Ballpark site catches break | July 5
Keep the Rays in Tampa Bay
Last month, the Tampa Bay Partnership led a delegation of nearly 20 Tampa Bay business leaders on a benchmarking trip to Houston, to explore the nationally recognized workforce development efforts taking place within their region. While there, we also had the opportunity to watch the Tampa Bay Rays play the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Seeing firsthand the thousands of Astros fans converging on downtown Houston on a rainy Monday evening was a potent reminder of the positive impact of an urban sports facility, as well as the important role our professional sports teams play in strengthening our regional identity and vitality.
Tampa Bay is the 18th largest metro area in the country, and the Rays are a significant asset that directly impacts the image and economy of our entire region, not just a single city or county. Because of this, the Council of Governors of the Tampa Bay Partnership at its April meeting expressed its unanimous support of the efforts under way to keep the Rays in Tampa Bay.
We’ve been steadfast supporters of this team through the years, and as it explores the opportunity to build a new ballpark in Ybor City, we’ll continue to advocate on its behalf. Our public and private leaders must make it a priority to ensure the Rays continue to call Tampa Bay home.
The writer is chair of the Tampa Bay Partnership.
Political views are part of you | Letter, July 5
What friends are for
Last weekend a friend and I were discussing her willingness to remain friendly with people who do not share our horror of the current political climate in the country we both love. She claims to just "ignore" their remarks about how great their lives are now that their taxes are lower, 401(k)s are soaring, etc., in the name of not wanting to offend anyone. I tried to explain to her that I cannot call someone a friend who is unable to understand that there are millions of people for whom this country is not working and they are losing hope that it ever will. Then I read this letter, and suddenly it was crystal clear. Friendship does "require trust, emotional intimacy and respect." So today I’m going to read his letter to my friend so perhaps she’ll better understand why I cannot be friends with someone I don’t respect and am barely able to recognize.
Cheryl J. Bowes, Spring Hill
Respect the other side first | Letter, July 3
Out of many, one
We have created a situation in our nation by not recognizing how divided we have become on a very basic concept. Are we a nation built by individuals who believe "to the victor go the spoils," or are we a nation built by individuals who believe "in unity there is strength"? Have we forgotten that our nation is called the United States of America? Our goal, starting with George Washington, was to place unity first, individualism second. Our memory is short. We forget that when one person amasses large sums of money and the masses receive a pittance, the social order becomes warped. We forget that corporations are not people, that each individual composes the whole, that when one person is treated unfairly, we all are being attacked.
Some people remember history. Some choose to conveniently forget. There is a consequence. We become less humane and more selfish. It is time for Americans to remember we are a land united by the suffering of our immigrant past, strengthened only by standing strong against oppression, and recalling that we did not buckle under bullies. It is time to remember knowledge is power. Learn about your country, your land, your Constitution and your government; and vote responsibly.
Lillian Guttman, Tampa
Report details gun permit mistakes | July 4
Enforcement is lacking
Well, so much for the idea that if we just enforce the existing gun laws, we will be protected from ill-advised gun purchases/owners. If you allow an NRA lobbyist, in effect, to decide what agency will process licenses, assign the licensing to a non-law enforcement agency whose boss goes on to declare himself a patsy for the NRA as part of his run for governor and provide spotty or no training or supervision to said employees, what can you expect? More than 200 mistakenly issued permits before anyone catches the problem.
Jane Sellick, Palmetto
Sure, fireworks are illegal.Who cares? | July 3
Leave the birds alone
The justification of buying fireworks to scare away birds is a big problem. My wife and I retired to a small pond across from a nature preserve. On a recent holiday, we were enjoying watching birds from our deck when someone started shooting fireworks over the pond.
About 35 birds leaped into the air. It has now been over a year and we are still struggling to see even a fraction of the birds we saw before those fireworks.
Joel Jackson, Land O’ Lakes
Hobby Lobby ad | July 1
Many aren’t Christian
In response to this full-page ad, I would say that while the initial immigrants were Christians, and subsequent immigrants were primarily from countries where Christianity was the predominant religion, that is now changing.
Recent immigrants from around the globe represent every major religion in the world. They are joined by increasing and significant numbers of U.S. citizens and other immigrants who espouse no religion. The nation is becoming much more pluralistic. We should welcome that trend.
Religion is really about undeserved pre-eminence and priority. It is also about power, control and order. We do not need Christianity to have a stable and compassionate society. I reject Hobby Lobby’s attempts to force any specific religion in an attempt to maintain power and control over our society.
Mark Brandt, Dunedin
The author is co-facilitator of the UU Humanists of Clearwater.