Friday, October 15, 2021

FL Teachers, Volunteers Go Door-to-Door to Get Missing Students Back to Class

 Florida News Connection

Published: October 11, 2021

 

By: Trimmel Gomes

TAMARAC, Fla. -- Teachers and volunteers in Broward County embarked on a unique canvassing campaign to find up to 11,000 students who either have not reported to class or are chronically absent since the pandemic started.

Volunteers including teachers, counselors, principals and school board members recently packed bags with resources and combed through neighborhoods in the Broward School District, going door-to-door to find out why students are falling off the radar.

Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union, said with help from the American Federation of Teachers, their goal was simple: to get students back on campus.

"It was successful because we knocked on almost 9,000 doors, reached over 2,000 people to have conversations with," Fusco outlined. "A few hundred have reconnected, coming back to campus"

Fusco noted coordinating the effort was not easy. Broward County Public Schools is the sixth-largest district in the nation, with 204,000 traditional public-school students and about 260,000 students including public charter schools.

Fusco emphasized going door-to-door allowed educators to hear various stories behind the absences, from ongoing concerns with COVID to other issues.

"Some mental-health situations going on, whether it was with the actual student themselves or family members," Fusco explained. "There has been financial situations. There has been deaths, you know, various reasons why they felt still comfortable staying home."

Fusco stressed she hopes parents will get in contact with the district to let them know where the students are and work together on getting them back on campus. She added experience with the pandemic has shown children learn better when they are in front of a teacher.

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a Bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Make America Broke Again


 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

The Tampa Bay Times’ Deceptive & Legally Suspect Fundraising Campaign

 Tampa, Fl    
From: Tampa Bay Guardian
        

Edited by: Tom Rask          

Posted by TBG2016 on OCTOBER 7, 2021

Florida’s largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, has a fundraising campaign this week in which it asks for donations to “fund local news.” However, donations do not go to the Times. Also, they may not be tax deductible, despite the Times unconditionally stating that they are on its fundraising page.  

“You can make a tax-deductible donation – in a favorite journalist’s name,” the Times says on its fundraising page.  But the Tampa Bay Times is a for-profit company, and not an entity listed by the IRS as being eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions, or any other tax-deductible contributions.

The Times also says on its fundraising page that “we [The Tampa Bay Times] rely more and more on…the support of people like you who believe in the importance of local journalism.” Their statement implies that donations go directly to the Times. They do not.

Chris O’Donnell
Times reporter Chris O’Donnell posted a link to the fundraiser on his Facebook page. “Any donations go to the Times through Journalism Funding Partners [JFP], the 501(c)(3) organization that accepts tax-deductible donations for journalism funds,” O’Donnell responded when asked about the fundraising campaign.

To be clear: this Times reporter, who participated in the fundraiser, believes that “any donations go to the Times”…but “through JFP.” As we will see, it is unclear if the donations are actually going to the Times. And if they are, whether they are tax deductible.

O’Donnell also stated what the fund-raising page itself claims, which is that the donations are tax deductible. But are they? Donations going “through” a non-profit earmarked “to” a for-profit company like the Times are unlikely to be tax-deductible. They will likely be seen by the IRS as an impermissible end run around relevant US tax laws governing tax deductible contributions because the donations ultimately are for the benefit of an entity ineligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.

“JFP is providing funds to this news organization for their endeavors in support of this educational purpose,” a statement by JFP says on the Times’  fundraising page. They do not state what that “educational purpose” is, but clearly state that it provides “funds” to the Times. 

We asked JFP if they had obtained a legal opinion from the IRS whether the donations remain tax-deductible. After all, the ultimate beneficiary in this case appears to be a for-profit corporation. A donation to a for-profit entity is allowed under US tax law, but can never be tax deductible.


