1. Opinion

Tampa Bay’s mass transit needs to get on track now

Here’s what readers are saying in Monday’s letters to the editor.
Heavy traffic is seen along the southbound lanes of I-275 on the Howard Frankland bridge. [DOUGLAS CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
Heavy traffic is seen along the southbound lanes of I-275 on the Howard Frankland bridge. [DOUGLAS CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Feb. 2

Stop the fruitless pontificating

Mayors back transit. So let’s get moving. | Editorial, Jan. 19

This editorial absolutely nails it. The Sunshine State’s legislative bureaucracy has perfected the concept of “traffic jam” when it comes to taking action on issues that truly do impact thousands of tax-paying residents.

In the nearly three years thus far that I have been a permanent resident of what I foolishly thought would be a progressive, forward-thinking new home, I have seen nothing but fruitless pontificating by those elected individuals who, theoretically, are our representatives.

We need more buses on more routes with more frequent service, and light rail that would serve newly developing communities on the outer edges of the older cities. Get a move on!

Kirk Hazlett, Riverview

The writer is an adjunct professor of communication at the University of Tampa and ethics officer for the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Carbon bill benefits citizens

Climate threat is immediate | Column, Jan. 30

Sea levels at different points along the coast will likely rise by 8 to 12 inches above today’s levels by 2040, according to a new analysis.

The climate change threat to Florida is real as the authors of the Resources for the Future study point out. The study evaluated eight carbon fuel pricing bills introduced in Congress during 2019. All eight would reduce carbon dioxide emissions through a fee on carbon fuels, but only one plans to return 100 percent of the fee to citizens as a dividend to offset the rising price of energy.

That bill is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) co-sponsored by Reps. Charlie Crist, Francis Rooney and 75 other members of Congress. People and businesses alike will benefit, and we can preserve our coastal cities.

John Parks, St. Petersburg

Real-world educations

We need real-world sex ed | Column, Jan. 30

A St. Petersburg High School student found an unconventional way to teach her peers about sexual education.

I commend and thank Renata Happle for her personal initiative and thought-provoking essay. Her focus on safe sex is very important and I do not want to detract from it. However, what really made me think was the headline: “We need real-world sex ed.” I would expand that. Our curriculum neglects a broad swathe of life-skill topics.

I have always believed that the core — language and math — would be enhanced if young people were taught these through more relatable practical applications. Such an education could help stem many social ills, including but not limited to unwanted pregnancy, divorce, addiction, unhealthy lifestyles, firearm violence, internet manipulation and harassment and unpreparedness for available jobs.

Personal well-being, stable relationships and success in school and work become easier with practical education. Young people get very little of this outside the home and almost none in some homes. There’s room in the day and budget for such supplemental and complementary components. If not, make room. We settle for too little if all we want is success in applications for post-secondary education, especially given our under-emphasis on vocational-technical options.

Pat Byrne, Largo

Blowing in the wind

The border wall

Our president doesn’t believe in wind power, but strong winds in California just partially pushed a section of his border wall over into Mexico. So maybe there’s something to it.

Robert Mathews, St. Petersburg


  1. Florida has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. [Courtesy of Clearwater Police]
  2. Our democracy is under unprecedented attack from overseas, but the federal government has been unable or unwilling to protect our campaign-finance system.
  3. Cars sit locked in evening rush hour traffic on Dale Mabry near Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The Hillsborough County Commission will discuss Wednesday whether to prepare a transportation tax for the November ballot now that the fate of the current tax rests with the Florida Supreme Court. [ZACK WITTMAN  |  Times] 
  4. In this Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004, file photo, Tiffany Carr, executive director of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, left, speaks at a news conference held by Gov. Jeb Bush, background right, to announce a public awareness campaign designed to prevent disaster-related domestic violence, in Tallahassee, Fla. On Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered an investigation into a nonprofit domestic abuse agency whose CEO, Carr, had received $7.5 million in compensation over a three-year span. (AP Photo/Phil Coale, File)
  5. Paula Dockery of Lakeland served in the Florida Legislature for 16 years.
  6. The United States' life expectancy has gone down four out of the last five years largely because of deaths in the 25-64 age range.
  7. Michael Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump
  8. In this image from video, the vote total, 53-47 for not guilty, on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of congress, is displayed on screen during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate.
  9. Nurse manager Amy Hunt holds the special stethoscope that allows nurses at Tampa General Hospital to record a heartbeat while they listen to it during a routine exam.
  10. Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections worker Andrea West adds mail ballots to an inserter at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Largo. Workers are preparing to mail 260,000 vote by mail kits for the November General Election.