Letter to the Editor on Gun Legislation

Too often we don’t hit back and support our Republican leadership when they are falsely attacked for standing up for our values. Here is a recent letter we wrote supporting Senator Rubio:

    It’s tiring to hear from Democrat party members railing against Senator Rubio about the gun issue when their party leadership has done next to nothing to  decrease the violence and killings across the country.  Instead, their policies have encouraged  defunding of police and supported  rogue prosecutors who fail to prosecute crime and  push for the elimination of cash bail. This has led to  offenders— including violent  criminals —being released back to the streets where police officers are discouraged from making arrests. 

This same party has supported extreme abortion policies that would  permit taking a sustainable life from  a woman’s womb, instead of advocating to help women who might make a different choice.   How is it possible to maintain a culture of nonviolence and safety when  this party continues to applaud and promote the killing of defenseless babies in the womb.  Nor has Biden’s Attorney General done a thing to address the left-wing group Jane’s Revenge and their call for “open season” against pro-life pregnancy centers, despite Senator Rubio’s repeated calls to investigate them.  

No reasonable person will argue against keeping dangerous weapons from the hands of criminals and deranged individuals.  Senator Rubio has been pushing for Red-flag legislation similar to that of Florida that would do just that and has the best chance of bipartisan support.  Conversely,  the hypocritical finger-pointing of Democrats on this issue is not going to get us anywhere.  It only serves as a different type of red flag to law-abiding citizens concerned that the left is after their second amendment rights.  

We encourage all Republicans to write letters to the local paper.  Don’t hand this local forum over to the Democrats no matter what you think of it.  Raise your voice.  

T. Murtha 

Sure Joe Your Efforts Have Helped the Economy - NOT

Biden taking credit for economic growth is like Lyndon Johnson claiming he helped end poverty.    In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, he recently attributed a claim of economic rebound that has been anything but robust to the reopening of an economy that was shuttered by the governing elite during Covid. Biden, of course, was not only the apostle for those closings, he chastised Republican governors like Ron DeSantis who opened their states. He also did all he could to thwart  Governor DeSantis' efforts to keep Florida economically strong. 

Moreover, he falsely stated “In January 2021, when I took office, the recovery had stalled…” when in fact the economy was bouncing back strongly then.  The truth is his actions thwarted that recovery.  Instead of preparing our economy for the economic jolts that were sure to arrive after a pandemic, the new President Biden signed off on a plethora of executive orders pausing government leases on public lands, shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline, and creating more hurdles to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. All of this with disregard for the uncertainties that would follow in  a  post-pandemic economy

As prices spiked, the Biden crew began to use rising prices as a justification for more spending. Even left-leaning  Jeff Bezos disagreed when the “administration tried hard to inject even more stimulus into an already over-heated, inflationary economy."  Of course, morning pundits like flipper "Morning Joe," and others like him are trying desperately to rescue the midterm from a disastrous spanking by the public.  The left simply doesn't get it when the average worker has to pay almost $5 a gallon to fill his tank, they don't want to hear about their progressive agendas.  

Biden is a long-time political hack who only knows how to falsely take credit and blame others.  He should have never been President.  

Our Strongest Tool is Voting - Message from Charlotte County Republican Party Chair

The most effective tool we have to keep our state RED is voting. As we move closer to the elections of 2022, I encourage you to make sure you are registered to vote - Republican - and that your voting information is up-to-date. Go to https://www.soecharlottecountyfl.gov/. to review and make sure your name, address and party registration is up-to-date. Remember unless a primary race is opened, you will only be able to vote in Republican primaries if you are registered as a Republican.

In addition to the election of two county commissioners and two airport commissioners, school board races are on the primary ballot, as are Punta Gorda city council members. So you want to make sure you vote in this primary.

Early Voting: August 8
Primary Election Date: August 23

Currently filed local candidates can be found at the Supervisor of Elections Announced Candidate Pages

I also encourage you to sign up to get a vote-by-mail ballot just in case anything prevents you from voting in person. You can still vote in person if you can. Your vote is critical in both the upcoming primary and general election when our Governor will need your support to keep Florida free.

Gene Murtha, Chair, Republican Party of Charlotte County

Stop False Leftist Branding


Most of us know by now that we can’t trust most of our press.   The so-called “Associated Press” should be called  “Pravda West”.  There is no more reporting of facts.  Most if not all so-called  “news” is reported through a leftist filter.  The political left has cleverly branded a law that prohibits teachers from having conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K to 3 the “ Don’t Say Gay” bill.  

