The top stories last week
Irela Bagué, president, Bagué Group
We lost one of our best. George H.W. Bush our 41st President from the “Greatest Generation” and the last Republican President who understood the environment is the economy. He passed the Clean Air Act of 1990, bi-partisan legislation that used a market-based approach to reduce acid rain caused by coal-burning power plants and incentivizing the power industry. He is also responsible for signing on to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change as he clearly understood that the challenge is global. Rest in Peace, Mr. President, knowing that because of you, we are breathing cleaner air today.
Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, president, Miami Dade College
MDC, in collaboration with International Solidarity for Human Rights, commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a dynamic art installation Dec. 7, by internationally-renowned artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. The art piece, titled “Induction Chromatique,” represents Human Rights Article 27, “Right to Culture,” and is being donated to the college by ISHR as part of its acclaimed Route to Human Rights project. And, MDC’s MOAD held a special brunch also on Dec. 7, opening a new exhibition, Superflex. All these events and several others were part of MDC’s Miami Art Week/Art Basel offerings.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, member, U.S. House of Representatives
As a federal prosecutor, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta gave a sweetheart deal to a wealthy and well-connected serial sex offender. This seemingly unethical decision to drastically reduce the criminal penalties against Jeffrey Epstein, a vile sexual predator, is unacceptable for any public official, especially a Cabinet secretary who now oversees sexual harassment prevention efforts in the workplace. That's why I'm leading the call for an immediate investigation by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice. The American people and the victims of these horrific crimes deserve to know why justice was not served in this disturbing case.
Sheldon Harr, founding rabbi emeritus, Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El
This past week Jews around the world celebrated the Festival of Chanukah. The theme of this holiday is both a simple one (religious freedom ) and a more complex one (regards and respect for others who worship differently than do we). This holiday lasting eight days and nights is particularly meaningful considering the rise of anti-Semitism and the growing political, economic, and cultural divisiveness in our country. Placing the ideals of Chanukah with the potential of the promise of Christmas, at this time of the year we all have an opportunity to make this world a better place for all.
Michael De Lucca, president, Broward Regional Health Planning Council, Inc.
On Dec. 7, the 77th National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration was held in the morning and open to the public. Pearl Harbor survivors, veterans and people from all around the world come together on this day annually, to honor and remember the 2,403 service members and civilians who were killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Throughout the United States there are four unique locations of the Pearl Harbor Memorial sites located in Hawaii, Arizona and California that capture this day as one of the most pivotal days in U.S. history.
Dr. Michael Dennis, chair, FAU Schmidt College of Medicine
What’s happened to respecting and honoring the decisions of our electorate? In Wisconsin, Republican lawmakers, having lost the offices of governor and attorney general in the midterm elections, passed legislation intended to limit the power of the incoming Democrats. For example, the new governor would now be required to obtain permission from the legislature for adjusting programs run jointly by the federal and state governments and would have greater difficulty making political appointments. This blatant action is as awkward as our governor removing Broward County’s elections supervisor when she has already announced her retirement. Better to remember the Golden Rule!!
Ted Deutch, member, U.S. House of Representatives
Recent climate change reports have exposed the dire place our world stands. The Global Carbon Project found that global carbon dioxide levels are expected to grow by 2.7 percent this year. A World Health Organization study projects that addressing climate change could actually save millions of lives and billions of dollars. Yet, in a remarkably tone deaf move, the Trump Administration announced its rollback of environmental protections limiting greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants. My bipartisan climate change legislation would put a fee on carbon and return 100 percent of the net revenue back to Americans, leading to 90 percent emissions reductions by 2050.
Kathleen Cannon, president, United Way of Broward County
The homeless are no longer living in the encampment outside the Broward Main Library and the tents are gone, but the work is far from over. As case managers help the former encampment residents with supportive services and permanent housing, ongoing community support and philanthropy is needed. This includes new landlords willing to rent to us; furnishings and supplies; employment opportunities for the newly housed; and more. At the same time, we must remember: the encampment is just a tiny fraction of Broward’s homeless population. At least 2,300 individuals are experiencing homelessness every day in Broward County, and our work must expand to help them. Visit UnitedWeEndHomelessness.org or Broward.org/ EndHomelessness.