Joe Henderson: Starting 2019 off with transparency — about me

Here are some of Joe Henderson’s likes, dislikes and the things that motivate him as a columnist.
Taking a cue from Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell, Joe Henderson shares some his  likes, dislikes and issues that motivate him as a columnist.
Joe Henderson  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
Taking a cue from Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell, Joe Henderson shares some his likes, dislikes and issues that motivate him as a columnist. Joe Henderson [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
Published January 9
Updated January 9

Last year in this space, I followed the lead of Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell in sharing my likes, dislikes, motivations, and so on.

Columnists are always supposed to let readers know where they stand on issues, but Maxwell writes an annual piece where he lets readers know about him. The idea is that transparency gives readers the opportunity to filter his columns through the prism of his personal beliefs.

Transparency isn’t something we can demand unless we’re willing to be honest about who we are.

I shared all that last year and readers seemed to approve of the concept. Since a few things have changed since then, it’s time to play catch up.

Last year at this time, I told you I had no affiliation with a political party. That changed over the summer when I registered as a Democrat, mostly so I could vote in the primary. Because Florida is a closed primary state, that means you either register with a party or sit it out.

Some things don’t change, though. I don’t put bumper stickers on my car or candidate signs in my yard.

In the general election, I split my vote as usual. I choose the person I believe will do the best job, regardless of party.

My overall political views would skew center-left.

I think arming teachers in the classroom is an insanely bad idea.

Also, anyone who says teachers don’t deserve to be paid much better has never stood in front of a classroom while grappling with the demands of Tallahassee politicians. Teachers are our best hope.

I believe man-made pollution is contributing to climate change. Engaging with those who dismiss the reams of scientific data that supports this is a futile endeavor that I am increasingly finding to be a waste of time.

I think our pro sports teams add a lot to the vibrancy of this city, as we’ll discover when the Lightning win the Stanley Cup in June. I would love to see the Rays get a new stadium, preferably in Hillsborough County. But giving tax money to support a business that generates money in the billions every year is repulsive.

I am a long-time member of the United Methodist Church. I believe Jesus watches whether we love our neighbors and are charitable to what he called “the least of these.”

That’s kind of a biggie with him. You can look it up.

I know many people in this community who live by those rules. They are happiest when they make someone else’s life a little better. You don’t hear a lot about them because they don’t seek the spotlight when they serve others.

When my mother-in-law died last September, I was particularly struck by the compassion and kindness shown by the nursing staff at Florida Hospital. One of them introduced me to the paramedics who transported her to the hospital when she became unresponsive.

They did their best to save her. When they couldn’t, the look on their faces told me this was much more than a job to them. That’s the kind of person I want to be when I grow up.

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Hamilton next month, but there is great work being done in local community theatres. I suggest you find that out for yourself. The arts are alive and well here.

I think this might be the strongest overall mayoral field Tampa has seen. I also believe the next mayor will inherit a city that is beginning to reach its potential, and history will judge that Bob Buckhorn had a lot to do with that. He has been a relentless champion in making his vision for Tampa a reality.

The mayor that follows him will find the bar has been set extremely high. I hope we can say the same thing when that person’s term is up.