A cruise of the vaccinated
Florida health department moves forward on vaccine ‘passport’ ban | July 30
I just returned from a cruise to Alaska. Celebrity Cruise Lines required proof of vaccination for booking the cruise, for entering the Seattle cruise terminal, at the various check-in stations in the terminal and for entering the gangway. Once aboard, masks weren’t required, although the entire crew, including the captain, wore one. Masks were required for going ashore.
What a relief it was, knowing that all of the people around us were vaccinated! It’s too bad that Gov. Ron DeSantis and our Republican legislators prohibit cruise lines, local governments and schools from requiring proof of vaccination and masks, because those are among the only ways to avoid serious illness and death.
Maybe that thinking is one reason why Florida has more than one-fifth of all new U.S. cases and the nation’s highest per-capita hospitalizations. Another reason? Demagogues like Rep. Matt Gaetz. The media is correct: Nearly all new deaths and almost all new hospitalizations are unvaccinated people, say several state health authorities, including the head of the University of Alabama Medical Center in Birmingham. Meanwhile, the reasons given for anti-vaccine beliefs are irrational and deny the evidence, to put it politely.
Charles Matthews, Tampa
They had time
There’s little chance of dislodging bad information | Leonard Pitts’ column, Aug. 2
I am reading about all the people who are now saying that they or some other person should have gotten the vaccine. They are either recovering from a major illness or passed away. I have no sympathy for them or care about their situation. They had plenty of time to get vaccinated and on top of that the government is picking up the tab. Instead they listen to all the misinformation. When the chickens come home to roost, that’s their problem.
Fred Grunewald, Land O’ Lakes
The full Jan. 6 story needs to be nailed down | Column, Aug. 2
Peggy Noonan attempts to rationalize chaos. Let’s face the events of Jan 6. Like so many Americans on that day, I scratched my head and thought how did we come to this? Or was this a testimony to the last decade? Do we really know where to lay blame and to whom we should point our finger at? The reality is a significant number of taxpaying Americans felt marginalized. And some Americans felt their vote, their last-ditch effort to say please listen, was being stolen. However misguided. The powers that be are great at screaming righteous indignations, maybe they should try turning down the volume and start listening.
Mark Campbell, St. Petersburg
Hire from within
Top cop search evokes debate | Aug. 1
Tampa’s next police chief should come from within the department. Having spent 32 years in law enforcement, and now teaching criminal justice classes, including Organization and Management of Police Departments, I can point out the many benefits of promoting from within. Promoting from within the department sends a clear message of confidence to the many qualified men and women currently serving the city. Promoting from within boosts morale, as it creates movement and promotions and opportunities for the officers. Conducting a nationwide search may yield a qualified candidate with impressive credentials, but outside chiefs tend not to stay as long as one who is promoted from within. Assistant Chief Ruben “Butch” Delgado has consistently demonstrated his ability to lead with compassion and creativity. He understands Tampa and its challenges and has made tremendous advances in building community relationships. He has earned the respect of his officers, is well-like by the community and, I believe, deserves to be the next chief of the Tampa police department.
Scott Bushway, Tampa
Mystery COVID patients
Gov. Ron DeSantis says, “If you look at the seasonal wave we’re experiencing in Florida, that’s being driven a lot by a lot of younger people. They’re not getting really sick from it or anything.” So who is filling those hospital beds?
Jim Smith, St. Petersburg