Thank you, Florida
The Tokyo Olympics
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have successfully come to a close. As a representative of the Japanese government, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the participants.
Many athletes from Florida were among those who participated in, and medaled at, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Locally, I would like to extend my congratulations to Brad Snyder of St. Petersburg, Nelly Korda of Bradenton, Anastasija Zolotic of Largo and Jenson Van Emburgh of Belleair Beach.
This was the first time in history the decision was made to postpone the Olympic and Paralympic Games. For a full year, athletes fought to keep their dreams of competing in Tokyo alive amidst this unusual situation and uncertain competition schedules.
Despite the challenges facing each country during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo 2020 Games were made possible thanks to the efforts of the athletes and volunteers. The incredible performance of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes, as well as their perseverance in the face of adversity, has inspired countless people around the globe.
Though there are currently many restrictions on travel between Japan and Florida due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is my hope that the Tokyo Games will inspire many Floridians to visit Japan in the near future.
The writer is the acting Consul General of Japan for Florida.
A mixed message
Twelve hours in a Florida COVID-19 ICU | Sept. 5
All we’ve been reading about is how the hospitals are full of unvaccinated COVID patients, and how health care workers are saying that “it doesn’t have to be this way, get vaccinated.” I read in Sunday’s paper the article about the ICU nurse supervisor and how overworked and stressed she is due to COVID and unvaccinated patients. I really felt for the nurses and what they’re going through. It sounds awful. Then I read the Monday headline that “Hospitals balk at vaccine mandates” and how a high percentage of health care workers are not vaccinated. What a mixed message.
Melanie Dunn, Odessa
In Pinellas schools, doing our best requires masks right now | Column, Sept. 8
The column by the Pinellas County School Board member Laura Hine makes common sense arguments for these uncommon times. However, her argument would make more sense for a previous time period — when doctors and medical researchers’ opinions, based on science and facts, were widely respected and listened to. By embracing and catering to the autocratic wing of the Republican Party, the governor and state legislators are continuing to focus more on politics than public health. It’s time to eliminate the niceties in addressing this perilous virus and its continuing threat. This state of emergency is hitting the Red States harder, and this will have to be addressed at the federal level. More radical action is needed.
William Falcone, Brandon
Landlords are hit, too
Rents zoom out of sight | Sept. 8
I am the owner of a duplex in Old Northeast St. Petersburg. I lived in one unit until nine years ago. I lost the Save Our Homes cap then. My latest proposed property tax with budget approval (which always passes), increases taxes by 13% in one year. Over the past five years, taxes have increased by 58%, not to mention the ever-increasing utility, insurance and maintenance costs. Yes, the property value has increased, but isn’t that beneficial only for resale? Must I sell, only to have someone bulldoze the place and build a single-family home? How does this help the renters? I try to keep the rent at a reasonable rate, but how can I, without passing on these exorbitant costs? Something must be done to help reduce expenses to small rental property owners to more manageable figures.
Polly Findeison, Tierra Verde
Why is Florida so secretive with COVID records? | Editorial, Sept. 8
The secrecy of Florida’s COVID records emanates from one individual, our governor, who apparently thinks that keeping the public ignorant will preserve his reputation in the face of one disastrous decision after another during the pandemic. He may be right: The public has a remarkably short memory, witness Donald Trump’s current positive polling results, despite his complete bungling of the initial federal response. DeSantis will undoubtedly use more of our tax dollars to defend his stance and keep the public in the dark.
Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg
Flight attendants learn to fight back | Sept. 1
All unruly passengers on airplanes should be fined and not allowed to fly on any airline ever again. Also, alcoholic beverages should not be sold at airports or on airplanes.
Brenda Miller, Plant City