Try a little kindness
Why I vetoed Utah’s ban on transgender athletes | Utah governor’s veto letter, March 23
On the one hand we have Gov. Ron DeSantis and others, who have made transgender athletes in girls’ sports a political issue. Most of us are probably still figuring out this new wrinkle in sports. I anticipate that the NCAA will investigate, evaluate and rule on this issue in the near future. In my opinion, the matter should be managed by experts close to the action, similar to evaluating medications and performance-enhancing substances. For DeSantis, it is a simple matter. He claims that Lia Thompson, the NCAA swimmer, is a man, and these discussions provide more opportunities for DeSantis to look great on Fox News and raise more money. Members of the LGBTQ community and others should be aware of GOP plans if they regain the majority in Washington in upcoming elections. Will Republicans ban gay or bi-racial marriage, access to contraceptives or treatment for transgender teens? Some GOP politicians have been talking about all of these topics lately.
On the other hand we have Gov. Spencer Cox from Utah. He vetoed a Utah bill that would ban transgender students from playing girls’ sports. He said, “I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion.” Isn’t this the attitude you would want from an elected official, rather than those who instill division, anger and distrust in the population because of their actions? I would love an attitude like this in Tallahassee.
J.C. Miseroy, Tampa
Save our seagrass
Seagrass mitigation not a real-world solution | Another voice, Feb. 3
I fell in love with Florida’s beaches at the early age of 6, and now as a coastal resident, environmental science major and Manatee County Audubon Society intern, I know first-hand how important coastal ecosystems are to our livelihood.
In Tampa Bay, it all starts with seagrass. We’re home to one of the largest seagrass expanses in America, and it forms an essential foundation to our marine ecosystems by providing food, habitat, nesting space and hunting grounds for nearly all of our aquatic species. Additionally, it is an important form of blue carbon, which can mitigate the impacts of climate change.
A bill introduced in the Florida Senate — SB 198 — would have devastated these ecosystems by removing seagrass protection altogether, opening up beds to development and destruction. Seagrass is already vulnerable to biomass loss via pollution, as clean water is necessary for its growth. If our seagrass declines, so too will the commercial fishery and tourism industries as the bay becomes less habitable for both wildlife and human recreation. We know this has happened before — Tampa Bay lost 80 percent of its seagrass in the early 1990s, and it was a nightmare for our local economy.
Thankfully, over the last month, this bill was killed by Florida Senate leaders. However, it serves as precedence for the future. As our Senate leaders continue to diligently protect the bay, we should also be diligent in our public disapproval of bills such as SB 198 for ourselves, for our community and for the bay.
Rachel Toney, Tampa
Spot on, again
Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences | Column, March 23
Once again, columnist Leonard Pitts got it right. We are guaranteed the right to express our opinions, but are accountable for doing so. Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine understood that long ago, as did numerous others. I’d like to thank Mr. Pitts for doing so today and every day helping our community understand what often seem like difficult issues. He articulates the issues clearly and elucidates them regularly, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude for that.
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Sharyn Steiner, Largo
Who is soft on crime?
McConnell says he will vote against Jackson | March 25
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans say that Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson is too soft on crime? Give me a break. If the Republicans are so tough on crime, why are they sitting mute while prosecutors rightly try to send the most egregious of the Jan. 6 criminals to prison where they belong. Even better would be a Siberian hoosegow. Storming the U.S. Capitol as they did was an act of treason.
Rick Sherin, Tampa