I was shocked and disappointed when I saw the ad in Monday’s Palm Beach Post showing pictures of so many out-of-state vehicles belonging to tradesmen in the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority’s construction project parking lot.
The SWA’s awarding of a $700 million contract to an out-of-state contractor defies logic. I have no doubt that a Florida-based contractor could have undertaken this project. More important, I know from personal experience that there are qualified Florida workers who could have built this project. I know because as sheriff of St. Lucie County, I insisted that the local union labor build a $21 million jail expansion eight years ago.
In May 2003, the St. Lucie County Commission approved the expansion. In the planning stages, then-County Administrator Douglas Anderson approved my request for skilled union labor. During the bidding process, the county placed $1 million in a reserve account to cover overruns and change orders. The project was scheduled for completion in 11 months. Sadly, Hurricane Wilma hit at the start of the project, flooding the entire campus. I, like others, thought this would set the completion date back two or three months. To everyone’s surprise, except the union workers on the project, construction was completed two months ahead of schedule and came in $1 million under budget.
The project was so well-built that we have experienced no construction-related problems, and no inmate has tried to escape from confinement. Local union labor is the most efficient and fiscally responsible approach to a construction project.
KENNETH J. MASCARA
Editor’s note: Kenneth J. Mascara is sheriff of St. Lucie County. The Palm Beach County Commission will create a task force to study the issue of local labor for country projects.
should speak English
Regarding the letters about whether legal status for illegal immigrants should depend on speaking English, those of us who have lived in Florida all of our lives may remember when Channel 4 was the only local television channel out of Miami, with a newsman by the name of Ralph Renick.
In the 1960s, when the first influx of Cubans came to Florida, he made the statement, “The only sign that should be written in Spanish is where to go for English lessons.” Perhaps if that were the case, we wouldn’t be facing the dilemma that we face today.
exists for good reason
The editorial “Filibuster abuse costs country, not just Senate,” ignores reality.
The filibuster protects the people represented by the minority party from potential abuses of the majority. Regarding President Barack Obama’s “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the editorial criticized the “arcane rules” that allow the minority party to block presidential nominees. The ability of the Senate to block executive appointments is the result of the Founding Fathers’ desire to prevent a presidential spoils system. To stop a president from appointing persons who may have contributed to his campaign or come from an influential family but who are otherwise unfit for the position for which they were nominated, the Constitution requires that the Senate approve the nominees for high office.
Luckily, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals understands the plain language logic and historical context of the Recess Clause of the Constitution, and declared President Obama’s “recess” appointments unconstitutional. And it is a good thing, because one of the president’s picks for the NLRB, Richard Griffin, is now mired in a controversy that places him in the middle of an extortion and racketeering case, not to mention his connection to a union that is rife with ties to organized crime.
It would be good for the Editorial Board to keep this present day example in mind before calling for reform that would make it even easier for the president to reward Big Labor.
Editor’s note: Fred Wszolek is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute, which is “funded by and advocates on behalf of business owners who enjoy good working relationships with their employees, and would like to maintain those good relationships without the unfair interference of government bureaucrats, union organizers and special interests.”
Why are the media and the Republican responders such as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., ignoring the most important sentences in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union?
“On Medicare,” he said, “I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission. … We’ll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors.”
This offer to means-test Medicare is so clearly a starting place for productive negotiation on entitlements and so equitable a proposal that, perhaps, no one yet knows how to react.
BRUCE A. MCALLISTER
Give tax cuts to
job-creators in US
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was given the honor to rebut President Barack Obama’s State of the Union. The darling of the GOP found fault with just about everything Mr. Obama has done or hasn’t done, and he wants Mr. Obama to abandon his “obsession” with raising taxes, which supposedly would only cause more job losses.
The question for Sen. Rubio is why were so many jobs lost under President George W. Bush when he gave huge tax cuts, mostly going to the wealthiest. The cuts were meant to create jobs, but we lost jobs in America while those tax cuts were invested overseas.
Give tax cuts to those who will guarantee to invest in America, creating jobs for America’s workforce, the greatest in the world. The wealthiest should be happy to pay the tax rate that existed during the Clinton years, when our government had a budget surplus, not a deficit caused to a degree by two tax cuts for the benefit of mostly those whom Sen. Rubio is so “obsessed” about.
SAUL P. HELLER
Objection to halftime
show lacks perspective
The letter from the woman who referred to the “vulgarity” of the Super Bowl halftime show was a true delight. I agree. America was a much more respectable place when the best entertainment in town was pistol duels. For events to delight even larger crowds, nothing could beat public hangings (pickpockets certainly enjoyed those.) In even earlier times, there were gladiatorial contests pitting men with swords or men against lions and tigers. At all these events, it was understood that women in attendance would be fully clothed and not dancing suggestively.
To ensure that our delicate sensibilities are not offended, I recommend that future Super Bowl halftime shows not feature Beyonce in a skimpy costume, Britney Spears in lingerie or Madonna in a cone bra. The “teenagers and younger children” referred to in the woman’s letter would be better off if entertained by something more refined, such as an Ultimate Fighting Championship match, a demolition derby or a cockfight. Surely, no one would object to those.
West Palm Beach
Make mayor title
The Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners has seven elected commissioners, and each year elects one to serve as the chairman. This year, it was Steve Abrams, representing Boca Raton residents. He requested that the commission change his title from Chairman Abrams to Mayor Abrams. The commissioners voted to do so, 4-3.
As your editorial “If Palm Beach County wants a mayor, make the title mean something” so well stated, without structural changes to the county charter, the new mayor has no authority, other than ceremonial duties. Why not use this controversy as an opportunity to amend the charter to have a full-time mayor elected countywide, to run the county? The elected mayor would appoint people to high-level positions, subject to a majority vote of the county commissioners. I look forward to the support of The Palm Beach Post.
HARVEY B. LEVINSON