National Adoption Month
The difference generosity makes
As a football coach, I always had to be ready to overcome unexpected challenges. With injuries, crowd noise and especially weather, the game plan is always adjusting to overcome adversity.
Our state had to do the same thing in September when Hurricane Irma made landfall. Despite unprecedented damage across the state, Florida families rallied together. A natural disaster can easily bring out the worst in humanity. I am proud that our community chose generosity rather than selfishness. Potentially dark days were illuminated by the many incredible Floridians who opened their homes and provided safe havens for those who needed it most.
November is National Adoption Month, and I hope this spirit remains strong in our hearts. Just as many families leaned on neighborsí hospitality for shelter in the wake of the hurricane, many children across Florida are waiting for someone to become their hero through foster care or adoption.
We know that children do better when they feel safe and loved. As adoptive and foster parents, my wife Lauren and I have witnessed the transformative effect of welcoming children into our own home.
I am always humbled when former players thank me years after I coached them. Usually they mention how grateful they were for an opportunity. Though the joy I gained from mentoring young people far outweighs what I can give.
The same is true in fostering and adoption. Being a dad is my best job and my family is the greatest team. If you believe every child deserves a safe, loving home, visit: http//www.allprodad.com/foster/florida/ or call 1-844-4FL-KIDS (1-844-435-5437) to learn how you can be a hero to a child.
Tony Dungy, Tampa
Phony service dogs pose real problems Nov. 11
Licensing and etiquette
To avoid the "fake service dog" scam, all trainers/animal behaviorists should be licensed by the county. Congratulations to Hillsborough County for taking the lead. Upon the dogís graduation, the dog owner should be given a certificate to obtain a license for official service dog registration. Licenses will be proof the dog is officially trained and not a scam.
Secondly, when a dog is in training, proper etiquette is mandatory. Dog lovers and children should refrain from running up to the dog or offering treats. If one would like to pet the dog, stand at a distance and ask the owner if it would be okay. Chances are yes, depending on the level of training the dog has achieved. It is a matter of respect for both the dog and the owner of the dog who are working diligently and paying a premium for the training.
Claudia McCorkle, Redington Beach
St. Petersburg mayorís race
Partisanship has no place
I accept the fact that more Democrats than Republicans voted in the recent St. Petersburg mayoral election, but what truly depresses me is the divisive, partisan campaign run by our mayor.
I donít know what anyone in D.C. knows or cares about our sewer system or Pier. The "them vs. us" rhetoric aimed at dividing us for purely political purposes is wrong.
The outside money (was it really $3 million?) will make it difficult for local future candidates to participate. I donít know how we can tell our young people to be inclusive and to listen thoughtfully to varied opinions when we set such a terrible example.
The mayor and the council work for every citizen in this city. I hear the mayor now calling for unity, and I hope he is sincere, but itís hard to believe anything will change after the example he has set.
Connie Kone, St. Petersburg
Teachers among the losers
The tax plan proposed by the House strips teachers of the educator expense deduction. Educators are eligible to deduct up to $250 per year to reimburse the cost of classroom supplies.
If Congress does not maintain this deduction, teachers will be compelled to furnish their own classrooms even more so than they already do.
Research indicates that teachers spend an average of $600 of their own money per school year on basic school supplies and classroom essentials. Is it not morally reprehensible for teachers, who are already underpaid and undervalued, to be expected to create a proper learning environment with their own money?
The attempt by the Republican Party to simplify the tax code for everyone will benefit the wealthy and hurt the working class.
Corporations will still be allowed to deduct business expenses, but we cannot afford to shell out a mere $250 to benefit students?
Gina Spano, Seminole
Corporations and tax
People who complain that the corporate tax rate is being lowered at the expense of the "little guy" or the middle class are not seeing the forest for the trees. Corporations donít pay taxes; you the consumer do. The price of the product produced by the corporation already has the tax that will be owed worked into the price. This is a fairly basic economic tenet. So, go ahead and lower those corporate rates and get the billions of dollars these companies have parked overseas into our country.
Dave Mullan, Tampa
Houston built to invite a flood | Nov. 12
It will happen again
This article is right. Houston was designed to flood. All you have to do to verify this is go to Google Earth or Google Maps and scan over Houston. There are endless square miles of residential development without a retention pond, creek, gully or canal. It is as flat as a table. There is no place for water to go except down the streets and into homes. The good residents of Houston are paying the price of unregulated development and will pay again.
Pete Wilford, Holiday