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$1,000 buys a teacher a one-way ticket out of Florida | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces his proposal to give $1000 bonuses to school principals and teachers in Florida during a press conference on March 31, 2021, at Palm Harbor University High School.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces his proposal to give $1000 bonuses to school principals and teachers in Florida during a press conference on March 31, 2021, at Palm Harbor University High School. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD ]
Published May 29

A ticket out of here

It’s time for celebration, angst for Florida’s Class of 2021 | May 26

Wow. Thank you, Gov. Ron DeSantis for the $1,000 bonus for teaching students in person and at home simultaneously this entire school year during a pandemic. That was not exactly a win/win, so the $1,000 will really cheer teachers up. Of course, it won’t cover the increases in our auto insurance or make much of a dent in the rising costs of gas and groceries. And it definitely won’t be felt at all with our skyrocketing rents, but the $1,000 will buy us a ticket out of Florida, at least, so thanks!

Kimberly Diaz, St. Petersburg

History is what happened

Why conservatives really fear critical race theory | Column, May 28

History has shown us that, time after time, the United States missed opportunities to make racial equality a reality. Abolishing slavery was debated in 1776. A long time later, discussing Missouri and slavery in 1820, Thomas Jefferson said, “We have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go.” There was nothing noble about the South’s position in the Civil War. It was about enslaving people. In his “Cornerstone Speech,” Confederate States of America Vice President Alexander Stephens said that slavery was the cornerstone of the southern way of life. In 1865, the victorious Union tried to appease the South to gain their support by not making equality a reality. In both world wars, Black soldiers fought bravely for this country. Black soldiers came home to St Petersburg, only to face discrimination. In 1965 there was opposition to the civil rights movement and to racial equality. Teaching history as it was, is reality. Being critical of our shortcomings and learning from them is true patriotism. The thought that we are the greatest country in the world without faults is unrealistic, naive and most of all, unpatriotic.

Terrence Callahan, Crystal Beach

A haven for hate groups

Spray-painted swastika defaces exterior of Florida Holocaust Museum | May 28

While Gov. Ron DeSantis is signing his bills, relishing in his photo-ops and taking victory laps for his ideal state, maybe he can assign Attorney General Ashley Moody to investigate why Florida has seen a 40% spike in antisemitism from 2019 to 2020 or why on March 20, there were at least 24 Floridians arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Could it be because, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida now has 68 known hate groups, second only to California, which has 72 hate groups and 18 million more people?

Neil Armstrong, Bradenton

A lottery for all

Ohio vaccine lottery winners collect $1 million, scholarship | May 28

Several states are offering money rewards to people who take the COVID-19 vaccine. Why not open the lotteries to all people who have been vaccinated? It would not cost more and would also reward the socially conscious people who didn’t need a financial incentive to protect themselves and others.

Fred Prince, Tampa

Fix the sewers

St. Petersburg’s slice of COVID aid: $45 million | May 27

With St. Petersburg about to receive $45 million in the latest COVID-19 relief act, American Rescue Plan, the No. 1 issue that needs to be addressed with this windfall is our aged and overwhelmed sewage system. With the continued rampant overdevelopment of the downtown core area adding hundreds upon hundreds of new flushing toilets, running sinks, draining bathtubs, etc., the sewage system city-wide needs to be the top priority. The time has long passed for this upgrade with millions of gallons of sewage having been diverted to Tampa Bay during various storms due to our antiquated and overwhelmed system. This is absolutely necessary and critical for the city over any other issue.

Tim Robinson, St. Petersburg

Trump and Russia

This is what justice is supposed to look like | May 28

On Monday, President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice appealed an order to publicly release a pivotal 2019 memo about whether or not then-President Donald Trump obstructed the Russia investigation. A highly redacted version of the memo was already available to the public. But the full version, if it is ever released, could shed new light on how Trump appointees at the Justice Department justified why he shouldn’t be charged, even though special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found strong evidence that Trump repeatedly obstructed the probe. While this appeal may come as a disappointment to those of us who opposed Trump’s unethical and arguably illegal behavior, the good news is that it documents the veracity of President Biden’s promise that the Department of Justice under the guidance of Attorney General Merrick Garland would function independently and autonomously; this, of course, is in stark contrast to the department under William Barr which more often than not acted politically on behalf of Trump.

Richard Cherwitz, Austin, Texas

‘Sustainable’? Ha.

Fishing for balance | May 11

The word “sustainability” has lost all meaning and instead has become a “wow word.” I despise this new trend of “sustainability.” For example, “sustainable” commercial fishing. The idea of killing animals as fast as they can regenerate, and calling it “sustainable,” is dumb. As a vegan, I already think killing any animals is terrible, but calling any of it “sustainable” is laughable.

Easton Morgan, Seminole