Friday’s letters: Teachers need to raise their voices

Published July 2 2018
Updated July 6 2018

Court ruling a big blow to unions | June 28

Teachers should raise voices

My parents came to this country in search of a better life. My dad had a trade and was able to get a union job in Manhattan at the largest retail store in the world, Macy’s on 34th Street. My mom earned a living as a seamstress in New York’s once-famous garment district and was a member of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union. Two courageous people, with no formal education or command of the English language, built a life together, raised a family and achieved the American Dream. They worked hard and earned a fair wage because of their unions. They had health insurance and other benefits because of their unions. They bought a house, raised a family, sent their kids to school, paid their taxes and spent their hard-earned money in their community, contributing to the local economy.

Somewhere along the way, people like my parents became the enemy. When the recession hit, people blamed the $30 an hour assembly line worker instead of the greedy CEOs who took their golden parachute packages and severance pay while small investors and workers took the full brunt of the collapse.

Union membership is down to a meager 10 percent of wage and salary workers. With its decision in Janus vs. AFSCME, the U.S. Supreme Court turned its back on American workers — the educators, nurses, firefighters, police officers and public servants who make our communities strong and safe.

I hope that educators will continue to raise their voices as they have in West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma and other states across the country. Whatever comes our way, we will take it on head first. We have to, because if we die, so does public education. Never forget that we are the defenders of public education.

Mike Gandolfo, Palm Harbor

The writer is president of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association.

Are pot, driving ads too dopey? | July 5

DUI is not funny

Driving under the influence is not humorous! Remember, it is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, heroin, cocaine and opioid pain killers. People need to be reminded of all intoxicants that impair driving and stay off the road.

Norene Dagly, St. Petersburg

Graham: Women know stakes | July 4

Not just a women’s issue

In response to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham’s stance that men should not weigh in on the issue of abortion, I would offer several contrasting examples from history. Was it wrong for northern whites to champion the cause of abolition in the hopes of ending the institution of slavery? Was it wrong for European Christians to hide Jewish families who were trying to escape a certain death in the Nazi Germany’s Holocaust? Was it wrong for men and women who were not African Americans to march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the effort to end the era of Jim Crow and segregation? In each of these examples the individuals in need were supported by people markedly different from themselves. As a male and a pro-life advocate my goal is not to limit a woman’s health care options, but instead to follow in the footsteps of human rights advocates and be a voice for the unborn children unable to speak for themselves.

Terry Senhauser, Dover

First they came for ...

First they came for the right to have an abortion and we did not speak out because my wife and I would never need one since we used birth control. Then they banned birth control pills and we did not speak out because my wife used an IUD. Then they banned IUDs and we did not speak out because I could buy a condom or get a vasectomy. Then they banned condoms and we did not speak out because I had gotten a vasectomy. Then they banned vasectomies and we did not speak out because I already had a vasectomy. Then they called for all vasectomies to be reversed and they came for me. And there was no one left to speak for me. Just saying, it’s not just a woman’s issue.

John Hayes, Sun City Center

Plenty of places for asylum | Letter, July 5

Some facts on asylum

Not as a political comment but rather as a point of clarification: Asylum seekers cannot seek asylum at any of the U.S. consulates or embassy in Mexico. Asylum is a form of legal protection available to certain people who cannot or would not feel safe if they tried to live in their home country, because of past persecution or the danger of future persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. U.S. embassies and consulates cannot process requests for this form of protection because, under U.S. law, asylum seekers can apply only if they are physically present in the United States (or at least at a U.S. border or other point of entry). That is why most have made the arduous trek north to the U.S. border.

Ramon Navarro, Riverview

‘Fake news’ is as American
as axes, cherry trees | PolitiFact, July 4

Misleading people is wrong

I found this article to be interesting and educational. I wasn’t aware that "fake news" was an issue even back in George Washington’s presidency. With that said, I feel that any attempt to mislead the people by intentionally posting false or misleading articles is simply wrong.

As an American, I feel that every news journalist/media should work hard at investigating and providing the factual news without self-interest, bias or spin doctoring, and then let the reader/viewer decide for themselves what those facts mean to them.

Fake news may have been around since our first president, but that doesn’t provide justification for others to continue to mislead Americans. Slavery was around in George Washington’s time, but it was wrong and we don’t continue it today because America stopped it. Fake news needs to be stopped too, before it destroys America.

Thomas Morrissett, Palm Harbor