Monday, May 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Hillsborough School Board speaks out against bigotry

Schools still welcome guest speakers | April 11

Board speaks out against bigotry

I was touched by the unity and resolve displayed by our Tampa community at last week's Hillsborough County School Board meeting, when many diverse community leaders spoke out against bigotry and censorship and in support of an inclusive guest speaker policy.

For the past few months, protesters representing only a small segment of public opinion used the School Board meetings to promote conspiracy theories and false allegations against Islam and Muslims.

Their fear of Muslims and serious misinformation about Islam led them to push for a policy censoring all advocacy groups from visiting our public schools to speak on relevant topics the students are studying. When asked on camera, protesters like Terry Kemple claimed that their problem was only with America's largest Muslim civil rights group, not with all Muslims.

However, at least half of the statements made by Kemple and his supporters were attacks on the entire Muslim faith and people, not any particular Muslim group. Even worse, I felt they were really attacking the American principles of pluralism and freedom of religion. These are the principles I have taken an oath to protect and are the reasons why my family chose to immigrate to America from Syria.

But on Tuesday we saw an outpouring of diverse supporters who asked the School Board not to give in to anti-Muslim prejudices. The supporters represented many faiths, organizations and ethnicities.

The Hillsborough County School Board refused to give in to fearmongering. Our success sends a strong message that we in Tampa will not allow ignorance, fear and misunderstanding to divide us.

My only wish now is that those who fear us would come and get to know us. We are one community, and we must stand united despite our differences to foster an environment where all people can live free without fear, prejudice and hatred.

Hassan Shibly, CAIR Florida, Tampa

Health Care Decision Day

Make your wishes known

If you were to experience a medical emergency and were unable to speak for yourself, would your loved ones know what type of care you wanted? You can make certain that your health care wishes are fulfilled by completing your advance directives — a living will and health care surrogate forms.

Today, April 16, is National Health Care Decisions Day, set aside to encourage people to express their wishes regarding their health care and for providers and facilities to respect those choices, whatever they might be.

It's much easier to think about this subject when people are in good health. For the month of April, you can pick up copies of advance directives at any LifePath Hospice facility in Hillsborough County or visit the website,, to download the forms. After you fill out the forms, tell your loved ones and health care providers about the care you want — or don't want — when facing a medical crisis.

Please take a few minutes today to think about your loved ones and then complete your advance directives.

Roxanne Riley, executive director, LifePath Hospice, Tampa

GOP seizes on its own 'war on women' attack April 13

Let women choose roles

Who is Hilary Rosen to sit in judgment of other women and the life choices they've made? Doesn't she realize that the rights she enjoys — to equal education, equal job opportunities, and even the chance to have an equal voice on the national stage — are things that just a generation ago very few women could even dream of? Doesn't she realize that what she takes for granted as her due, women of my generation fought long and hard to achieve? Doesn't she realize that the struggle was not just for equal opportunities in education and career, but for the right to make those choices ourselves?

My generation of women blazed a trail without the legal protections against discrimination that Rosen takes for granted. Yet isn't her criticism of Ann Romney and stay-at-home moms just another form of discrimination? Would she really take us back to that place when women sit in judgment of other women for the choices they make?

One of the greatest freedoms American women enjoy today is the freedom to choose. Inherent in that freedom is the opportunity to choose without bringing down the wrath of other women for those choices. We should focus on supporting each other as we try to juggle the extraordinary opportunities we have, not scratch each others' eyes out for making different choices.

Ann Whelan, Dunedin

'Stand your ground'

Law violates rights

In 2008 and 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on cases that affirmed the right of people to own guns and to use them for self-defense without any reference to the free-for-all that the "stand your ground" laws imply.

The Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution did not give anyone the right to stalk individuals and kill them just because they think they might look suspicious.

If private citizens in some states are allowed to be judge, jury and executioner, what has become of the right to a jury by peers? Doesn't this make "stand your ground" unconstitutional? Seems to me it violates the Constitution.

Richard Mayer, Palm Harbor

Learn the benefits of health care reform April 11, commentary

Reforms already working

I appreciate the information in this column and couldn't agree more with the statement, "Be an informed voter." Hats off to the president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.

My family has already benefited from what has been put in place. Our 19-year-old autistic granddaughter with Crohn's disease is allowed to remain on a parental insurance plan. My senior siblings have saved hundreds of dollars on their medications because the health care law closes the doughnut hole gap in coverage for prescriptions.

Heck yes, I'm for Obamacare!

Kay Dickson, Spring Hill

Parking scam hooks Rays fans | April 12

Low cost, big return

If St. Petersburg is willing to spend $1,400 — it's petty cash in the city's coffers — for goodwill that will improve its image in the eyes of its citizens, it should consider refunding the $100 it cost each driver (presumably Rays fans) to recover his or her car towed on opening day from the legitimately permitted parking lot near Tropicana Field.

It's a simple gesture that would pay dividends far greater than the cost.

Bruce Lowitt, Oldsmar


Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant As a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant tin rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from my home. It will run 1.4 mile...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Friday's letters: Putnam and Publix, two P's lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17 A pleasure to shop elsewhere My family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye. F...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 18

Re: Pasco panel okays Tampa Electric solar farm after five-hour meeting | April 9 storySolar farm offers many positivesThere has been much publicity regarding the proposed TECO Mountain View solar project slated for 350 acres in East Pasco that was r...
Published: 05/14/18

Thursday’s letters: Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America

Autonomous vehicles in FloridaThe state for self-driving carsAlmost overnight, Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America. In the last three months, Voyage, a self-driving taxi service, has begun service in the Villag...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: Florida’s Community Health Centers save $1.78 for every dollar spent

Florida’s Community Health CentersHealth centers are a great dealIf you gave someone a dollar and they gave you back $1.78, wouldn’t you consider that a fantastic deal? That’s the deal Florida’s Community Health Centers provide for the state’s citize...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/16/18