Saying ‘no’ is one small way to make my voice heard | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
Officers stand outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in Miramar in July. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Officers stand outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in Miramar in July. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) [ WILFREDO LEE | AP ]
Published Sept. 17

A voice cries out

Labor Issues could worsen | Sept. 11

Since my voice is ignored, like that of a majority here in Florida, I must take a stand against extreme policies with which I vehemently disagree, by any means available to me. One such policy is SB 1718, the anti-immigrant law created merely to score political points with a hard-right base that is now wreaking havoc for Florida farmers.

A part of that legislation compels any hospital accepting Medicaid to inquire about citizenship status on intake forms. That’s where I recently took my stand. In preparation for upcoming surgery, I was indeed asked whether I’m a citizen. We all have the option to refuse to answer yes or no. Which I did.

This is a risk I can and did take as a citizen; those who harvest our food and handle so many other hard manual labor jobs, doing work Americans refuse to do, simply don’t have that luxury when in need of medical care.

It’s my way of fighting for those who cannot fight back, those on which this state’s economy clearly relies. Enough citizens doing the same would render that part of this absurd law useless. It’s something — and better than doing nothing at all.

Terri Benincasa, Palm Harbor

I expected pushback

Labor Issues could worsen | Sept. 11

I was surprised when Florida passed the undocumented worker laws, that there was not more pushback from industries affected by the new laws: agriculture, hospitality, including restaurant workers, and construction primarily. The article left out the restaurant workers. The Columbia restaurant had to dismiss 19 workers, some of whom had been there more than 30 years to comply with the new laws. They also had to cut their business hours due to lack of help. There has been a shortage of construction workers that we will have to wait and see what the impact on the industry will be. There are already schedule delays on some projects due to lack of workers.

I expect agriculture to be hit hard by lack of enough workers. Lack of workers in hospitality may have an impact on tourism, Florida’s major industry. Has anyone done a financial impact estimate to the state’s economy? I expect the state to see a significant decline in total revenue the next year, unless we can get the retired people to pick strawberries and other crops and serve themselves in restaurants and provide their own room service. Not that we should just open the doors to anyone who wants to live here, but there should be less draconian measures.

Dave Hinz, Clearwater

Swifties and escapism

Taylor Swift’s popularity is a sign of societal decline | Left/right file, Sept. 10

In complaining about Taylor Swift’s music, essayist Mark Hemingway fails to understand that entertainment is escapism, not a mirror of society.

John Chamless, Pinellas Park

Daily damage

A doctor wonders where to call home | Sept. 10

I commend Lauren Peace on her eloquent reporting of Rachel Rapkin and her family’s heartbreaking decision to leave Florida since Roe v. Wade had been overturned. The article portrays the pain and suffering not only of this family but of Rapkin’s patients. Her students also question the feasibility of their career path in Florida. This one-size-fits-all abortion ban has a far-reaching effect that is harmful to many. Politicians with their tunnel vision are blind to the damage they’re causing every day.

Spend your days with Hayes

Spend your days with Hayes

Subscribe to our free Stephinitely newsletter

Columnist Stephanie Hayes will share thoughts, feelings and funny business with you every Monday.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Sharon Smith, Land O’ Lakes

Define the fight

Army Corps won’t budge on erosion | Sept. 9

I recently attended the Indian Shores town hall regarding erosion and renourishment of Pinellas County beaches. I must say it was encouraging to see federal government officials, local commissioners, mayors, representatives and a wide array of residents so knowledgeable and well prepared to discuss such a contentious issue.

It is clear to me that Pinellas residents must redefine the fight they are in with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The corps is adamant about obtaining 100% of property owners’ signatures for perpetual easements before they will put down the first shovel of sand. That is simply not going to happen, as many property owners remain concerned about government overreach and ceding property rights into perpetuity.

So instead, what if we ask waterfront homeowners and condominium associations to simply create and maintain their own vegetation and dunes from the coastal construction control line seaward to the established erosion control line, which delineates public beach from private property? This shift in scope and environmental burden sharing means no easements would be required, no exception to the federal government’s policy is necessary and the scope of replenishing just the berms would be legally and mechanically simpler and less expensive. Florida and Pinellas County could accelerate protecting our shoreline so all residents, visitors and tourists can enjoy the shorebirds, the fishing, sailing, swimming, skim boarding and just plain fun of being on some of the best beaches in the world.

Jeff Cathey, Tampa