Richard Sutphen-Public Schools

It appears that the powers that be do not want to put the sales tax on the menu for this fall.  They come up with lame excuses that generally contradict their own behavior.  For example, the sales tax for pensions that was not really explained nor examined by the council – it’s a “kick the can” down the road approach that will cost the next generation a ton of money.  Also, the costly demolition of the Landing with no plans in the works to replace it.  We have the mulit-million dollar demolition of the exit ramps for the bridge near the downtown stadium that is being done for the benefit of Zillionaire Kahn who has some ambiguous plans to develop the area. Then there was the unvetted approval of multi-millions for a Ferris wheel project downtown from a company that the TU discovered was a shoddy operation.  These same people want some kind of detailed spending plan for the gigantic repair work on the Duval school buildings much of which has already been provided to the mayor and council.  I understand they did the same thing to the previous Democratic mayor when he submitted plans for development – they wanted a detailed plan and assurances that are never required from the Republican swindlers occupying the government as exemplified in the above examples.

The attack on public schools is a statewide project that is intended to promote charter and private schools at public expense.  We all know this.  These schools do not have to meet the same standards as public schools.  The WSJ article addresses the role of real estate developers in the promotion of charter schools.  Here in Florida, it is common for the developers and charter management companies to be essentially one in the same people who purchase the land and building with their real estate arm and then lease it to themselves as the charter school management company and have the school district pay the rent which pays off their mortgage at taxpayer expense.  This is a wholesale exploitation of taxpayers and public education in the state.

Unfortunately, we have a mayor and city council who have just been elected or re-elected to office, so they have little incentive at this time to answer to what the people want – to have a tax increase to pay for the building repairs.  Curry is already eyeing his next political office conquest and the council hasn’t even been sworn into office yet.  For them, what’s the hurry on the sales tax referendum?  There is a strong racial undertone to their views of public education; it is for black kids.  They have been trying for decades to use public funds to pay for their white private education and have used various devious methods to do so and  they have been largely successful with this in Florida.  Charter schools were sort of the first attempt to break into the treasury funds by promoting them as quasi public schools that fall under board of education administration and sharing of funds, but are private and many are for profit institutions.  Then, they figured out how to direct taxes into funding private schools through mainly designated corporate tax credits that can be diverted from the treasury to pay for private schools (many religious) prior to tax collection.  Thus, the funds never make it into the treasury so technically it doesn’t violate the constitution that bars the use of state funds for private schools.

This is how things are when the Republicans have been in power for the past 20+ years.  We need to find good candidates to run for office and also realize that it may take awhile, perhaps years, to change the dynamic here in Duval and in the state.  Just keep plugging away.

Richard sent the above email

to Susan

when she sent the below email to Indivisble-Mandarin and cc’d Richard.

From: Susan
Sent: Saturday, June 29, 2019
To: Indivisible Mandarin

These council members will still be there July 1st so people can write them now asking them to make this a priority to put the school board’s referendum on a 2019 ballot.

Freeman at large 1
Morgan same 1
Ferraro same 2
Bowman same 3
Wilson same 4
Gaffney same 7
Pittman same 8
Dennis same 9
Becton same 11
White same 12
Hazouri same at large 3
Newby same at large 5

On Fri, Jun 28, 2019 at 2:41 PM Susan  wrote:

I wrote the city council members and the Mayor again.  Below is my email.  I’m still hoping the referendum will get on a ballot in 2019.

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Susan
Date: Fri, Jun 28, 2019 at 2:05 PM
Subject: If we’re not allowed to vote in 2019, what repairs of our neighborhood schools won’t be done next year?
To: Danford, Joyce <>, Ferraro, Albert <>, Bowman, Aaron <>, Wilson, Scott <>, Gaffney, Reginald <>, Pittman, JuCoby <>, Dennis, Garrett <>, Freeman, Terrance <>, Becton, Daniel <>, White, Randy <>, Gulliford, Hazouri, Thomas <>, Newby, Samuel <>, Mayor Lenny Curry <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, <>

How many on the city council are preventing the voters from voting on the referendum in 2019 because they want our sales tax money to EXPAND the presence of charter schools in our city?  Isn’t that what Mayor Curry said? You can read the full quote at this link.  Isn’t “choice” code for charter schools?  The way I interpreted Mayor Curry’s statement: 

I [Curry] am preventing the voters from voting on the referendum in 2019 because I want the taxpayers’  sales tax money to EXPAND the presence of charter schools in our city.  

Did I get it wrong? Did I misunderstand his statement?  Is that NOT how you interpreted his statement?

I am troubled by the desire of anyone that wants to use my sales tax money to expand charter schools.  Quote from this WSJ article:

 But the growing role of for-profit real-estate developers has added a new dimension to the debate over charters, which are taxpayer funded and independently operated schools that are largely free of union rules. Critics say charter schools are in danger of cutting costly deals with developers who are more concerned with investment return than educating children. The result can lead to failed schools.


Article by Richard Sutphen–Taxes

Since you are so active with Florida politics and have a blog, I thought I would send along an email that I sent to Nate Monroe of the Times Union regarding one of his columns that was published recently.  Maybe some of your readers would like to hear the point that I am making about how we essentially give away our state revenues disguised as tax cuts when in fact they constitute tax spending, or that the Republican unactionable approach to governance is fully intended as part of their small government ideology.

