We should reject Arizona-type law
Thank you for your excellent editorials on the Arizona law and immigration. I say this because it makes sense, not just common sense, but moral sense as well, for Florida not to consider a law like Arizona's.
You will probably receive plenty of responses from people who have a majority of fears that are created not only by myths, but also by candidates wanting to blame immigrants for societal problems, as well as plain prejudice against anyone who does not fit their mold.
I have read letter after letter of people's fears about immigrants, and hopefully people of faith and knowledge can displace some of those fears with facts.
We have to address the fact that comprehensive immigration reform would create a path to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants who have been here for many years and have been contributing to our country and local communities. They would be given a chance to come out of the shadows and to grow in their communities as immigrants in the past did.
They would not be given amnesty as many pundits and candidates would have you believe. It is not amnesty! It would weed out any criminals and concentrate on the immigrants who have always become part of our hard-working society. Many articles have been written on how much immigrants contribute (and continue to contribute) by paying taxes and doing the work that no one else is willing to do, even in these hard times.
And why are they here undocumented? It takes many years, a lot of time, too much money and years of education to enter this country legally. They are here because they are hungry and want to feed their families now, not in 10 years.
It is time for good people to be not moved by fear and myths, but instead to get the facts and question the rhetoric of political candidates. We need to tell our legislators that we do not need the Arizona law in the great state of Florida. What we do need is a better understanding of the plight of the immigrant workers and comprehensive immigration reform that takes into account all situations of those immigrants who have been here for generations.
M. McCourt, Tampa
It's time for clean energy
This year our leaders were given a choice: to stand with Big Oil or stand with real Americans who want a clean energy future. They had the option to let polluters off the hook or to make them pay for their pollution. They chose to delay enacting comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation.
At every juncture in the debate, a minority, led by the Republican leadership, obstructed the opportunity to solve America's energy problems, preferring to leave the big polluters and petro-dictators in control of our energy policy. This puts America in even greater peril.
We need to cut carbon pollution that causes global warming, not give in to Big Oil and the special interests. The BP oil spill in the gulf says it all. How can we even think of delaying our immediate need for clean energy? The time for our leaders to embrace sound climate and energy policies and work to limit carbon pollution and invest in clean energy sources is now.
I challenge you to ask yourself: Would you like to live in a clean, healthy America or would you enjoy finding yourself living in one filled with overwhelming and unnecessary pollution? Together, we can overcome our dependency on oil and work toward taking the necessary steps. Let's move our country toward a clean energy future; more oil rigs are not the answer.
Jessica R. Pemble, St. Petersburg
Fire at Tenn. mosque construction site Aug. 31
Crimes against us all
The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties strongly condemns the recent spate of hate directed at members of the Muslim community in differing parts of our country. With acts ranging from the arson of a mosque under construction in Tennessee, to the hateful, anti-Islamic slogans chanted by picketers outside a mosque in Bridgeport, Conn., the JCRC stands firmly against all who would commit such senseless acts.
The United States is great in large part because the First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Derogatory statements and violent acts that target a religious minority are anti-American, and are crimes against us all. Christian, Jewish or Muslim, we must stand together against those who hate.
Steve Schwersky, JCRC chair, and Stuart Berger, JCRC coordinator, Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties
The New York City mosque
Moderates must advance
When two major religions — Christianity and Islam — become proxies for the expression of mutual hatred and contempt, we are in very dangerous waters. There have been epic provocations by extremists on both sides, which makes it vital that moderates on both sides rein in the hotheads.
I'll venture that most American Christians today are what are called a la carte Christians — they pick and choose those portions of the Bible they agree with. We don't, for example, tolerate witch-burning, stoning or the murder of gays and disobedient children, even when the Bible clearly requires it. This is good: We have outgrown the blind obedience to calls for violence.
So it is with moderate Muslims. There comes a point where we have to recognize that these ancient texts, the Bible and the Koran, were written in a time with a very different world view. We've moved on. Moderates recognize that, while extremists cling to traditional notions of hierarchy: supreme being, clerics, and peasants.
Religious belief pushes a lot of buttons. For centuries, it has prompted millions to pull the trigger on violence. The measure of our maturity is how well we resist that temptation and encourage others to treat each other with love and respect.
Kevin McLeod, St. Petersburg
Multiple-choice Senate race will defy party logic | Aug. 30, Ernest Hooper column
When will the Times (via Ernest Hooper) get the idea that a race with more than three candidates is not a "three-way race"?
Libertarian Party candidate Alexander Snitker is on the ballot and has a substantial following. Could he win with his meager funding? Not if the Times and the rest of the media fail to inform voters that they have a choice other than the three "major candidates."
But Snitker is more than a "none of the above" choice, though many would choose him by that logic alone. He really stands for smaller government, balanced budgets, and less nanny-state intrusiveness. Of course, all candidates talk libertarian talk on the campaign trail. Then, once elected, they follow the professional politician's path: tax, spend, elect.
Please, give this outsider a chance. Low funding is another way of saying "Beholden to nobody."
Peter C. Ray, Parrish
District rethinks hiring plan | Sept. 1, story
Ron Matus did an excellent job covering this story! I truly think that if this appalling information about Jason Pafundi and his inability to keep and hold a job appropriately was not made public, he would actually be teaching children in our community.
Perish the thought!
Nanette Standfast, St. Petersburg