What's become of the American dream? | April 9, commentary
With effort, dream within reach
I am a teacher in the Pinellas County school system. I agree with so much of what Peggy Noonan wrote about the American dream — it does still exist and the ability/inability to achieve it does depend on one's support system while growing up. Having parents/guardians who are "functioning, reliable, affectionate" is key.
From the beginning (they are never too young), start a daily dialogue with your child that tells them about your day, asks them about theirs and shares something from both. When they reach school age, get involved with a school in your neighborhood so that you continue to be an integral part of your child's education. Hold your child accountable for knowing what was covered in classes each day, show an interest and discuss your own experiences with that subject. If the conversation does not seem to be forthcoming, keep asking questions until the information starts to flow. Let your child know that you place a value on the time that he/she spends in school and that you expect them to get as much out of that time as possible. Developing that communication with your child will not only make your life easier, it makes parenting an extremely rewarding experience.
This relationship and those expectations are so much more valuable than taking the limited time to "stand in line for the charter-school lottery," and I found Noonan's use of that statement as an example of a "functioning, reliable, affectionate" parent to be disappointing. Rather than standing in line, spend time with your child, show an interest in what they are doing, definitely including their activity on social media, and make every effort to let them know that you are involved and that you care. No matter how hard we try, no school, be it public, private or charter, is going to be able to do that job for you, and you don't want them to — you would be missing the most amazing experience of your life!
Theresa Delphonse, Largo
Funding toward a cure
Cancer is something that has affected my family personally. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013 and thanks to my physicians at Moffitt Cancer Center I can proudly say I am cancer-free today.
Even before that, I was very active at Moffitt as part of the Advanced Prostate Cancer Collaboration because I know the importance of the work there. It's life-changing. And lifesaving.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men. One in seven men will receive the same diagnosis I did. That's why my family and the Columbia Restaurant Group work to promote awareness and raise funding for adolescent and young adult sarcoma as well as prostate cancer research at Moffitt.
Over the last 30 years, Moffitt has made lasting contributions to the prevention and cure of cancer that have helped thousands in our community and beyond. As the cancer center looks toward its future, it has unveiled a major renovation and expansion project.
Moffitt will raise a majority of the funding for this project, but is also looking to state lawmakers for help. The cancer center has asked the state Legislature to increase the amount of cigarette tax funding it receives by $8 million annually. This additional funding would be used to renovate the hospital to better serve its patients and build a new state-of-the-art research building for scientists to make strides in diagnosing and treating cancer.
Moffitt deserves support from our community and state lawmakers. As one of the researchers once told me, "Every day I wake up thinking 'This is the day we'll find a cure.' "
Richard Gonzmart, Columbia Restaurant Group, Tampa
Big step forward for city
I moved to the Tampa Bay area in 2007. In the midst of one of the worst economic environments in American history, St. Petersburg thrived. Why? Because Tampa Bay is an extraordinary place to live, and not just because of new luxury condo towers and restaurants. It's about quality of life.
During the recession, we witnessed the Museum of Fine Arts' expansion, American Stage building its new home, the Chihuly Collection's arrival, the Warehouse District's creation, and soon the opening of the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art and the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. And the Florida Orchestra's attendance grew almost 40 percent.
While the arts are important in developing a community, they cannot do it alone. People come to the bay area for the arts, beaches and sports.
On May 2, St. Petersburg voters decide the fate of a referendum allowing the city of St. Petersburg to sign a 25-year lease on Al Lang Stadium, and the outcome will play a significant role in the fate of Major League Soccer in our community. MLS has the ability to draw tens of thousands more people to the Tampa Bay area.
Businessman Bill Edwards is offering to do the heavy lifting as he provides the hundreds of millions of dollars required to bring Major League Soccer to Tampa Bay. Seldom does such a clear decision come before the voters to acquire such an asset without a penny of public funds.
Michael Pastreich, president and CEO, Florida Orchestra, St. Petersburg
Why cops shoot | April 9
Where the crimes are
The article regarding the number of blacks shot by police is probably correct. One important statistic that was left out was rate of violent crimes committed by blacks as compared to that of other races. Blacks on average commit 75 to 85 percent of violent crimes. I was a police officer for 26 years in major city. All police departments tend to use most of their resources where needed the most. Given that, blacks are more likely to come in contact with police.
Terry Hobt, Tarpon Springs