No tip left for Hooters speaker | Nov. 19
Server's story worthy of Teach-In
The woman who complained about a Hooter's waitress speaking to her son's class for the Great American Teach-In gave me great pause. "Inappropriate," "not knocking waitresses," "kids should have higher goals." Of course, she was knocking waitresses (and waiters). My son graduated with honors from the University of South Florida. He works as a waiter/server. Why? Because he can make more money than he would make as a teacher. He is supporting his family in a tough economy. Maybe she would have been better satisfied if the waitress had been from Bern's Steak House. The mom, Ashley Dominicci, said she had professional friends who would have volunteered to speak. It doesn't seem any of them were there. The Great American Teach-In is held every year. Maybe Ms. Dominicci needs to start her personal recruiting now!
I am a retired schoolteacher, and I would have been honored to have Brittany Morgan speak to my classes. Thank you, Ms. Morgan, for giving of your valuable time.
Donna Tally, Land O'Lakes
Where's 'wrong message'?
I think that it is just plain silly for a parent to want to exclude the Hooters waitress from the Great American Teach-In. In claiming it sends the wrong message, without having the courage to say what that "message" is, is disingenuous. She meant to say she doesn't approve of women stuffing themselves into tight clothes to sell wings. Brittany Morgan, on the other hand, should be commended for going to the school's class. She cared enough to volunteer and was proud enough to tell the class what she does to support herself. Stating, after the fact, that 10 professionals with no connection to the school or its children could have been brought in to speak is easy in hindsight. To presume everyone would want to be a professional is just plain elitist.
Keith Warshofsky, Tampa
ER doctor accused of sex with boy under 18 Nov. 20
Tell these stories accurately
With all the unfortunate opportunities right now to cover stories about the sexual assault of children, I think the St. Petersburg Times should set an example for how to tell these stories more accurately. The entire country is talking about this issue right now, so it's a chance to educate the public and help support victims. In this local story about a doctor who allegedly assaulted a teenage boy, it says multiple times that the perpetrator "had sex with" or "engaged in sexual activities with" his victim. Let's call it what it is — a doctor in our community is accused of repeatedly raping at least one child, and possibly other children. To use the word "with" diminishes the perpetrator's responsibility and implies at least some involvement on the part of the victim. This article even implied the child's mother might be culpable because she trusted this doctor and asked him to care for her child. All parents trust other adults with their children, and all children should be able to trust those adults.
In most news accounts of one-sided violence, it is clearly stated that one person attacked another — but when it comes to sexual assault, our culture is still ambivalent about the victim's role in the assault. Our news accounts reflect this ambivalence, and I think they should instead make it clear who is at fault. The headline on the second page of the story should have been what appeared on the first page: "Deputies: ER doctor sexually battered boy." That's more like it.
Wendy Loomas, St. Petersburg
Reviewers go slow on red-light ticketing Nov. 19
Laws should be enforced
I was horrified to read that tickets may not be issued for a right-turn-on-red violation recorded by the red-light cameras if a driver travels 12 mph or less, even though Florida law states a driver must stop on red before making a right turn. I recently watched 15 vehicles make a right turn on red while I was stopped. Only two followed the law and stopped before proceeding, and one was treated to a horn-honking from another motorist in line. I firmly believe in following the laws as they are written, whether I agree with them or not. Laws need to be enforced or the law needs to be revised or repealed. Higher auto insurance premiums in Florida? Is it any wonder?
Thomas Martin, Gulfport
Occupiers must build agenda Nov. 19, editorial
Movement has many facets
The national media doesn't seem to "get it" when it comes to the Occupy Wall Street movement. And, based on this editorial, the Times doesn't either.
OWS is not about a one-liner or sound bite or "agenda" as you demand. It is a civil rights movement that might be summed up in, "I'm fed up with it and demand our whole system change." The "it" is government corruption on the state and local level such that state Sen. J.D. Alexander can threaten University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft and Board of Governors members. The "it" is the demonizing of both political parties by the other, thus keeping the focus away from the systemic greed that both enjoy. The "it" are those who are elected as lawmakers as part of the middle class and ending up multimillionaires. The "it" is public bailout of the banks, which refuse to help the public in return. The "it" is the rich getting richer while creating an American peasant class. The "it" is blind donations to political campaigns resulting in favorable legislation, and on and on.
With each of the occupiers and sympathizers, there is a different motto on their sign. This is a new civil rights movement that sees the total of the greed through its parts. This is not a one-trick pony, and it is not going away for lack of media approval.
Glenn Anderson, St. Petersburg
Turn attention to politicians
I both disagree and agree with this editorial. Occupy Wall Street already has an agenda, but major parties are slow to embrace its breadth. The editorial is correct, however, that it must be articulated beyond street protests. In particular, we need to start lobbying elected officials in their offices. (I saw a letter last week suggesting we "Occupy Congress." I agree.)
As winter approaches, I suggest OWS consider leaving encampments at Zuccotti and other parks on our own terms — including the promise to return this spring if specific policy demands are not met. Perhaps we can agree on a short list of our most immediate priorities in time to break camp by winter solstice, and then take this agenda into the halls of government for policy action. If our elected officials fail to deliver, then we shall reoccupy come spring. The equinox seems an appropriate deadline.
Andy Fairbanks, Tampa