$ 1,000 bonuses for Florida teachers will not fix the problem



No bonus included

DeSantis introduces budget | Dec 10

Governor Ron DeSantis’ proposed budget includes a $ 1,000 bonus for teachers. But bonuses are no substitute for meaningful pay increases. They do not flow into retirement and are taxed as allowances. I recently saw data provided by the Pinellas County Teachers Union showing that teachers in Pinellas today are making no more real money than they did in 2007. Teachers remain undervalued, overworked, underpaid, and disrespected. With a budget of nearly $ 100 billion, there is again a lack of serious funding for teachers’ salaries. Apprenticeships remain open everywhere, there are too few representatives and teachers should achieve more with less. A separate but equally important issue is that teachers in the middle and sometimes in the upper end of the salary bracket are not getting adequate pay increases. The additional budget goes into starting salaries to attract new teachers. Even so, they often don’t stay. Something has to be done, but $ 1,000 bonuses are not the answer.

Shelley Foster, Clear water

Grief for a loss

Philanthropist, Publix heiress Carol Jenkins Barnett dies at the age of 65 | December 8th

All child advocates mourn the loss of Carol Jenkins Barnett, our generous philanthropic supporter and loving leader towards a better, safer, and smarter future for our children. In the 35 years that I have known Carol, I have always been impressed by how she kept it on her mind and heart to help children survive and thrive. As a devoted mother and grandmother, she made consistent efforts to ensure that all children were respected and treated as she would expect her own to be. I have been with Carol on several occasions as a guest reader for a group of children in a day care center, hospital or library. Her cheerful manner and engaging smile were proof that she would be nowhere better than right in front of these attentive faces of the children. Even if one or the other more talkative child decided to have their say, Carol patiently thanked them for their attention and read on with a quick nod. This insight into her passionate patience is a lasting impression that I will always keep in my memory of this caring, graceful and loving friend.

Jack Levine, Tallahassee

The author founded the 4Generations Institute.

Never the right place

Seminole City Council drops veteran housing project | 9 Dec

What impressed me about this story is that every story about denial of affordable housing seems to be the same. Take the quote from a local resident: “Is this the right place for this?” Instead of “Lake Seminole” it could easily be replaced with “that old Walmart” or “the former dry cleaning factory” or even “that barren field next to the lead processing plant”. It does not matter. It is always the “wrong” place when it comes to affordable housing. As with any denial of affordable housing story, things stay the same for everyone: 60 needy residents of Tampa Bay will continue to drift away from needed jobs and services, and 12 people like Jason or Ryan will no longer have to care for them. Nothing has ever changed.

Frank Dubonais, Tampa

Protect what they died for

Biden raises the alarm about the state of democracies at the virtual summit | Dec 10

Winston Churchill called the Battle of the Bulge “the greatest American battle of the war”. It was the German offensive that was launched against the US Army in a snowy Belgian forest during Christmas 1944 during World War II. My father was one of thousands who took part in this historic military operation. I often think of him at this time of year and the sacrifices he and so many others have made in order for future generations of Americans to live in a society where tyranny has no place and government authority depends on the consent of the governed .

Seventy-seven years later America is fighting again for the preservation and protection of our representative democracy. Only this time the enemy is inside. Voting, the most basic right of democracy, is besieged by republican lawmakers. Measures that have already been enacted in major swing states include the manipulation of state-appointed voters, which make it possible to actually invalidate or influence elections. The corruption of the electoral process must be stopped. Unless substantial parts of the Electoral Count Act of 1887 are reformed, Republicans will continue to exploit its weaknesses and open the door to electoral subversion in the 2024 presidential election. Since our nation was founded, countless Americans have fought to defend democracy. Let us not desecrate the graves of the fallen by turning a blind eye to an attack on the freedoms for which they died to protect them.

Jim Paladino, Tampa

Adjusting is not repairing

$ 270 million for climate fixes | 9 Dec

As a result, Governor Ron DeSantis plans to spend $ 270 million on projects that “adapt” to climate change. Adaptation measures are fine, but none of them will actually stop climate change, so most, if not all, will be ineffective at some point. It reminds me of how the state deals with transportation problems by continuing to build roads and more roads. In the time it takes to build a new road, the traffic has already increased so that the new road’s capacity is no longer sufficient. The state can spend as much money as it wants on these projects, but they are certainly not fixes. Why is it no longer spent on measures that actually help to contain climate change, but on measures that are hardly a patch?

Betsy Clemens, Dunedin



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