Field trip | May 29
Teach all types of food production
The University of Tampa should be commended for its course "Food Fights" on how food is grown, marketed, sold and eaten. But it appears the students were only given a one-sided view — the organic view — to raising food.
Organic methods may produce a healthy, pesticide-free product, but on a very limited yield basis. Chicken at $10 a pound is not for everyone. Commercially raised chicken currently sells for less than $2 a pound. Other organic food is also very expensive — not because of its greater nutrient value, but because of its yield.
Students should have also been taken on field trips to commercial farms to learn more about methods of mass production, USDA inspection and marketing.
The University of Florida is a great source of university-based research information.
Cooperative extension agents and master gardeners are always available to answer questions about the latest information on organic and nonorganic food production for the backyard gardener and the farmer alike.
Knowledge of organics and commercial food production would have given the impressionable students a basis to make wise and healthy choices in the future.
John B. Weber, Spring Hill
Protect Florida's women
The state of Florida, through Florida Statute 760, provides vital protection against discrimination for individuals on the basis of several categories including sex, color and religion. One category of individuals noticeably missing from such beneficial protection is pregnant mothers. In contrast, federal law has afforded them protection since 1978. Over the last decade there have been multiple attempts to amend Statute 760 to include pregnant women as a protected class. To date, including this past legislative session, all such attempts have failed.
The main issue that appears to prevent the amending of the statute is the apparent ambiguity within Florida's Civil Rights Act. Legal opinions from throughout the state are far from conclusive in their interpretation of this act, and in many instances, contradictory. While some courts afford pregnant women remedies for being victims of discrimination, such as job reinstatement or promotions, other courts completely deny pregnant women any protection under the act.
The Florida Commission on Human Relations fully supported this year's proposed legislation entitled the Protect Our Women Act. The priority within this legislation was to clarify state law by expressly including pregnancy as a protected class in the instance of discrimination. This legislation would ensure women who are pregnant or have children are given protection and remedies should they face discrimination. In the final days of the 2013 session, requests were made to have the legislation withdrawn from a final committee of reference and instead heard on chamber floors. These requests were denied.
The Florida Commission on Human Relations feels strongly on the subject of this proposed amendment to Florida Statute 760, and intends to file similar legislation for the next session. It is essential that all persons vulnerable or at risk of being discriminated against as a result of being members of a specific class are guaranteed protection not only on a federal level, but by Florida as well.
Gilbert Singer, chair, Florida Commission on Human Relations, Tampa
Key to tourism seen in logo | May 31
Skull and crossbones?
Maybe it's just me, but glancing through the paper, I read the article because I was wondering what the skull and crossbones was about.
I don't know anything about marketing, but I doubt I am the only one who is going to look at this quickly and come up with the same thought.
S. Slechta, Spring Hill
Undermining U.S. policy | May 31, letter
Blowback from aid
The letter writer faults Sen. John McCain for sticking his nose into the Syrian mess. I agree. However, fortunately there are just a small number of Republicans who are misguided on the Syrian rebel issue.
The administration was all for throwing out the Syrian president and have provided training and money to the rebels. It would appear that the administration has come to its senses regarding these "democratic rebels."
I wish they had come to their senses before supporting the "rebels" in Egypt and Libya. I cannot understand the policy where we are for throwing out a dictator and having him replaced with a bunch of radicals who are eager to do their own dictating. This policy will come back to haunt us.
Dan Mas, Tampa
New Yorker reigns as top speller | May 31
Spread the word on spelling
I enjoyed reading the article about the spelling bee and the amazing words that these students are required to learn in order to win. I wonder if these words will ever come up in a conversation. I appreciated the writer calling the words "doozies."
It is striking that many Indian-American students do so well in the spelling bee. It would be nice if they became teachers and educated their students on how to be successful in spelling.
Brenda Bell, New Port Richey
Bay ferry an idea worth floating May 27, editorial
Back to the future
This editorial caused me to smile. I remember a 1920 photograph of my mother with friends riding the ferry from St. Petersburg to Tampa to shop.
Verna Daniel, Clearwater