1. Letters to the Editor

Thursday's letters: Kaepernick reminds us why we stand

Kaepernick takes a knee for anthem | Sept. 2

He reminds us why we stand

There has been much written about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to choose not to stand for the national anthem. To him and his supporters, I would simply like to say, "Thank you."

Thank you for reminding me and millions of Americans never to take for granted the privilege of standing for the national anthem ever again. By choosing to stay seated, Kaepernick has reminded all of us why we rise to our feet and stand in the first place. We stand for the veterans of wars long since past with weakened bodies who no longer have the strength to stand. We stand for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan forced to sit in wheelchairs due to horrific injuries sustained from roadside bombs. We stand for veterans of every race and color who are tormented by the memories of battle. We stand in honor and memory of the servicemen and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. Lastly, we stand in the hope that America will continue on its journey to be an example to the world as the land of the free because of the sacrifice, courage and service of the brave.

So thank you, Colin Kaepernick, for reminding us why we stand. This Sunday as NFL stadiums are filled with fans to start the season and we pause to remember the attacks of Sept. 11, I hope and pray it is something we will never forget.

Terry Senhauser, Dover

Protesters block road near workplace of slain man | Sept. 6

Law enforcement overreach

We shouldn't be paying police SWAT teams to break into people's houses (and shoot them to death) because they sold marijuana. It's outrageous that while a clear majority of Floridians (and Americans in general) favor decriminalization or even legalization of marijuana, the police, seemingly operating in their own scary world, are still busting down doors and killing people over the same relatively harmless substance anyone can legally purchase in Denver, Portland, Ore., or Seattle.

Michael Rubinstein, Tampa

The writer is a former assistant U.S. attorney in Tampa.

Better food for students | Sept. 3, letter

Blame sugar, little exercise

This letter about school lunches claims that protein sources like dairy, beef, pork or chicken have resulted in some of our children being overweight or obese. The reasons children are overweight or obese are a lack of exercise and, more importantly, an addiction to carbohydrates and complex sugars. Proteins are not to blame. Any dietician could tell you this.

Kurt Piepenbrink, Tampa

Hurricane Hermine

Stay clear of standing water

Recent coverage of the flooding from Hermine pictured a young boy and his dog wading in floodwaters. The picture reminded me that some 40 years ago, our own son was drawn to the adventure of floodwaters and pictured in the then-St. Petersburg Times riding his bike on flooded Snell Isle.

Since then we've become more aware of the dangers of walking in floodwaters: pollution, downed wires and other hidden hazards, quite possibly life-threatening. Though I agree that the picture is dramatic, perhaps a rethinking of its message that "it's safe and okay to wade in floodwaters" would be in order.

Let's not show misleading pictures to our kids.

Jane Fanning, St. Petersburg

Master class in resolve | Sept. 4, Floridian

Inspirational account

What an inspirational article John Pendygraft wrote about Adan Martinez and his dedication to music. It is so uplifting to read about this young man not letting excuses, bullies or laziness get in his way.

I hope the community pools together to help raise him up and give his journey a helping hand.

Christina Aikman, St. Petersburg

Storm leaves bay with sewage mess | Sept. 7

First, attend to the basics

The rain from last week's tropical weather once again reminds the taxpayers of St. Petersburg what the city's primary priorities should be. First, when a citizen sees nefarious activity, he calls law enforcement, which shows up in reasonable time to address the problem. Second, in case of fire, the fire department arrives. Third, when a utility customer turns on the tap, clean water comes out. Finally, when we flush our toilets we are assured the effluent will safely vacate our premises and not intrude to our stormwater drainage.

Those are it — the first four priorities of our city government and leadership. It is not building $60 million piers, an $80 million police station, moving a baseball stadium, destroying an existing interstate exit or spending millions of dollars for a study to determine what to do if the weather changes and water comes over the seawall.

When the main four priorities are addressed and working fine, then and only then should our mayor and City Council worry about this other fluff.

Dr. Ed Cole, the late city commissioner and mayor, warned at the time the baseball stadium was being built that the city needed to spend an estimated $30 million for the reconstruction of the sewer system, some of which then was over 100 years old. That was over 25 years ago. While some efforts have been made to improve stormwater runoff, they are nowhere near enough.

While driving last week south of Park Street near Ninth Avenue N, I saw the city had placed a barrier and pylon near a removed sewer manhole cover that was bubbling up. About a foot of raw sewage was flowing across the street into Boca Ciega Bay. Later, I walked onto my dock off Sunset Drive approximately 1 mile north of this discharge. In my 57 years in Pinellas County, it was the strongest odor of raw sewage I have every experienced.

The next time we vote, we need to elect responsible leadership, and the editorial staff of the Times needs to consider these main four tenets of government in its recommendations.

Jim Arnold, St. Petersburg