From: Sutphen, Richard
To: Nate Monroe


I am a fan of your columns for the TU.  I am a member of Indivisible Mandarin but unfortunately I missed your presentation to the group in late March.

There are many topics that you have addressed in your columns that I would like to respond, however your column today about the Republican obsession with taxes is a good place to start.

I was an advisor to Ken Organes who ran for the State House seat for District 16 (against Jason Fischer) and I wrote a progressive platform for him.  One part of it addressed the state budget and how to implement a real business model for state governance.  The point is that this is directly analogous to Jacksonville’s budget that you write about frequently.

The way that Mayor Curry approaches the city budget is similar to how Republicans have dealt with state governance which reflects their view of the functioning of a “small government” ideology.  As much as they talk about bringing business acumen to governance, the fact is that they promote a business model that is best suited to result in bankruptcy than it is to promote a government that can adequately respond to the needs of a quickly growing state population in a context of a highly competitive global economy.  This model is reflected in a basic observation: In 2008/09 in the midst of the “Great Recession,” the state budget was “tight” lacking any extra funds for government services; in 2018/19 in the midst of a “booming economy,” the state budget is “tight” lacking any extra funds for public education, healthcare, the environment, and other government services.  To the Republicans, this is considered a success – a desired intentional outcome of the business model used for governance; that is the model of the “endless recession.”  Since the late 90’s, it has been the expressed intention of the legislature to reduce revenues.  That is right, this is a business model that seeks to reduce revenues.  It is also one that anticipates limited and rather static investments in human capital (the equivalent of business capital investments) such as education, healthcare, etc.  Bankruptcy anyone?

The governing philosophy of small government limited spending and an anti-tax obsession is frequently expressed in the form of the “all purpose” tax cut that undergirds Republican economic policies.  We all know that tax cuts that favor the wealthy do not stimulate economic growth, they instead lead to budget shortfalls, cuts and deficits.  Ironically, tax cuts are really tax spending (tax expenditures) that fundamentally rebate or spend assessed taxes before they are collected.  There is a document called “silent spending” that is generated annually by the state budget office that shows how this tax revenue is exempted or discounted for certain favored entities and adds up to about 25% of the state budget that goes uncollected.  For example, corporations in Florida pay about 57% of their assessed tax rate. In this sense, we really don’t need tax increases to generate more revenue at the state or city level, we just need to collect the taxes that we already have on the books but that we have given away with cuts.

So, I think you were right in one of your recent column’s that suggested the ideological congruency of selling assets like JEA to generate funds rather than extending the sales tax a half cent or more to pay for needed infrastructure and the proverbial downtown development.

As you pointed out in your article today, solutions to problems such as downtown development are available (as they are for many social problems as well), but when leaders are intentionally stuck in traditional or rigid ideological thinking, they prevent themselves from considering them and instead ride the problem solving merry-go-round rationalizing their impotence while trapped in an “endless cycle.”

Richard Sutphen

I am a retired social work professor and I wrote the article on Medicare For All that appeared in the TU last November.

How Do We Prevent Hate Crimes?

The organization that administers Florida’s growing array of voucher programs — Step Up For Students — insists it doesn’t want private schools to discriminate against minority groups but it has no legal basis to deny those schools voucher money. ref 1

 These two Florida Statutes (1000.05 and 1003.42) apply to public schools. F.S. 1000.05 prohibits discrimination against certain minority groups and 1003.42(g) aims to teach people to voluntarily not discriminate against those groups. So in my mind, those two Florida statutes are inextricably linked. Based on the above Step Up For Students’ quote, these statutes do not apply to private schools receiving voucher money. I hope to convince you that those two statutes should apply to private schools that receive public money.  In addition, I will suggest some ways that I think both of the statutes need to be tweaked.

Florida Senator Darryl Rouson plans to introduce a bill in the next legislative session (which is in 2020) that will prohibit private schools that accept state money from discriminating against certain minority groups. I hope this strong statement in Florida Education Commissioner Corcoran’s letter  ​(​ ref ​2)​  means he will be supportive of Senator Rouson’s bill:

For my part, I intend to exercise all avenues afforded to me through Florida statutes and rules to investigate and act. I will swiftly, and to the limits of my office and resources, investigate and prosecute any individuals who threaten the equity and cultural sensitivity of the educational experience of our public schools.

The term “public schools” as was used in the Florida Education Commissioner’s letter has become blurred with the proliferation of taxpayer money funding charter schools and private schools. Going forward, we need to make clear which regulations only our neighborhood schools need to follow and which regulations apply to all schools receiving public money either directly or indirectly via the tax credit scheme.

Please urge your legislator and the Education Commissioner to pass legislation requiring that Florida Statutes 1000.05 and 1003.42 (g) apply to any school receiving public funds. Florida Statute 1000.05 says that discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, religion, or marital status against a student or an employee in the state system of public K-20 education is prohibited. Florida Statute 1003.42(g) requires the teaching of a course that will lead to an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society

In my view, this is crucial. The citizens of Florida should want every child to understand the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and examine what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society.

During an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) made the claim that President Trump emboldens racism and anti-Semitism with his rhetoric. Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes according to a recent news article. Ref 4 Correlation doesn’t mean causation. However, it seems common sense to believe that the speech of teachers and other authority figures can have an effect on the vulnerable.

