1. Opinion

A climate change plan based on realistic action

Here’s what readers are saying in Friday’s letters to the editor.
Sarah Rumschlag and her son Henry Rumschlag, 7, of St. Petersburg's March for Science at Poynter Park.
Sarah Rumschlag and her son Henry Rumschlag, 7, of St. Petersburg's March for Science at Poynter Park.
Published Jan. 30

Practical path on climate change

Climate threat is immediate | Column, Jan. 30

This column achieves a much-needed focus on climate change. Too often, we bemoan — without action. The key requisite to surmounting inertia on this issue, as noted in this column, is to hold end users economically harmless. This is how we moved our energy sources from people and animals, to wood, to coal, to whales, to oil and gas, to nuclear, hydro, solar and wind and who knows what comes next.

All systematic energy transitions have been based on self-interested free choice by consumers, and producer innovation that shifts demand. None have been predictable at the outset. Past conversions required neither the best-guess favoritism of politicians for particular strategies, nor upon the politicians’ capacity to collect new revenue from taxation to spend as they choose.

Keep it simple. Just tax what we don’t want, and we will have less of it, and rebate 100 percent of the tax to end users. Making people choose whether they can afford to drive to work, stay comfortable, cook their meals or use their myriad electrical devices sustains the attitude: “I’ll take my chances with less beach and hotter days.”

Pat Byrne, Largo

Just let felons vote

Is state fair to felons on voting? | Jan. 29

People gather around the Ben & Jerry's "Yes on 4" truck as they learn about Amendment 4 and eat free ice cream at Charles Hadley Park in Miami. [WILFREDO LEE | Associated Press]

All this legal wrangling over Amendment 4 ignores a basic question: Why disenfranchise anyone? What does voting have to do with the criminal justice system or public safety? Two states, Maine and Vermont, even let people vote behind bars. Everyone. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia let felons vote as soon as they get out of jail. No harm is done.

Pete Wilford, Holiday

House failed in its duty

Senate has duty to call witnesses | Editorial, Jan. 30

This editorial is an ill-advised attempt to trick readers into believing the Senate did not do its job. It’s not the Senate’s job to investigate and question witnesses. That is what the House was supposed to do.

John L. Hemmings, Clearwater

A slur, not a slip of the tongue

Council member apologizes for slur | Jan. 30

Former Florida State House Rep. (D) attorney Sean Shaw, left, looks on while Tampa City Councilman Orlando Gudes speaks during the Ridgewood Cemetery Committee meeting in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

Shame, shame, shame on Tampa City Council member Orlando Gudes. I am sure he is offended by people who use the “n” word, and I can think of many other things that would probably offend him as a black/African American. His excuse is as offensive as his use of such an anti-Semitic slur. To say he spoke in the moment — really! And, then he talks of his Jewish friends. I am a Jewish woman, and I don’t have just one or two black friends. I have many. My husband and I moved to this area five years ago and, in that time, we have had numerous guests stay in our home who are black. We drove to Jacksonville to attend the wedding of two friends and the mother of one of them refers to me as her son’s “white mother.” I could go on and on, but I don’t need to.

Linda Hansen, Largo

Wrestling with politics

Trial shifts to sharp questions | Jan. 30

I was watching the impeachment hearings Wednesday evening until I got bored and switched to professional wrestling. I switched back at 10 p.m. It was then that I realized that I could only tell the difference between the wrestling and the hearing because the participants were dressed differently.

Gerald Taylor, Wesley Chapel


  1. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, right, addresses a joint session of the Florida Legislature during his State of the State address in Tallahassee.
  2. No issue is too small for Florida lawmakers in Tallahassee to attack citizen initiatives and local control.
  3. This photo shows multiple forms printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page that are used for 2018 U.S. federal tax returns.
  4. A boy named Jamal, 12, looks for an item in his new room at Joshua House in Lutz in 2016.
  5. Megan Davila, 25, a Child Protection Investigator in training, along with Jacque Salary, 46, a Child Protection Investigator and mentor for almost seven years, pictured with their case files in the family visitation room at the Child Protection Investigation Division of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Investigators are the front line of the foster care system, responsible for sometimes life-or-death decisions about whether to remove a child because of issues like domestic violence and drug use in the home.
  6. The Florida Senate is taking one step forward this year on criminal justice reform – requiring racial and ethnic impact statements for legislation we consider, writes State Sen. Jeff Brandes.
  7. Joey Cousin, a transgender student from Broward county and an opponent of the SB 404, known as the "parental consent" bill, speaks at a press conference at the Capitol. The bill requires girls under the age of 18 get a parent's consent before having an abortion was approved Wednesday in its final committee stop.
  8. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is advocating for a statewide policy of paid family leave for all Floridians.
  9. Pasco County community news
  10. Florida has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. [Courtesy of Clearwater Police]