Hillsborough OKs $700,000 education campaign for transportation tax | June 16
I am glad I do not live in Hillsborough County. Spending $700,000 to influence voters is a waste of money and should not be allowed. It shows the proposed tax does not have sufficient merit to get passed on its own. The government should not attempt to influence the outcome. Why not apply that money to roadwork instead?
Hardy Bryan, St. Petersburg
Guardian ad litem
Agency says no lawyers for foster kids | June 15
Once again politics has won over the welfare of children. I fail to see how vetoing a pilot program funded by a federal grant to secure professional guardians for abused and neglected children can help the thousands of children who come into Florida’s juvenile courts every year. Canceling the grant, which was supported by the America Bar Association, because a state agency with tax supported lobbying might have to share some turf, hurts only abused and neglected kids. This veto goes from win-win to lose-lose.
Kenneth A. Birch, Davenport
Time is Running Out
Isn’t being ‘woke’ a good thing? | Letters
I’d like to be as sure of anything as many people in this country today seem to be about everything. The problem is that their beliefs and opinions are based on the propaganda they are indoctrinated with by the extreme radical wings of their political party and by the news and social media and not on facts. No one has a monopoly on truth and therefore reasonable people can differ on the solutions to complex social and political problems. But you can’t reason with people who are brainwashed to believe that their point of view is the only right one, and that opposing views are not only to be disagreed with, but to be attacked and demonized. That seems to me to be the purpose of the woke counterculture movement: to indoctrinate an entire nation to accept only one world view and to eliminate anyone or anything that doesn’t agree with it.
If we don’t learn how to once again have reasonable and rational debates and learn how to compromise and have bipartisan programs to solve our nation’s problems, then we will certainly lose our freedoms and our democracy. Right now, the prospects for that don’t look very good.
Charles Michael Sitero, Ormond Beach
Is this freedom?
Special Olympics drops vaccine rule after $27M fine threat from DeSantis administration | June 3
I just saw a yard sign for Gov. Ron DeSantis that said “Keep Florida Free”. Really? Are we free to go anywhere without the fear of gun violence? Are our teachers free to teach fact-based material? Are our children free to read any book they want without censorship? Are women free to control their private reproductive choice without political interference? Sadly, in DeSantis’ Florida, the answer to these questions is no.
Farah Stokes, Tampa
Florida misses deadline
Florida only state not to preorder COVID vaccine for young kids | June 16
When the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends COVID vaccines for children under the age of 5, especially for those with preexisting conditions, and both Florida’s governor and surgeon general neglect to order vaccines, it is reckless. It was shocking to read that Florida was the only state to miss the deadline to order COVID vaccines for pediatricians to administer to children. How can DeSantis make a claim to be a staunch parental rights advocate yet neglect to give parents the tool to allow them to make the choice to protect their children from COVID?
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Jackie Kanner, St. Petersburg
Fla. didn’t preorder shots | June 16
I can think of no potential inflection points where the hegemony of political science over medical science did not make things worse. Your article, taken from the Miami Herald, decries the fact that Florida missed a preorder deadline. We should have greater concern that uptake already lags in the school age for which vaccines have been available. Vaccination rates for other childhood illnesses are well below pre-coronavirus levels. The vaccine benefit to risk equation in the pediatric population has always been far narrower. Beta subvariants of omicron narrowed this relationship further as the vaccines have substantially less efficacy against infection. Prevention of serious illness holds as a benefit but relative to the 65+ group the hospitalization rates are 35:1 for the 0-4 age group and 32:1 for those 5-17. Mortality rate differentials are substantially greater. In the younger subpopulations the vaccine complication risks, while still quite nominal, are inversely related to age.
Second generation vaccines which may have better benefit to risk profiles are in the pipeline. Inapparent or mild infections may provide equal or greater protection than the vaccines, though both wane and the combination seems most efficacious for most age groups. Studies of the relative role of the very young in population level transmission still lack definitiveness. The decision to vaccinate the young is best left up to pediatricians and parents. A front-page political headline poorly serves those faced with this choice.
Pat Byrne, Largo