January letter of the month | The winning letter concerned the need for unity
I support Biden, but not in 2024
It is possible for someone to like a politician but hate their policies. I am a proud Republican and will gladly admit on a personal level, Barack Obama was one of the finest individuals to grace the Oval Office. He was diplomatic and honorable during his tenure. But I did not support his policies nor vote for him.
There are many fair criticisms of Donald Trump’s rhetoric while in office, even more of his behavior after his election loss. Still, I believe Trump’s policies were largely in line with our party’s conservative principles, ones based on limited-government, equality before the law and individuals and states’ right to self-determination.
This is why I supported Trump in 2020, not because he is white. There are many people of color in the Republican party, many of whom I will happily support the moment they declare candidacy, but their race will not be a factor in garnering my support. Those who support a candidate or base their perceptions of an individual based on race, ethnicity, or religion have no place in the Republican party.
Trump departed the Oval Office with a deeply divided America. But he is not solely responsible for this. Columnists who write divisive articles like Leonard Pitts did here and others in the media who continue to stoke racial divides have more culpability than they care to admit.
If we want unity, someone must lead the charge. I’m not too proud to be the first at the table. It is with that sentiment I unabashedly lend my support to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and wish them the best while in office. I will not vote for them in 2024, but until then, I hope the new administration succeeds.
Joe Henry, Odessa
Trustees balk at adjunct deal | Feb. 2
Give us some respect, please
As adjunct professors, we are essential in educating students who are coming to us from all different stages in their educational career and who are working toward building their careers in a world that is ever-changing. We joined together in our union because we believe everyone should have access to a quality, affordable education, and all educators need fair pay and stable work. That’s why I’m so disappointed that the St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees is standing in the way of our ability to improve our jobs and have a voice in our teaching conditions by refusing to ratify the agreement we negotiated with the administration.
Like so many people across Florida, we are struggling with low pay, inconsistent hours, food and housing insecurity and an uncertain future, all made worse by the pandemic. Still, we are rising to the occasion and doing what we do best, which is teach and educate the present and future of the workforce.
We will continue to stick together in our union to fight for good jobs for all campus employees and the best possible learning conditions for our students. SPC’s administration and board should do their part to respect us, protect us and pay us.
Angela Edwards-Luckett, Clearwater
Vaccines will go to 27 Florida hospitals for the vulnerable | Feb. 4
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55 and older should be next
According to the preliminary information about the second phase of vaccinations, workers at critical organizations and vulnerable populations should be able to get vaccines. According to the latest infection data, the death rates for those 65 and older are far higher than other age groups. But COVID-19 is also deadly for those aged 55 to 64, whose deaths far surpass other, younger demographics. Logically, aside from the categories of people already listed as part of Phase II, it seems that people ages 55 to 64 should also be included, or at the very least anyone 60 or older, as they are the most vulnerable age group left.
To reduce the hospitalizations and deaths, Gov. Ron DeSantis should employ the same logic as before — and protect older unvaccinated Floridians, because the next oldest group has the next highest risk of infection and death.
Andrew Sackheim, Tampa
Coronavirus and the classroom
Reimburse us for this stuff
Many Florida educators are meeting and exceeding the expectations for remote learning in these days of COVID-19 teaching. How are most of them doing it? Besides learning new techniques and practices in a steep and very fast learning curve, American teachers are being asked to use their own personal devices (cell phones, tablets and similar) to do their jobs.
This is not in an “official” manner, and very few principals and district administrators will admit that a teacher must have a personal device to do their job well. However, it is a common occurrence that when teachers use their school-issued computer or device on a school network, it is woefully underperforming. Additionally, when teachers are contacted by parents, administrators and stakeholders on the weekends and at late hours the expectation is they read and respond in a timely fashion. Most grade programs are able to be updated online and at home and because of this it is also an unstated expectation that a teacher will use these programs without regard for normal hours. Simultaneous teaching (teaching in a physical classroom while videoconferencing with students at home), answering texts and emails and other high-technology systems are now used regularly by teachers to do their jobs effectively.
How could the state legislators help the situation? They could draft legislation that gives teachers a tax break or incentive to use their own devices that allow them to do their jobs well. Even legislation that would encourage network providers to give teachers a break on their cell phone bill would be a start.
Matthew Penn, Tampa
Amid GOP inaction, Democrats to vote on Greene’s extremism | Feb. 4
Let her do what she does
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is the best thing that has happened to Democrats since the Watergate scandal and the invention of the donkey. Let her speak. The more she speaks, the more unhinged she seems. Since the storming of the Capitol, Republicans are deserting the party in droves. Why stop the exodus? Democrats would be wise to portray Greene as the face of the Republican Party, just as the Republicans successfully (though not honestly) portrayed the “Squad” in the House as the face of the Democratic Party. So let her speak, let her speak.
Henry J. Weese, Palm Harbor