A lower form of higher education
Gov. DeSantis, please leave us professors along to teach and do research | Perspective, March 12
I consider myself and my family very fortunate to have gotten through Florida public high schools and (almost) through three different Florida universities (USF for my oldest; UCF for my middle daughter and FSU for my youngest, who will graduate in May). I cannot imagine how difficult it currently is to be a teacher at any public school in Florida, especially since the draconian rules imposed by our Legislature at our governor’s urging. There are more than 5,000 openings for teachers in Florida public schools with hundreds more teachers giving up every year. Why would any recent college graduate face the prospect of low pay and possible lawsuits if they say the wrong thing in a system that seems to only demean them at every turn? And now HB 999, the Public Postsecondary Educational Institutions bill, would severely restrict how Florida college and university professors can teach and would allow any tenured faculty member to be reviewed at any time by the governor-appointed board of trustees. My heart goes out to all Florida families with younger children who are now forced to deal with this mess.
Gregory Premer, St. Pete Beach
It makes no sense
Permitless concealed carry makes sense for Florida | Column, March 14
Permitless concealed carry makes sense for Florida? No, sir, it doesn’t. We have to have a license to drive a car, to hunt, (often) to practice our trade and many other things. Owning a weapon that can maim and kill should require training, licensing and, in my opinion, insurance. This make the owner accountable, to the best of his/her ability, for keeping their weapon safe and secure. If politicians want permitless concealed carry, I believe that guns should also be allowed in all government buildings, in fact, anywhere politicians (and their families) go. If those voting in favor of it feel that it’s acceptable to increase risk to the general public, they must also accept the risk.
Anne Conklin, Bradenton
The will of the people
University of North Florida survey
According to a recent University of North Florida survey: 61% of Floridians oppose banning the promotion of diversity, equity and inclusion actions; 77% oppose concealed carry without a permit or license (including 62% of Republicans); 75% oppose a six-week abortion ban (including 61% of Republicans). Given the clear public sentiment, one might think that our governor and legislators would be racing each other to enact legislation that would serve the clear will of the people on these matters in the “Free State of Florida.” One would be wrong.
Steven H. Allison, Tampa
I’m woke to my insurance bill
A possible fix for property insurance in Florida | Editorial, March 12
Thanks to the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board for reminding us of potential solutions to Florida’s property insurance crisis. The destruction from Hurricane Ian should have been enough incentive for reform, but all we’ve seen from the state government are Band-Aid fixes and lopping off top items from insurance company’s wish lists. At some point, our overly conservative state government must stop listening to the insurance industry and work toward solutions, even if the best solutions veer away from free market economics. Our conservative governor wants to make Florida the place where “woke goes to die.” I’m very woke to the property insurance issue as my wake-up call was a bill with a significant double-digit increase. I’d venture to guess that every property owner in the state is in the same state of wokeness as myself. My hope is the governor will put aside his excessive focus on social conservative wokeness and focus on the insurance crisis. That’s where his attention belongs.
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Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport
Dan’s the man
Fox News’ ‘craven hypocrisy’ on alleged voter fraud runs deep | Column, March 12
I came here to live and retire in 1996, and besides this area only becoming more beautiful every year, one of the best things I’ve come to love and appreciate, is Daniel Ruth and his insights and columns.
Robert Parissi, Tampa
The heel of the boot
In Florida and at New College, what we lose when we ignore stewardship and competence | Column, March 4
It was a teaching position at New College that brought me to Florida in 1970. I ultimately retired from the USF faculty after almost 50 years in academia. My few years there were some of the most exciting teaching experiences that I have had in my career. The atmosphere, the seminar-style classes, the enthusiasm and the give and take were distinctly representative of Albert Einstein’s words, “The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.” Among the small student cohort that I have kept in touch with over these years are a physician, a successful entrepreneur, a psychologist and an attorney, all of whom credit the New College experience as fundamental to their career choices. New College was a rare and delicate flower in the garden of academia and it was placed in the state system to protect that uniqueness. Now, sadly, the boot heel of authoritarianism seems determined to crush that spirit.
Joseph Ferrandino, Land O’ Lakes