in growth until we have caught up with infrastructure.
Drive on East Bay Road at I-75 to see just how bad it’s gotten. It took years of bad planning to make that mess.
Pat Kemp is the leadership we need for a county that can no longer act as if its areas east and north are rural tracts and places where houses are on five-acre plots. We have 1.4 million people. Urban areas stretch from the Pasco County line to the Alafia River and beyond.
La Gaceta endorses Pat Kemp for County Commission District 6.

La Gaceta endorses Myers for County Commission District 3

From “As We Heard It,” by Patrick Manteiga, Oct. 2, 2020

This seat is open due to the retirement of Commissioner Les Miller. Democrat Gwen Myers and Republican Maura Cruz Lanz are running to be the next commissioner to serve the East Tampa – Progress Village area.
Gwen Myers spent her career in Hillsborough County government working in areas such as the revitalization of USF, flooding and housing issues in Progress Village, implementing a first-time home-buyers program, the indigent healthcare program, housing program, Grant Park Community Center and a host of other projects.
As you can see, Myers has a strong understanding of the district, its history and how County government works. She has all the tools to be a successful leader and advocate for District 3, which deserves a champion to continue Commissioner Miller’s work.
Cruz was unable to meet with us.
La Gaceta endorses Gwen Myers for County Commission District 3.

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