Rusty Coats
“Journalism Funding Partners (JFP) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization as designated and approved by the IRS,” wrote Rusty Coats, Executive Director of the Sacramento, CA based JFP in an email to the Guardian. Contrary to what Coats wrote, the IRS does not “approve” non-profits. They issue determinations. Coats also did not provide the legal opinion from the IRS that we requested. 

“In the case of the Tampa Bay Times, JFP acts as its Fiscal Sponsor for this campaign, covered by a Fiscal Sponsor Agreement,” Coats also wrote. He did not explain what “Fiscal Sponsor” means, provide a copy of the Fiscal Sponsor Agreement, or confirm that the funds being donated actually go to the Times.

Since Coats did not answer our question about the tax deductibility, we asked him again via email whether the IRS has or other competent legal counsel offered a written opinion to JFP about the tax deductibility of donations under their scheme? We had not received an answer at the time of publication of this article.

We also asked Paul Tash, CEO of Times Publishing Company, what due diligence they had performed on this donation scheme before telling donors that their donations are tax deductible.  We sent Tash two emails, but did not receive a response prior to publication of this article.

As mentioned above, the IRS does not
“approve” 501(c)(3) organizations as Coats stated. The IRS issues letters of determination in which they determine whether organizations like JFP are exempt from federal income tax under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

The JFP’s determination letter effective June 18, 2019 shows that they began as “McClatchy Journalism Institute.” It is unclear when or why it changed its name to Journalism Funding Partners.

JFP says it prioritizes “coverage-topics that have been particularly reduced by the wholesale declines in local news, including equity, economic mobility, education, health, housing, gun violence and the environment.” This could mean that the funds going from JFP to the Times come with “coverage-topic” strings attached to them.


The Times campaign page included a picture (shown on right), presumably of reporters. The picture raises the question whether Times’ reporters put food in to free pantries, or have been reduced to getting food from such pantries.

The Tampa Bay Times is failing financially, but exactly how bad has it gotten?

That picture was not the only messaging that was muddled. The Times fundraising campaign was called “It’s Your Times,” yet donations do not confer ownership or influence over “your” Times. 


The public was also left with the impression that donations, at least part of them, were going to individual journalists. An example of a donation announcement is shown on the left in which it says that an individual reporter “received a donation” from a named donor.

However, O’Donnell confirmed that donations in fact do not go “to individual reporters” but to JFP. Thus the claim that a reporter “received a donation” is at best misleading.


The largest donor by far to date is Times CEO and Board Chairman Paul Tash. He chose to “credit a team member” when making his donation, that person being reporter Annica Keeler. “Of all your employees,” we asked Tash via email, “why did you choose to credit one employee and why Ms. Keeler?” We did not receive a response.

The campaign looks to fall far short of its stated goal of raising $173,000, which the Times says is “the equivalent of a week’s newsroom budget.” It currently looks like it will reach one fifth or one quarter of that goal.

Is the Times in fact raising money only for JFP while using their own reporters as poster children in that effort? Or is the JFP funneling all or most of the donations to the Times, thereby raising questions about the tax deductibility of those donations? Why does Paul Tash give “credit” to none of his reporters except one?

It’s hard to know the answers to any of these questions when the parties involved won’t answer questions. The irony of journalism industry executives stonewalling journalists when asked about their apparent deception is surely noted by our readers.

As always….the Guardian reports and our readers decide. Like our Facebook page to find out when we publish articles.


READ THIS POST AT: Tampa Bay Guardian

This post is contributed by the Tampa Bay Guardian. The views expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet or any publications, blogs or social media pages where it may appear.

Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Guardian  

Friday, October 8, 2021

National Business Women’s Week Highlights Need for Credit Equity

 

Florida News Connection

October 6, 2021

By: Trimmel Gomes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After discovering the healing powers of eating natural, healthy foods, one Jacksonville woman sought to show her community what was possible. However, she lived in a food desert.

