Trump promises more disaster aid | May 9
Send aid to all the places it's needed
President Donald Trump's visit to the Panhandle was certainly a well-planned campaign event in which he was able to make potentially exaggerated promises of relief to his base and blame the Democrats for holding it up. Of course, the Democrats are "holding it up" because he refuses to agree to reasonable funding for Puerto Rico, whose whole island infrastructure was demolished by Hurricane Maria.
Why not fund both? Could it be because those Puerto Ricans aren't his peeps? They don't speak English as their first language, and their officials have criticized the clumsy first efforts at aid by his administration, an unforgivable no-no. The Panhandle, being in Florida, had shiny new or newly reelected Republican leaders to trot out to his event and lots of red MAGA hats on display. A huge helicopter landing and words of inspiration instead of paper towels was the payoff. They had Trump's full attention as a campaign stop, but will aid follow? We'll see if Trump, just this once, can put money where his mouth is.
Jane Sellick, Palmetto
Three hailed for heroism in shooting | May 9
Teachers, guns and heroes
Kendrick Castillo saw another student about to shoot up his high school classroom in Colorado, so he bolted toward the threat, sacrificing himself in the process. He's the second young man in America this week to do so. He was only 18, but the burden of bravery forced him to bet his entire adult life against stopping greater carnage. It makes one wonder how many unarmed teachers watch these young heroes surrender their lives, but still believe gun-free schools are what's best for their students.
David Fraser, Clearwater
Pinellas agrees to ICE plan | May 7
What happened in Maryland
The rural western Maryland county I lived in before coming to Florida was one of the first to cooperate with ICE in its 287g program (which differs from the one Pinellas has joined), so I know a bit about the effects of that program on the local community. The overwhelming number of stops and arrests were not hardened criminals in this country illegally nor for heinous crimes. Rather, most arrests were for "driving without a license." The question we asked the local sheriff at that time was how did the deputy know the person didn't have a valid driver's license before stopping him/her? What we saw in Maryland was a significant increase in stops of people of color for minor infractions (non-working license plate light) and the targeting of places where Latino people congregated and worked. These agreements have absolutely nothing to do with keeping our communities safe. What is needed is not more laws criminalizing diversity but a coming together of all segments of the community. We need to defend all people's right to a just society.
Ken Eidel, St. Petersburg
Judge sends boy back to chemo | May 9
Parents and medical care
I'm confused with the inconsistencies in Florida. In one situation, Noah McAdams is removed from his parents by the state for not providing proper medical care. In another, parents can willy-nilly choose not to provide proper medical care by vaccinating their children. That puts not only their children in jeopardy, but the health of others, and the state does nothing.
Jim Stout, Dade City