The Florida Education Commissioner’s letter (which I quoted above) was in response to a principal that said he tried to stay neutral regarding the holocaust and slavery. A recent discussion within our Florida legislature regarding HB 741 (a bill called anti-Semitism) offered the hypothesis that denial of the holocaust was linked to hate crimes. People have been outraged that the principal (who was the antagonist in the Florida Education Commissioner’s letter) wanted to stay neutral about historical facts. Which parents were forcing this principal to feel he had to stay neutral about the holocaust and slavery?  ADL has seen this problem across the country and is developing a course to help teachers and administrators deal with this pressure from students and parents. Ref 3 If you were the principal and a parent came to you and said “I do not want my kid to attend a class that says the Holocaust is a historical fact”, how would you handle it? The principal (that made the news) could have used some of the ADL training when he was dealing with parents that didn’t want to expose their children to factual historical data.

How do you feel about hate crimes? What minority groups should be included in the hate crimes laws? Do you think certain minority groups need more protections than others? Religion was added to the list in Florida Statute 1000.05 in 2019 but in 2018 the statute read:

Discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status against a student or an employee … is prohibited.

Do you think gender identity and sexual orientation should be added to the list?  If not, do you realize that sexual orientation and gender identity is no more a choice than race, ethnicity, or national origin? Do you realize these minority groups are the subject of hate crimes?  Do you think we can prevent these hate crimes?  If you think they can be prevented, then how? Is the teaching of tolerance a key element of prevention?

I hope sexual orientation and gender identity will be added to Florida Statute 1000.05 which is the Florida statute that prohibits discrimination against certain minority groups in Florida’s public schools. F.S. 1000.05 needs to apply to all schools receiving public funds. Of course since religion was added to Florida Statute 1000.05 in 2019, the statute should also say that this freedom of religion law shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that it can be used to harm another. For example, if your religion says that slavery is ok, it doesn’t mean you can enslave someone. Perhaps you find the slavery example silly but I don’t know all the ways people might be tempted to use religious freedom laws to harm others. Adding the language is a safeguard against future unintended consequences. Even the Bible offers us examples. Here is one:

Leviticus 24:13-14

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Bring the one who has cursed outside the camp, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head; then let all the congregation stone him.

As the recent news about the principal in Palm Beach County reveals, we need clearer guidelines on how f.s. 1003.42 (g) should be implemented. The Florida Commissioner of Education reveals there are no clear guidelines to implement 1003.42 (g) when he asks in his letter ref  2  ” Please provide a detailed report of all that the schools in Palm Beach County are doing to fulfill this obligation”

The course requirements of 1003.42(g) should be taught in civics or history class every year. Each age group can learn something new. Once the student knows WW2 and the Holocaust and other atrocities happened, people may question how many times it needs to be taught again. BUT the broader part of 1003.42(g) is the teaching of what led to the Holocaust and how people were complacent. The course work should target a certain age group (Primary, Intermediate, Middle School, etc.) and the teacher should take into consideration the ages, reading level, and emotional maturity of the students. ref 5

Based on the next to the last paragraph of Corocran’s letter ref 2  , I would expect him to support Senator Rouson’s bill prohibiting private schools that accept state money from discriminating against people because of sexual orientation or gender identity. But would I be disappointed? Please contact the commissioner and all your representatives and ask them to

  1. Support legislation that will add sexual orientation and gender identity to f.s. 1000.05
  2. Support legislation that will make it clear that Florida Statutes 1003.42(g) and 1000.05 applies to all schools receiving public funds either directly or indirectly via the tax credit scheme.
  3. Add additional requirements that say elements of the course described at 1003.42(g) should be taught ever year.
  4. Add to Florida Statute 1000.05 wording that says that this freedom of religion law shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that it can be used to harm another.

Ref 1

Ref  2

Ref 3

Ref 4

Ref 5

HB 741

f.s. 1003.42 (g)


Florida’s Tax Credit Scheme allows some businesses to divert dollar for dollar their tax liability money to a private school. Read more:

Where I found the stoning quote:

Topic Questions for July Humanist Book Group Discussion

Topic Questions for July book group discussion.

1. What do you think of the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act? This brings up a bigger question, how do you want YOUR tax dollars spent?
2 .Is locking people up better than finding a way for them to live on their own? Also could we discuss what should be done about the homeless?
3. At what point are you willing to take away a person’s right to make decisions about their own body and limit their freedoms? If you disagree with a policy, how does one fight back?
4. Mental Institutions and other detention centers might have a place BUT we need strict rules to prevent abuses? Could we discuss the detention centers where immigrants are being held?
5. Brain vs. Mind—Let’s discuss competitiveness and cooperation.
6. Is efficiency or honesty more important? Let’s discuss the placebo effect also.
7. Were you impressed, perplexed, surprised or outraged about how discoveries were made? One of my big take a ways was how important accurate data is. And how fudging the data causes people to distrust future scientific theories.
8. Did some of these stories make you trust doctors less? Also could we discuss how you feel about being a guinea pig? And when should you sue or organize to lobby and protest?
9. Let’s discuss Prozac, Xanax, Opiods, Pot, Alcohol, etc
10. Who should be allowed to prescribe drugs? What do you think of direct marketing of drugs to the public?
11. How can we be sure our food and water isn’t hurting us? Let’s discuss the regulations of drugs and truth in advertising

Topic Questions Above.

Quotes below.