That was just one of the challenges for Tyrica Moore, owner of TeaPosh Naturals. It used to be a vegan cafe but transitioned during the pandemic into a retail store for natural herbs and teas. Moore's other challenge was securing financial support to keep her business afloat. She found that at Self-Help Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution that serves economically marginalized communities.

"Self-Help then came around and was able to help me to advance myself financially, and get over a huge hump and be able to pivot the business, versus 100% closing the business," she said. "So now, my passion is to help the community do the same thing."

Stories such as Moore's will be spotlighted for National Business Women's Week, which begins Oct. 17. One goal is to close a financing gap of $300 billion for woman-owned small businesses globally. According to the International Finance Corp., many have limited or no access to financial services.

Ebony Perkins, Self-Help Credit Union's national resource manager, said empowering women to secure credit and be financially independent sets examples within families, as they pass financial values on to their children.

"Our mission is to provide economic opportunity for all people," she said, "and historically in America, women have been underserved and kept out of the financial conversation."

Perkins added that Community Banks and Credit Development Credit Unions offer low account minimums, so more people can use their services -- people who are capable, but often overlooked by large financial institutions.

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a Bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project.


Sunday, October 3, 2021

Florida OK'd for More than $1B in P-EBT Funding for Children

 

Florida News Connection

October 1, 2021

By:Trimmel Gomes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- After weeks of pressuring Gov. Ron DeSantis to apply for a one-time
pandemic food-stamp program, this week Florida became the last state to apply and get approval for more than a billion dollars in Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) federal funding.

The program was issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in April to aid those children that depend on the school meals distributed during the summer. More than 30 Democratic state lawmakers and 80 advocacy groups urged the governor to apply for the program.

Niki Fried, Florida agriculture commissioner, said it was shameful for the state to take so long to apply.

"I don't know if it was politically motivated, I don't know if DCF dropped the ball, and then when we called them out on it, they had to come up with some excuse," Fried asserted. "But regardless, at the end of the day, the money is coming down to our families across the state."

A spokesperson for the governor once said Floridians did not need the program because kids were back in school. The program is aimed at helping an estimated 2.7 million children in Florida. Families with children in poverty will receive an additional $375 in benefits over a 30-day period beginning Nov. 15.

Fried said every penny counts for those who are food insecure.

"$375 may not sound like a lot to some people, but for many Floridians, it will make all the difference in the world," Fried contended. "Providing money to shop for groceries, so this week's paychecks can cover rent or car payments."

Children younger than age six who went to child care and whose families already were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), can also apply for the added benefit.

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a Bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project.


Friday, October 1, 2021

Is The Petroleum Industry Driving People to Electric Vehicles?

 

FLORIDA  
WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author:
In Search of Robin  

The petroleum industry is continuing to approach the retail distribution of motor fuel as a long range given.

Even as electric vehicles, cars and trucks, production is ramping up, the motor fuel retailers large and small are continuing to do business as usual.

Have you ever wondered why the retail price of gasoline at almost all gas stations is the same?

The short answer is the petroleum industry eliminated competition for gasoline prices long ago as a method to control prices and manipulate revenue. This marketing approach also allowed an “even” distribution of supply and revenue.

As the number of electric vehicle's increases, the demand for gasoline, and more importantly crude oil, will drop significantly.

It is anticipated; this drop in demand will cause a glut of crude oil forcing prices down. In the past, crude oil producers have simply reduced output causing prices to rise to the levels, they need to sustain operations.

The problem is this downward trend in demand is not a one time or short-term event it will be a continuing downward spiral. The geopolitical impact of rapidly declining oil revenues globally will cause significant economic and political disruption.

As of now the petroleum industry is not addressing this problem at any significant level.

Take retail gasoline prices, for example. The industry continues to allow retail prices to fluctuate wildly, often based on unclear reasons. Consumers see their cost at the pump go up with no clear reason only to drop suddenly. There also is no competitive option in gasoline allowing the consumer to “shop” for fuel at a lower cost.

The uncertainty of available, reasonably priced fuel is a concern to most motorists.

