1. Opinion

Too few are ready for the military

Here’s what readers had to say in Wednesday’s letters to the editor.
An ROTC drill team participates in competition.
Published Oct. 22

Too few are ready for the military

Adjust, don’t replace, academic standards | Column, Oct. 19

I agree that “no graduate should be unable to secure employment because they don’t have the educational foundation to learn the job.” This also applies to military service.

As a retired general officer, I am very concerned that 72 percent of young adults ages 17 to 24 in Florida are unable to join the military. Many of our high school graduates cannot pass the military entry exam that assesses their math, literacy and problem-solving skills. This contributes to recruiting challenges that threaten the strength of our military and closes a potential career path for young Floridians.

I’m glad that Florida fourth- and eighth-graders have recently done better on national math and reading exams, as Brian Dean points out in his column. This is a good start that reinforces the importance of rigorous academic standards so Florida students graduate with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education, civilian careers or military service for those who choose that path.

George Trautman, Tampa

The writer is a retired Marine lieutenant general.

Keep system off the internet

Election hacks cloaked | Oct. 22

It’s easy to prevent our electoral system from being hacked. Don’t connect to the internet! Physically and totally disconnect all election devices and communication from the internet. Individual election buildings or compounds can use an intranet (as opposed to the internet) for internal communications.

David Anderson, St. Petersburg

Medal of Honor winners

A gathering for heroes | Oct. 22

Medal of Honor recipient Robert Ingram [Navy Medical History; Photo by Nick Del Calzo]

I hail from Pickens County, a small county in upstate South Carolina. It’s the home county of Clemson University, but it has another distinction less well known. Pickens has provided to the service of this country the greatest number of Medal of Honor recipients on a per capita basis of any county in these United States. They are William A. McWhorter, Ferman L. Smith, Charles H. Barker and Donnie Howe. I appreciate the articles in the paper very much.

Syd Comer, Brandon

An uplifting love story

A Florida love story | Oct. 21

Jorge Zambrana, 96, and Fabiola Montealegre, 85, hold hands while listening to the band play at the Town 'N Country Senior Center. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times]

My mornings begin with the Tampa Bay Times and a cup of coffee and usually with a feeling of despair and sadness as I read what is happening in our country and the world. But on Monday I was smiling as I read the beautiful front page story of the love affair of Fabiola and Jorge! The tender photos of them holding hands and dancing remind us that love knows no age limit and that every moment we have is so precious. Thank you for this uplifting story.

Jan Kokernot, St. Petersburg

Act with this speed on guns

Shields added for bus safety | Oct. 11

One stabbing and killing of a bus driver and the Tampa Bay area acted quickly by installing safety shields on public buses. Yet, after the frequent mass shootings across America, what changes have been made to ensure people’s safety? Maybe let the authorities who acted so swiftly to protect bus drivers’ safety have a chance to propose a solution?

Gail Howell, St. Petersburg


  1.  Bill Day --
  2. 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
    Even Oklahoma, a state not famous for progressive reform, has done more than Florida to fix sentencing inequities, Carl Hiaasen writes.
  3. In this photo from June 28, 2019, a Coalition for Life St. Louis member waves to a Planned Parenthood staff member. ROBERT COHEN  |  AP
    Florida law already requires that parents be notified prior to an abortion, writes senior policy counsel at the ACLU of Florida.
  4. Students say the Pledge of Allegiance as thousands gather at a candlelight vigil for several students killed in the Saugus High School shooting in Central Park, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. CAROLYN COLE  |  AP
    We doctors treat diseases, but what of the epidemic of gun violence, writes a St. Petersburg doctor.
  5. Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association members protest outside of the school board building in Tampa in December 2017. MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Here’s what readers had to say in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
  6. Muhammad Abdur-Rahim points out the location of what is believed to be a former African-American cemetery next to the parking lot of Frank Crum Staffing located at 100 S. Missouri Ave. in Clearwater.  The empty lot is part of the former Clearwater Heights neighborhood which featured Bethany CME church and Williams Elementary School.   Photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019.  JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times
    Tampa Bay’s lost cemeteries are part of our collective history.
  7. A business man and woman holding a sign depicting their political party preference. SHARON DOMINICK  |
    Here’s what readers had to say in Monday’s letters to the editor.
  8. Leonard Pitts undefined
    Don’t wall ourselves off from contradictory opinions, writes Leonard Pitts.
  9. President Donald Trump, right, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani pose for photographs as Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Nov. 2016 in Bedminster, N.J.
    Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
  10. (left to right) Nupar Godbole, medical student at USF, and Tiffany Damm, medical student at UCF, take part in a papaya workshop at the University of South Florida Medical Students for Choice Second Annual Florida Regional Conference held in the Morsani College of Medicine on February 24, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. Some of the instruments used in abortions, like the manual vacuum aspirator, are used in an exercise with a papaya, to simulate an abortion. MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
    Here’s what readers had to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.