Tuesday’s letters: ‘Public servant’ is not an epithet

Here are Tuesday’s letters to the editor
Published November 19
Updated November 20

Recount over; Scott wins | Nov. 20

‘Public servant’ is not an epithet

Today we rarely meet on comfortable footing, politically. Our hair stands on end when we catch a whiff of a Trump supporter, an Obama lover. Public service has lost itself among the raucous bursts of political fireworks, but for a minute, forget politics, forget your camp. Public service is something for which we should all be thankful.

I worked for the consummate public servant, Bill Nelson, in 2013-2014 as an ocean policy fellow. From the first time I sat in his office to talk about fish or flood insurance, without fail the first words that came out of his mouth were always: “How would that affect Florida?”

No matter which of the 67 counties his constituents hailed from, Bill knew plenty about their geography, politics and culture. He has an encyclopedic memory for all things Florida. Some of the fondest memories of my time on Capitol Hill were when I was in a meeting with the senator where he would tell a story about his flight to space. One particular meeting stands out; Bill and then-NOAA administrator/former astronaut Kathy Sullivan chatted about their space flights just as my friends and I would recount a birthday party.

As a Floridian I am profoundly grateful that Bill Nelson ran for office, and that he dedicated his life to helping the place he cares about most. The Senate is losing a fiercely decent man who committed himself to hearing all Floridians, no matter our stripes. I am not writing to lament the election of Rick Scott, but rather to draw attention to the dedication and sacrifice of well-meaning people in politics. A career public servant is something we should prize.

Ryan Orgera, Sanibel

Climate holdout: Pasco | Nov. 20

Deal with the reality

It is disturbing to see Pasco Commissioner Jack Mariano refuse to pass along the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Council’s resolution to fellow commissioners due to his objection to the words “climate change.” Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. Maybe the commissioner can show his source for his disbelief in actual science or just take the plunge and believe the experts. Hopefully other commissioners will pick up the slack and join the council and gather any information that might be of use to our community.

Ray Day, Spring Hill

Urgent action needed | Editorial, Nov. 19

Maybe a trick question

Your editorial urging action on climate change states that a catastrophe fund and a carbon tax are both “fair and based on common sense.” The last part is the problem. We have a governor — soon to be senator — who discourages even saying “climate change.” In Pasco we have a like-minded commissioner, Jack Mariano. Pop quiz: Are these men (a) truly blind to the growing multitude of climatic disasters afflicting our planet or (b) political opportunists? Or is this a trick question? Is the answer (c) “Both of the above”?

Richard Downing, Hudson

What about race card? | Nov. 17

A Republican, not a racist

As a lifelong Republican, I’m just now finding out that that makes me a racist. I never knew.

John Waitman, Palm Harbor

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