Plan to close St. Pete’s Albert Whitted Airport won’t fly | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
IndyCars round turn one in front of Albert Whitted Airport at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
IndyCars round turn one in front of Albert Whitted Airport at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Mar. 11

Keep Albert Whitted open

City to explore other uses for airport’s land | March 10

No. No. No. You can’t touch Albert Whitted Airport. No matter what the intended or stated use will be, there will be apartments and condos. Can’t we say “enough already”? Remember the debate over the high rises behind the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort? Rick Baker was the last to try this when he was mayor, and I hope it meets the same fate. The airport, like the Historic Gas Plant District, is part of St. Petersburg’s history. And despite the hard work of the good folks at Preserve the ‘Burg, we’ve learned there is virtually no way to keep a huge building project from getting a green light in this town. Keep that little airport as is. And, no, I don’t fly or own an airplane.

Martin Fouts, St. Petersburg

Remember the grand prix

City to explore other uses for airport’s land | March 10

Ah, it’s seems like only a week ago we basked in the excitement of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, showcasing the beauty of the St. Pete waterfront. Viewed by thousands locally and more than 1 million internationally, we could not have shown our vibrant city in a more positive light. So in our city administration’s zeal to promote urban development, let’s tear down Albert Whitted Airport, the cornerstone of the grand prix. Like the Tampa Bay Lightning and spring training baseball, I’m sure that Tampa would welcome the grand prix with open arms.

Mark H. Campbell, St. Petersburg

A tiny park and condos

City to explore other uses for airport’s land | March 10

If Albert Whitted is gone, there will be a small park on the waterfront. The rest will be condos, retail and restaurants. I know it, and you know it.

Scott White, Murphy, N.C.

Back our teachers on books

Pinellas will reconsider its ban of ‘The Bluest Eye’ in schools — but not now | March 8

Times reporter Jeff Solochek’s reporting on book banning in Pinellas County public schools hits the mark exactly. District officials will review “The Bluest Eye” and other books that have been questioned this school year, he writes, “But not right away.” Indeed, the article quotes a school board member saying that teachers are self-censoring items because they still, months later, have not received guidance from administrators. In short, school officials were unprepared, slow to act and have essentially thrown away a year. It is well known that folks challenge books, and procedures should be in place to adjudicate controversies efficiently, effectively and with correct outcomes. In Duval County, one such preemptively censored book, “Malala: A Hero for All,” is literally about a girl who dared to pursue education and was shot in the face by the Taliban because of it. To free our schools to educate our students without fear, our officials must back their teachers, not just verbally, but with policies that protect them and their students. No teacher should have to wonder if a book they assign will lead to professional sanctions, public outcry, or worse.

Peter Westmoreland, St Petersburg

Floridians support abortion access

Bill banning abortion after 6 weeks filed in Florida Legislature | March 7

It has become increasingly difficult to digest news about the legislative session, and it just officially started this week. For example, Sen. Erin Grall files a 6-week abortion ban, with limited exceptions, on the first day. This is not the “freedom state” unless we are all free, and that includes the freedom to control our bodies without intrusion by politicians. Floridians overwhelmingly support access to abortion. There is a sense of helplessness among Floridians as the Republican supermajority in our Legislature ignores the concerns of its citizens and exerts more control at the local level, home rule be damned. But we can do something about it. We can contact Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and urge her to oppose SB 300, asking that she consider the real lived experiences of those who seek abortion and not let this extreme ban be part of her legacy.

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Stacey Kroto, Pinellas Park

A high price to pay

Why is diversity the hot issue in Florida higher education? 4 things to know. | Feb. 28

I continue to read about the increasing intrusion of politicians’ beliefs and ideologies into our state public colleges and universities’ curricula. The academic faculty members of colleges and universities are, and have always been, the creators, owners and guardians of the curriculum. As part of the accreditation process, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the academic accrediting body of colleges and universities for the southeast region of the United States, verifies the academic freedom that faculty members’ have (or not) to create, own and guard the curricula that are taught. A long time ago, I learned that when faculty members do not possess this freedom, their institution’s accreditation is in jeopardy of not being reaffirmed. If the politicians’ intrusions into Florida’s higher education institution’s curricula continue, the accreditation of our public institutions could likely “go south.” If that happens, there will be a high price to pay, because our children will graduate from what now would be considered public colleges and universities of inferior quality. Finally, if those students transfer to out-of-state institutions of higher education, their Florida college coursework might not transfer.

Daniel Alejandro-De Leon, Clearwater