Climate attitudes are changing dramatically
Young Floridians say, ‘Look Up’ and embrace the power of the sun | Column, Jan. 28
Climate change is the greatest existential crisis that we face. It seems that only young people are paying attention to this issue. Hopefully, older adults will see “Don’t Look Up” and be inspired to make some changes that promote a healthier planet. There has been some incremental change in people’s perception of climate. Only 48 percent of Americans expressed concern in 2014, but they said that they would not be affected personally. Asked in 2020, 57 percent, a 9-point shift, said they believed that “human activities” were mostly responsible for global warming. It’s particularly concerning here in sunny Florida that we have long ignored the issue and have become the third-largest emitter of warming gas pollution among the 50 states. All Americans, Floridians included, should make climate a priority and shift to renewable energy.
George Chase St. Pete Beach
Diverse types of diversity
Jan. 27| Jan. 27
None of us know for sure who is on President Joe Biden’s short list, but he has promised a Black woman to replace Justice Stephen Breyer in the name of diversity. He really wanted to focus on diversity beyond race and gender. He should have been talking about where the candidates came from and their law school. The current nine justices don’t seem to be diverse. Breyer, who is from California, attended Stanford Law. Amy Coney Barrett went to Notre Dame. The other seven justices are all from Harvard Yale Princeton. Six of the nine candidates are from the East Coast. There are four Ivy league universities, one New York University, and one University of South Carolina among the six candidates you have proposed. We talk a lot about the red state/blue state culture clash, but really there is a bigger divide rural vs. urban, coasts versus the “flyover” states. If the president wants diversity on the court, why not pick a Black woman from one of those “flyover” states?
Karla Smith Tampa
Blue states pay more than their fair shares Here are the receipts | Column, Jan. 22
It was not surprising that the recent column highlighting the disparity between taxes paid and funds received in red and blue states highlighted this irony. The red states contribute far less and receive more than the blue states. They contribute more but get less back. It is the basis of socialism, which red state politicians decry and continue to oppose costly programs.
Sharyn Steiner, Largo
Irked by ‘adjustment’
Florida’s largest utilities win big if lawmakers gut the rooftop solar program | Editorial, Jan. 14
Just received my Duke Energy bill. It showed a $21.63 increase. I have solar panels and Duke created a “minimum bill adjustment” for residential customers like me. All customers pay $12.45 per month to buy electricity from them. However, they now offer a free service to customers who purchase electricity. Duke himself says: “The minimum monthly bill shall be $30.” So now my bill is higher because I dared to get solar panels and don’t always need their energy. My new bill adds $17.55 to my total. Duke states that this “adjustment” is to cover the expenses necessary to maintain infrastructure and provide reliable, safe and cleaner energy to customers. This is already what I provide, as well as every other non-solar customer. I believe that solar panel customers should be penalized. Duke doesn’t have the fuel to create more pollution and waste fuel to provide electricity to other customers. Instead, we provide electricity back to them. Solar customers are often made out to be the villains and to be responsible for the infrastructure maintenance costs. This is simply false.
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Gregory Klein St. Petersburg
Money isn’t free
I voted Trump, but I wish that I had my expanded child credit back. | Column, Jan. 27
What does voting for Donald Trump — who is no longer president — have to do with Congress today? I will tell ya what, absolutely nothing. People who complain about not receiving free money need to consider these sobering facts. The Build Back better plan will be funded by taxes on fellow hardworking Americans. The Build Back Better plan will be a tax burden on your children and their children’s children. It is not the rest of the country’s fault that people choose to have kids before they are financially able to afford both children and a home.
Mark Khan, Tampa
Prejudice in my brain
For too many, ‘white’ is the default position | Column, Jan. 27
Leonard Pitts has always made me think. I grew up in segregation with all its implied meanings. I have always considered myself “progressive” and “liberal” but I still encounter old prejudices deeply embedded in my brain. I try to be mindful and aware of them when they emerge so that I can see the lies they are. They are not pretty but they must be acknowledged. Our country must be able to heal itself.
Fern Williams Zephyrhills