What does this bill actually say. One section says schools generally “may not discourage or prohibit parental notification of and involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.” Parents also can’t be blocked from “education and health records created, maintained, or used by the school.”

Another section says: “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate.”

So why isn’t this bill being called “the stand-up for parent rights” or “don’t harm our kids”   “we are the parents” bill or something that correctly labels it for what it is.  Instead we Republicans repeat the false branding that the left has given it.  (Fox News constantly does it too. ) Just like when the left started calling the protest and break-in by some over zealous and fringe members of the protest an “insurrection.” Lookup the word insurrection - seriously were these people led by the guy in the Chewbacca with horns  outfit capable of overthrowing our government?  

We have to stop perpetuating  the left’s political branding and quickly condemn  it and change it when it arises. We have to strongly use our own labels.  “Let ‘s go Brandon” was very effective.  We need more of this. 

Words Matter - The Left’s Use of False Narratives

 Left wing progressives continue to use inflated, false branding  in their goal to move the country further and further towards a socialist regime. Using the term “racist” for anyone who disagrees with their extremist views is one example.  Another is calling the January 6 protestors “insurgents.” Yes, they were disruptive, yes, lawbreaking was involved.  But Words have to have meaning, and the continuous mislabeling of the U.S. Capitol breach as an “insurrection” is an example of how a false narrative can gain currency and cause dangerous injustice. 

The latest attempt at a false narrative Is the calling HB1557 the “don’t say gay” law.   The bill supports the right of parents to be involved in decisions regarding their children's well-being and to limit discussion of gender and sexuality issues in classrooms.  No matter how many times they call Florida’s HB1557  "don't say gay" it does not change the fact that there is a huge difference between acceptance of adult gay couples and the attempt to normalize the idea of young children changing their gender. 

Words matter. I hear Republicans and even so-called conservative news broadcasters use these terms created by the left.   Republicans need to stop mimicking this language — as long as we do, they win.  It’s the “Parents Rights” law, nothing else.  

How to get Rid of RINOs

How can you get rid of RINOS? Support strong candidates running them in upcoming primaries. Here is one that needs your help.  

Constitutional attorney Harriet Hageman is the candidate running to unseat Liz Cheyney of her congressional seat representing Wyoming. Hageman has deep roots in the state and grew up on a ranch in Wyoming where she and her siblings had to move cows and fix fences, while Cheyney has spent most of her life in Virginia and bought a home in Wyoming in 2012, so she could run for the Senate  (dropped out of this race) and in 2016 run for the US Congress. She is a hawkish Bush-era Republican who  later supported the 2nd impeachment of Donald Trump and has been one of the RINO members of the Democrat’s January 6th Commission. 

It is important to note here that Cheney who has no real connection to this state is the only US House Representative for  Wyoming. While she is a so-called Conservative Republican, she has not been deeply engaged in policies that would support the State.  She has been busy politicking with Democrats like Nancy Pelosi. Meanwhile Bush-era RINOs and Democrats are funding her campaign. Money is piling up in Cheney’s re-election fund — more than $7 million last year. It’s roughly 10 times as much as her Trump-backed primary challenger Harriet Hageman drew. And it’s so much cash from so many unexpected places that seasoned campaign operatives aren’t sure she can even spend it all on a House race in Wyoming.

Hageman  has been been sounding the alarm on Biden’s "30 x 30" initiative, also known as "America the Beautiful," which aims to conserve 30 percent of the nation’s land and waters by 2030.  She argues it’s a "land grab," a threat to Wyoming and an attempt by Democrats to hasten the decline of rural America.  She says “ The federal government under Joe Biden and radical Democrats are intent on taking over and federalizing our private property rights under the auspices or claim of combating climate change.” She champions  the people of Wyoming in rejecting burdensome and onerous government overreach. 

To contribute to Hageman’s caampaign go to https://www.hagemanforwyoming.com

Biden’s War on Oil and Gas Production Fuels Putin

Vladimir Putin realizes what we all know, which is that a good chunk of allies in Europe are highly dependent on Russian oil and natural gas. 

Two years ago, the U.S. was the world’s largest oil and gas producer, making the U.S. self-sufficient in energy and a major exporter. Mr. Biden’s war on oil and gas production has helped enable Putin.  Putin realized that reliance on Russian petroleum and natural gas would make it difficult for the West to put economic pressure on him.  Moreover, the rising price of his major export was providing the capital to wage an invasion.  

