Friday's letters: Fight for democracy, Piney Point, getting rid of plastic bags, more

Firefighters work in an apartment building damaged by shelling in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

Firefighters work in an apartment building damaged by shelling in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

Biden too weak to defend democracy

The tears welled up in my eyes as I watched (on TV) the Russians destroy several cities in Ukraine and their complete lack of humanity. They targeted hospitals, schools and civilian areas while trying to break the Ukrainian spirit and grind it into dust.

This tragedy reminds me of the Nazi invasion of many European countries eight decades ago. The Biden administration has finally imposed serious sanctions on the Russian economy and has sent defensive anti-tank and anti-plane weapons.

The U.S. was, supposedly, the leader of democracy in the free world. This title has been abandoned by President Joe Biden due to his incompetence.

More: How to send a letter to the editor

After three weeks of courageous fighting by the Ukrainians, we can’t decide if we should send some planes there to help them. Worries about antagonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin are upmost in President Biden’s mind.

Why isn’t Putin worried about our next move? Because of our predictable weakness. No one wants a world war with Putin, but where is our spine?

While we sputter, Putin advances and continues to eliminate Ukraine. This is about more than Ukraine; it is about democracy and human rights around the globe.

If evil triumphs here, what will be next?

Marvin Glusman, Sarasota

No closer to finding Piney Point solution

Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes recently stated that he hopes the Piney Point gyp stacks could be turned into the highest soccer fields and BMX bike park in Manatee County.

To be clear, the Piney Point gyp stacks, in Palmetto, will be a wasteland for decades, if not centuries, to come. There is no way to close a gyp stack in an economically feasible or environmentally sound manner. Taxpayers will pay hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up the mess of the phosphate industry.

It should not be a surprise to anyone that Piney Point, site of a former fertilizer processing plant, has been mismanaged for decades. The defiance and ignorance public officials have shown regarding the health hazards associated with a gyp stack are obvious.

The phosphate industry has had more than 50 years to address the problem of disposal of phosphate-related wastes. Their problem has become our problem.

More than 1 billion tons of cancer-causing gypsum waste has been dumped on Florida. We are no closer to finding a solution to the safe disposal of radioactive phosphogypsum than we were 50 years ago. Any mining or processing operation contributing to a phosphogypsum stack that poses an environmental or health risk should immediately be halted.

Glenn Compton, Nokomis, chairman of ManaSota-88, Inc.

Editorial passes buck on governor’s race

Your editorial March 15 on the three Democratic gubernatorial contenders gave me pause. While we all can agree to disagree on which hopeful stands tallest, I feel we can all come together to agree on how weak your vacillating Editorial Board sounded (“Wake up, Florida Democrats: Three’s a crowd in the governor’s race,” March 15).

There is no readership groundswell asking you to assume the onus of flipping that coin, but your passing of the buck to the candidates themselves to get in a huddle and rock-paper-scissors their way to a decision was pollyannaish.

It would have been more helpful of you to have offered a concise pros/cons of each candidate to assist primary voters in making an educated decision not based on carnival barker mail flyers. An Editorial Board should work at least that hard.

Kent Thurber, Sarasota

Vehicles too wide or lanes too narrow

Could we either widen driving lanes and parking spaces or reduce the width of the SUVs and trucks?

It’s not uncommon to drive down the road and see a SUV or truck whose side mirrors can touch both sides of the lane they are in.

When it comes to parking spaces, you have about an 80% chance of having a truck or SUV on either side of you. Thus, increasing the chance of your vehicle getting door dings, as people don’t care how close their vehicle is to yours.

It’s all about them getting out of their vehicle, even if they ding your door in the process.

Marsha Oldinski, Englewood

How to give up plastic bags, cold turkey

I’m completely baffled by the letter writer who says she would “give up plastic bags in a second” were they not offered by “plastic bag pushers” (“Ban the (plastic) bag,” March 15).

I’ve shopped at Publix for 40 years and never used a plastic bag, nor have I ever been urged to do so.

I bring my cloth bag, put it with my groceries and in they go. If I forget my bag, I ask for paper.

If you want to stop using plastic bags, just stop using them. End of problem.

Mariana Cotton, Sarasota

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: No more leader of the free world, how to give up plastic bags