Continuing to allow gasoline prices to fluctuate significantly in a price-controlled environment is becoming a factor as consumers consider the electric vehicle option.

Fuel prices are already a prime driver of the electric vehicle purchase decision.

The predictions of doom in the oil business, may become a self-fulfilling prophecy if the industry does not take a consumer look at how the pricing and marketing of gasoline are done.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  

Disclosures:

 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

To Much Football


 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Tampa Centric 5 Decide to Put AFT 2.0 Rail Tax on 2022 Ballot Before Any Public Meetings Held or Unlawful AFT Dollars Refunded, Kemp Falsely Claims County Has No Money for Transportation

Tampa, Fl

From:
 Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert



The gaslighting on Hillsborough County's transportation issue continues with Hillsborough County commission Chair Pat Kemp. She publicly stated "there is no money" to fund transportation in Hillsborough County.

That is gaslighting rhetoric and NOT true. We're left wondering whether Kemp understands the County's budget, understands basic math or just prefers throwing tax dollars out the window.

Challenged about her statement, Kemp scurried away and refused to engage.

Kemp is a transit activist, a Sierra Club (who want to FORCE people out of their cars) activist and part of the anti-car brigade who want to tear down 10 miles of I-275 from downtown to Bearss Ave. Kemp spoke at Cafe Con Tampa last Friday.

The video of Kemp speaking at Cafe Con Tampa can be found on their FaceBook page here or click the videos on the FB page. Go to about 4:50 in her speech where Kemp begins speaking about the illegal All For Transportation Transit rail tax. Speakers at Cafe Con Tampa only speak about 15-20 minutes but Cafe Con Tampa cuts out from their video the entire Q & A with the speaker which is the vast majority of their meeting. Hmmm.....

Kemp is a lawyer who should know Florida law and was forewarned in 2018 about AFT's numerous legal issues. But she frames the unlawful AFT rail tax she supported as 57% voted for the illegal tax but it was that Florida Supreme Court who threw it out. Kemp failed to mention the lower court judge, Rex Barbas, threw out almost everything in the referendum except the rail tax itself. Barbas's lower court ruling stated voters just voted for $16B tax hike and they did not care where those dollars would be spent. His ruling was so illogical because that scenario has never occurred before EVER. No one should be surprised why the entire tax was thrown out as unlawful but somehow Kemp, a lawyer, was surprised.  

Read the entire post here at Eye on Tampa Bay

 This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the blog publisher's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of BayPost Internet.

 Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay  

Friday, September 24, 2021

Ken Welch - Why Does He Want to Be Mayor of Saint Petersburg?


FLORIDA  
WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD

There is no doubt, that Ken Welch is a dedicated politician and public servant. He spent 20 years or so serving as a member of the Pinellas County Board of County commissioners and has been active in Pinellas County politics for every one of those 20-years.

In fact, the hardest problem in dealing with Ken Welch was to get him to honor Pinellas County's term limits, which went into effect years ago, and he has continued to ignore like several of his County Commission contemporaries.

So, it's tough to argue that Ken Welch is not the consummate politician, he does what is best for Ken Welch.

The question is, can Ken Welch shed the professional politician role and turn into the leader/manager of a 2500 employee public business serving over 250,000 citizens?

Here is an example of Ken Welch pandering for votes; From Florida Politics by Janelle Irwin Taylor: Kathleen Peters objects to Ken Welch’s Black Lives Matter virtual background.

St. Pete has had a mayor for the last eight years that struggles to look past 34th Street to the West and North across 18th Avenue to see the rest of the city and its needs.

Ken Welch wants to be mayor of Saint Petersburg first, simply because he wants to be mayor. Welch has always enjoyed the political limelight and there will be no place where the limelight shines brighter in Pinellas County for the next four years than in Saint Petersburg as it goes through the issue of redeveloping downtown and dealing with the Tampa Bay Rays and their stadium issues.

