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I have a right to choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is load into needles at the COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Ala.
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is load into needles at the COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Ala. [ JAKE CRANDALL/ ADVERTISER | Montgomery Advertiser ]
Published Apr. 18
Updated Apr. 18

The right to choose

Are you part of the pandemic problem? | Letters, April 12

I am pretty insulted by a recent letter. The writer states, “people who could get the COVID-19 vaccine but don’t are adding to the death toll if they do not get vaccinated.” Anyone that doesn’t get vaccinated also, “prolongs the pandemic and negative economic impact,” according to the writer.

I love how the letter ends with “let’s hope we are kinder to one another.” The writer’s words were certainly not kind. The writer say they are not expecting people to blindly ignore negative information but investigate through credible sources then weigh the risks vs. benefits. The writer is correct — that is exactly what I did and once I weighed the risks vs. benefits, for now I have decided there are more risks for me. I have that right just like others decided to get the vaccine.

To also insinuate that all people who do not get vaccinated do not wear masks. Not true. I wear a mask everywhere, even outside and socially distance every single day. Those precautions help a lot, without injecting my body with a vaccine that broke records with its production rate. For the writer to say ,”my spiritual or religious beliefs keep me from acting for the greater good” is ludicrous.

Bottom line: We have a right to get vaccinated (be it COVID-19 vaccination or any other) or not to get vaccinated. It is up to each individual to make an educated, thorough decision that only they can make. We should not feel pressured or ostracized by what we think is best for us. It is not selfish, we are not contributing to the death toll. We have a choice. We are lucky to live in a country that gives us this choice. I agree with the writer that we should be kind to one another. Let’s be considerate and respectful.

K. Brady, New Port Richey

Bartlett deserves a chance

Will voters finally get a choice in Pinellas-Pasco prosecutor race? | April 11

I read with dismay the recent Times article which seemingly recommends an election challenge to the incumbent Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bruce Bartlett. I am a proud alumnus of the office having served as an assistant state attorney under the direction of James T. Russell, the state attorney who preceded Bernie McCabe. Additionally, I have a somewhat unique perspective to the operation of the criminal justice system, in that I am also the attorney who represented Oba Chandler, the individual who your article identified as one of Tampa Bay’s “most notorious criminals,” and who Mr. Bartlett identified as “one of the worst killers he had every dealt with.” As your article identified, Mr. Bartlett was one of the leaders of the prosecution team that led to the eventual conviction and execution of Mr. Chandler.

Having identified my background, I would like to quote Mr. Russell, who would frequently comment to me that the hallmark of a prosecutor is “consistency, competency, and integrity.” In this regard, the history of the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorneys’ Office has been second to none in following these standards. In particular, when it comes to Bruce Bartlett, I would also emphasize that the additional “c” of “compassion” also applies. He is precisely the type of leader that Pinellas and Pasco residents should be proud to hold in the type of esteem that he richly deserves, and to whom our residents should rally to support. Assuming that he is re-elected when the time comes, he will provide exactly the type of consistency, competence, integrity and compassion for which our state attorney’s office is known, and held in such high regard throughout the state. It would be a tragedy for this type of leadership to be de-railed in the next election.

Fredric S. Zinober, St. Petersburg

DeSantis deserves more respect

Florida cannot be out-goobered by Georgia on voting ‘reform’ | Column, April 11

Just when I thought the Tampa Bay Times could not get any more left-leaning liberal, I read Daniel Ruth’s column. Not only did he perpetuate misinformation about the Georgia voting laws, he disparaged our governor. Has Mr. Ruth even read the Georgia legislation? Uninformed opinions like this caused the Major League Baseball All-Star Game to be removed from the state of Georgia costing small-businesses over $100 million.

Not only did Ruth drop the ball on the Georgia legislation, his comments about Gov. Ron DeSantis were totally uncalled for. This is a man who responsibly opened our state during pandemic conditions. He was able to ensure people safely went back to work and school while keeping the virus rates controlled. I would like to remind Mr. Ruth that Gov. DeSantis is a Navy veteran, along with a graduate of the Navy Justice School, Harvard Law School, Yale University, and our own Dunedin High School. He is a patriot and Mr. Ruth’s lack of respect for our governor is appalling! Love him or hate him, Gov. DeSantis will be a main figure in America’s political scene for many years to come.

Barbara Walker, Clearwater

Watch where we build

Tampa City Council gives initial approval for apartments next to chlorine plant | April 9

On July 6, 1998, 15 pounds of chlorine gas was released from Chemical Formulators Inc. and 62 employees of the boat company next door went to the hospital with respiratory problems. I was one of them. Some never returned to work. The release happened in the building where the smaller tanks are filled. What would happen if a rail car let go? Will prospective buyers into this residential development be told of this? Do not let residential development any closer than it is.

Mark Penrod, St. Petersburg

Good for Asa

Why I vetoed my party’s bill restricting health care for transgender youth | April 12

I applaud Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of a bill that limits access to health care to transgender youth. He is right in his assessment of the difficulty and bigotry a family faces when a young person in a family is transgender. His list of problems that these people face are so strikingly similar to what some women, who find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy, face. I think it is way past the time when Republicans can call themselves the party of limited government and individual freedom. They need to stop making decisions regarding our bodies and our personal health care. The government should never be in a position to limit anyone’s health care, weather it involves underage children or women.

Ann Jamieson, St. Petersburg