Save Tampa Bay and its seagrass before it’s too late | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
This aerial view of an algae bloom was shot on July 28, 2022 in Safety Harbor.
This aerial view of an algae bloom was shot on July 28, 2022 in Safety Harbor. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Feb. 19

Save Tampa Bay and its seagrass

Tampa Bay loses 12% of its seagrass in 2 years | Feb. 15

Many fisherman and recreational users of Tampa Bay have been saying it for a few years. Anecdotal chatter about “things being off,” “it’s not what it used to be,” and “um, there was once seagrass here” has been common on social media, at the boat ramp and any other gathering of water-loving people here in our community. Now we have science to back it up, and sure enough, things are certainly off. The 2022 Tampa Bay seagrass mapping results are in and the news isn’t good. Tampa Bay has lost over 4,000 acres of seagrass since 2020, a negative 12% change. Tampa Bay has now lost a stunning 11,518 acres of seagrass since our peak in 2016. That’s almost a 30% decline. For a region with an economy and lifestyle so tied to the health of our water, this is yet another alarm going off. Water quality must be a priority here in Tampa Bay, and it’s time for our water infrastructure to catch up with our growth. The days of beating our chests claiming that we are a national success story are over. It’s like being up big at half time, but you still have to show up for the rest of the game. Let’s refocus. We’ve got a long way to go to protect what we all love so much. We need to reverse the trend of seagrass loss, and we need to start before it is too late.

Justin Tramble, St. Petersburg

The writer is Tampa Bay Waterkeeper executive director.

He made me laugh

Eighty for Brady ... | Perspective, Feb. 12

As someone who just recently obtained that coveted Medicare card, I want to thank essayist Barry Golson for making a brilliant reporting/opinion/statement for those of us in the older (but not old!) years of life. He informed me, educated me and, most importantly, made me laugh hysterically.

James Duggan, St. Petersburg

Good corporate governance is

DeSantis proposes barring ESG criteria in Fla. muni-bond sales | Feb. 14

This is yet another setback for freedom in the “free state” of Florida. The governor has now declared war on environmental and social responsibility and good corporate governance (ESG). As a retired compliance officer, I happen to know something about these topics. Along with all his other dog-whistle words and phrases (woke, progressive, Disney, diversity and equality all spring to mind), the governor is now telling his faithful to go forth and attack ESG. We surely don’t want corporations and banks disclosing their efforts to be good stewards of our environment and the communities where they do business and where we live. We certainly can’t have corporations, and especially banks, building controls and policies to safeguard against fraud and mismanagement — that’s what good corporate governance is.

David Frishkorn, Tampa

Five years of uncertified teaching

Times that Ron DeSantis changed Florida education | Feb. 12

I was amused by the juxtaposition in Sunday’s Tampa Bay Times of the grinning photo on page 5 of Gov. Ron DeSantis and interim New College President Richard Corcoran behind a sign identifying Florida as “The Education State.” Then later in the same issue was an article on a new Senate bill, which “to provide first class education” for students, would increase from three years to five years, the length of time that an officially unqualified teacher could teach while attempting to get their teacher’s certification. We do not even let teenagers drive a car until they have completed their training and passed a test to demonstrate their competence to drive. How about lawyers practicing for five years while they try to pass the bar? Want them representing you? I will say that living in Florida does give one an education.

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Frederick M. Steiger, Palm Harbor

What is the worry?

I grew up a racist in St. Petersburg | Perspective, Feb. 12

I would like to thank professor Charles Dew for his column on growing up white in a segregated society. I did, too. Things taught and lived as children are embedded in our brains as “normal.” One of my earliest memories is having a tantrum because my grandmother’s housekeeper couldn’t sit with us for dinner. Sadly, occasionally those messages still pop up in my mind. I am so grateful that I don’t have to listen to them. Why does Gov. Ron DeSantis seem to fear our children learning that, too?

Fern Williams, Zephyrhills