The real questions are:
What will Ken Welch do in the old northeast, as climate change and sea-level rise begin to take a bigger and bigger toll on this longstanding Saint Petersburg neighborhood?

What will Ken Welch do with the deteriorating Tyrone shopping mall and the likelihood of its economic collapse sometime in the next four years?

What will Ken Welch do with Saint Petersburg’s continuing infrastructure problems related to wastewater?

What will Ken Welch do with the continuing COVID problem?

How will Ken Welch deal with the University of South Florida?

What will Ken Welch do for the Black Lives Matter organization?  Now that he has hung them on his wall, if he supports them, St. Petersburg will become even more divided, and if he ignores them, the city may erupt.

Saint Petersburg is a cosmopolitan city. It has growing Hispanic and Asian communities along with the traditional white communities and African-American communities. Don’t they all, deserve a fair shake and maybe a banner on the wall?

Can Ken Welch really be a mayor for all of Saint Petersburg?

Before you simply pick up that mail in ballot and check Ken Welch for mayor ask yourself these questions and then ask yourself this one: what has Rick Kriseman done for me in the last eight years? Whatever your answer to that question is you can bet Ken Welch will do less.

If you really look at Ken Welch’s political rhetoric in this mayoral campaign, what you see is a careful pandering to the needs of select and oftentimes very loud groups in Saint Petersburg, but with no clear eye to serving those who sit quietly by year after year in northeast, northwest and southwest Saint Petersburg paying their property taxes and waiting for the city to recognize that they exist.

Saint Petersburg needs a mayor, who can see all the way across town, from Tampa Bay to the gulf beaches. I think Robert Blackman is the right man for the job.

From the Blackmon Campaign Web site:” I’m Robert Blackmon, and I think St. Petersburg needs a fresh start and a new face leading our city as mayor. I’m a small-business owner, and I’ve served as a City Council member. With experience both in the private sector and as an elected official, I know we can make local government work to better serve our community. I’m not a career politician, and I want to make St. Pete a shining city on a hill.”

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  

Disclosures:

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Stop the Gaslighting! NO SalesTax Hike Is Needed to Fund Road Maintenance in Hillsborough County

 Tampa, Fl

From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

Guest Contributor: Dr. Jim Davison

 


In Dr. Davison's last post we showed how the Hillsborough County Public Works department knowingly watched our road infrastructure deteriorate to the deplorable and unsafe condition we find them in today. The county administration has known through the computer modeling equipment they have had since 2009 what was happening. They refused to tell the public, and to some extent the elected officials, where we were headed or provide funding to avoid it.

 Now the County begins to officially pursue another $16 billion dollar sales tax hike boondoggle through another proposed 30 year sales tax referendum....before one cent of the unlawfully collected $512 Million unlawful All for Transportation rail tax boondoggle has been refunded. 

 The County is attempting again to falsely create hysteria that 20% of our existing roads will be in poor or worse condition unless taxpayers fork over more of their hard earned dollars. THE ONLY PLAN THE CURRENT COUNTY ADMINISTRATION HAS FOR IMPROVING TRANSPORTATION IN THE COUNTY MEANS YOU MUST PAY $16 BILLION MORE IN TAXES. 

 Or do you? 

 Although the group All For Transportation (AFT) was given credit as the architect of the Unconstitutional and illegal sales tax it was the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization, now known as the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), who laid out the spending allocations found in the sales tax. It was the TPO’s spending allocations AND their calculations that All For Transportation used in selling the plan to the public. Calculations on road and bridge maintenance, congestion, commute time and safety were used to sell the plan to the people, to give them hope that transportation in the county would get better.

There was no greater champion for the sales tax and the infrastructure plan than TPO director Beth Alden. We reported in 2018 that Alden may have crossed an ethical line with her actions of support for the massive AFT rail tax boondoggle. 

