‘An otherworldly perspective’ is December letter of the month | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew.
View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew. [ NASA ]
Published Jan. 8, 2023

An otherworldly perspective

December letter of the month

Editor’s note: The December letter of the month reacted to a column that asked, “What’s it worth to our national security to take the lead on fighting climate change?”

“The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate,” NASA researcher James Hansen told a congressional committee in 1988. He confirmed that there was an unmistakable cause-and-effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and climate change. Fast forward to this year: Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said, “There is no going back. We are reaping what we’ve sown.”

Did Congress take Hansen seriously 34 years ago? Either no, or economic considerations took precedence, and the impending crisis was tabled. Near and future generations will now face far worse climate challenges than their grandparents. What we could have solved over the past 34 years, we now must do in eight to 10.

In February 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell peered up from the moon at our blue marble of a planet. Later, he said, “In outer space, you develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, and intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag them a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a...’”

What have we done?

Robert Emery, Tampa

Don’t revise this history

Who are they? | Jan. 1

Yet another superfluous “study”: “As part of a yearlong investigation into Congress’ relationship with slavery, The Washington Post analyzed more than 400 artworks in the U.S. Capitol building ... and found that nearly one third honor enslavers or Confederates.” The vitriol and invective expressed toward our Founding Fathers and other distinguished historical figures represents a new low, even for the Washington Post. These great men all risked and, indeed, some forfeited their “lives, (their) fortunes, and (their) sacred honor,” and they opposed oppressive government in order to make the United States of America the great nation it has become. Historical revisionism has no rightful place regarding the art in our nation’s Capitol.

John Gill, St. Petersburg

A meter reader

Trump versus DeSantis in a Shakespearean showdown | Barry Golson column, Jan. 1

Thy writer’s heart is pure, of that no doubt.

But thou hast stray’d from meter’s path I fear.

The bard hath elevated lowly iamb

Five of them per line is all you get.

But methinks thy writing doth amuse,

I hope to read e’er more of it this year.

Charles Lehnert, Sun City Center

Let us ride our e-bikes

Motorized mayhem on the Pinellas Trail | Letter, Dec. 31

Hold on trail e-bike haters. Have you noticed how many older e-bike riders there are out there enjoying a ride? As I got older my traditional bike rides grew less pleasurable and shorter and eventually a ride on the “misery machine” was rare. Enter the e-bike and the pleasure returned as never before. The vast majority of e-bike riders I have encountered are courteous, safe and friendly folks. There are always some who abuse — how about the spandex clad rocket ships blistering past? Banning e-bikes on the Pinellas Trail is a bad idea.

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Allen Rogers, Indian Shores

A brilliant idea

A few thoughts on money and other things as the new year begins | Column, Dec. 31

Professor Murad Antia’s columns are always insightful and thought provoking, and his yearend potpourri of economic topics did not disappoint. One, however, stands out. It’s a partial solution to our southern border dilemma. His suggestion is based on the reality that our economy needs and relies on immigrant labor. His solution is to sponsor job fairs on the Mexican side of the border where American companies could publicize job openings and could fill those job openings by hiring appropriate candidates on the spot. Each candidate would be fully vetted, checked for drugs and with all the appropriate legalities signed, sealed and delivered. Brilliant! It won’t totally solve the issue, but it would be a major step in a positive direction. As a further suggestion, Govs. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott could use some of their state-sponsored immigrant travel funds to get the job applicants to their new work sites.

Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport

I can wait for this ‘arrival’

Big spenders | Jan. 1

Your recent article describing the 20 highest-grossing commercial real estate sales in 2022 indicates that these “hot commodities” demonstrate that “Tampa has arrived.” Where has it arrived? Twelve of those properties included the number of apartments for a total of 4,798. Five gave no number but we can assume at least another 500 to 1,000. Three properties were hotels. Where is the corresponding article on the impact of at least 5,000 apartments and probably as many automobiles on roads and traffic, the demand for services such as electric and sewage, overcrowded schools and the loss of greenspace and other infrastructure concerns? Not to mention the exorbitant rental fees that these companies will charge, which will set higher rental standards and effect lower income individuals and neighborhoods. An article in the Washington Post one day after this article appeared stated that “rising rents were a crisis for tenants” and a bonanza for landlords and private investment firms. I can only hope that Tampa’s “arrival” will not be the traffic-clogged dystopian nightmare that so many other city centers have become.

Joseph Ferrandino, Land O’ Lakes