Table of Contents
Motorized mayhem on the Pinellas Trail
Walking the Pinellas Trail should not be hazardous to your health | Column, Dec. 29
A tip o’ the bike helmet to columnist Richard Morea for noting the menace of motorized vehicles on the supposedly “non-motorized” Pinellas Trail. Today, I took my trusty, rusty Schwinn three-speed on the trail. It’s a mixed-use path, with traditional users (dog walkers, runners and “human-powered” bikers like me) sharing a narrow band with motorized bikes, scooters and e-skateboards. Riders of the motorized vehicles generally lack helmets, manners or empathy. Today, a guy who blew past me at 20 mph was busy texting, an example of technology in the hands of idiots.
I’m all for “micro-mobility” as a “last-mile” enhancement of public transit. Maybe the Pinellas Trail is becoming a commuter artery, which needs widening and rules. I dislike speed cameras for their snoopiness but installing some by the trail may put the brakes on reckless cyclists and those who rent to them. Otherwise, ban e-vehicles from the Pinellas Trail.
Claude Walker, St. Pete Beach
I spoke with the king
Pelé, Brazil’s mighty king of ‘beautiful game,’ has died | Dec. 30
I was a lad of 17 attending a soccer tournament in 1963 in New York City’s Yankee Stadium one day before Pele’s Brazilian team, Santos, was to play an Italian side. The Santos team bus had pulled up for some of the players to catch a glimpse of the afternoon’s game to be played the day before their own match. During halftime, I ran to the restroom and to my surprise saw a crowd dashing my way with, yes, Pele, in front! As the center-half, high schooler I was from New Jersey, I stopped “O Rei” and asked him “Hablas espanol?” He answered affirmatively, even though his native tongue was Portuguese, and I asked in Spanish, “Who is going to win (your game ) tomorrow?” I remember his answer to this day, 59 years later, “El que juega mejor.” ‘The one who plays better.” That is a life lesson for all.
David Sinclair, Tampa
The public trust
Flight emails questioned | Dec. 29
This story speaks volumes about Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attempts to delude the citizens of Florida. In what parallel universe is it considered a good idea by Florida’s public safety “czar,” Larry Keefe, to use a fake email address to communicate with conspirators about shipping unsuspecting migrants out of the state? As ethics officer for the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and as an adjunct professor of communication at The University of Tampa, my head is spinning as I consider all the ethical violations this act embraces — most importantly, “open and honest communication.” Hiding one’s identify as a public servant is an insult to the good citizens of Florida and to other law-abiding federal, state and local public servants who truly do wish to act honorably.
Spend your days with Hayes
Subscribe to our free Stephinitely newsletter
Columnist Stephanie Hayes will share thoughts, feelings and funny business with you every Monday.
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.
Explore all your options
Kirk Hazlett, Riverview
Florida seniors need COVID-19 boosters | Editorial, Dec. 28
I find the editorial board’s position that public health officials must do more to promote senior COVID vaccination boosters unarguable. I object only to over-simplifying and over-politicizing the problem of vaccine hesitancy, which preceded COVID and is national and generalized. I likewise agree that a state grand jury inquiry into the entire COVID vaccination effort is spendthrift. The format and focus will skip over the crucial questions. What role was played by skepticism over “Trump’s” vaccine, the censorship of experts who called for greater recognition of infection-acquired immunity, initial hesitancy in putting the most vulnerable first in line? What was the contribution of mandated or otherwise coerced vaccination? What was the effect on the public psyche of a series of hopeful but unfulfilled promises that infections could be substantively prevented, sequentially, by lockdowns, masks and vaccines? Why haven’t we had an “operation warp speed” for vaccines that keep even with viral mutations, have more sustained effect, target other viral antigens or which stimulate antibodies that are more useful in preventing initial infections? What happened to the public infrastructure, which was so successful, yet faded away? Why has there been a spillover effect on vaccinations for other diseases? As of today, with limited testing, we still have nearly 200 COVID infections per million, a figure that likely understates actual several-fold. And China is poised to restore its viral export trade. Pointing fingers at the governor is correct, but incomplete.
Pat Byrne, Largo