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Letters to the editor: He changed lives
He changed lives During the 1980s and ’90s, I co-owned a busy downtown Tampa restaurant. And very often, usually at lunchtime, my bustling business was graced by a humble, unpretentious man who always took the time to impart a sincere generous smile at me and many others. Despite the usual daily rush of people, I, as time went on, felt an earnest desire to take an interest and talk to this honest-looking, neatly dressed, down-to-earth kind of guy with a loving grin on his face. He always spoke fondly of his love of Tampa and its deep historical roots. As he often sat alone with his newspaper and note pad, I often approached him and asked how his day was going. Over the years I was blessed to learn more about this man of distinction — a few of his likes and hobbies and, more important, his real profession. During this youthful era of my life I wasn’t a fan of reading the daily paper (too busy making money) or learning the history of our city. However, as time passed and my interest in his talents and wisdom peaked, this unique individual literally changed my attitude about many elements of my life I had been lacking.This fine gentleman, Leland Hawes, passed away over the weekend. Since knowing him, and because of his positive influence on me, my life is far better. Due to Leland, over the years I’ve become an avid daily reader of my hometown paper, The Tampa Tribune, and a frequent written contributor. From now on, every time I read the Trib or any paper, I’ll think of him. Thank you, Leland, for the change you made in me. Mike Merino Tampa Government overreach Here is another example of our government’s overreach. Now they want to lower the alcohol limit to .05 percent. All they really want to do is up the fines. They are turning this into a moneymaker. It is perfectly normal for a person to be able to consume .08 percent of alcohol in an evening out on the town and still be responsible. Are they going to park their cars outside a restaurant or club so they can have a reason to stop you and check your alcohol level? Remember when they tried to limit the supersize drinks and take out all the sweets from vending machines? Enough already! Just keep it at .08 percent and leave us alone. Cindy Conti Apollo Beach Raging pundits Regarding “Can’t a president have his scandal?” (Margaret Carlson, Other Views, May 17): Leave it to a liberal Bloomberg columnist to turn President Obama’s lawlessness into another in a series of her harangues against the Republican Party. As she criticizes Republicans for even alluding to the possibility that her messiah is not only human, but a criminal as well, it would be useful to remember that she was one of the hack pundits who was calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor whenever the Bush administration did anything that deviated from liberal orthodoxy. She and her fellow raging pundits destroyed the lives of good people. Jeffrey P. Meyer Tampa Diversity in office Last week’s story “Commissioners agree to schedule hearings on Hispanic district” is perplexing. It is perplexing because the concept of deliberate gerrymandering to create a Hispanic district seems overboard, and possibly unlawful. However, I believe that Hispanics are underrepresented on the Hillsborough County Commission, and everyone should receive fair representation at all levels of government. But as I look at the Hillsborough County School Board, I recognize that of the seven positions, Stacy White is the only male member, and the superintendent also is a woman. With males comprising about 50 percent of the student population and about 50 percent of the parents, does the disproportionate number of women serving on the board establish the foundation for creating “male-only” school districts? I think not. More importantly, achieving diversity in elected positions, in any form, does not ensure fair representation for all. If Hispanics believe only a Hispanic can represent their needs, then the Hispanic community should identify, support and elect Hispanic candidates. But this may not result in a diversity of ideas — merely a diversity of race, color, creed, sexual orientation and gender. Scott Harrison Apollo Beach Grief and depression As a practicing psychotherapist, I read the May 16 Associated Press article “Psychiatry manual revision spurs feud” with great interest. The article missed on one important piece of the DSM-V (the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). The DSM-V requires that some degree of functional impairment be demonstrated in order for a disorder to be diagnosed. The article stated that one of the most “contentious changes” permits grief to be diagnosed as major depression. This could not be further from the truth. Grief becomes an issue only when an individual’s functioning becomes impaired at that time when sadness impairs someone’s social, vocational and academic functioning, or activities of daily living (home management, personal hygiene and so forth). If no functional impairments exist, then the symptoms are of no clinical significance. This principle holds true across the spectrum of issues cited by the AP article “contentious.” The time has arrived for journalists to cease creating fear regarding mental health treatment and begin reducing barriers to treatment. This article only serves to reinforce those barriers. Robert W. Stewart Wesley Chapel
The writer, a Ph.D., is a psychotherapist.