From My Corner: August 15, 2023

We must speak up!

If there’s one thing we should treasure in this country is the First Amendment of the Constitution: Congress makes no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise. It protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Being an American citizen (especially having escaped from Communism) we appreciate those words more than many people that were born here.

Having a newspaper allows me to put the First Amendment to the test each week.  I am thankful to be able to express what I think and feel without fear of retribution; I feel protected.  Whether in Rumbo or on the radio, I speak my mind openly, that’s why I wonder why more people don’t exercise it as I do.

We don’t live in a bubble; we are affected by everything around us for better or for worse and we should be opinionated one way or another yet, people keep silent.

Many things that bother me and I bring them up in this column.  One of them is the situation with the local cable service.  We all pay over $5 each month for PEG (Public, Education, and Government) channels and we are not getting our money’s worth.

No, I’m not going to talk about the Public or Community channel.  If the administration doesn’t want to do anything about it, I cannot be of any help.  But the Government channel is the epitome of insults to this community.

Two weeks ago the equipment at City Hall broke down (it had been failing for a long time and finally it gave up) and they have not been able to transmit the city council and their committees’ meetings.  In my estimation, those have been illegal meetings.

Keeping us in the dark is the wrong thing to do.  Many people who truly care about what goes on in this city and like me, religiously watch the meetings on TV or Facebook.

So, I called the mayor during his radio show last Saturday to complain and he responded that this is the responsibility of the council president.  I didn’t bother calling Marc Laplante because my response to the mayor was that he is the maximum authority and he should take care of it.

Some people have been calling me to say that he has built a television studio on the third floor and transmits every afternoon directly to the Dominican Republic and while the installation goes on, the service in the city council chambers has been disrupted.

That was so outrageous that I showed up at the office on Monday (yesterday) to check it out myself.  The mayor was busy in his office with someone so Claudia and Nestor showed me around, even closets and there was no sign of what I was told.  I did mention to them that with today’s technology, they could very well transmit anywhere from the conference room by just using a telephone.

As an aside, when we were in the conference room, Nestor turned on the switch for the air conditioner above the door but it didn’t start until he stumped his foot twice on the floor.  It was a bit of levity amid a serious conversation but I wondered why they have not changed it.

That was just another rumor of many going around, just like the one about City Hall closing every Friday in the afternoon due to the mayor’s religious beliefs.  First of all, City Hall is open every day until 4:30 PM, and that is not part of the mayor’s religion because it is on Fridays that he works the latest.

Believe me, if that were to happen, I will be the first one to complain.


Schools and sex education

A couple of weeks ago, while the mayor was on vacation, Néstor Castillo interview on the radio the Superintendent of Schools Juan Rodríguez and asked him a poignant question about the teaching of sex education in our schools.  The superintendent responded that it is so and explained that it goes according to the students’ ages.

He further asked if parents will have the opportunity to opt out and he answered that they can.

Thank you, Néstor.  Nobody dares mention it and parents need to know that they have that right.

It is atrocious how parents have been jailed for speaking against it in other states where they are considered “domestic terrorists.”  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen in Massachusetts.

But I ask, where are the churches in all this?

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