 Since the sales tax was declared illegal and unconstitutional in February, Alden is on record telling the public and the media that road conditions will deteriorate. She claims if new revenues are not allocated the backlog in road and bridge maintenance will grow from $80 million to $1 billion. Alden is a Central Planner, not a Transportation or Engineering expert. Does her planning live up to what she is telling the media and public? 

 Alden never spoke up or said one word when the Tampa Centric Five Hillsborough county commissioners ended the $832 million County Transportation Policy this year. That Transportation policy funded County infrastructure at levels suggested in the MPO 2040 LRTP. Such dereliction of duty should cause someone who is a Director of the Transportation Planning Commission to be fired. 

The TPO is not being honest with the residents and taxpayers of Hillsborough County who fund the transportation planning organization and their jobs. They use a method called Key Messaging "to control what the public thinks and does". First, one must be aware of the official communication policy the TPO in Hillsborough County uses. As stated in the meeting minutes of the now defunct Independent Oversight Committee they use a method called Key Messaging “to control what the public thinks and does”. Sound familiar? Gaslighting!

 The County tried to create hysteria in 2015-2016 when they launched the proposed half cent Go Hillsborough rail tax hike. Ironically, right before the Hillsborough County public hearing where the county commissioners voted down placing the rail tax boondoggle on the 2016 ballot, the County Administrator REMOVED Maintenance from being funded by the proposed tax hike. 

 Now Alden is out trying to create hysteria that without a $16B new sales tax hike, the County cannot maintain its roads. However, in analyzing the Hillsborough TPO's own 20 year 2045 and 2040 Long Range Transportation plans, we find her claims to be untrue. 

 According to Alden's own documents, the difference between Current Trend funding WITH OR WITHOUT the 1% $16 Billion sales tax hike for Road and Bridge Maintenance is only $8.6 million a year or about $172 million over 20 years. The difference of $8.6 million can easily be solved with current growing ad valorem property tax revenues and proper budgeting priorities with NO tax increase needed. 

 Alden is not just bending the truth, she is lying to the public. Perhaps Alden is trying to lay the groundwork as the Tampa Centric Five begin to officially push for AFT 2.0 rail tax boondoggle to be placed on the 2022 ballot. The County has scheduled these Four so-called Transportation Town Hall meetings:

 

Hillsborough County Transportation Town Hall Meetings
for AFT 2.0 rail tax boondoggle 

Alden is a Tampa Centric transit activist. Alden's TPO Organization Policy Committee, which only includes elected officials who are transit activists, spend entire meetings, like they did on Tuesday September 14, pushing costly rail/transit and outdated stack and pack Transit Oriented Development. Especially post-pandemic, they are totally out of touch with reality.

The level of incompetence regarding the transportation issue and disregard for reality in Hillsborough County is astounding.

 But the level of deceit and gaslighting is unforgivable.


 

Posted by Sharon Calvert 

This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the blog publisher's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet.

 Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay

 


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Bill to Ban Critical Race Theory Sparks Call for African American History

 Florida News Connection

Originally Posted: September 17, 2021

 

Trimmel Gomes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - State Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, is lashing out against the idea of Critical Race Theory, filing a bill to ban its use in all government institutions, including universities.

Critical Race Theory is described as an upper-level academic framework that examines whether and how systems and policies perpetuate racism. The topic has become a lightning rod for conservatives across the country, who claim it's being taught in grade schools.

Fine, who is white, has said the topic is inherently racist. However, state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, who is Black, said that in grade school, she was taught European history.

"Not any focus at all on the free labor that our people gave that made the American economy a superpower that it became," she said. "And is it racist, then, that I only got European history? I think so."

Gov. Ron DeSantis already had issued a ban on discussing Critical Race Theory in public schools in June, in the racial unrest following the killing of George Floyd. Thompson said she believes African American history - which is separate from Critical Race Theory - should be taught because it's part of American history.

