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  1. Opinion

We don’t need more toll roads | Letters

Here’s what readers are saying in Monday’s letters to the editor.

Galvano champions toll-road projects | Oct. 2

Monorails, not toll roads

Florida doesn’t need more toll roads. Florida needs more mass transit — or any appreciable mass transit for that matter. We have only to look at the Disney World monorail system to see what good mass transit looks like. Imagine what Disney World would be like if the 150,000 daily monorail riders were driving around the place.

For a fraction of the cost of a major toll road we could have a monorail running down the middle of U.S. 19 with offshoots to the beaches, downtown St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, etc., and across the bay to Tampa. People stuck in their cars watching the relaxed commuters and beach-goers sitting happily in the monorail would gladly leave their cars, given the chance, and hop aboard.

Except for the parking lots, monorails displace very little land, unlike toll roads that bulldoze large swaths of land for their entire route. Actually, their land use could generally be zilch. Just run most of them down the middle island of highways and freeways.

Pete Wilford, Holiday

The 2020 Election

No ‘enemy of the people’

As a television news journalist for 30 years (21 years in Tampa Bay), I was always careful to put my own politics and prejudices aside when reporting a story. My job was to find the truth of the matter and report on it. I worked hard. Sometimes I got it wrong. That didn’t make me the “enemy of the people.” It made me human.

I retired a year before Donald Trump was elected president and often wonder if I could have maintained my objectivity reporting on a man who confuses “fake news” with the sad truth. How do you dispassionately cover a president who has become a threat to the very democracy that allows a free press in the first place?

That’s a problem for the smarter, younger news colleagues I left behind.

But now as a “civilian,” I can openly choose generosity over greed, science over ignorance, kindness over cruelty, patriotism over nationalism, justice over racism and truth over lies.

Brendan McLaughlin, Tampa

The writer, a former news anchor at WFTS-Ch. 28, retired five years ago.

Demonstrators vs. diners | Sept. 24

Name-calling is wrong

Enraged by racial inequities, protesters recently directed their anger at a couple dining at a Beach Drive restaurant in St. Petersburg. One called the woman a “wild ‘Karen’ in her natural f---king habitat.”

From Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queens” to Hillary Clinton’s “super predators,” history will judge harshly our ease — our self-righteousness — with such facile labeling. We’re doing it again with “Karens.”

Discuss the case. Don’t rely on labels, however fun, that dehumanize by labeling to invoke a host of negative stereotypes. Labeling contributes to dehumanizing, and dehumanizing is a step closer to political violence. Such knee-jerk gleeful labeling is many things — but it is not anti-racist. It is not dismantling systemic racism. It is in not reflective of “intersectional” thinking.

But wait. Isn’t it about time white women got a taste of dehumanization? Aren’t they too privileged to suffer any real harm?

If you think that will end well, I’ve got a bridge to a concentration camp to sell you.

Todd L. Pittinsky, Port Jefferson, N.Y.

Senate battle awaits | Sept. 27

A justice’s legacy

I am a young woman in college. Because of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life’s work, my generation does not know a life with the glass ceilings that she shattered. It’s nearly unbearable that the vacancy she left is likely to be filled by someone who could unravel the rights she fought so hard to achieve.

The Supreme Court battle about to take place in the Senate is evidence of the importance of who is elected to lead the government. Your vote is your voice. Make it heard.

Katherine Peterson, St. Petersburg

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