Sunday, November 29, 2020
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Dear fellow Stogie readers,
I attended my first CDC (Southwest Technical) School Board meeting today via zoom. I was the only non-CDC person to attend and thus the only person to submit a public comment.
My comment was to propose that the Board pursue a potential bylaw to ensure board member accountability; stating that if a member does not show up for x number of meetings that a motion could be made to remove the tardy member from office, and a petition could be started to force a recall at the next election.
My suggestion was responded to by different Board members, who insisted that the plan was not feasible and had been tried unsuccessfully by other institutions including the Vermont state legislature. To that, I say this: it should be done at all levels, and simply because it has not been passed does not mean we should allow such gross incompetency to persist in the form of skipping two or three consecutive meetings. If someone has a medical emergency, pre planned vacation, or something to that extent, it should be made public to sway member opinions in the case of a vote to remove someone for potentially persistent and neglectful tardiness. By the way, this is aside from the abhorrent racism and rhetoric uttered by a sitting, tardy Board member who serves on two different School Boards.
When elected officials take the oath of office, they should be held to a higher standard, including attending the meetings wherein the elected work largely occurs. There should be consequences for both incompetency and racism. I believe they should hold true for everyone. I am leaning toward running for the Southwest Vermont Technical School Board in March of 2021. If anyone has a concern, question, criticism, or comment, please feel free to address it. Thank you.
From the Heart,
Friday, October 30, 2020
Fellow Stogie readers,
If you plan to vote by mail, make sure you know what rules your state and local area have set, because you do not want your ballot to go uncounted!
It might be wise to bring your mail in ballot to an approved polling place—you can find this out by visiting the website for your Secretary of State (for which ever state you live in) or Supervisor of Elections (for which ever county you live in). With hope, these websites will be easy to finagle through, and perhaps there will be a phone number listed somewhere accessible.
For Hillsborough County, Florida, here is a helpful link.
For the State of Vermont, here is a helpful link.
If you vote at the polls, early or on Election Day, please be sure to wear a mask, bring water and food if you think the line to vote will be long, and practice whatever social distancing that you can within reason.
Whatever you decide to do, please vote! I encourage you all to vote for the Democratic Party ticket and for progressive non partisan candidates. Thank you. Please be safe out there when you vote.
From the Heart,
Monday, October 26, 2020
Hello fellow Stogie readers!
Hillsborough County, Florida voters, you have some important jobs to do. You have to elect a more decent School Board, more decent slate of state and federal legislators, and a more decent County Commission. In some cases, that involves re-electing quality elected officials who have delivered for their respective communities. One such person is Pat Kemp.
Pat has been on the forefront of issues including environmental protection and public transit expansion. Both of these issues are crucial to the unstoppable expansion of the Tampa Bay Area, as well as the survival of vulnerable communities like East Tampa. We need Pat on the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to fight for expanded ferry & rail transit services; to fight for sensible construction to occur with regard to the environment and people with disabilities; to continue to be an advocate for good cannabis laws.
Please, consider making a donation to Pat Kemp. I have personally donated $20.20 & I encourage you to do the same! Definitely support her, and vote for her if you can. The county needs her.
From the Heart,
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
In 2015, a report published in Nature Climate Change by Kerry Emanuel of MIT and Ning Lin of Princeton University analyzed hurricane models within six different global climate models, and the results were mind-boggling. These results showed that there are three vulnerable areas of the world that are most at risk for a "high-end" Category 5 (there is talk of creating a Category 6) tropical cyclone by the end of the 21st century due to the Earth's changing climate: Tampa, Florida, Cairns, Australia and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. These potential Category 6 hurricanes may be up to 14 times more likely by 2100, according to the study. The worst-case potential future hurricane put out by the climate models for the Tampa Bay area is unlike anything ever seen – maximum sustained winds of 233 mph, traveling parallel along Florida's Gulf Coast, producing a devastating 36-foot storm surge. There is a very real probability that the Tampa Bay area may, in the foreseeable future, be the target of a hurricane surpassing any in recorded history. It isn't a matter of "IF" but a matter of "WHEN".
If you have ever tried to navigate the official county Emergency Management websites in the Tampa Bay area, trying to gather all the information you'd need to prepare for the hurricane season and to survive a major hurricane, you would have found it to be a monumental task. Every little bit of information you're trying to gather leads you through a tangle of links like a Watership Down like maze of tunnels. You'll find a hodge-podge of contradictory and often useless information that only encourages you to quit before you've even gotten anything beyond what's in that Hurricane Guide at the grocery store checkout line.
