Christie: Planned statue for former Marlins pitcher irks Post readers

MIAMI – Former Marlins ace Jose Fernandez died last September after crashing his boat while allegedly intoxicated. Two other men also died. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Bronze statues are very often lightning rods for controversy.

It really doesn’t matter whether its a long-dead historical figure, cultural icon or game-changing athlete. There will often be some folks who don’t believe immortalizing a certain individual in bronze is a good idea.

How else, maybe, to explain why it took 70 years for the Los Angeles (formerly Brooklyn) Dodgers to erect a statue of the great Jackie Robinson at Dodger Stadium.

But sometimes they’re right. As is the case with the Miami marlins team owner Jeffrey Loria’s current plan to put a statue of former pitching ace Jose Fernandez at Marlins Park.

Do you agree with Loria’s plan?

Fernandez was a young, charismatic (and dominating) pitcher that added a hometown charm as a Cuban-American. But his death at 24 in a boat crash was caused by unlawful behavior that also cost the lives of two other men. Two other men whose families would have added to their grief, a reminder that the man responsible for their loss is celebrated every day of the Major League Baseball season.

Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria puts on a new hat as he jokes with pitchers and catchers during the first day of spring training. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

For many Post readers, that’s just too much. We published this letter from Jim Anderson of West Palm Beach on Wednesday:

The possibility that a statue may be erected in honor of Jose Fernandez, the Marlin’s late pitcher – who died at a young age – is absurd.

It has been determined that at the time of his death, he had drugs in his system, which may have caused a lack of judgment, resulting in a boating accident, resulting in his own death as well as that of two passengers.

Why would a person be honored for such an action?

Anderson was far from alone in raising that question. Roy Martinez of Jupiter wrote:

I think the idea of erecting a 9-foot statue of Jose Fernandez outside Marlins Park is a terrible idea. Does the fact that Fernandez had a 100-mph fastball overshadow his reckless behavior on the night he and his two friends died? How will those family members feel each time they see that statue?

Playing the game after he died, that was fine. The “16” patch on the Marlins uniforms, also fine. Turning his locker into a “mini-shrine”? Not 100 percent behind that idea.

Public relations being what it is, the statue will probably get built, a big ceremony will mark its unveiling and miniature versions will be available in the Marlins gift shop for a nominal cost.

And Rona Einhorn wrote to Post sports columnist Hal Habib:

I totally  agree  with  your  article  today . I  loved  José . My husband  and  I  attended  the  last  game  he pitched , the  tickets  to the  game  were  a birthday  present  to me . We  sat right  over  the  Marlins  dugout . What  a  game! He even  said  it  was  the  best  game  he pitched.  Then to wake  up  on Sunday  morning  and  hear the  news  I just  couldn’t  believe  it. I  just  don’t  think  that  a large  statue  is the  right  way  to  honor  him.

Thanks  for the article.

After such sentiment is being espoused (maybe more so outside of Miami-Dade County) it will be interesting to see whether Loria shelves his planned monument — at least for now.

Christie: Does it really matter if Walmart sells ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirts?

In this October 2015 photo, a man wears a hoodie which reads, "Black Lives Matter" as stands on the lawn of the Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
In this October 2015 photo, a man wears a hoodie which reads, “Black Lives Matter” as stands on the lawn of the Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Blacks Lives Matter, the movement born out of the fatal shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, is a lightning rod for controversy.

That’s because no matter the explanation about why it exists, largely as a statement against the questionable shooting of unarmed black men by law enforcement officers, folks tend to come down on one side or the other.

The whole Black Lives Matter-vs-Blue Lives Matter issue blew up again last month when retail giant Walmart agreed to stop selling t-shorts and hooded sweatshirts online that read “Bulletproof. Black Lives Matter” on them.

The move came after the Fraternal Order of Police wrote Walmart asking it to pull the shirts, which are actually sold via a third-party vendor — Connecticut-based Old Glory Merchandise — not by Walmart itself.

