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As residents of the Island City scramble to find affordable homeowner’s insurance before their current policy is dropped, our governor and State Legislators are more concerned about the word “GAY.”

As residents deal with the ever-growing opioid crisis and overdose tragedies plaguing our communities, our governor demands that educators not say the word “Gay.”  

As residents struggle with rising rents and the unavailability of affordable housing for young families and our seniors, our governor claims to be pro-family by banning the word “Gay.”  

“Just don’t say gay and all your troubles will go away” can make a catchy tune for the DeSantis Campaign. Unfortunately, this very effective smokescreen works all too well in allowing these charlatans not to deal with the real issues at hand. In signing the bill into law, Governor DeSantis states that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination. I guess the indoctrination of our children is ok when it is coming from homophobic community leaders, or local religious institutions that advocate for conversion therapy, or the governor’s office — but don’t dare say the word “Gay” in our schools.

Families in our Island City can rest easy tonight knowing that the governor has signed this vital piece of legislation into law. Comes tomorrow however, when you’re homeless because you can no longer afford rising rents, or you lose your home because you can no longer afford insurance coverage, or your family provider dies from an overdose — unfortunately your governor did not have the time to deal with any of these real problems while posing for pictures and demonizing the LGBT community.  

Turning attention away from the insanity that oozes out of Tallahassee these days — one can set their gaze on the brighter shores of our Island City. This week the city’s Economic Development Division conducted a virtual presentation on the Wilton Next Branding and Marketing Project. This presentation offered such welcome and positive news on several issues that many in the community have been pushing for over many years. Unique branding of commercial corridors, entranceway signage, streetscaping, attractive lighting, and celebrating our uniqueness as the Island City. This project will offer a positive roadmap for our business community, our city leaders, and our residents to promote and grow our city in a more focused and productive manner.  

After last week’s City Commission meeting one area that definitely can use some focus is how our elected officials view the needs of our Leisure Services Department. The meeting embarrassingly morphed into an episode of “Let’s Make a Deal” as our mayor and commissioners haggled over the possible acquisition of the Kiwanis Club property. Parks and community facilities are a major part of the foundation that supports great cities. Unfortunately, this strong foundation comes at a cost — one that sometimes gets lost in the visionary stages. Hard choices must be made with a firm understanding of what our city actually needs in additional park facilities and how such a need will be paid for — not just in the acquisition stage but in the year after year budget demands on city coffers. We cannot sustain all the projects currently on the drawing table, such as the Colohatchee Expansion and the Kiwanis Club acquisition, along with continued maintenance and programming at our existing facilities without major budgetary wizardry or an increase in taxes.

Of the two current major projects in the works — perhaps the Kiwanis Club might be the better of the two. Our city commission will have to decide to either seize the moment for the acquisition of the Kiwanis Club and pull the plug on the Colohatchee Expansion Project or decide on some other possibility, but having a clear understanding of what the goals and objectives are for our residents and the future of our city must be what guides such decisions, not just the notion that this is yet another deal of the century that is simply too good to pass up.

Springtime holidays are fast approaching, spring breakers and snowbirds will be heading back north, and very soon hotter weather will be with us day after day. Take some time to enjoy the last of the cool mornings as we head into much hotter months ahead. Perhaps a nice walk through your neighborhood, or a quick drive to the beach or sitting out under the stars on a cool evening sipping a cocktail with friends. Taking time to enjoy what makes living here in our Island City so wonderful should fill us all with much enthusiasm as we head outside with our morning cup of coffee to watch the sun rises on the horizon. What a perfect opportunity to shout out loud that life is just better here.

Sal Torre has been a columnist for the Wilton Manors Gazette since its inception. Sal has served on the Wilton Drive Task Force, Budget Review Advisory Board, and Charter Review Board, among others. Sal is currently President of the Westside Association of Wilton Manors and Secretary for the Friend of the Wilton Manors Library. He is employed with Broward County in the Human Services Division.


DeSantis Signs Anti-Gay Bill into Law