The Tampa Bay Hurricane Planner is a project I started about 5 years ago and, after numerous attempts to refine it into something useful and user friendly, I finally have a finished website that I believe is as easy to use as it will ever be. The Tampa Bay Hurricane Planner presents a simple, 4 step process that will result in a complete, customized plan for you and your family, including your pets, that encompasses everything you'll need to prepare for each hurricane season, ready yourself for an approaching hurricane, weather a major storm as it passes and keep you and your family safe during the aftermath. After the 4-step process, which should take less than 45 minutes, you'll have a printed package including such things as planned emergency meet-up places, family contact numbers, services for special needs individuals and what your pets need. You will also have information about emergency alert systems, evacuation zones, evacuation routes, emergency shelters and county evacuation transportation specific for your county (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee or Sarasota).
I believe this hurricane planner could be the best tool for anyone living in the Tampa Bay area, especially those living in the at-risk coastal communities subject to storm surge. Try it and, if you agree, please share the link to my website to everyone you can.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Hello Bennington friends,
I am on the ballot for Justice of the Peace (JP), and I am asking for your vote!
I am a proud member of the Vermont community and I love my home. It is the home I dreamed of living in all of my life. To serve as JP would be an honor.
I have a degree in Political Science from the University of South Florida (USF), and a long career as an activist. I have pushed Tampa, Florida to adopt sensitivity training for city officials and helped various candidates win public office. In Vermont, I am in the process of joining the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) to be a better advocate for people with disabilities. I am also excited to announce that I will sit on a committee to help craft a policy regarding law enforcement and persons in crisis. My current job entails work with young people who are often in or just out of crisis, and so I have first hand knowledge of how important deescalation can be for people. With my neighbors and connections, I preach impassioned politics together with civil conversations. I believe that the best way forward will be to hold important dialogue to gain consensus, while striving for the best, progressive gold standard.
As JP, I will continue to be an advocate for civility in politics, and I will utilize my best judgement when making decisions regarding elections. Should any people wish to seek my services as JP to officiate marriage, I will be happy to consider joining them in a civil union.
I am so happy to be on the same ballot with people such as David Zuckerman & Joe Biden. Please, consider casting your vote for me, and feel free to ask any questions you may have. Let’s work together to elect candidates with disabilities (mine is Tourette Syndrome)!
From the Heart,
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Hello Tampa friends,
I have been watching Tampa Bay politics evolve and devolve over the past sixteen months. I am a bit flabbergasted by some of the conduct I have seen down there.
The Hillsborough County DEC (Democratic Executive Committee) and Democratic establishment has to answer a few questions. Why is it that we have top ranking Democrats, including DNC members and elected officials, who are endorsing Republican candidates during this election year?
Whether it is Commissioner Les Miller endorsing Republican Commissioner Sandy Murman over Democratic Commissioner Pat Kemp in a potentially county altering election; or DNC Member Alan Clendenin endorsing Republican Mitch Thrower over Democratic candidate Jessica Vaughn in a potentially county altering election; this trend is unfortunate and egregious.
My question to DEC Chairwoman Ione Townsend, FDP Committee-people Russ Patterson and Alma Gonzalez, and any others who stand for Democratic accountability — particularly in crucial elections — where has accountability gone off to wherein we have higher ranking Democrats blatantly going against electing Democrats?
The rules shouldn’t change because the Democrats are more progressive or aren’t universally “liked” ... I have made it a point to openly endorse people like Joe Biden for President and Molly Gray for Vermont Lt. Governor when neither were my initial choice. Many issues matter to me, and when it comes down to it, often times Democrats hold the better torch when compared to their Republican counterparts. There are rare exceptions, of course; I am not asking that we should always be rank and file. I do believe in being a team player, and supporting Democrats in most instances, especially in important elections which hold the balance of power on a thread.
Les Miller, Alan Clendenin, and other prominent Democrats clearly do not share that value with people like myself. My question to Hillsborough County’s DEC and other Democrats nationwide facing this same kind of problem: What should we do about it, and how far should we go to call this behavior out?
For those down there who are keeping strong, fighting the good fight, and striving to remain civil in the face of adversity, well done. Thank you, and please, let us make our predecessors proud. There is a lot to be thankful for, and a lot of good work being done by Democrats, (Greens, Libertarians, etc, even some Republicans) in the Tampa Bay Area and beyond.
From the heart,
Sunday, October 4, 2020
Gaetz argued on Fox News that Trump catching coronavirus means that the guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control don’t work.
“What I can tell you is if this virus can get into the Oval, into the body of the president, there is no place where it could not possibly infect one of our fellow Americans,” Gaetz argued, ignoring the fact that Trump had constantly engaged in risky behavior like holding packed campaign rallies across the country while refusing to wear a mask. HERE
Saturday, October 3, 2020
Friday, October 2, 2020
Need poll watchers (inside polling sites), poll greeters (outside the 150-foot zone at polling sites), drivers, and other volunteers to assist voters who encounter problems or need information during the election. HERE
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Tampa City Councilman Luis Viera heard from residents during a recent virtual workshop. Each person detailed their living conditions at apartment complexes owned or managed by Tzadik Properties.