1. Opinion

The August letter of the month and other letters | Saturday’s letters

Saturday’s letters to the editor
Black Bellied Whistling Ducks gather in the backyard of homeowner Chris Anger on Sunday, March 31, 2019 in Spring Hill. Hunters began hunting the ducks last hunting season and Anger wants the hunters to stop shooting the ducks near the surrounding homes. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
Black Bellied Whistling Ducks gather in the backyard of homeowner Chris Anger on Sunday, March 31, 2019 in Spring Hill. Hunters began hunting the ducks last hunting season and Anger wants the hunters to stop shooting the ducks near the surrounding homes. [LUIS SANTANA | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Sep. 6, 2019
Updated Sep. 6, 2019

August letter of the month | The winning letter discussed gun regulation

Give people same chance ducks get

If you are a duck hunter you are required to use a plug that limits the magazine to three shells. This rule is intended to give ducks a fighting chance to evade being shot by a hunter armed with an auto-load shotgun. We, as conservatives, (mostly) agree this is a good rule to avoid decimating the wild duck population while advancing a policy of skill and accuracy. Our Constitution prevents taking away people’s guns, but let’s consider giving people the same consideration as wild ducks. For example: (1) permanently limit magazine capacity to three rounds; (2) allow only one magazine per gun; (3) possession of non-compliant magazines will be fined $10,000 per incident. The goal is not “gun control” but to give hunted people the same sporting chance we give wild ducks.

Bernard Waryas, Dunedin

Call to defeat HIV hits home | Feb. 7

Fight AIDS around globe

I recently stumbled upon an article by Steve Contorno about the startling rate of AIDS infections in Florida, and decided to research the topic on my own. While the domestic AIDS epidemic is a serious threat, it pales in comparison to the effects that AIDS and other tragically prevalent diseases have on the world as a whole. According to the World Health Organization, 219 million people were estimated to be infected with malaria in 2017, 37 million were HIV positive and 10 million had tuberculosis, most of whom live in nations without the strong political and medical institutions available to Americans.

Currently, a resolution is moving through Congress, HR 517, that would increase the United States’ annual commitment to the Global Fund, an international financing organization that provides vital resources to at-risk regions. If passed, HR 517 would save an estimated 16 million lives, cut the death rates of malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in half, stop an additional 234 million cases of these diseases, and unlock an additional $46 billion in funding from lower-income countries fighting these epidemics.

But like all things in Washington, HR 517 will fail without the proper support. On behalf of RESULTS, a citizen’s advocacy organization, I’m hoping Reps. Charlie Crist, Gus Bilirakis, Kathy Castor and Ross Spano, our local members of Congress, will sign on as co-sponsors to this resolution and affect substantive, positive change. I must stress the moral duty that Americans have to protecting those without the ability to protect themselves from disease from our position at the helm of the free world — this isn’t a Republican issue or a Democratic issue, it’s a human issue. With the help of our members of Congress, those in this world without hope can lead the healthy, dignified lives to which all humans are entitled.

Jack Quinn, St. Petersburg

Why teachers keep quitting | Column, Aug. 31

An honest appraisal

For the most part I did not agree with Paula Dockery’s views when she was a state legislator. However, I always thought she was honest and forthcoming about her stand on issues. In her recent column about teachers, Dockery’s honesty was impressive. She acknowledged the Republican dismantling of our public schools and apologized for going along with them. When was the last time we heard from a current or former legislator that they were wrong about an issue and sorry for their support of that issue? Never?

Ann Jamieson, St. Petersburg

Why teachers keep quitting | Column, Aug. 31

Discipline and learning

Two columns, “Teachers just want a little respect” and “Why teachers keep quitting,” have appeared in the Tampa Bay Times recently. Many valid reasons for teacher frustration are listed. However, only Scott Maxwell’s piece mentions the primary reason teachers are leaving, and that is “they want more effective ways to discipline students.” During the past several decades, due to liberal policies such as identity politics and, of course, political correctness, schools have steadily been stripped of their authority to maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning. This is the elephant in the room, which few have the courage to state. This is the main reason for teachers leaving public education today. A lose-lose.