Given Biden’s election promises and left flank push for eliminating use of fossil fuel, Biden is now caught between an angry electorate watching  oil and gas prices rise even higher after months of rising costs and the cry for cutting off Russian oil imports.  The dynamic gives Putin important leverage in his invasion of Ukraine.

Russia's invasion has sent oil prices soaring to their highest levels in more than a decade. They've also crushed hopes of a strong global rebound from the coronavirus crisis.

Ukraine and Biden – A Story of Failure and Corruption

In 2014 when Russia annexed  the Crimea and went on to back Russian separatists in the Ukraine’s east, then Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. pressed President Barack Obama to take action, and fast, to make Moscow “pay in blood and money” for its aggression.  Fortunately President Obama , a Biden aide told the New York Times, was having none of it.

Biden continued to press  to increase lethal aid, backing a push to ship FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles to Kiev.  The president flatly rejected the idea and dispatched Biden to the region as an emissary, cautioning him “about not overpromising to the Ukrainian government,” Biden wrote  in a memoir.

Biden began pressing the Ukraine’s leaders to tackle the rampant corruption that made their country a risky bet for international lenders — and pushing reform of Ukraine’s cronyism-ridden energy industry. “You have to be whiter than snow, or the whole world will abandon you,” Mr. Biden told the country’s newly elected president, Petro O. Poroshenko, during an early 2014 phone call, according to a New York Times article. 

Just as these efforts were happening Biden’s son Hunter joined the board of a Ukrainian gas company that was the subject of multiple corruption investigations, a position that paid him as much as $50,000 a month which in the view of some Obama administration officials, including the ambassador to Kiev — threatened to undermine Mr. Biden’s agenda.

A look back at what the former vice president actually did in Ukraine reveals that his work in Ukraine did not accomplish much nor did it  “fundamentally change the overall institutional corruption,” said Edward C. Chow, an expert on geopolitics and energy policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan Washington think tank. “And having his son doing what he did was a distraction that undermined his message.”

In 2015 Biden, while he was pushing for stronger anti-corruption moves in Ukraine, would not even discuss steps that could make all questions vanish: asking his son to quit the Burisma board, as editorial boards and Ukraine experts were suggesting. 

And this is the guy, the one who failed miserably in the region and still has his son’s suspicious involvement there in his shadow, who we have at the helm during a crisis that could push the country into a war with Russia over the Ukraine.

Democrats Now Take Aim at Voter Integrity

Because of Joe Manchin’s refusal to go along with their disastrous Build Back Better  bill, better labeled Bring us Back Broke, Democrats have shifted gears and are pushing forward with their radical election legislation.  They often scare their base by they falsely claiming that Republicans are trying to dilute the minority vote and return to an era of Jim Crow laws.  They market these election bills as “protecting voting rights.”  What they truly are our bills to protect Democrats seats in Congress and keep Democrats in power. The bill currently proposed  would exponentially degrade election security and raise the potential for fraud. 

This bill needs to take the same path as the BBB bill into the trash can of history.  We need to encourage our Governor and other elected officials to fight this.  

Good Intentions, Unintended Consequences - Leftist Policies Destroying Cities

Progressive policies by focusing on caring without accountability and by victimizing groups are destroying our cities and aiming further to destroy our country.  

Progressive policies have led to many people believing that they deserve rights without any responsibilities.  Illustrations of unchecked compassion include San Francisco streets dotted with homeless encampments, over-compensating workers for not working resulting in severe labor shortages, open borders that allow migrants to stream into our country unvented, without requirements.  

Democratic politicians use compassionate rhetoric much more often than their Republicans do.  Republicans are portrayed of as “not caring.”.  This despite of evidence of the opposite. Studies reveal that Republican give more to charity.  Using voting and IRS data for the residents of 3,000 counties across the nation, a four-professor research team found, according to the according to the New York Times that counties which are “overwhelmingly Republican” report higher charitable contributions than Democratic-dominated counties.  Arthur C. Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, published "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism." Brooks made a data-driven case that, even after accounting for income differences, conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than liberals do, and that residents of red states volunteer more than those of blue states do. 

Caring about people is a good thing.   Republicans fail to proclaim their own sense of caring enough.  They do care that all people should be free and afforded the opportunity to pursue their dreams.  They do care that people are given help in times of personal, local or national disasters.  But free stuff without accountability is reckless and dangerous to our civilization. Movements such as “Defund the Police” and “Black Lives Matter” are  examples  of efforts of caring without accountability. It becomes ok to loot, steal and destroy in the name of vigilante justice.  

Change has to come. Change towards freedom and caring with responsibility. 

