Sunday, July 15, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Appalling behavior all around

Sheriff: Taunts boosted distress | Sept. 3

Appalling behavior by two adults

I am a retired Pinellas County special education teacher and was deeply concerned after reading this article. Although the deputy's interaction with the student with autism was appalling, it was shocking to read that the school's behavior specialist was also recorded joining in on the taunting. As I remember, behavior specialists are former Exceptional Student Education classroom teachers, and are well trained in de-escalating tense or crisis situations.

I understand that the deputy was fired for his actions, and I wonder if the Office of Professional Standards at Pinellas County schools has taken action against the behavior specialist who was unprofessional and obviously should have "known better." A child with a disability (or for that matter, any child) should never have been taunted or threatened by an adult in a position of authority.

Ruth Dobkin, Seminole

St. Petersburg mayor's race

About service, not party

When I ran for St. Petersburg City Council in 1991 and 1995, all candidates were required to sign a pledge to run a nonpartisan race. If someone asked, I told them my party was a matter of public record but I really wanted to hear and work for all residents of our city. We were divided by party and we had our issues, but I think we did a pretty good job of listening and acting thoughtfully.

We have a beautiful, diverse and dynamic city and I hope we will not be divided into "us" and "them." The question is who can best provide services such as police, fire, safe neighborhoods and proper drainage and do it in the most cost-effective manner. Knowing both men, there is no question in my mind that Rick Baker is the man, and yes, my special interest is St. Petersburg.

Connie Kone, St. Petersburg

Voting rights

Say yes to second chances

What do Florida, Iowa and Virginia have in common? If you said they are the only states that take away voting rights from former felons for life, you were right. An astounding 1.67 million Floridians have been disenfranchised — even people who never spent a single day in jail. This harsh law affects Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.

But you can right this wrong. I invite you to "Say Yes to 2nd Chances," a project to automatically restore voting rights to Floridians with felony convictions after completion of their sentences and probation, except for those convicted of murder or violent sexual offenses.

Simply sign a petition to help ensure this initiative makes it on the midterm ballot. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, along with the ACLU, the League of Women Voters, NOW, the Women's March, Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, the Alachua County Labor Coalition, College Democrats and Engage Miami, to name a few, along with churches and synagogues all over the state, are gathering signed petitions from registered voters right now.

You'll recognize them — they're the people with the clipboard in one hand, a stack of pens in the other, and a hopeful look on their face. Time is short and almost 800,000 signed petitions are required. It's a massive undertaking, but this is democracy at its finest.

Barbara Markley, Fort Lauderdale

Survey weary? Please press 1 | Sept. 4

Polls turned into 'news'

The endless surveys conducted by businesses are a bother, but they're mostly harmless. The same cannot be said for the ubiquitous opinion polling done by the broadcast news outlets, Fox and the alphabet networks, abetted by their print counterparts for the purpose of creating "news" out of thin air. Often the poll questions are phrased and cleverly delivered to a demographically selected audience for the purpose of reinforcing a view already held by the poll's sponsors. In fact, I suspect that the "news" story is written in advance and then the supporting poll results are simply plugged in to bolster the preordained conclusion.

I challenge the networks to do even one evening newscast without mentioning any polling results. I don't think they can do it.

John S.V. Weiss, Spring Hill

DACA's end confirmed | Sept. 6

Congress must step up

What is wrong with the president? Has he no sense of humanity? With the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, some 800,000 young people may be sent to what is to them a foreign country — the place from whence their parents brought them as young children. Most of these young people do not even speak the language of the countries they will be sent to.

These are American children and young adults. This is their country. Hopefully Congress will act and protect them from this president who seems to care for no one and for nothing unless he sees some profit in it.

George Scheitinger, Dunedin

True American values

The president wants well-educated, English-speaking immigrants who aspire to American ideals. What group more fits that profile than the DACA children and young adults?

Carl L. Zielonka, Tampa

No human being is illegal

The president's decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is ignorant, cowardly and cruel.

Dreamers were brought to this country as children and have lived in the United States almost their entire lives, have not committed crimes, and have trusted in the government to protect and support them. No one deserves this hateful and vile treatment.

This is the latest heartless move by the Trump administration. My family and my friends are immigrants, some documented and some not, but I am prepared to fight for their rights to exist and succeed in this country. No human being is illegal.

Suzanne Young, Tampa


Sunday’s letters: Stop burning of sugar cane near the Everglades

Florida’s land of black snow | Bill Maxwell column, July 1Don’t burn sugar cane, periodIn this column, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King got a lot of things right about how sugarcane burning negatively impacts the Glades communities w...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Saturday’s letters: The dangerous days before Roe vs. Wade

The reality of back-alley abortions | Column, July 11The dangerous days before RoeI am a 71-year-old retired nurse. I still remember when abortion was illegal and birth control was restricted to married women in the United States. In 1983, I set ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/14/18

Thursday’s letters: The Rays’ Ybor City stadium will be magnificent

Rays’ big dream is small ballpark | July 11The new stadium will be gorgeousI had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of the Tampa Bay Rays "next-generation, neighborhood ballpark." I was blown away. As an 18-year resident of Tampa Bay, and ma...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/12/18

Wednesday’s letters: Let’s prepare Florida’s next generation for the jobs that have been created yet

Make Florida’s workforce globally competitivePrepare for jobs not yet createdIf you aren’t amazed by the speed at which technology is changing our world, just think back 20 years. Would you have imagined cellphones with the capabilities of a laptop c...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/11/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for July 13

Re: School meals for all students | July 6 storyParents should pay for their ownThat article really got me to thinking ... why can’t parents feed and care for their own children? When did it become others’ responsibility to do this? No one fed our th...
Published: 07/09/18

Tuesday’s letters: It’s great that Tampa’s Democratic mayor works with a Republican governor

Dems wary of Scott, Buckhorn bromance | July 8It’s not partisan to look out for TampaThe focus of a mayor should be on success in his jurisdiction, no matter the partner, for the citizens who live in his area of responsibility. Mayor Bob Buckhorn...
Published: 07/06/18
Updated: 07/10/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for July 13

Scaring birds with fireworks is a problemThe justification of buying fireworks to scare birds is the biggest problem with fireworks. My wife and I retired to a small pond across from a nature preserve. On a recent holiday, we were enjoying watching b...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/09/18

Monday’s letters: Let’s keep plastics out of the ocean now

Is a ban on plastic straws a step too far? | July 4 Plastic in oceanis not fantastic As a Tampa Bay native, I am thrilled to see a concerted effort to eliminate plastics pollution in the area, and encouraged to see small business and restaurant ow...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/09/18

Sunday’s letters: Keep the Rays in Tampa Bay

Ballpark site catches break | July 5Keep the Rays in Tampa BayLast month, the Tampa Bay Partnership led a delegation of nearly 20 Tampa Bay business leaders on a benchmarking trip to Houston, to explore the nationally recognized workforce develop...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/06/18

Saturday’s letters: Letter of the month concerns civility in public discourse

June letter of the month The winning letter addressed incivility in public discourseMud sticks to those who sling itI am an 83-year-old black, straight male. I lived with Jim Crow laws that deprived me of education, jobs, housing and service in publi...
Published: 07/02/18
Updated: 07/06/18