1. ***Page 250 Individual scientists and universities could strike lucrative deals with industries interested in developing the commercial potential of valuable products developed with tax dollars

2. ***Location: 5,314—page 274 to 275 deinstitutionalization in the 1960s and ’70s led to homelessness, incarceration, and premature death for many. … many people with serious mental disorders often benefit far more from being given their own apartment and/or access to supportive communities, than from being given a script for a new or stronger antipsychotic.
***Location: 266—page 7 of 366 some people were biologically unsuited to handle the pressures of modern life.

3. ***Location: 1,115—page 51 involuntary sterilization of the insane, it was not until the mid-1930s that he finally denounced it publicly. ***Location: 1,160 to 1164—pages 53- 54 In 1933 Germany’s Nazi government would cite the 1927 Buck v. Bell decision in defending its own “Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring.” ….Germany’s sterilization program, in turn, paved the way in 1939—after Germany went to war—for an originally secret decision not to sterilize but to murder thousands of mentally ill and disabled institutionalized persons. ***Location: 1,907—-page 93 Women had become too dominant, people complained; they were resisting their traditional roles, while men were having difficulty asserting their traditional authority. ***Location: 2,370—page 119 Foucault’s argument was that the history of psychiatry was not a story about a medical encounter with the suffering of the mentally ill, but a story of morality and politics pretending to be medical but actually working to discipline and silence the authentic truths of people labeled mad. ***Location: 2,401—page 121 What psychiatry did instead, Szasz said, was to identify persons who behaved in strange, distraught, or unacceptable ways and decide they were sick and therefore in need of its special treatment. ***Location: 2,438—page 122 All agreed, though, that psychiatry regularly labeled innocent people “crazy” in order to deprive them of their liberties; that its treatments often caused more harm than good; and that the so-called mentally ill were generally an oppressed group who had finally begun to assert their right to live unfettered lives. ***Location: 2,590—page 130 The Stonewall Inn riot is generally seen as a key catalyst for the gay liberation movement. ***Location: 3,677-page 187 Patients’ growing fear of side effects associated with this treatment led David Impastato, one of the pioneers of ECT, to recommend in 1957 that hospitalized patients should not be told in advance that they would be getting it.

4. ***Location: 1,545—page 74 former asylum patient and wealthy citizen activist Clifford Beers had originally envisioned a movement focused on reforming the often abusive and underfunded state hospital system and had reached out to Meyer for help. Meyer persuaded Beers to focus instead on reducing the number of people who ended up in such institutions in the first place. ***Location: 1,863—page 91 Only when the staff created small family-style units consisting of children and dedicated caretakers did the situation improve. ***Location: 2,191—page 110 The Shame of the States documented on a state-by-state basis the appalling conditions of the mental hospitals and called for deep reform. ***Location: 2,286—page 113 to 115 In 1963, Congress passed the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act. …. Fewer than half of the envisioned 1,500 community mental health centers were ever built …Litigation in the 1970s accelerated the process of deinstitutionalization … In 1970 a court declared that patients had a right to adequate treatment ….. Unfortunately, virtually all hospitals lacked sufficient funds to comply, ***Location: 3,445—page 175 In 1986 the psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey was blunt: “There is now a universal realization that the running down and closing of mental hospitals was a disaster.

5. ***Location: 426—page 14 of 366 the brain anatomists had failed so miserably because they focused on the brain at the expense of the mind. ***Location: 1,017—page 46 of 366 Bleuler finally decided that he could no longer associate himself with a movement that did not tolerate dissent…. Saying “…I find it harmful for science”

6. ***Location: 596—page 23 of 366 [1892] Pierre Janet at this point found a new use for hypnosis: to transform his patients’ “fixed ideas” into sanitized (and fictionalized) “memories” they could live with. ***Location: 622—page 24 of 366 Freud explained, the unconscious mind could not distinguish between fantasy and true events. ***Location: 767—page 33 of 366 Beard suggested to his colleagues, why not integrate “expectation”—a kind of talking cure—into their repertoire of therapies?
***Location: 785—page 34 of 366 The second half of the nineteenth century had seen the rise of a number of Christian “mind cure” movements… ***Location: 796—page 35 of 366 suggestion therapy, hypnosis, affirmation therapy, and more—that were increasingly being shown to influence the body.

7. ***Location: 732—page 30 of 366 The conclusion seemed clear: GPI was a form of syphilis in which the bacteria colonized the brain. ***Location: 940—page 42 of 366 both mind and body—for data from brain tissue and heredity studies, and for the developmental, social and mental facts that could only be gathered from a patient’s life story. ***Location: 1,057—page 48 suppressed evidence that Cotton’s surgeries, far from curing patients, were making virtually all of them worse than before—
***Location: 2,600—page 130 They reminded the psychiatric community of studies conducted by Alfred Kinsey
***Location: 2,686—page 134 one had to start somewhere. In due course, research would reveal the biological correlates of mental illness ***Location: 2,847-page 145 Instead, the drug that first began to shift thinking about the causes of schizophrenia was one that we associate with a very different kind of social history: lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD.
***Location: 2,939—page 150 1953 he and Hoffer experimented with using LSD as a treatment for alcoholism and claimed remarkable results. ***Location: 3,002 to 3008 Pellagra … He became convinced that the disease in humans was caused by a poor starchy diet lacking meat, milk, and vegetables. Few listened, and many, especially in the southern states, were offended by the claim. … Pellagra (and its animal equivalents) resulted from a deficiency of nicotinic acid (niacin, or vitamin B3) …
If one gave large doses of the nutrient (either directly or through an improved diet) to affected animals, they recovered.
***Location: 3,074—page 157 All this work persuaded most physiologists that some chemicals could act to reset or alter physiological functions. ****Page 247 In the 1970’s, psychiatrists had rallied around biology and the medical model as a way of exorcising the specters of psychoanalysis, antipsychiatry and radical social science.