Thompson has filed bills advocating teaching African American history in schools. She noted that since 1994, Florida law has required African American history be taught in all 67 counties. However, she said, research by the Florida Department of Education's African American History Task Force has shown the law is being ignored.

"They have found that only 11 of the 67 counties are actually providing acceptable instruction in African American history," she said.

Thompson said what she considers "acceptable" is instruction beyond Black History Month. Fine's bill includes a 10-point list of what it calls "divisive concepts" to be banned. They include topics around sexism and "race or sex scapegoating." The proposal also bans teaching that one race or sex is inherently superior to another, that the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist, or that individuals are inherently racist, sexist or oppressive based on their own race or gender.

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project.


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Is Jeopardy in jeopardy? Or the Killing of a Franchise


FLORIDA  WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
AuthorIn Search of Robin  

I, like millions of Americans am a longtime fan and viewer of the game show Jeopardy.

If you are a regular or even part time viewer of Jeopardy, you've probably had some degree of interest in the boiling controversy regarding replacing the show’s long time host Alex Trebek.

For a very detailed and somewhat lengthy read on the subject of the recent controversy regarding Jeopardy executive producer Mike Richards and his seamy ascension to the host role, check out From VOC By Aja Romano: The Jeopardy hosting saga has become a cautionary morality tale.

As most of the fans of Jeopardy did, I watched with interest the parade of guest hosts as there was an attempt made at a wide-ranging search for somebody that could match the role that Alex Trebek played in the production of the program.

The process seemed to be well planned, the variety of people that appeared as guest hosts, we're interesting with broad backgrounds. Some seemed actually interested in the role as a career move, others just seemed to enjoy the opportunity to stand on the stage in the footsteps of someone with Alex Trebek’s long display of character.

The fact of the matter was most of the people who were invited to appear as guest host, with a few notable exceptions, have longstanding careers in the media, in television, in news, and other fields. The prospect of hosting a five day a week game show, which requires a great deal of preparations, would have meant putting an end to their current career, not something, it seems, that many of them were interested in doing.

There have been a lot of accolades about Alex Trebek, his integrity, his skills as a game-show host and his long-term ability to stand in the spotlight and remain clear of the scandals that typically surround the medium in which he worked.

If you have ever watched the end of Jeopardy and noted the long list of names of people that are involved in the production of Jeopardy, think for a moment about your own office. Think of all that goes on: the affairs, the intrigue, the backbiting, the striving for position. Mix that into the high-pressure environment of one of the world's most watched game show programs, and you certainly have at least the foundation for an explosive mix.

I think Alex Trebek’s greatest asset was his grace. I personally have rarely seen a more gracious individual host anything on television. In the years of watching him interview or ask questions of the various contestants on Jeopardy, you always got the feeling that he was genuinely interested in their past accomplishments and their interests.

Jeopardy is in jeopardy. It almost seems Sony doesn't understand what they are dealing with.

The real key to Jeopardy's success has long been the fact that the host is the host.

The decision to go through what will most likely be another year of guest hosts beginning with dual service from Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik of Big-Bang Theory fame, is a bad one.

Jennings, who brings a deep understanding of the program how it works and what it really takes to be host, has been serving in a quasi-executive producer role for some time and does bring at least a hint of the grace that Alex Trebek brought to the program.

Mayim Bialik appears to be more desperately auditioning for a new long-term job than presenting herself as someone who understands the true nature of the game of Jeopardy and protecting its legacy. To me, she often appears intimidated by the very contestants who are participating in the game and every now and then tries to flash her intelligence versus theirs.

Jeopardy has long enjoyed one of the most loyal fan bases in all of television. No doubt a great number of them will stick around for the host selection process and remain faithful to one of their favorite programs.

On the other hand, if this continued circus of a selection process begins to show a lack of respect and grace regarding the contestants, the viewers will quickly note that, and should that be the case you can look for Jeopardy to slowly begin to die the death most game shows ultimately do.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  

Disclosures: