Ban offshore drilling
For the last four years, Florida businesses have been at the forefront of protecting our coastal economy from former President Trump’s offshore drilling plan. We have been beating the drum to let our elected officials know that oil rigs off our coast would place an enormous risk to our tourism-based economy that relies on clean and healthy oceans and beaches.
That’s why we were delighted to see President Joe Biden issue an executive order to address the climate crisis and make a clear commitment to protect Florida’s coast from dirty and dangerous offshore drilling.
By pausing new leasing for offshore oil and gas, the president has taken a critical step toward permanently protecting our coasts. Ending new leasing for offshore oil and gas is critical to avoiding even worse impacts of climate change and could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions and more than $720 billion in damage to people, property and the environment.
President Biden’s actions are a big boost for new, good paying jobs in the renewable, clean energy sector. While we’re hopeful for that, we also recognize that permanently protecting our coasts from offshore drilling guarantees that coastal business won’t have to take on the additional burden and risk of a devastating oil spill. We’re ready to put offshore drilling off Florida’s gulf coast to bed. It’s time for permanent protections.
Chair, Florida Gulf Coast Business Coalition
Back on Mars
At a time that is so filled with rancor, confrontation, and hate, it was inspiring to see the landing of the Mars Perseverance rover and to think of all of the work and dedication that went into it. Humankind is capable of so much good, and it helps to remember that fact amid all of the noise and arguments.
Robert Hogue, Apollo Beach
Shout out to the VA
I had my second COVID shot today at the James A. Haley Hospital annex in Tampa. From start to finish (first and second appointments) and the coordination with scheduling, it was outstanding. Some of our counties and state leaders could take some lessons from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on how to properly administer the vaccine. The fiasco at University Mall is a disgrace. Thank you to the VA and its personnel for their dedication to our veterans.
Joe Voskerichian, Tampa
Why the group think?
Loyal to Trump, Arizona GOP censures Cindy McCain, Jeff Flake, GOP governor | Jan. 24
The national Republican party has promoted the censure of Republican senators who crossed over and voted with the Democrats to impeach the former president. Too many in state GOP leadership positions around the country disapproved of those individual senators because they did not vote along party lines. If that is their policy, why do they need all 50 Republican senators going to Washington in the first place? If these representatives are required to vote as one, why not send a single representative to represent the rest of their senators? This change would be right in line with their “small government” mantra. In fact, why have messy elections and ignorant voters involved at all, and just allow big-money donors to pick who represents the Republican-run states. That’s how it actually ends up anyway.
Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg
For the common good
Instead of political games, tribalism and partisanship, it would serve all of us well to follow these six commitments as defined on the website of Vote Common Good, a faith-based organization that supports Democratic candidates. Every one of us needs to reflect on this and act accordingly. We need to care about each others’ welfare. These commitments can be our guide. Understand that communicating is essential to discovering common ground. Common ground leads to the common good, where were care for one another and the planet.
1. EXAMPLE I will demonstrate integrity and lead by example in my communication, in public and in private. When I fall short, I’ll admit it, apologize, and reaffirm my commitment to lead by example.
2. CURIOSITY I will show uncommon curiosity by asking honest questions, staying open to new information, seeking to understand others as I would want to be understood, and listening with empathy.
3. CLARITY I won’t hold back, speak half truths, be intentionally vague, or attempt to deceive. I will self-report my feelings and my underlying values whenever possible.
4. DECENCY I will strive to show genuine courtesy toward everyone, especially when we disagree. I will not mock, call names, or dehumanize any person or group. I will establish and uphold ground rules for respectful conversation whenever possible.
5. FAIRNESS I won’t compare my side’s best with the other side’s worst. I will not assume the worst motives in my opponents. I will acknowledge the upsides and downsides of all positions. I will praise my counterparts when they deserve it, and challenge my allies when they deserve it. I will notice who isn’t at the table, and I will do my part to be sure they are included and heard.
6. PERSISTENCE I expect this work to be hard and I know we will make mistakes. I will stay in the room with difference, be resilient after failure, never giving up and always seeking the common good.
A O’Brien, Pinellas Park