Editor's note: Letters to the editor offer a significant contribution to the discussion of public policy and life in Tampa Bay. To recognize some of that work by our most engaged readers, the Times will select a letter of the month and the writers will be recognized at the end of the year. We will choose the finalists each month based on relevance on topical issues, persuasiveness and writing style. The writer's opinion does not need to match the editorial board's opinion on the issue to be nominated. But clarity of thinking, brevity and a sense of humor certainly helps.
Help us choose the letter of the month for December 2013 by reading through the three nominated letters and voting on the ballot at the bottom of the web page.
A simple handshake | Dec. 11
A diplomatic opening
For those Americans buying into the faux outrage over President Barack Obama having the temerity to shake the hand of Raoul Castro, I suggest you take a crash course in American History 101.
Richard Nixon, as a sitting U.S. president, visited China, opening relations with a regime responsible for some of the most egregious and inhumane atrocities ever perpetrated against mankind. And he was lauded for the effort.
Are there truly those who fail to realize that a gesture that may open a door to civil dialogue is where diplomacy begins?
Robert Shaw, Madeira Beach (Dec. 14)
'You can keep it' | Dec. 13, PolitiFact
Going by the book
Webster's defines "lie" as "an assertion … believed by the speaker to be untrue with intent to deceive."
President Barack Obama did not lie because he had no intention to deceive. If he said that the public would continue to be able to buy stone crabs at Joe's, and later Joe's decides not to sell any more stone crabs, the president did not lie. This was simply an unintended consequence of the free market.
The Times needs to use more common sense in reaching its conclusions.
Judy Vogel, Tampa (Dec. 19)
Aide should disclose records | Dec. 21, editorial
Sealed records are just that
Kevin King is not guilty of a crime. The judge, in his or her wisdom, sealed the records so that so that at some future time, information would not be made public, used selectively in a vindictive, vengeful or harmful way, for the sake of sensationalism or any other reason, including political purposes to tarnish the reputation of any of the individuals involved. Don't you understand that?
King does not have any responsibility to release any records he might or might not have. In my experience, it is unusual to possess or to be able to get such records from an attorney. If he has them, no matter what they say, I do not believe he should do other than hold them or destroy them.
He is not necessarily the sole person protected by their being sealed. Certainly he has no moral right to release them as it might jeopardize the reputation of others involved. He should honor the judge's decision and so should the Tampa Bay Times.
There is no dishonor in being arrested. There is no dishonor in being accused of a crime. There is no dishonor in being tried for a possible offense and not being convicted. I don't know what there is about that you don't understand, but the judge was afraid that someone might not understand that, so the judge sealed the records to prevent it from happening. That is sometimes appropriate in the cases of young people who are accused or involved in sexual indiscretions, whether they were guilty or not, and especially if they were found not guilty.
Robert L. Johnson, Pinellas Park (Dec. 25)