The governor’s job
DeSantis seizes on war | Oct. 25
The article on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ handling of flights to evacuate Americans from Israel concludes with this quote from a DeSantis fundraiser: “Here is a governor and presidential candidate who doesn’t just talk, but takes action and who gets things done. That’s the big takeaway.” I think that last sentence should have read, “That’s the big getaway!” Once again, DeSantis appears to be getting away with spending gobs of Florida taxpayers’ money. It is the federal government’s task to do what is necessary to secure the freedoms of Americans in jeopardy abroad. Not his. Yes, the flights are a noble and much-needed thing, but one that I believe he is using only to facilitate his sagging status as a presidential hopeful.
Richard W. Sherin, Tampa
The cats come back
How 2 Tampa Bay pet shelters bucked national spike in euthanasia | Oct. 15
Animals that did not get mentioned in this article about pets in our county animal shelters are the numbers of pets that are abandoned on the streets. These become feral animals, preying on wild birds, lizards and other native animals. People move and leave animals behind. Neighbors feed strays, then move off, leaving a growing number of street animals, be they cats or rabbits or ducks, to harass the rest of the neighborhood. One cat in this neighborhood has released at least six kittens into our yards in the last year. Six Muscovy ducks became 54. We can call animal services about strays being fed, but nothing seems to change. We can trap strays and turn them in. Three days later they are back in our yards. Trap, neuter and release programs keep releasing cats back into neighborhoods. We neighbors get to “enjoy” the piles of feces in our driveways and gardens, cats sitting under bird feeders and knocking over birdbaths, and our allergic reactions when working in our yards in areas where they hang out. We might be homeowners, but we have no control over what our neighbors release on to our property. Keeping pets with owners, in their homes, is fine, but it is not the sole solution to the stray animal problem in our city.
Mary Keith, Tampa
Cease-fire is needed
Blockade may force UN to sharply cut relief efforts | Oct. 26
A cease-fire is desperately needed in the Israel-Hamas war to allow humanitarian aid to reach starving Palestinians. The war is causing major shortages of food, water and other basic supplies in Gaza. The hunger is worsening by the day. Aid convoys being allowed into Gaza are not nearly enough to reach everyone in need amid a war zone. There needs to be a cease-fire to allow full scale, safe humanitarian access. A cease-fire would also allow for diplomacy to gain release of all hostages and encourage peace talks. War will not bring peace between Israel and Palestine. The U.N. World Food Program and partners need additional funding to support the growing relief operation. Because of low funding, the program had to cut rations in Gaza this summer. Palestinian civilians in Gaza are displaced and starving. We must get a cease-fire to allow the lifesaving food to reach them.
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William Lambers, Cincinnati
The writer is an author who partnered with the U.N. World Food Program on the book “Ending World Hunger.”
Not all vets
St. Pete council digs into Rays deal | Oct. 27
I am happy to see the St. Petersburg City Council proactively engage in the game-changing deal between the city and the Tampa Bay Rays. I was also pleasantly surprised to read about the team’s commitment to annual ticket allocations and construction services to those on the lower economic rungs in our community. What I find objectionable is the definition of disadvantaged people as “those with criminal records, veterans, homeless or without a General Education Development certificate or high school diploma, among other circumstances.”
There are nearly 19 million veterans in this country, and the vast majority served honorably and continue to work and contribute to their communities. Veterans graduate from college at higher rates than non-veterans, and they are employed at higher rates and earn slightly more than their peers. Most are physically and emotionally squared away upon leaving the service and do not need or ask for handouts. There are, of course, many disabled veterans who sacrificed much more than most of us and who do need critical support from the Veterans Administration, families, communities and nonprofits, as well as from generous organizations like the Rays. Please thank them and employ them, but do not include them as “disadvantaged people.”
Jeff Cathey, Tampa