<Theresa Murtha>

Free Speech Protected


By  Bill Abatematteo

Justice George Sutherland said, “If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned.” Punta Gorda ignored his advice and created a First Amendment controversy with its new sign ordinance. Let’s take a look why this ordinance is constitutionally flawed.

At their May 19th meeting, City Officials stated the ordinance was content neutral. However, the Supreme Court said in Reed v Gilbert, that if you have to read a sign to determine whether it is prohibited or not, then it is not content neutral, but content based, and such laws are thus unconstitutional, no matter how noble the intentions were. People have been cited after authorities read their signs and determined the words were banned. This ordinance is content based.

The Supreme Court ruled in Cohen v California (1972) that Mr. Cohen had a constitutionally protected right to wear a jacket with the words “F*** the Draft” into a crowded courthouse. The court ruled that no matter how offensive that word was or who saw it, it was constitutionally protected political speech. Absent evidence that he was trying to start a fight or incite a riot, which he wasn’t, they declared that his words couldn’t be suppressed, regulated or made illegal. But that’s exactly what Punta Gorda has done. They criminalized political speech.

Which words? You know, the “indecent ones”. What they exactly are, we don’t know. We can only imagine and guess. And this point is crucial because that is another reason courts prohibit the banning of words, because they too have asked, which ones – who decides – and where does it end?

In Cohen, the Court declared the “F-word” is not obscenity but was simply an emotional expression of protest, thus clearly distinguishing profanity from obscenity. Justice John Harlan famously said, “One man’s vulgarity is another man’s poetry”. So why were code enforcement hearing officers having discussions that a political sign containing the “F-word” was obscenity when Harlan ruled it wasn’t?

The Minnesota Supreme Court stated, “Curses, expletives, and the whole vocabulary of insults are not intended or susceptible of literal interpretation. To attach greater significance to them is stupid, ignorant, or naive”. So why the confusion?

Furthermore, Section 11.4 of the ordinance established the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as the final authority of a word’s meaning. One of its definitions of the “f-word” is vulgarity of a “damning sense”, i.e., to condemn vigorously, publicly object/criticize, or to swear at. So why wasn’t Merriam-Webster used to adjudicate this matter? But in fairness to the hearing officers and enforcement authorities, this is what happens when elected officials make bad law. And that’s why these laws are struck down.

In ruling that government can’t pass laws that prohibit the mere expression and display of speech people find offensive, including vulgarity, Justice Harlan stated, “If you don’t want to look at a word you don’t like – then look the other way”. Punta Gorda needs to read that memo.

On their June 2 meeting, one councilperson noted “while the Sign Code was being drafted to ensure free speech, many individuals perceived it as limiting free speech”. No, it suppresses free speech as determined by the Supreme Court. The Cohen case clearly reaffirmed extra protections that are afforded political speech and hyperbole, including the use of salty language. Yet, instead of protecting the rights of protestors, the City approved an ordinance that was designed to placate those who objected to the display of political speech they didn’t like. Perhaps our officials didn’t see it that way, but that’s what they did.

At that June meeting, another councilperson spoke on the “difficulty of balancing the right to free speech with the public’s desire for civility”. No, it’s not difficult because you have neither the responsibility nor

the authority to control what words people use. Of course we want a civil society, it’s just that government’s role is limited in shaping it. California, in defense of its action likewise thought it was appropriate for government to legislate civility. The court disagreed and said it was not the job of the state to set up a code of etiquette, courtesy or to maintain a suitable level of public discourse.

Several lawsuits are on the horizon. Some City Council members said they are not "backing down". Sadly, it will be us taxpayers, and not them, who will be responsible for these legal fees and settlements. It is so easy to roll the Constitutional dice when you’re playing with taxpayer’s money.

Paul Cohen was given the right to wear a jacket that said, “F*** the Draft” in a crowded courthouse. But anyone who wears that same jacket on the sidewalks in Punta Gorda will be in violation of the law. This is unacceptable. Please explain how a law that is so constitutionally problematic will stand?

Communities and states have been repealing laws that ban speech, but Punta Gorda enacted one despite the many decisions prohibiting such laws. The City Council needs to do what responsible leaders do, i.e., be contrite and admit they made a mistake, and rescind this ordinance so we can put this issue behind us.

City of Punta Gorda Trampling on First Amendment

By Bill Abbatematteo 

When I was Chief of Police, I inherited a situation where we had a number of watchdog people in the City, not any different from what Punta Gorda and many other communities in America experience.  I could have asked to City Council to pass ordinances to suppress these people/groups, but I knew that such legislation would have infringed upon their rights of free speech. It never crossed my mind.