8. ***Location: 1,049-page 48 of 366 By the 1920s, at least two therapeutic efforts thus emerged that involved surgically removing allegedly infected organs from the bodies of schizophrenic patients: teeth, appendixes, ovaries, testes, colons, and more. … ***Location: 1,734—page 85 Huston himself felt the film was confiscated because it challenged (in his words) “the ‘warrior myth’ which said that our American soldiers went to war and came back all the stronger for the experience,
***Location: 2,037—page 100 Thorazin was marketed it initially as a pediatric antiemetic, mixing it with a sweet-tasting syrup to make it more palatable to children. ***Location: 2,536—page 127 when American psychiatrists were asked to independently diagnose the same patient, they tended to agree on the diagnosis only about 30 percent of the time.
***Location: 3,435—page 175 the families of schizophrenic patients finally got mad, got organized, and fought back.
***Page 249 By the late 1980s, a critical mass of clinicians and researchers had aligned their professional interests with the commercial interests of the pharmaceutical industry

9. ***Location: 3,128—page 159 Gandhi was said to have been fond of drinking it. ***Location: 2,100—page 104 to 105 By the end of the 1950s, one in every three prescriptions written in the United States was for meprobamate. In 1957 Scientific American marveled that “more than a billion tablets have been sold, and the monthly total of 50 tons falls far short of the demand.” Why did this happen? There are several likely reasons. For one, meprobamate seemed like the perfect Cold War drug. The 1950s was widely viewed (and even ambivalently celebrated) as an “age of anxiety.” It was also a time of wonder drugs in medicine. Meprobamate was an apparent wonder drug that combated anxiety. What more could one want? …. Was it likely to “make millions of people significantly indifferent to politics— ***Location: 2,984—page 152 Eventually the countercultural embrace of LSD helped put an end to psychiatric research on LSD. ***Location: 4,157—page 213 pressure to prescribe pharmaceuticals not to cure diseases but to enhance lifestyles— ***Location: 4,206—page 215 The drugs remained widely used, but with greater awareness that they did not always work, that they did not work forever, and that taking them was not without risks. ***Location: 4,047—page 207 Teach people resilience and coping strategies, and they will be able to navigate life’s stressors (and society’s inequities) with greater strength and equanimity. ***Location: 4,067—page 207-208 ….The outcome was a stunner: cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) outperformed the standard medication for depression. ….If depression could be so effectively treated simply by changing people’s negative beliefs about themselves, did it still make sense to think of it as resulting from a “chemical imbalance”? For a brief time, a space for uncertainty opened up. Then Prozac arrived

10. ***Page 247 Not surprisingly, the psychiatrists pushed back hard. Prescribing drugs, they said sharply, must remain a privilege granted exclusively to medically trained clinicians as themselves
***page 251 In 1997 the FDA agreed to dramatically relax the rules regulating direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs, which thereafter exploded, increasing from less than $800 million in 1996 to $4.9 billion in in 2007.

11. ***Location: 3,983—page 204 In 1962 the Kefauver-Harris Amendment to the 1938 Pure Food and Drug Act required that all drugs sold to the public demonstrate “substantial evidence” of safety and efficacy. ***Location: 4,355—page 224
lithium remained an ingredient of 7 Up until 1950, when it was removed.


What do you want the local, state and federal government to spend your money on?

taxpayer moneyI saw that photo on a friend’s page and thought it was thought provoking. How do you feel about your taxpayer money being used to buy and maintain religious symbols and buildings?

It is a similar question to “how do you feel about your taxpayer money being used to maintain confederate soldier monuments in the town square”?

If you don’t like it, then you need to VOTE.

I have been pondering Alito’s SCOTUS opinion about the 100 year old Christian Cross on public land. Do you agree with the 7-2 ruling? Is it constitutional to use taxpayer money to buy and maintain a church that is 100 years old for historical reasons while leaving in tact the religious symbols especially during a time when the Dominionist Christians are exercising so much power in the executive and legislative branches of our government?” Or asked another way “How much do you fear a theocracy?”

The ruling would make more sense to me if it said that the government entity needed to allow the religious symbols of ALL the religions that want to donate a monument to be placed on government property in order to avoid the appearance of the dominate religion receiving preferential treatment. In my view the religious clauses of our First Amendment say that one religion can NOT receive priority over the others.

I hear people screaming about taxes being too high.  The Republicans cut taxes for the rich.  Some of the rich have lots of money to fund things they like but many things are funded by the taxpayers.  Theoretically voters decide what those government funded things will be by casting their votes for various candidates. Does your vote reflect how you want the collective monies spent?

