A sea change on climate attitudes
Young Floridians say, ‘Look Up’ and embrace the power of the sun | Column, Jan. 28
Climate change is the most critical existential crisis we face. And it seems only young people are paying attention. Hopefully, older adults will see “Don’t Look Up” and be inspired to make some changes that promote a healthier planet. There has been some incremental change in people’s perception of climate. In 2014 only about 48 percent of Americans expressed concern, but that they personally would not suffer ill effects. Asked in 2020, 57 percent, a 9-point shift, said they believed that “human activities” were mostly responsible for global warming. It’s particularly concerning here in sunny Florida that we have long ignored the issue and have become the third-largest emitter of warming gas pollution among the 50 states. Floridians and all Americans should make climate the priority it should be and shift to clean renewable energy.
George Chase, St. Pete Beach
Different kind of diversity
Breyer to retire, open up Supreme Court seat | Jan. 27
None of us know for sure who is on President Joe Biden’s short list, but he has promised a Black woman to replace Justice Stephen Breyer in the name of diversity. However, he really wanted to look at diversity beyond race and gender, he should be talking about where the candidates are from and where did they go to law school. The current nine justices are hardly diverse: only Breyer himself is from California and attended Stanford Law. Amy Coney Barrett attended Notre Dame, and the other seven are all from Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Six of the nine are all from the East Coast. Of the six proposed candidates you list, there are four Ivy league, one New York University and one University of South Carolina. We talk a lot about the red state/blue state culture clash, but really there is a bigger divide rural vs. urban, coasts versus the “flyover” states. If the president wants diversity on the court, why not pick a Black woman from one of those “flyover” states?
Karla Smith, Tampa
Blue states pay more than their fair share. Here are the receipts | Column, Jan. 22
The irony highlighted by the recent column showing the discrepancy between the taxes paid and funds received by red and blue states was not surprising. Red states contribute less by far and receive much more than blue states, which contribute much more, receiving less in return. It is the foundation of the concept of socialism, decried by red state politicians who consistently argue against costly programs.
Sharyn Steiner, Largo
Irked by ‘adjustment’
Florida’s largest utilities win big if lawmakers gut the rooftop solar program | Editorial, Jan. 14
Just received my Duke Energy bill and found out it went up by $21.63. I have solar panels and Duke created a “minimum bill adjustment” for residential customers like me. All customers are charged $12.45 per month just to purchase electricity from them. But now, as Duke itself says: “The minimum monthly bill shall be $30.” So now my bill is higher because I dared to get solar panels and don’t always need their energy. My new bill is an additional $17.55 plus tax. Duke states that this “adjustment” is to cover the expenses necessary to maintain infrastructure and provide reliable, safe and cleaner energy to customers. I am already providing this and so is every other solar and non-solar customer. I believe the only reason behind this is to penalize solar panel customers. We provide electricity back to the grid, so Duke does not have to waste fuel and create more air pollution to supply their other customers with electricity. Solar customers are made out as the villains and that we are causing the regular customers to foot the bill to maintain the infrastructure, and that is simply not true.
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Gregory Klein, St. Petersburg
Money isn’t free
I voted for Trump but wish I had my expanded child tax credit back | Column, Jan. 27
What does voting for Donald Trump — who is no longer president — have to do with Congress today? I will tell you what, absolutely nothing. Here are some sobering facts that people who are complaining about not getting free money should consider. The Build Back Better plan will be paid for through taxes on your fellow hard-working Americans. The Build Back Better plan will be a tax burden on your children and their children’s children. It is not the rest of the country’s fault that people choose to have kids before they are financially able to afford both children and a home.
Mark Khan, Tampa
Prejudice in my brain
For too many, ‘white’ is the default position | Column, Jan. 27
As always, Leonard Pitts has made me think. I grew up in segregation, with all its implied meaning. I have always considered myself “progressive” and “liberal” but I still encounter old prejudices deeply embedded in my brain. I work on being mindful, being aware of them when they ooze out so I can see them for the lies they are. They are not pretty, but must be acknowledged. In order to heal, our country has to have the courage to do the same.
Fern Williams, Zephyrhills