While some people called them agitators, trouble makers and a nuisance, I saw them as an integral part of holding government accountable.  I spent my career protecting the rights of others, even when I and members of my command were the targets of obscene gestures and other choice words. I knew what the law was and expected everyone in the department to be trained and abide by it. It was our duty to protect free speech, whether it "pleased or pinched" us, as Justice Sutherland famously said.


Plus, taking that course of action would have violated a basic management principle of not"Managing by Exception", where managers end up implementing ill-conceived measures, often draconian in nature, to reign in undesirable behavior and language of a few (the exceptions) at the expense of infringing upon the rights of the vast majority of the people who are not the problem. But politicians often do that. The Left is notorious for doing that. They take the fast and "easy" way out by passing laws to regulate behavior and society rather than putting in the time and effort, being creative and coming up with solutions to solve problems as they arise.  It’s the classis “ideology over consequences” model of decision making.  


In the end, I met with the "radicals" and "trouble makers" of our City and implemented solutions that everyone was agreeable to, and the problems stopped. I had been brought in from the outside and showed our department to "think out of the box" when problem solving - and it worked. Sure, these people used tactics and methods that I wouldn’t use, but in America, everyone has a right to dance to the beat of a different drum.  And if you don’t recognize that, you shouldn’t be an elected official or a government worker.


In Punta Gorda, they make a conscious decision to wield their power regardless of the short and long term consequences of the 

unconstitutionality of their action, including potential financial consequences of litigation along with the negative publicity it will bring and the potential loss of revenue to our community.  True conservative officials do not resort to such tactics in the first place.  


For example, earlier this year in Virginia Beach city officials were faced with a similar situation involving an offensive flag. Their City’s communications director, Julie Hill stated, “There is no City ordinance that regulates signage based on offensive statements or profanityA rule like that would be illegal because the First Amendment restricts the ability of local governments to regulate speech.” 


Our council did not do that, but instead managed by exception and thumbed their nose at the Supreme Court and the Bill of Rights.  They trampled on the First Amendment and settled jurisprudence of the Supreme Court. They yielded to a vocal few, resulting in what's classified as Tyranny by the Minority.  This is Un-American and We the People do not consent to be governed in this fashion.


Just like the Biden Administration has ignored the decision of the Supreme Court regarding unconstitutionality of the bureaucratic moratorium on payment of rents, ruling that only Congress can make such laws, the Punta Gorda City Council has also ignored a 50 history of Supreme Court rulings that have made ordinances that suppress the freedom of expression, including "salty" language, unconstitutional laws.  What the Biden Administration did on a Federal level, Punta Gorda did on a local level, i.e., ignore settled law. If Julie Hill, I and millions of other citizens know that salty language on signs can’t be restricted, why doesn’t Joe Biden and our five Council members know that too?  Or are they just deliberately ignoring the rule of law when it pinches.  And if they are, then THAT is what is truly obscene, and need people like Julie Hill on our City Council.

The Media is at it again -- from the Desk of Christian Ziegler, Vice Chairman, RPOF


Shocking to no one, the media is at it again.

Their response to our Save America Rally featuring President Trump in Sarasota is to try to generate a narrative that there is a "rift" between The President and our Governor, Ron DeSantis, over logistics of the rally.

First - I can first-hand vouch that this simply isn't true. I have been on the ground for the last week working with Team Trump, Team DeSantis and Team FloridaGOP to plan and execute this rally, and I can report back that their narrative is a lie. In all my discussions and engagement with the individuals helping to host the rally, no example of a rift has been spotted.

Second - Keep an eye out for these tactics going forward. President Trump launched a national movement fueled by record energy that no one has seen before. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has become the poster child for how to lead a state, respond to COVID and fight back against the Left. Our Republican Party of Florida is jam packed with momentum and energy as Pres. Trump and Gov. DeSantis working hand in hand to advance our party. We saw it in 2020 when Florida outperformed not only our 2016 win for Trump, but almost every other state for Pres. Trump, and we'll see it again in 2022 when Gov. DeSantis crushes whomever the Democrat Party runs.

The Left and The Media knows this. They see the poll numbers. They feel the energy. The are hearing from The People. And it scares them. Thus, the fake news narratives will be launch to try to divide us. My suggestion is - Ignore the fake news narratives, keep moving and stay unified.

Lastly - I hope you will join us in Sarasota for the Rally TOMORROW.

Christian Ziegler
FloridaGOP Vice Chairman