1. Opinion

I don’t want to vote for Trump. But I don’t know whom to vote for, says a reader.

Read February’s letters of the month and other letters to the editor.
"I Voted" stickers wait for voters at a polling station inside the library at Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School in Los Angeles. [RICHARD VOGEL  |  AP]
"I Voted" stickers wait for voters at a polling station inside the library at Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School in Los Angeles. [RICHARD VOGEL | AP]

Give me a candidate

February letter of the month

The winning letter discusses the dilemma of a Never-Trump voter.

I am a conservative Never-Trump voter. I didn’t vote for President Donald Trump in 2016 (I voted for Hillary Clinton) and won’t be voting for him in November.

The trouble is, I am uncertain for whom I will be voting.

I have two options: vote for the Democrat or a third-party candidate. Friends lecture me that a vote for a third party is a vote for Trump. That may be the case, but there are potential nominees for whom I cannot vote.

I could (and would) vote for Joe Biden. I could (and would) vote for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg.

I will not vote for Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Democrats are going to need help from people like me to make Trump a one-term president.

Give me someone I can vote for. Please.

Greg Malone, Tarpon Springs

Another old, white guy

Super Tuesday

Michael Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump [Times files]

As the dust settles from the recent Democratic primary voting, I wonder if many feel the same way my wife and I do? We gave up cable news for Lent three years ago and we don’t wait up to catch the results of any election, but we do read the Tampa Bay Times and Wall Street Journal, which are delivered to our doorstep every day. Our conclusion as members of the Democratic Party is that it appears we will be stuck with one of two ancient political relics to run against another old white dude and the most vile and unqualified president this country has ever had. Hopefully, whichever old white man wins the nomination will have the foresight to select a running mate who can bring the party and, ultimately, the country together. I still find it hard to believe that in a nation of 330 million, this is the best either party can do. We wonder why any woman, person of color, young voter or member of the LGBTQ community would actually select one of these old, white dudes who have absolutely nothing in common with them.

John Hayes, Sun City Center

A hunch isn’t good science


A man wearing a mask walks in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Friday, March 6, 2020. A Vatican spokesman has confirmed the first case of coronavirus at the city-state. [ANDREW MEDICHINI | AP]

Despite naming Vice President Mike Pence to head up his administration’s response to, and communications about, the coronavirus outbreak, the irrepressible Donald Trump continues to offer his unfounded comments and predictions regarding the situation. His latest “hunch” takes issue with the World Health Organization’s estimate that 3.4 percent of those infected may die, offering instead the view that the death rate may turn out to be only a fraction of 1 percent. Where or how Trump derived his forecast is anyone’s guess, but it demonstrates yet again that any such claims are shrewdly designed to help his re-election campaign — scientists be damned. His off-the-wall statements about the coronavirus outbreak are in line with his by now familiar strategy: lie, deny and distort. But if all else fails, blame it on Obama.

Fred K. Kalhammer, Sun City Center

The danger in overreacting

Yes, the coronavirus is frightening, and it has concentrated my thoughts on the evanescent essence of life.

But more than fearing this disease, I am alarmed by the measures that governments have taken, or may impose, to contain the uncontainable. For example, traveling is not disquieting solely because of COVID-19, but because of the disruptive outcome that may occur if exposure is suspected.

Furthermore, actually getting sick and needing hospitalization is not as frightening as being isolated in a negative pressure bubble for weeks on end wondering when, or if, you will see your loved ones again. Unless COVID-19 is far deadlier than they are letting the public know, the idea that it can be controlled will prove far more fatal than the virus itself and may be causing a wider outbreak as people attempt to conceal their illnesses.

The economies of the world are beginning to suffer. In the United States, we have witnessed the deadly health consequences of joblessness and hopelessness. Approximately 70,000 people died in 2019 from opioid addiction. How many from alcoholism? How many from suicide? How many will die who cannot get their prescriptions filled due to shortages? The answer from the World Health Organization? More biohazard suits and more controls, while businesses and individuals are pushed into bankruptcy.

I do not want anyone to die from COVID-19, nor do I not want it to affect me or anyone that I love. But until there is a vaccine or there are therapeutic drugs that prove effective, it is quickly becoming a certainty that we will all have an opportunity to come face to face with this viral enemy. If it is true that most people will survive, what will be left if this madness continues? As a society, we should also try to find the courage of prior generations who faced and overcame calamity.

Charles Meadowcroft, Tampa

I could use the $250

The 2020 legislative session

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, center, addresses a joint session of the Florida Legislature, Jan. 14, 2020, during his State of the State address in Tallahassee. [SCOTT KEELER | TAMPA BAY TIMES]

As session comes to a close, bills are dying, and with them, one of our best chances to give hardworking families in Florida a needed lift. The bill, SB 1592, would have expanded the earned income tax credit to more families, putting an average of $250 back in the pockets of families who qualify.

This shouldn’t be a partisan debate — 29 states have already adopted similar measures, in both conservative and liberal states alike. It is exasperating to me that lawmakers this session spent far more time considering giving the largest corporations huge tax breaks, while legislation that would provide real tax relief to hardworking families in Florida didn’t even get a hearing.

As someone who pulled myself through tough times as a single mother in Florida, I know what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet. I am far from alone in this — a recent study showed that 78 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, as the cost of living outpaces stagnant wages. And, worse, too many working folks like me end up paying a higher tax rate based on our income than the very richest Floridians. Expanding the earned income tax credit would make a world of difference for families like mine. An extra $250 might not sound like a lot for some, but for many, it gives people the ability to fix their car, pay a health-care bill, or buy needed groceries and essentials.

Catalina Gonzalez, Clearwater

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