News & Features » First Words



Keen, perceptive and gentle

I want to compliment Justin Strout on his article about Anna Becker `"Flights of fancy," May 11`. I know her personally and thought he truly captured her essence. His stylistic treatment was perfect and coupled with his gift of keen perception, he turned his piece into a pointed yet gentle observation of another human being.

Mark Scola, Cooper City

Good riddance

Your cover story on Tim Shea was little more than a puff piece rife with half-truths. You mentioned the fact that Orlando has a Democratic majority on the county commission, all the seats on the city commission as of June 1 and the Mayor's Office, yet ignore the fact that this is because of Doug Head, who built the county party from nothing by nurturing the "activists and naysayers" that Tim Shea finds so deplorable.

Like you mentioned, it was Head, not Shea, who turned a 15,000-voter registration deficit into a 28,000-person lead. When Tim Shea was elected in December 2004, Democrats already had a majority on the county and city commissions and Dyer was already mayor. Democratic activists won those elections. I'd like to see how many of those "young professionals" Shea brought to the party have ever walked for a candidate. Ask Robert Stuart how many trial lawyers from the "leadership luncheons" knocked on doors for him in the Vargo race. Ask Phil Diamond or Bill Segal or any other elected Orange County Democrat.

The fact is that Tim Shea was a divisive leader with a bad temper and even worse management skills. His plan for the Orange County Democrats is nothing more than stripping power away from the people who give it a strong ideological balance to the far right and handing it over to big moneyed interests so that Tim can get elected to the school board or to a judgeship. Tim is a symbol of all that is wrong with the party.

Name withheld by request

We are family

Jeff Billman's piece on the local Democrats and departing chair Tim Shea was flattering to me personally, though I am not so saintly as he would suggest. The dialectic premise — poor versus rich, idealist versus crass materialist, innocent versus worldly sophisticate, volunteer versus elected representative — was hardly a true picture of the united Democrats. Progress and success are not alternatives, but come in a package. Party activists and supporters build up the base vote and candidates find the voters who move back and forth. It is a family that does not always agree, but can win often enough to benefit all.

Doug Head, Orlando

Don't book Book

A terrible injustice has been done to Rev. John Butler Book, whom I have known for many years `"¡Si se puede!", May 4`. It is difficult for me to believe and accept the fact that Orlando allowed a large group of illegal immigrants to hold a mass meeting at the TD Waterhouse Centre, as well as a parade in which they flew their own foreign flags along with our flag. Rev. Book was the American citizen who was protesting this un-American activity, which we believe devoutly that he had the right to do. Yet he, the American citizen, was arrested and taken to jail. One of the policemen was Hispanic, the other American. They treated him like a common criminal.

The purpose of this letter is to plead with you to do whatever you can to have the charges against this brave, Christian man dismissed. Otherwise we may as well forget about the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and our respect for the American flag. We will be degraded to the status of Iraq.

Miriam E. Lancaster, Orlando

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.