Human rights law has its foes, story, March 14
Rights ordinance should protect all
A human rights ordinance, or HRO, will be a good thing for Pinellas County. A key, though, in a good-working HRO is inclusion of the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression."
Most discrimination in housing and employment aimed at the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender population is based on appearance. All too often, men that appear as female or women that present as male are targeted for discrimination. This is why our transgender citizens, especially, are in need of this law.
As for David Caton's opposing civil rights for LGBT citizens, he has made a business of fighting civil rights for Florida's LGBT citizens since 1991. In reality, his Web site and organization (the Florida Family Association) are a strong reason why this county and state need a strong human rights ordinance to protect our LGBT citizens from discrimination.
Mr. Caton and his association's mission is to make a "moral environment" for all Florida. The monthly newsletter on their Web site makes it very clear that there is no room for LGBT citizens in their "moral environment."
Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel suggests that the county commissioners should do nothing until the state or federal legislators do something. History has proved that no civil rights movement has started at the state or federal level. The civil rights movement and the women's suffrage movement were grass roots movements in cities, towns and counties. The county commissioners can all just resign if all they want to do is wait to see if the state or federal legislators are going to write laws and regulations.
County Commissioner Susan Latvala is doing the right thing by bringing this ordinance forward. Three years ago when I was the executive director of the Florida Gender Equality Project (a 501c3 nonprofit), I contacted the County Commission about the possibility of a human rights ordinance. At that time, it appeared there were not enough county commissioners that would support it.
The majority of Pinellas County voters will respect the courageous act of passing this law. The minority of those seeking a "moral environment" will not be enough to vote out anyone. I believe the current County Commission is a strong, progressive commission that will do the right thing.
Yes, I am a part of the transgender community and I also am a proud disabled Vietnam veteran.
Janice Josephine Carney, Seminole
Postmortem of Dunedin's March 11 election
Too few voted in Dunedin election
Yes, Dunedin will keep its two incumbent commissioners, Deborah Kynes and Julie Bujalski, for an additional three years. A friend of mine put together some eye-opening statistics about the election.
Dunedin has 25,232 registered voters. Can you guess how many voted? Only 4,010! That's 15.9 percent, and out of the 4,010 votes, 1,216 came by mail-in. One in seven registered voters decided our future. One in seven of our neighbors decided to change the method of how we elect our city commissioners.
Oh, I left out the super-voter, the St. Petersburg Times. Just how much influence does the Times have over our voters? Are you under their control, like some sort of Svengali, telling you how to cast your ballot? Should the Times give its opinion? I think not! Stick to the news and report the facts, that's your mission.
When our way of life is determined by so few, we're definitely going to get a wakeup call. Dunedin is only one year away from another election. The mayor's job and two more city seats will be up for our consideration. We cannot allow only 15.9 percent of the voters to lead the rest of us down a path we really don't want to follow.
I recommend, if the city can't get at least 25 percent of the registered voters to the polls, the election become null and void.
Change the election to November. It will save thousands of taxpayers' dollars, bring out many more voters and help keep unwanted influence out of the mix. It's much harder to direct an election outcome when we have a larger number of voters in the process.
Bill Coleman, Dunedin
Proposed redevelopment of Clearwater's Harborview Center
Best idea: Extend Coachman Park
This is exciting to hear that something new will be happening in this area of Clearwater.
I am a local Realtor and of course like the idea of expansion and new properties being built to sell. Yet with this piece, the Harborview Center, I am not interested in mixed use.
I would love to see an expansion of Coachman Park and have that green space there for all of our enjoyment. Our downtown is going to be a great city, and to have a larger park is ideal — along the lines of other great cities like New York, where one can stroll the busy streets and have refuge in the beautiful Central Park. Same with London.
I would love a movie theater, too, but to me that particular spot is best for expansion of the park.
Marian Henry, Clearwater
Clerk's kindness worthy of notice
Last month I was a customer at an Albertsons supermarket in Palm Harbor. I purchased two items for a total of $6.38. I had forgotten my wallet with my ID, but I did have my checkbook with me. I told the young man at the counter my problem. He tried the register to see if it would accept the check, but it asked for identification, which I didn't have.
I was going to leave the items at the store when the young man, Dan Souza, took out his own wallet and paid for my items. He packaged them up and told me to have a nice day.
I was very surprised at his thoughtfulness and generosity. You hear so many bad things about our young people. I thought everyone should know there are a lot of good, young, caring people out there, too. I told him I would be back to repay him, which I did.
This young man gave your store more "PR" than you can buy.
Geraldine Glugla, Oldsmar