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  3. Letters to the Editor

I’m not sure if I will vote for the Pinellas school tax this time | Letters

Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.

Public schools need the money

Why school tax vote is vital now | Editorial, April 26

I have always voted for the Pinellas County School referendums in the past, thinking the public schools needed the money. I have always trusted the local school administration to put the money to good use. This time, even the Times editorial failed to convince me the cost is worth it. If this referendum passes, I fully expect to see the Florida Legislature simply deduct an equal amount from state funds earmarked for the Pinellas County school system and give it to private schools. That is what our Legislature has done with the money generated by the Florida Lottery and it is what it has been doing in recent years. At one time public education accounted for over 30 percent of the state budget. It is much less now and it gets lower each year. Why should voters approve more bait and switch?

Dan Sparks, Redington Beach

Florida is not New York

Why, DeSantis, why? | Letter, April 26

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is seen during a news conference, May 4, 2020. [The Florida Channel]

I am sorry that people, including the Tampa Bay Times, are so negative about Gov. Ron DeSantis. Things in Florida are not nearly on the disastrous level of New York City and do not seem to be trending there.

Why shouldn’t the beaches be reopened on at least a limited basis? I think those that say this are either never going to go or maybe are high risk to go anywhere. We even heard recently that fresh air and sunshine are good for you.

I am glad that Mr. Alzali feels safer back “at home” in Pennsylvania. I feel safe in Florida. And I have confidence that DeSantis knows more than we do and will do the right thing to bring us back to normal life. There are many people suffering because of the shut down of businesses. They are important, too.

As Mario Cainas says, we need more positive news.

Ruth Mahoney, Riverview

Why not scientists?

Autumn’s expectations | Perspective, April 26

What will the next six months look like post-coronavirus? [RON BORRESEN | Tampa Bay Times]

What was troubling to me as I read this commentary was Florida Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Mark Wilson’s assertion that government leaders will need to meet with “chambers of commerce, economic developers and job creators.” I would have thought that he would have also included scientists and first responders.

Tomas Negron, San Antonio

Page needs more diversity

Autumn’s expectations | Perspective, April 26

Did you really think it’s appropriate to provide only the thoughts of white male “thought leaders” on the front page of today’s Perspective section? With their photos no less? Did it occur to you that including people of color and women might provide a wider range of thought?

Elizabeth Corwin, Tampa

DeSantis takes moderate, rational approach

Stay-at-home orders to ease on Monday | April 30

A food server wearing a protective face mask waits on customers at the Parkshore Grill restaurant, May 4, 2020, in St. Petersburg. [CHRIS O'MEARA | AP]

I applaud Gov. Ron DeSantis and his rational, moderate approach to managing the COVID-19 outbreak. Reasonable and effective measures such as frequent hand washing, masks and social distancing are, in my opinion, the factors driving down the spread of the virus in Florida. And contrary to those still calling for complete lockdown, I think Floridians are more than smart enough to take those precautions. Indeed, the facts point to our successful approach given that there are some 1,200 deaths in Florida, as of Thursday, as compared to New York, where deaths are over 23,000. Finally I note that the national debt is now approaching the GDP. Without rational, creative, innovative leadership at the local, state, and federal level, I think the ham-handed approaches that too many advocate will soon realize a depression and spiraling inflation that will be crushing.

Kenneth Jezek, Tierra Verde

Remember the bright spots

Bright Spots | Floridian, April 26

Thank you Tampa Bay Times for Sunday’s four full pages of “Bright Spots.” I read with tears in my eyes of corporations paying groceries, business owners forgiving rent payments, businesses giving away their production plans to other companies to produce PPE items, and of course,... all the everyday people who sought out others to help with food, money, deliveries and big hearts. I have seen these people as well and know of their deeds and desires to help more. This morning’s paper was also a bright spot giving us hope. I think we’re going to make it.

Ed Brown, Tarpon Springs

Why wearing a mask should be mandatory

Should you wear a mask while shopping?

Carrie Simpson, right, shops at the Detroit Farmers Market, May 2, 2020, in Detroit. [CARLOS OSORIO | AP]

I am a senior citizen in good health. Respectful of the damage COVID-19 can do, I wear a face mask whenever I enter a store to buy groceries — once or twice a week.

Yesterday I was shocked on entering my favorite small produce market to see about seven people in the store (a clerk, two serving food, and four customers) with not a mask in sight. I shopped quickly but did not feel safe. Next time, I’ll shop elsewhere.

I suspect many others feel the same as I do. Smart retailers who want their business back quickly will think carefully about the safety needs of their most vulnerable customers.

Carol Machael, Clearwater

More died than in Vietnam

Fla. deaths spike by 83 | April 29

Nurse Maria Charri, left, wears personal protective equipment as she hugs Osmar Grave, 73, as they sing along to live music at a temporary quarantine and isolation facility for the homeless during the new coronavirus pandemic, April 27, 2020, in North Miami. [LYNNE SLADKY | AP]

It is time for a reality check. The number of Americans who died from this virus in three months has outnumbered the total of Americans killed in over ten years in the Vietnam War. Imagine how many more will die if we don’t take the necessary precautions. Stay sane, stay safe.

Walter Hansen, Largo

No more deficit spending

Wealth tax

I’m not happy about all this deficit spending and I think it’s time we tax the wealthy for their fair share as they should be taxed.

James Dina, Dunedin