“Commercializing our differences will not help our local police and communities to build greater respect for one another. Turning a buck on strained relationships will not contribute to the healing process,” FOP president Chuck Canterbury wrote.

Regardless, before the FOP request, Walmart had come under fire from right-wing website Breitbart for continuing to sell the items while caving the previous year to left-wing groups by dropping items that displayed the Confederate flag.

The Post’s Dec. 21 story, Walmart no longer selling ‘Black Lives Matter‘ shirts following police complaints” also prompted reader response. Many didn’t even know Walmart offered Black Lives Matter — and yes, Blue Lives Matter — apparel on its website.

Post letter writer Reginald Osbourne of Delray Beach took issue with Walmart’s decision as an affront to African-Americans:

As a black man and a law-abiding taxpayer who loves God and our great country, the removal of the Black Lives Matter t-shirts is not only offensive to me but also an outright disrespect to my family and the millions of black people who shop at these stores every day.
Black Lives Matter is not against our police or any other race of people. They are against the injustices and discrimination that’s taking place against a large segment of people of color.
If Walmart had shirts in their stores that said “Jewish Lives Matter” and a complaint was made by some customers that said that these shirts were offensive to them, would Walmart have these shirts removed? America is sensitive to the suffering of six million Jews and so are we, along with millions of black Americans who feel the pain concerning this Holocaust to our Jewish family.
However, it seems to me that a lot of people are less sensitive to the millions of our black ancestors who were brought over to America in slave ships and helped to build this great country, who have fought in every war, bled and died in these wars.

Walmart said in a statement, “Like other online retailers, we have a marketplace with millions of items offered by third parties that includes Blue Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter merchandise. After hearing concerns from customers, we are removing the specific item with the ‘bulletproof’ reference.”

Again, Walmart only removed the shirts with the words “Bulletproof: Black Lives Matter” on its website.
By the way, the FOP sent a similar letter to Amazon, which has not responded.
Tell us what you think about this controversy in the comments.

Christie: Why can’t we say ‘Merry Christmas” anymore without offending people?

A satanic display went up in Boca Raton s Sanborn Square, a designated freedom of speech zone, near a Christmas tree and biblical Nativity scene. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)
A satanic display went up in Boca Raton s Sanborn Square, a designated freedom of speech zone, near a Christmas tree and biblical Nativity scene. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)

It’s just not the holiday season anymore without a controversy over religious displays.

For years, more and more Americans are feeling like their holiday celebrations — especially Christmas — are coming under attack by so-called proponents of religious freedom.

And increasingly from those who don’t practice a religion, and thus feel offended that their hard-earned tax dollars are going toward displays like Nativity scenes and menorahs. In recent years, folks have chosen every thing from Festivus poles (“It’s a Festivus for the rest of us!”) to the old stand-by Satanic display to prove their point.

I should that is their right. Period. Because we not only have freedom of religion in this country, but freedom of speech.

That doesn’t mean, however, that some folks are just getting downright tired of it all. I’ve recently had folks who, after recognizing me in my local Publix, launch into a tirade about feeling vilified just for saying “Merry Christmas!”

Well, that’s unfortunate. Especially since saying “Merry Christmas” to someone is supposed to be a friendly way of greeting them this time of year.

Today, Palm Beach Post letter writer Larry Wingate of Jupiter went off on the issue of local Nativity scenes, or lack thereof:

“How many Nativity scenes have you seen this Christmas season? Is Jesus in the decorations and lights or are they only commercial settings? Jesus is the reason for Christmas. We have been conditioned to change this to “Happy Holidays” and winter festivals so as not to offend anyone.”

Does he have a point?

And the Post staff writer Lulu Ramadan has been extensively about the controversy surrounding a Satanic tribute erected at Sanborn Square park in Boca Raton.