Marilyn Renner, Dunedin

120-plus Zion graves found | Aug. 31

Comforting the afflicted

Kudos to Paul Guzzo, those who have worked with him, and the Tampa Bay Times for tenacious investigative coverage of what we now know to be a tragic case of the disregard and irreverence too often shown to the cemeteries of those deemed to be on the lower rungs of our social ladder. What happened at Zion Cemetery in Tampa has happened nationwide — with troubling frequency — to the burial grounds of African Americans, poor whites, native Americans, those too often without the social or political influence to resist development that often proceeds with — at best — carelessness and at the worst, wanton expediency to facilitate placement of residences, office buildings, roads, stadiums, airports, etc. There are many more Zions out there; I know this from research done in my own effort to preserve and protect another local cemetery. The outrage needed and empathetic response for this kind of thing is so simple. Would you want this to happen to your loved ones?

Lou Claudio, Safety Harbor

Schools face different storm | Sept. 4

Hurricanes are different

Closing schools for hurricanes is different than shutting them for snowstorms up north. As local public school officials noted, they were preparing to use some schools as evacuation shelters, something that doesn’t happen during a snowstorm. Also, both school staff and students in many areas were preparing to evacuate; many did indeed evacuate to higher ground. During a snowstorm, residents are encouraged to shelter in place. Forecasting is not an exact science, although it is more accurate now than ever before. It was the right call to close the schools based on the information at hand at the time the decision needed to be made.

Kitty Rawson, St. Petersburg


  1. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis waves to members of the Florida Legislature during a joint session of lawmakers this week. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    Here’s what readers are saying in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
  2. Presiding Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swears in members of the Senate for the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. [AP]
    Here’s what readers are saying in Monday’s letters to the editor.
  3. Jomari DeLeon, is pictured at at Gadsden Correctional Facility in Quincy, Florida August 7, 2019. Jomari is three years into a 15-year sentence for drug trafficking. She sold 48 tablets of prescription tablets over two days to an undercover officer. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |  Times]
    Women, Hispanics and residents from smaller counties are disproportionately serving long drug sentences that are no longer in place.
  4. Thousands of trees line the Hillsborough River near Wilderness park in Hillsborough County in Tampa. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Many of Florida’s problems originate with that ‘motto,’ writes historian Gary Mormino.
  5. First meeting of U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Martin Luther King Jr. and their two wives — Patricia Nixon and Coretta Scott King — during Independence Day celebrations in Accra, Ghana, on March 6, 1957, on the tails of the end of the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott. It was the first trip to Africa of all of them. [Photo by Griff Davis on assignment as U.S. Foreign Service Officer by U.S. Information Service (USIS). Copyright and courtesy of Griffith J. Davis Photographs & Archives.]
    Griff Davis’ daughter recounts how the photographer and Foreign Service officer captured a famous photo of King and Richard Nixon.
  6. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman speak at a summit held by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council's Resiliency Coalition this month in St. Petersburg. [LANGSTON TAYLOR  |  Times staff]
    Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman should lead an effort for robust regional transit.
  7. Vehicle traffic is seen along Bayshore Boulevard at a crosswalk at South Dakota Avenue in Tampa. Several intersections have pedestrian-activated beacons.
    A bill would end the confusion and save lives by making crosswalk signals red.
  8. A scientist studies DNA. [] [File photo]
    A bill before the Legislature would properly ban life insurers and others from profiting off your genetic information.
  9. Paula Dockery of Lakeland served in the Florida Legislature for 16 years. [Paula Dockery]
    Providing affordable health care, fixing state prisons and spending more on the environment should be priorities, the columnist writes.
  10.  [LISA BENSON  |  Lisa Benson -- Washington Post Writers Group]