In Jacksonville, many of us want a half penny sales tax to repair and renovate the neighborhood school buildings. My guess is that is why we elected the current school board.  The buildings (in our view) should be a source of pride for our community.  BUT for some reason that I can’t figure out, the Mayor of Jacksonville wants part of that money to go to charter schools.  Why doesn’t he want to make every neighborhood school GREAT?   Charter schools already get some of the local and state tax dollars.  Since Trump and DeVos love charter schools, the charter schools are also getting federal tax dollars.  And since some rich philanthropists love charters, the charter schools are also getting philanthropic dollars.  Why does Mayor Curry think the charter schools also need part of the half penny sales tax that we want to spend on making the neighborhood schools beautiful?  If my memory is serving me,  90% of the kids go to neighborhood schools.  Later I will see if I can find the exact percentage for Jacksonville, Florida and the nation.

Our Mayor advocated for a half penny sales tax for the future to solve a current pension debacle. Quote from this article:

The pension-reform plan Curry shoehorned into law in his first term was the largest financial transaction in the city’s history, shifting billions of dollars in retirement debt decades into the future for a new generation to bear.

Previously Jacksonville passed a half penny sales tax to make the government buildings beautiful or at least that’s how I interpret this quote from the same article:

The Better Jacksonville Plan — the last time a half-cent sales tax was used for a major public building campaign

Curry advocated and got the city council to spend $15 million dollars of taxpayer money on The Landing rather than putting the thing up for a bid by private buyers.  And there is Lot J.  How much of our taxpayer dollars are going to be given as “incentives” or as some say “corporate welfare”?  Quote from article:

Khan and Iguana Investments will seek city incentives ..

I don’t have the answer to the question:  Do we really want our tax money spent on corporate welfare?   Does anyone still believe in the trickle down theory of economics?

I’m not sure how much of my tax money I want spent on historical and art museums much less corporate welfare.   I’m NOT a libertarian because I think pooling our money to do good work is what the government should do.   What worries me is WHO gets to decide?  How much are elected officials swayed by the will of the majority versus a minority of rich and powerful people?

Now after the Bladensburg Supreme Court ruling, I am worried about taxpayer money being used to buy and maintain religious institutions that the congregations no longer want to support.  Quote from this WP article about the cathedrals in France:

According to a Ministry of Culture survey from the 1980s, there are about 32,000 churches, 6,000 chapels and 87 cathedrals in France. All those built before 1905 are publicly owned.  There’s also the question of how enthusiastic the public is for the government to spend massive amounts of money on a cathedral.

If the NONES and others don’t want the government to spend money on religious institutions, then they better start voting. No one has a problem with crosses on private (including religious institutions) property. We just don’t want our taxpayer money used to buy them and keep them restored. Correct? Or do you think the religious symbols should be lumped together with other historical relics?

The reason I mentioned the WaPo article and Notre Dame is because Alito mentioned it in his opinion where he endorsed taxpayer money being used to maintain and restore a Christian Cross on government land. Quote from Alito’s opinion:

With sufficient time, religiously expressive monuments,community’s landscape and identity. The community may come to value them without necessarily embracing their religious roots. The recent tragic fire at Notre Dame in Paris provides a striking example. Although the French Republic rigorously enforces a secular public square,cathedral remains a symbol of national importance to the religious and nonreligious alike. Notre Dame is fundamentally a place of worship and retains great religious importance, but its meaning has broadened. For many, it is inextricably linked with the very idea of Paris and France. Speaking to the nation shortly after the fire,President Macron said that Notre Dame “‘is our history, our literature, our imagination. The place where we survived epidemics, wars, liberation. It has been the epicenter of our lives.’

The FFRF doesn’t explain why they think they’ll prevail in the case in Pensacola, Florida in this article. Is it because the cross in Florida is only 50 years old whereas the Bladensburg Cross in Maryland is 100 years old?  Quote from FFRF article: “The Bladensburg cross decision does not impact the decades of Supreme Court precedent holding government action motivated by a religious purpose unconstitutional.”  Or is their position that a cross for historical purposes is different than a cross for religious purposes?  I look forward to hearing how the FFRF and AHA are going to argue their case after the Bladensburg Cross ruling.

Does something built in 1969 have historical significance to such an extent that it can override long standing precedent? We’re only asking that the religious symbols not be on government land, i.e. they should be on private land. And private NOT government money should be used to keep them restored. It feels that Dominionists Christians are going after taxpayer money because people are no longer funding the churches. Why can’t a church take the cross? Why did they put the cross on government property? Why didn’t they put it on a church’s property? This is an odd quote from Alito’s opinion:
Fourth, when time’s passage imbues a religiously expressive monument, symbol, or practice with this kind of familiarity and historical significance, removing it may no longer appear neutral, especially to the local community for which it has taken on particular meaning. A government that roams the land, tearing down monuments with religious symbolism and scrubbing away any reference to the divine will strike many as aggressively hostile to religion. Militantly secular regimes have carried out such projects in the past, ….

Part of me wonders if it will be to our detriment to scare the Christians by asking that 50 year old crosses be taken down. It’s quite the dilemma.

The slippery slope isn’t always a logical fallacy. IF we don’t complain about the cross on public land, then people will want to build more because we didn’t complain? The Supreme Court actually used the argument that since it took us 50 years to complain, they are going to rule that we need to just leave it there. Is there any chance that the minority felt too intimated to complain up until now?

Here is another example of the slippery slope. Once we moved away from neighborhood schools with magnet schools, it seemed to open the door for charters and vouchers. And once we started giving taxpayer money to charters and vouchers, how could we exclude the churches? Now Florida taxpayers are funding religious schools directly with their tax dollars. Is that really want they want to be doing?

