1. Opinion

Have a heart on Valentine’s Day and sign up to be a donor

Here’s what readers are saying in Friday’s letters to the editor.
Dr. Norman Shumway, right with glasses, performs the world's first successful combined heart-lung transplant in Stanford, California, in 1981. [CHUCK PAINTER  |  AP]
Dr. Norman Shumway, right with glasses, performs the world's first successful combined heart-lung transplant in Stanford, California, in 1981. [CHUCK PAINTER | AP]
Published Feb. 13
Updated Feb. 14

Have a heart and sign up as donor

National Donor Day

The Health Resources and Services Administration is the primary federal agency responsible for oversight of the organ and blood stem cell transplant systems in the United States, including initiatives to increase organ donor registration and donation. Friday, on Valentine’s Day, show some heart by celebrating National Donor Day. Since 1998, this annual observance has shined a spotlight on organ, tissue, marrow, platelet and blood donation — and the people who make it possible.

Related: When Vivian was 6, she met a cute boy named Ray. 86 years later, this is their story.

Because of the generosity of donors and their families, 2019 saw more lifesaving transplants in the United States than any year in history, but we are all needed. My agency encourages you to show some heart by signing up as an organ, eye and tissue donor today, and talk to your family about your decision. Signing up is the ultimate gift of heart and hope to the 113,000 people on the national transplant waiting list. One donor can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of up to 75 people.

Related: Be our Tampa Bae with these Valentine's Day cards

You can stay up to date on the latest in organ donation and transplantation by visiting or We’re also on Facebook. Follow and “like” the pages to read about recipients whose lives have been changed because of courageous, compassionate donors. Thank you for showing some heart!

Lisa Mariani, Atlanta

The writer is regional administrator of Region 4/Atlanta for the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The only way to win

Becoming Trump no way to win | Column, Feb. 12

President Donald Trump smiles during a meeting with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno in the Oval Office. [EVAN VUCCI | AP]

With apologies to columnist Nancy Gibbs, becoming like President Donald Trump is the only way to win. Only a fool thinks talking about health care or the environment or any other issue will beat Trump and his minions. The only way to get rid of them is all-out war. Right or wrong, nothing else will do.

Rick Cortese, Tampa

E-Verify compromise works

E-Verify bill clears hurdle in committee | Feb. 13

Kourtney Lesperance, 23, of Miami, who just finished her undergraduate studies at University of Colorado Boulder, harvests kale on an organic farm in Opa-locka, Fla. [WILFREDO LEE | AP]

The modified E-Verify proposal (SB 664) passed Tuesday 4-2 along party lines in the Senate Judiciary Committee (with Republicans carrying the vote). Even though the new bill applies only to private companies with at least 150 employees, and even with the new carve-out for agriculture, the measure would be a significant step forward from the status quo. The step forward for SB 664 has set up what is likely to be a drawn-out fight through the second half of the legislative session, characterized by party-line votes and opposition from some of the most powerful lobbies in Florida. It’s time to protect business from spurious violations of federal law. Make the E-Verify consistent use a part of “doing business” and protect our citizen/workers from job theft.

John DiCenzo, Orange City

Compromise guts E-Verify

E-Verify bill clears hurdle in committee | Feb. 13

The compromises in SB 664 on E-Verify ultimately gut the purpose of the legislation and maintain the status quo while allowing legislators to give the appearance of decisive actions on curtailing and reducing the flow of workers who can’t legally work in the state. This legislation now lacks purpose in areas of the employment spectrum that are most abused and facilitates the abuser’s ability to maintain the status quo with impunity.

Roger Martin, South Daytona


  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]