From My Corner: April 1, 2024

What did we celebrate on Sunday?

We all know that Easter Sunday means that Christ was raised from the dead, and it is the holiest religious day for Christians.  Traditionally, the White House has had an Easter Egg Roll but this year, they banned religious-themed designs at the event.

“No religious designs will be accepted from National Guard children,” a flyer of the art competition specifically said.  “No questionable content, religious symbols, or partisan political statements.” Children were to paint pictures relevant to their own lives.

Instead, President Joe Biden has declared Easter Sunday as Transgender Day of Visibility which is celebrated on March 31st and this year it coincided with Easter.

What’s happening in this country?


SCOTUS Ketanji Jackson

Another example of how this country is changing came directly from the newest member of the Supreme Court of the United States.

You probably know by now that I am the biggest supporter of the First Amendment of the Constitution.  It may be because coming from a communist country where you are not allowed to think, let alone express yourself freely, but I treasure the freedom of speech and freedom of the press that this amendment guarantees.

Last Monday, the Supreme Court was discussing if the government infringed on the First Amendment during the COVID-19 pandemic by mandating propaganda on social media that turned out to be misinformation.  While considering if this was a violation of the Constitution, Justice Jackson said, “My biggest concern is that the First Amendment hamstrings the government in significant ways in the most important periods.”

She went on to say that it is unjust to limit the government’s actions because of the freedom of expression on social media.

Exactly!  That’s what it is supposed to do!

I’m not surprised; this woman could not define ‘what is a woman’ during the Senate hearings.


The Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances


Federación de Comerciantes

There is a letter to the editor from Sara Perez on page 8 asking Lawrence business owners to attend Tuesday’s city council meeting when the funding of $400,000 will be discussed.

It’s been a long time since the council discussed granting funding to local businesses instead of loans that the Federación is not able to handle.  Mayor Brian DePeña agreed to make the change and they are supposed to discuss it at that time.

During the Budget meeting last week, Octavien Spanner presented a plan to transfer monies from the Cemetery to Planning and Development.  It caught my attention because, being an Enterprise Fund, their funds cannot be transferred.  Later, it was clarified to me by Council President Jeovanny Rodriguez that the $750,000 was ARPA money that the City had allocated for a special project they were planning to build and was not done, so the City took it back.

That money will fund $500,000 for the small businesses applying for improvements and $250,000 will be for rental assistance.  (Note: This has nothing to do with the Federación de Comerciantes.)

Council President Rodriguez was not pleased with the explanations provided by Carlos Matos, acting director of Community Development regarding the non-existence of a plan to implement that distribution but it was approved.

Something that I could not understand was the purpose of Mr. Spanner joining the request from the Federación de Comerciantes with that of Lawrence General Hospital and the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center.  These entities will be receiving loans to provide certain services in the community while the businesses will receive grants.

I have another question for that meeting: Why would radio hosts be able to apply for funding?  This is a huge conflict of interest.  Hopefully, it will be explained on Tuesday night.

At one point, Mr. Spanner was asked to recuse himself due to a conflict of interests with the LGH and GLFHC request since his stepdaughter is a contractor with both entities just like he asked Councilor Wendy Luzón to leave the room when the Federación de Comerciantes was discussed because she is a board member of same.


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