This is a great podcast. From the show notes:
This is a story that Robert Jones, the head of the Public Religion Research Institute, tells in his book The End of White Christian America. Much of Donald Trump’s support is driven by a sense of religious loss, not just racial or national loss. Many of the debates playing out on the American right — particularly the Sohrab Ahmari-David French fight — reflect the belief that these are end times for a certain strain of American Christians, unless emergency measures are undertaken.

Please send this to your representatives in Florida’s Congress

Update: Yes! I agree! HB 91 and SB 184 was introduced for the 2020 legislative session.

HB 91 and SB 184 will require any school receiving public funds (either directly or indirectly) to follow Florida Statute 1003.42 (g).

Excerpt from f.s. 1003.42 (g):

 [a required course that will teach] …… the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions.

If legislators are going to continue giving our tax money to charters and private schools, then each law that spells out rules for the neighborhood school needs to explicitly say if the charter school and private school receiving voucher money has to follow that law also.

Governor DeSantis said any school receiving public funds is a public school.  What does he mean?  Does he mean that any school receiving public funds should be required to follow the same rules as the neighborhood school?

Thank you,

Please send this to your city council representative

I was shocked to hear about the terrible condition some of our school buildings are in.  I don’t understand why some on the city council are hesitating to let the school board put this on the ballot in November 2019.  The school board said they’d pay for the election out of their budget.

The philanthropic organization JPEF says the voters want the repairs to be made.   ref 1   Since the issue is clear cut, I don’t think massive super PAC money is needed to get this passed as was needed for Mayor Curry to get his sales tax increase passed to fix the pension debacle in August of 2016.

Please vote yes on 2019-380 which will allow the school board to put the referendum on the November 2019 ballot.

Hopefully philanthropists will donate money to make the neighborhood school grounds even more beautiful for our communities.  Beautiful buildings and beautiful parks add to our quality of life.

We need to start these repairs soon.  According to the website of the philanthropic organization JPEF , funding from the state has been decreasing over the years, and therefore Duval County Public Schools haven’t been able to accommodate the demand for building upgrades.  According to that same website, the Duval County School District is the only district in Florida that doesn’t have a dedicated revenue source from either impact fees or sales taxes. ref 2

Because state funding sources have decreased so significantly, there is not enough predictable funding to back a bond issue. If the voters vote yes on the referendum in November 2019, then the predictable dedicated revenue source will enable the district to issue bonds and accelerate work on the highest priority school projects. ref 3

Dr. Greene was hired as the superintendent because the elected school board members felt she had the skills to fix the problems.  And part of the equation was putting a referendum on the ballot.  Quote from a TU article:  School Board chairwoman Lori Hershey said “I have in my office several master plans that never got off the ground” because we need a dedicated revenue source to tackle the problems.


ref 1

ref 2

ref 3

If you haven’t already signed these voter initiatives, why not?

If you haven’t already signed these and you want to sign one, then please print it  from the My Florida website.  Be sure to print on both sides of the paper if the petition is a front and back.  There is an address on each petition as to where to mail it.

Details of below initiative can be found at this link:
BALLOT SUMMARY: Allows all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor, and cabinet regardless of political party affiliation. All candidates for an office, including party nominated candidates, appear on the same primary ballot. Two highest vote getters advance to general election. If only two candidates qualify, no primary is held and winner is determined in general election. Candidate’s party affiliation may appear on ballot as provided by law. Effective January 1, 2024.

Details of below initiative can be found at this link:
BALLOT SUMMARY: Prohibits possession of assault weapons, defined as semiautomatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition-feeding device. Possession of handguns is not prohibited. Exempts military and law enforcement personnel in their official duties. Exempts and requires registration of assault weapons lawfully possessed prior to this provision’s effective date. Creates criminal penalties for violations of this amendment.

Details of below initiative can be found at this link:
BALLOT SUMMARY: Requires State to provide Medicaid coverage to individuals over age 18 and under age 65 whose incomes are at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level and meet other nonfinancial eligibility requirements, with no greater burdens placed on eligibility, enrollment, or benefits for these newly eligible individuals compared to other Medicaid beneficiaries. Directs Agency for Health Care Administration to implement the initiative by maximizing federal financial participation
for newly eligible individuals.

Details of below initiative can be found at this link:
BALLOT SUMMARY: Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective September 30th, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting September 30th, 2027.

Do charter schools have to follow the same rules as neighborhood schools?

If politicians are going to keep giving our tax money to charters and private schools, then we need to explicitly spell out which regulations they must follow   Said another way: each law that spells out rules for the neighborhood school needs to explicitly say if the charter school and private school receiving voucher money has to follow it also

My understanding is Scott Shine and some of the lobbying groups he represents are pushing for the taxpayers to fund more charter schools.  Do charter schools and private schools that receive voucher money have to follow 1003.42? And if they don’t have to follow 1003.42, then are any state legislators pushing a bill for the next legislative session that will require any school receiving public funds (either directly or indirectly) to follow 1003.42?

I am glad this is part of the requirement in 1003.42:

(g) ……, to be taught in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions.

Here is how the statute describes schools that have to follow 1003.42:

1) Each district school board shall provide all courses required for middle grades promotion, high school graduation, and appropriate instruction designed to ensure that students meet State Board of Education adopted standards in the following subject areas: reading and other language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign languages, health and physical education, and the arts.

