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  1. Letters to the Editor

Climate change is a key issue in coming election | Sunday's letters

Published Jun. 28, 2019

Any candidate who, at this stage of the game, isn't addressing climate change as a major point in their campaign cannot and will not be taken seriously, not by me or anyone I know. So as a Floridian I will be paying special attention to the candidates who have a serious and reasonable approach to our climate crisis.

We are feeling the effects of climate change now here in Florida. We are feeling the impact of higher sea water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, which in turn feed the winds that make up hurricanes, providing more force, speed and prolonging the time a hurricane occurs. This has dramatic economic repercussions not only directly in response to the hurricanes, but in how prices of real estate are trending, which as we know, is a major industry in Florida.

Scientists have given us all the data that we need to understand the gravity of the existential threat the climate emergency is. Human-caused climate change is elevating the temperature of the planet, creating algal blooms, driving the extinction of species. We must address this urgently.

The current administration has reversed progress on clean air and water, clean cars, the clean power plan and has other proposals to gut existing environmental protections.

What we are doing right now, both nationally and internationally, is not nearly enough to limit some of the worst climate impacts that lie ahead. Floridians will be paying special attention to how democrats plan to reverse this horrible policy of ignoring scientific research.

It is high time to address our climate emergency. We have an opportunity to leave a legacy we can be proud of for our children.

Nathalia Assaad, Lutz

Republicans tighten control | Editorial, June 23

The government we deserve

Thanks so much for your thoughtful and detailed editorial about the tightening control of Republicans in this state. I hope that people pay attention. It just astounds me that Florida has more registered Democrats than Republicans and yet we have such a conservative government. I guess it comes down to the bumper sticker I have seen: "If you don't get out and vote, you get the government you deserve." Florida can still turn things around, but not if people don't get off the couch and get out to vote. Keep up the good work informing the Tampa Bay electorate.

Jenni Casale, Palmetto

Rays double down | June 26

Play in Tampa and St. Pete

The Tampa Bay Rays need to consider a two city approach to their future — with Tampa. If they follow through with the plan for Montreal, Tampa Bay will really be left with nothing more than an extended spring training, and support for the team will decline precipitously.

Nobody really bonds with a team that does not play in their home town or region. The complaint in Pinellas is that Tropicana Field is in the wrong place, and the complaint in Tampa has been they can't get anyone to pay for a domed stadium. Therefore, have the best of both worlds — a domed stadium in St. Petersburg, which exists now, for day games and Boston Red Sox or New York Yankee series, and an open-air stadium — an expanded Steinbrenner Field could be a possibility — for night games. It's an inexpensive fix, and the team could get support throughout the region.

Stuart McKinney, Gulfport

Sharing might just work

For those who are opposed to the Tampa Bay Rays' idea of sharing the team with Montreal, I wonder how many home games you have attended over the 21-year span we have had the team to ourselves? I love baseball and the Rays, but I generally only attend somewhere between six to 10 games each season while watching the rest at home. And I would guess that many fans attend far fewer games than I do. Would having a retractable roof and a new ballpark increase my or anyone else's attendance? Doubtful. I wager that like me, schedule conflicts and costs are the main factors keeping me from going to more games and the same would hold true regardless of the ballpark ambiance. Baseball's support problem, I think, stems largely from just too many games.

So I think the idea of two markets having a share of the team is terrific. I love the thought of being able to attend both spring training and early season games outdoors in an open ballpark. Then I could still watch the remainder of the season's games at home and root for my team on the road in Montreal or elsewhere. What would be the alternative? No team to follow here or elsewhere? Unthinkable.

Peggy McCabe, St. Petersburg

My plan to pay for college | Column, June 18

We all will pay in the end

A hot debate regarding the need to forgive student loan debt brings up one question: Who will be paying for this debt? The answer, of course, is the people.

And that means, that ironically, the students themselves will also bear the brunt of this scheme by paying higher taxes on earned income.

Nothing is free. I was taught this as a very young person.

With government-backed loans, universities can pretty much charge as much as they wish. Student loan debt has substantially increased, but has the quality of college education increased?

How about colleges loaning money to the student? Yes, they are somewhat in the business of doing so with free tuition to students who qualify, financial aid, etc., but how much skin do they have in the game? They could charge interest on the loans themselves. Maybe they would rein in tuition costs.

My grandmother had a friend who came from a poor family that could not afford college, much less law school.

He worked his way through both college and law school by shoveling coal at night and then going to school during the day. He later became a Supreme Court justice in the state of Michigan. I guess he graduated debt-free.

What a novel idea.

Pam McAloon, Palm Harbor