On Tuesday, Ramadan reported that more than 50 members of Church of All Nations in Boca Raton church marched, prayed and chanted that afternoon for the removal of the display, which was placed last week between a Christmas tree and Biblical Nativity scene at the public park.

“Tear this thing down,”  Rev. Mark Boykin shouted into a megaphone, met with cheers from the crowd. Preston Smith, a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, secured permits before placing the aluminum pentagram at the park.

Above the pentagram, a sign reads: “In Satan we trust. One nation under Antichrist.”

City leaders are in a tough spot. The only thing saving them so far is that no formal complaint has been filed against the group.

But what should they do if a complaint is filed? Take our quickie poll and tell us here…

Letter: Anyone surprised by Bondi and Trump revelations?

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

Was anyone surprised to read about the quid pro quo arrangement between Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Trump University?

Apparently, Bondi solicited a substantial campaign contribution from the Donald J. Trump Foundation and subsequently her pending participation in a consortium of other state’s AGs complaints against Trump University never materialized. Go figure.

I truly believe that if Gov. Rick Scott found out about this, he very well might have given her a raise. I love Florida. Don’t you?

BILL MOSSO, PALM BEACH GARDENS

Letter: Conservative columnist lineup has strong left tilt

columnistIt seems there is some confusion when The Post tries to present opposing views between right and left. The left point of view is articulated very well, by strong proponents of the liberal view. However, when it comes to the conservative point of view, not so much so: Michael Gerson, Kathleen Parker and David Brooks.

In the May 27 issue, “Clinton may be disliked because she is hard to know,” Brooks goes on to tell us how wonderful Hillary Clinton is; we just don’t understand her. He cannot understand why her unfavorable rating is so high.

After all, she was a wonderful secretary of state. I did not see anything about her dishonesty factor, her emails, the Benghazi allegations — or the drama that has followed the Clintons their whole political life.

Brooks should not represent people on the right. I am sure there are other writers on the right who can articulate the conservative view better.

DAVID NOVEMBER, BOYNTON BEACH

Letter: Get some perspective on real dog lovers

 

dogHere’s a reply to “Dogs are nuisance in many public spaces,” May 29: Sure they are, but with all the animal mistreatment and abuse, maybe we can understand a little of the problem.

Some people have only a dog or cat as their companion, and they really love these animals. Instead of writing a letter, may I suggest you read “So God Made a Dog.” It’s not really religious, just explains how we dog lovers feel. It might make you smile.

I do agree that you also have rights as a non-pet owner, and those rights should be respected by pet owners. People should control their animals and pick up after them, and not bring them into places where they don’t belong.

PATRICIA GUSTAINUS, BOCA RATON

>>READ MORE: Readers React: Do dogs have a place in our restaurants and stores?

Letter: Jack Nicklaus’ support for Donald Trump is a shock

 

Jack Nicklaus PGA National Bear
With hole number 14 to his back, Jack Nicklaus at PGA National. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

It’s probably the year’s ultimate irony that the PGA Tour has moved the World Golf Championships to Mexico from Donald Trump’s course in Doral — given Trump’s remarks about Mexican citizens when he announced his run for the presidency (“PGA Tour says goodbye to Doral,” Thursday).

Various reports have stated that organizers have not been able to find a title sponsor for the event, which is not surprising. It would be difficult to imagine a major sponsor supporting an event that would tie itself to the Trump name and image.

What did surprise me, however, was the mention in The Post that Jack Nicklaus supported and would vote for Trump. Support for Trump from a worldwide, iconic figure like Nicklaus sends a signal that he (Nicklaus) stands behind a man who has demonstrated with his comments, numerous times, that he is a racist and a hater of women.

