Silence would have been better | Editorial, Dec. 16
It’s not about party, but voters
Thank you for informing us that U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor was one of the 126 House Republicans backing the Texas lawsuit to throw out legally cast ballots by American citizens in an attempt to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Bilirakis swore to uphold and defend the Constitution. Trying to discard legally cast votes goes against what our Constitution and nation stand for.
It does not surprise me that Bilirakis put party before country, because over the years, he has shown how he seems to only want to represent the Republicans of his district. Years ago, when I was registered as a Republican, he mailed me a stamp to send in my absentee ballot. No stamp for my family registered independent or Democrat. He would send me questionnaires, but none to my family members who were independents or Democrats. I know that he has done much to help veterans, but I have to wonder if he first checks their party registration.
Anita DeBias, Port Richey
Face mask rules tightened | Dec. 17
Tighter mask rules are good
Kudos to Hillsborough County Commissioner Kimberly Overman for suggesting that county residents should adapt to a unified masking policy that would at least provide a reasonable assurance of safety for all during this still raging pandemic. Americans have proven themselves steadfastly and stubbornly reluctant to accept that we’re in this for the long haul and that the only way we can emerge from the darkness is if we universally agree that wearing a mask is scientifically proven to help reduce the spread. I would love to be able to venture out for a nice, non-home-cooked meal. But I want to be assured that all those around me are as committed to following the rules as I am.
Kirk Hazlett, Riverview
Epiphany limits stir resistance | Dec. 17
To serve and protect
I applaud the decisions made by Tarpon Springs police Chief Robert Kochen on crowd size limitations for the annual Epiphany celebration by the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Large gatherings like this typically put too many people at risk of contracting COVID-19 — participants, spectators, police personnel, health care workers who get sick in the aftermath, and the collateral infections to those coming in contact with infected participants. Religious rights are not being trampled. In these viral times, we all must adapt, and that is what is being asked for the health and safety of all concerned. Next year, we have the hope of returning to our normal celebrations. Kudos to Commissioner Connor Donovan for stepping up to defend Kochen, who is following his sworn duty to serve and protect.
Julie Clark, Tarpon Springs
Sharing student data is decried | Dec. 17
Don’t let them fall through the cracks
I fully support the Pasco County School District’s sharing of student data with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. There are too many parents out there who rely on the schools to bring up their children and teach them right from wrong. They are too busy to be involved in their child’s life and upbringing. Instead, they leave it to others to do their job for them. This type of data sharing can be used to head off school shootings, auto theft and high speed automobile chases, as well as help identify students at risk of falling through the cracks. What your article failed to mention was the good that has come of this data sharing and program, helping to identify at-risk teenagers and young adults and getting them the mentoring they need, so they don’t fall through the cracks and become criminals later on in life.
Mark Kahn, Tampa