(2) Members of the instructional staff of the public schools, subject to the rules of the State Board of Education and the district school board, shall teach efficiently and faithfully, using the books and materials required that meet the highest standards for professionalism and historic accuracy, following the prescribed courses of study, and employing approved methods of instruction, the following….

The more I read about Scott Shine, the more I wonder why Jacksonville City Council President Aaron Bowman appointed him to the Charter Revision Commission. I also wonder why more of the city council members didn’t vote to defer the vote on Shine’s confirmation so there would be time to investigate why Shine missed so many school board meetings when he was  being paid by the taxpayer to attend those meetings.

The community gets to elect the local school board members. We hope the elected school board members will be making the best decisions for our local schools. They need to budget for where to build new schools.  I find the below quote very troubling.  Does it mean Scott Shine wants the state to make decisions on how the school board spends funds to build new schools?

Quote from January 2019
Another policy change the trio (Scott Shine, Shawn Frost and Erika Donalds) want to make is to give the  responsibility to the state for approval of new charter schools.

 If my memory serves me correctly, a council member (at the rules committee meeting on June 4th) asked Scott Shine why he missed so many meetings when he was a school board member.  Mr. Shine answered that he only missed two meetings where votes took place.  Was he lying? Can you find out how many meetings he missed?

What should you do about bullying?

First we’ll have to define “you” and “bullying” if we’re going to discuss my question.

Is making bigoted comments a form of bullying?

If yes, should you always say something?
Cute video:

Other things to cover in the discussion:

1. Quote from this Psychology Today article

I have written about workplace bullying and bullying in schools. The incidents that I’ve heard and written about have not involved bullying toward specific groups of people, such as ethnic minorities or gay or lesbian individuals (although we know that this occurs with greater frequency), but persons from all walks of life who are singled out as targets of bullies.

2. Quotes from this article:

Helping kids to understand and identify bullying techniques early on in their lives is an important aspect of combating this problem. Young children, especially, should be encouraged to let their parents and teachers know when they are being harassed by other students. They should also be encouraged to expose cases of bullying when they see it happen to their peers.

Information about 1003.42

In 1994, the Florida Legislature passed the Holocaust Education Bill (SB 660) which amends Section 233.061 of the Florida Statutes (Chapter 94-14, Laws of Florida), relating to required instruction. The law requires all school districts to incorporate lessons on the Holocaust as part of public school instruction. The statute reads as follows:
The history of the Holocaust (1933-1945), the systematic planned annihilation of European Jews and other groups by Nazi Germany, a watershed event in the history of humanity, to be taught in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions.

What do you think of this program to give voucher money to a kid that claims to have been bullied but leaves the bully in the public school? Why not spend money on reducing the bullying? Quote from this article:

The Florida Legislature passed a bill in 2018 that is the “first state-supported scholarship in America aimed at helping K-12 students victimized by bullying,” according to Step Up for Students [an organization that profits from administering state voucher programs].

A few quotes from this article

Bullying in schools, ranging from elementary to high school, has reached epidemic proportions. But bullying doesn’t stop there. Bullying in college, in the workplace, and against minority group members of all ages is rampant. …. What is being done about the bullying epidemic, and what can be done? … High-profile cases of bullied teens’ suicides, and now the instances of college bullying and hazing, are leading many schools to develop anti-bullying policies. … We need to rethink our attitudes toward bullying, and incivility in general. As parents, we need to ensure that we are not encouraging teasing and bullying behavior in our children. We need to support anti-bullying programs in our schools and workplaces. We simply need to be more respectful and tolerant of others, and of others’ differences. I find it ironic that the time, money, and energy spent on trying to stop gay marriage, is many times greater than the resources devoted to protecting LGBT persons from bullying. Resources:

Here is what the FLDOE says:

Here are my questions:
1. Is the state providing funding for this course?
2. If yes, is it adequate to hire specialized teachers?
3. Is this course required of all public schools? If yes, how are they defining public schools? Are they using DeSantis’s definition that any school that receives public funds is a public school so that charters and private schools that receive voucher money must also include this as a required class?
4. This class would be a great place to include some of the curriculum required in f.s. 1003.42(g). Is 1003.42(g) required of charter schools and private schools receiving voucher money? In case you don’t see the connection, 1003.42(g) also aims to reduce bullying.

Quote from News Service Florida article:
“TALLAHASSEE — Public schools will be required to teach students at least five hours of mental health instruction beginning in 6th grade, under a mandate approved by the state Board of Education Wednesday and hailed by Florida’s top educator as a “life saver.” The new requirement will require students to take courses aimed at helping them to identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness, find resources if they are battling with depression or other issues, and teach them how to help peers who are struggling with a mental health disorder. The five-hour minimum will be included in curriculums for grades 6-12. “We know that 50 percent of all mental illness cases begin by age 14, so we are being proactive in our commitment to provide our kids with the necessary tools to see them through their successes and challenges,” DeSantis, the mother of two young children, said in a statement. “Providing mental health instruction is another important step forward in supporting our families.” Under the new rule, school districts will be able to choose the types of classes children will be required to take, according to Department of Education spokeswoman Cheryl Etters. The instruction includes courses about cyberbullying, suicide prevention and the impact of substance abuse.


What is the answer to bullying?
My understanding, and I admit I don’t know much, is that the community school concept could help the school with that issue. See page 11 of this report.