MICHAEL BAZ, TEQUESTA

Readers React: Do dogs have a place in our restaurants and stores?

dogs-1160399_960_720Over the holiday weekend, I strolled into a moderate to high-end women’s clothing store wondering if there were any Memorial Day deals to be had in this store I could normally never afford. Browsing through the racks, there was a woman ahead of me pushing a large covered baby carriage decorated with pink flowers, with cubby space to hold her Starbucks coffee (who drinks coffee when it was that hot outside?!) and under storage for her purse and bags filled with shopping treasures.

The baby was whimpering a little. Was it about to cry, let out a shrill scream that would cause other shoppers to recoil just a little? Maybe it was playing with a toy that was causing it to “ooh” and “ahh.” As I made my way passed the woman and her baby in the expensive carriage, I realized it wasn’t a baby at all.

It was a Cocker Spaniel. A Cocker Spaniel wearing a flower collar and a red, white and blue ribbon on her head. A Cocker Spaniel was what I heard whimpering.

I shouldn’t have seen a baby carriage and assumed there was a baby inside. My bad.

I stopped at Publix recently and as I was searching the aisles, a woman passed me with a beautiful white Maltese sitting in the front part of her cart.

A Maltese in the meat section of Publix.

It was the clearly the Dog Days of Summer.

Still not the weirdest thing I’ve seen since moving to Florida, where bringing your dog with you everywhere seems perfectly normal. I was in a local mall recently where a couple was shopping with their capuchin service monkey (the kind like Marcel on ‘Friends’ or the ‘Outbreak’ monkey, which might have actually been the same monkey). I’ve never encountered a service monkey before so I stopped to talk with the couple to learn about the work the monkey does. They explained they were socially training the monkey and she would eventually go to help someone with limited mobility with every day tasks like drinking water, turning on lights, picking up objects, etc.F9EE86CF-DE99-407E-B0E9-8FC7082840AC75521984-6905-42A7-A1C4-8F2A69DEAD80

But back to the dogs.

Palm Beach Post reader Jack Bennett of Boynton Beach said he’s had enough with people bringing their dogs in public.

“It seems that you can’t go anywhere without having to be confronted with somebody’s ‘baby,’ i.e., their dog. I can’t tell you how many times I go to restaurants and bars where I have to put up with some dog sniffing me, licking me, begging or just plain invading my space,” Bennett wrote.

The social media response was strongly divided.

But it was Bill Brown Meyers who probably had the right assessment of the situation:

So what do you think? Do you take Fido with you everywhere, or leave him at home? Take the poll and join the conversation in the comments below or here on Facebook:

Letter: PBSO’s ‘(Sheriff Ric Bradshaw) has to go, and go now’

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw in February 2015.(Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw in February 2015.(Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Seth Adams was murdered on his own property by an undercover deputy four years ago (“PBSO agrees to pay $15,000 for not providing data in Seth Adams case,” May 19). This was tragic. The withholding and destruction of evidence is nothing new under Sheriff Ric Bradshaw. I feel for the Adams family and the Corey Jones family and the many other families whose lives have been so damaged because of questionable deputy shootings.

I am a retired Palm Beach County firefighter/medic, and I have worked with many great deputies. But, seeing how Bradshaw runs the show disgusts me. He has to go, and go now.

JOE AVERSANO, WELLINGTON

Letter: Understand Obamacare before complaining about Obamacare

doctor_stockI am tired of reading letters from people who have not educated themselves on Obamacare. Have we come to the point that all we do is complain instead of educating ourselves on the issue (“Friend has suffered under Obamacare,” May 18)? If the woman lost her primary-care doctor, she should have called the Healthcare Exchange immediately, and they would have switched her to another plan.

It happened to us last year and to a friend recently. The friend switched doctors (because hers dropped off of the plan) on the phone in less than 30 minutes. We switched last year because my husband’s cardiologist dropped off of our plan.

Does the law need work? Yes. Can some things be fixed? Yes. But we need to educate ourselves before we mouth off continually about the Affordable Care Act. Knowledge is power, and perhaps we need more of that.

PAMELA D. TAPLIN, ROYAL PALM BEACH