I’ve had a sincere passion my whole life to serve people and make the lives of others better. I have done so very effectively, with my family, in my practice as a health professional, and in my community involvement. While I have thoroughly enjoyed all those roles of service, I am prepared to take my community service to a more productive level. Because of my 56 years of life experiences and much wisdom gathered, I have a tremendous amount to offer in a public leadership role in my sincere intent to support the common good of all of the citizens of Florida. I have served my community for over 33 years through volunteer efforts with youth sports as a health care provider and a coach for Optimist, YMCA, University, and Public School programs. I am presently the Vice Chair of the Pinecrest Zoning Board, and a past Vice Chair of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission. Additionally, I have served on Miami-Dade County Public Schools Health Advisory Committee representing school board member Dr. Larry Feldman. Proudly, I am also a graduate of Leadership Florida Statewide Community Foundation.
I do not support open carry laws. I believe they create fear in the mostly and preferably unarmed public. I also believe that law enforcers find open carry a threat and would prefer not to feel challenged by individuals that can compromise their effectiveness in enforcement. I am fine with concealed carry of properly trained and permitted individuals, but I support legislation that restricts the locations that one may carry a concealed gun such as schools, government, entertainment and bar locations which are dedicated to large numbers of children or where people who may be impaired by alcohol are located. I support legislation banning the purchase of assault weapons, large ammo magazines, and armor piercing ammunitions. I believe we must require background checks for all people in all circumstances including gun shows, person to person sales as well as online sales, and we should not allow anyone on a no fly list to purchase any guns unless properly vetted and cleared from the list.
Because Common Core academics consist of goals intended to be what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade from K - 12. And because they were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live. I recognize the value and need for consistent learning goals across Florida. The standards provide a clear and consistent framework for educators are evidence-based and consistent and I believe should be a standard in every school in Florida.
I believe we need to invest more in training teachers, and their administrative bosses. The quality of a child’s teacher is the single most-important school-related factor in their success. We should not focus on punishing bad teachers, but learn how to make good ones instead. Modernize the teacher’s job and don’t isolate teachers from peers. Think in terms of trade offs, not absolutes; such as extend the school year and compensated for that by making classrooms a little bigger. Let kids learn at their own pace. Get families involved earlier because early childhood education is key to kids’ achievement in the long-term. Address the issue of poverty.
Merit pay faces several key challenges and was prematurely employed. First, student outcomes are difficult to define and measure. Second, the contributions of individual teachers to student outcomes are difficult to disentangle from student background and prior achievement. Serious analysis shows significant deficiencies in several measures of teacher performance. Policy makers should not be adopting any measures without careful analysis of its properties and a plan to monitor how it is performing. The key issue is whether the incentive and sorting effects of an admittedly imperfect merit pay system can improve the quality of the teacher workforce.
Admittedly, public school jobs do offer a living wage. However, compared to other specialized jobs that involve degrees and training, the salaries don’t stack up. This is a serious, intellectual job that demands more serious pay. Census data, shows that teacher wages have declined relative to comparable private-sector workers over the past several decades. If not so, then it is curious that teaching is not an employment magnet comparable to other jobs like the financial sector.
I would start by pushing forward land purchases South of Lake Okeechobee, because environmentally harmful polluted waters contaminated by agricultural business interest is being stored in Lake Okeechobee, and because the polluted waters have been flushed out to the Gulf and Ocean creating toxic algae blooms along the waterways and coastline. The results of the flush have historically and most severely at present caused an environmental disaster that costs Florida and its citizens a fortune in damages of various sorts. The intended goal of the purchase is to stop the environmentally damaging rapid trans coastal flush, and to provide a more natural filter for the reinvigoration of a dehydrating dying Everglades environmental system by providing fresh waters that safely travel South through the purchased holding lands. It is a scientifically practical approach that serves the interest of all Floridians. What is most egregious about Gov. Scott and the state legislators neglect of purchase and follow up is that they were given a directive by the citizens of Florida through constitutional amendments to move forward on this project. They have turned their backs on the people who elected them in favor of the interest of big agricultural business that funded their political campaigns. To make matters worse the funds that have been allocated are being misappropriated and intentionally diverted by those same elected leaders. Additionally, the agreements between the state and the owners of lands intended to be purchased will expire soon and the landowners intend to use much of that land for other purposes more profitable to them in today’s market.
After consulting with environmental engineers that are experts in the area, I’ve confirmed resolution of the Lake issue would lend to the reduction of the nuclear plant salinization issue by increased depth of freshwater flow South. The approach would also require the inclusion of an Eastern flow toward the plant with appropriate flood avoidance of the South Dade agricultural lands that can be accomplished by additional projects similar to that of the Palmetto Bays Deering Flow Way further to the South. That would support the Biscayne Bays Coastal Wetlands Project in returning natural habitats, reducing salt water intrusion, and decreasing hyper salinization of Southern Biscayne Bay. The solutions are not too complicated, but the key to success of such an effort begins with the land purchases South of Lake Okeechobee.
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