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  1. Opinion

Florida should require emissions testing for cars

Here’s what readers had to say in Friday’s letters to the editor.
Traffic heads west along Interstate 275 (at right) toward the Howard Frankland Bridge in Tampa. [TIMES (2017) | Elliott, Loren]
Published Oct. 10

Emissions tests needed in Florida

Automotive tailpipe tests

Having moved here to the Tampa Bay area recently, I do not understand why the state does not require annual inspections of autos for both emissions and safety. Fifteen states have a periodic (annual or biennial) safety inspection program, while Maryland and Alabama require a safety inspection on sale or transfer of vehicles that were previously registered in another state. Included in this group are the largest states population-wise that contribute to high carbon dioxide emissions. Florida, the third-largest state, has no such program. It certainly seems short sighted by the state government not to initiate these auto inspections. Transportation is the largest source of planet-warming greenhouse gases in the United States today and the bulk of those emissions come from driving in our cities and suburbs.

According to a New York Times analysis, the Tampa Bay area has seen a 55 percent increase in total emissions since 1990. The other large metro areas of Florida have seen like increases. Vehicles pollute more as they age and add to the carbon dioxide levels. Repairing high polluting vehicles will help lower the carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, safety inspections of brakes, tires and lights will help reduce accidents. Florida is the undisputed leader by far in vehicle accidents. Having a yearly emissions and safety check mandatory would help make Florida a safer place to drive and breathe in.

Ernest Vogt, Dunedin

Leave no one behind

Turkey attacks targets in Syria | Oct. 9

Our American armed forces involved in combat operations have a heroic code of honor that they will leave no one behind. This call to brave and honorable acts does not apply just to their American fellow combatants but to their allies who have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with them against their common enemy. Now, in a most egregious violation of this code of honor, the current commander-in-chief is leaving our fellow Kurdish allies behind. It was the Kurds, with limited assistance from U.S. forces, who defeated ISIS, a fact known among our forces that fought with them. This absurdly wrong decision belittles our reputation as a nation that will come to the aid of our friends and allies in times of need. It is time for him to go and to restore honor to the position of commander-in-chief.

Donald R. Ruths, Brooksville

The writer is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel.

Diversity’s gray area

A second chance for a more diverse judiciary | Editorial, Oct. 7

The Florida Supreme Court. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]

The last sentence in this editorial summarizes the Times’ position: Gov. Ron Desantis “should do the right thing and appoint at least one black justice.” I’d like to better understand exactly what that means. If the nominee has one black parent and one white parent, à la President Barack Obama, is that acceptable? What about one-fourth black like my son, whose grandfather was a Jamaican immigrant? What about a person who immigrated from Africa and speaks with a British accent — in other words black, but not African-American? What about a black nominee with conservative/originalist leanings à la Justice Clarence Thomas? I’ve heard repeatedly from the left that he isn’t authentically black. It’s all so confusing. It’s sad that in the most racially accepting and diverse country in the world, we’re still having these pointless tribal discussions.

Raymond Baker, St. Petersburg

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