letter to the editor

Mosquitoes / Zika: Not Amused


by Walter Lagraves…….

Dear Editor:

Yesterday, for the first time, the Feds urged that every pregnant woman who has spent time in Miami Dade be tested for Zika.

30 new known cases of Zika per week are being reported by the Florida Department of Health. On 10/19 there were 1044 known cases. 1044. On 10/12 there were 1014 known cases.

It’s estimated that 80% of Zika victims are asymptomatic. You decide how many cases go unreported.

Here in Monroe County the annual birth rate is about 10 per 1000 of population. We have about 75k Monroe residents. At any given time between 4 and 10% of women of child bearing age are pregnant.

Zika is in our homes. It is a serious threat to public health.

But the Save our Skeeters Squad just keeps pushing back against the use of GMM. It is obscene that their campaign has become a source of amusement to them. Their attendance at forums has become a social event that they look forward to. They natter about how much fun there is to be had.

An example is a video just put forward on FaceBook by FKMCB candidate Watkins-Norris. In the video we see one of the Save Our Skeeters leaders, Barry Wray, bragging and chortling that he is “Oxitec’s number one nemesis.” It appears that Ms. Watkins-Norris was the videographer. The video shows her male companion mugging for the camera. The videographer is careful to show a series of signs promoting the candidacy of Watkins-Norris. Her male companion was Dr. Norris, her husband, who is also an ardent foe of GMM. One wonders just how serious Dr. Norris and Ms. Watkins-Norris view the threat that Zika poses. It is crystal clear that their posture on the issue is strictly political.

That video also clearly demonstrated the hypocrisy of the anti GMM squad, the Save Our Skeeters Squad. One of their leaders, Barry Wray, solemnly declared that he had been told by the feds that they “feared” the interjection of politics into the issue. The hypocrisy is flagrant given that the Save Our Skeeters Squad has wielded raw politics as a cudgel in this issue. Their repeated, and fruitless, lobbying of the FDA is raw, crass politics. It is worth considering that the head of the FDA is a Democrat, appointed by a Democrat, and the Save Our Skeeters Squad is heavily Democrat. Nonetheless, the FDA flat rebuffed their efforts to kill the project. The Feds consider it to be safe.

Friends, the anti GMM people have mounted one of the most egregiously hysterical political campaigns that I’ve ever seen. They have threatened public officials with retribution if the project goes forward. They have flooded social media and local media with slick ads that are patently disingenuous. They have made the issue a foundation block of several political campaigns.

The entire anti campaign is built on “what if”….”maybe”…”what might happen”…conjecture and speculation. They try to cover up the fact that the most restrictive and nit picking Federal government in our history has declared that the process is safe.

Personally I find nothing amusing about this threat to our public health. I find nothing amusing about the disinformation campaign that they are waging. There is nothing funny about the fact that babies have been born in the USA with microcephaly; Zika related microcephaly.

There is nothing funny about an organized group of real estate professionals putting the public health at risk in pursuit of profit. It is of record that the opposition to the process is predicated on the belief that the process will hurt property values.

The referendum is just around the corner. I’ll be voting in favor of the use of genetic engineering to kill the mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus. I won’t be voting for Ms. Watkins-Norris (D). I hope you join with me.

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