The top stories last week
Anna Fusco, president, Broward Teachers Union
In a week in which “thanks” is the dominant theme, we should pause to count our blessings. We may not like crazy statements and decisions made by leaders, but should give thanks that we may freely express our disagreement. We may not like recent elections results, but should give thanks that we live in a country where we can each vote and witness efforts to tabulate those choices fairly. We may feel discouraged when surrounded by prejudice, but should give thanks that we can help those who are bullied. Let’s all give thanks that we live in already great America.
Linda Carter, president, Community Foundation of Broward
The giving season launched with a bang on the announcement of a $1.8 billion donation from Michael Bloomberg for financial aid to students at Johns Hopkins University. It demonstrates how smart philanthropists believe in the power of creating endowed funds that will make transformational impact – in perpetuity. Locally, hundreds of individual have done the same to address issues that matter in our community by working with the Community Foundation of Broward – though not quite as many “0’s.” As a community we are blessed these visionaries choose to be bold and shape the future of Broward with their philanthropy.
Marlon A. Hill, partner, Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel
Despite the marked increase in voter turnout in the recent midterm elections, it remains wholeheartedly unacceptable that South Florida continues to lag behind in the statewide total turnout. We cannot continue to have our fair say at the table with only a marginal turnout above 50% in any election. With a clean slate of leadership across the state, every citizen should remain engaged on the issues they hold dear to their families and local community. No one should be afraid of politics. In fact, politics should be mindful of your voice.
Robert Weinroth, Palm Beach County commissioner
The recounts have ended, the winners declared. Despite hiccups along the way, democracy worked. However, it is abundantly clear attention needs to be paid to voting procedures and the process for validating a race where the results fail within the statutory requirements for further review. While the state’s Supervisors of Elections enjoy significant autonomy as constitutional officers, hardware needs to be reviewed and updated, as required and, perhaps more importantly, the canvassing boards for the counties with the highest populations (e.g., Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties) need to be enlarged to facilitate a more orderly process for validating votes. Earl Maucker, commissioner, City of Lighthouse Point; former Sun Sentinel Editor
Lori Parrish, one of the smartest, most astute public servants to serve Broward County has applied to fill the unexpired term of Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes. Whomever is making the decision should jump on the chance to get Lori back in the game. As a former school board member, county commissioner and property appraiser, her understanding of process and depth of experience make her the perfect choice. Let's not get hung up on party politics. She's made it clear she doesn't want to run for the office - just get it back on track. Ideal option.
Thomas Wenski, archbishop, Archdiocese of Miami
In the past few months – particularly with the issuance of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clerical abuse of children, the initiation across the country of at least a dozen state grand jury investigations, as well as other potential federal inquiries – the Catholic Church’s commitment, effort, and success in protecting our most vulnerable have been misrepresented … unreported … dismissed. Yet, the truth is that measures enacted in 2002 to confront the scourge of child sexual abuse have worked: zero tolerance, fingerprinting, child safety. There is zero tolerance, any abuse is immediately reported to authorities, employees and volunteers are fingerprinted.
Ina Lee, owner, Travelhost Elite of Greater Fort Lauderdale
The March for Our Lives student teenage activists from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School who channeled their grief and outrage into a national movement for gun control were awarded the 2018 International Children's Peace Prize by former Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa. He called them "true change makers" as they organized hundreds of thousands to march on Washington and cities nationwide; their 24 state voter registration drive; and multiple other initiatives. Since then, 25 states have passed some form of gun control. They give me hope for our future.
Gerry Litrento, senior executive vice president, BankUnited
If you’re like me, you did some holiday shopping this past weekend, cashing in on Black Friday sales or you are waiting for tomorrow to take advantage of those Cyber Monday deals. But in between, I do hope you took the time on Small Business Saturday to support small businesses and all they do for the local community. How important are small businesses to our economy? Of the 5.6 million employer firms in the U.S. in 2016, firms with fewer than 100 workers accounted for 98.2 percent and firms with fewer than 20 workers made up 89.0 percent. So this holiday season, try to make every day a Small Business Saturday.