FROM 2005

Your Feedback and Comments
Email us your comments:

Paul Werner (6.27.05) - comment
I have just thought of something. Acording to the County Commission, Hillsborough County must abstain from anything that would recognize gay pride. (Remember, little "g" and little "p", according to Ronda.) Well, why don't we have a Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Day? After all, would the County Commission be so foolish to have another discriminatory and mean-spirited vote? Perhaps we already know the answer to this question...

Charles Moore
(6.27.05) - NFL Contact
Someone suggested an email to the NFL
re: Tampa's shot at the superbowl. Here's the link for that.

(6.26.05) -
I'm surprise you protest against gays in your community. We your neighbors, relatives, friends and taxes payers of the county.
You say your afraid or offend people at the libraries, what about Bay City Builders in there drag commercial explain that to your child.
Lets move forward and get with the rest of the country.

(6.26.05) - For the People?
A public county commission seat, filled by an elected official, should represent the people. Why is it that 1 person (with the help of a vote by 5 others) has control over thousands and thousands of others who disagree with her? Ronda Storms is not representing the people, she is representing herself - giving no support to something she believes should not be supported.
You cannot push a group of people away just because they are different than you. Yes, it is easy to discriminate towards a strange group - because you do not know any better. But - it does not make it right and certainly (and obviously) does not make you respected.
The gay community of Tampa wants to be respected. I hope she has the decency, courage, and respect to admit to alienating and outraging a strong community in Tampa. You can now see that this strong community is not going to go away until something is changed. Changed - for the better.

Michael DeHaven
(6.26.05) - What about the constitution
you know with this money trying to demin and critize us for being who we are there are other more important thigns to try adn put a stop to what about all the drug infested neighborhoods adn violence in district 4 apparently lil miss rhonda is more concerned about ripping the right of gay people then beign concerned for the safety of her daughter we are not trying to hurt anyone or force our opinions onto anyone we just feel we deserve a right to be able to show ppride without being ridiculed by some homophobic bimbo on a ower trip who most likely while she was in college had a lesbian experience that she doesnt want anyone to know about
if your gonna strip away our rights you might as wel un raval the entire constitution and put slavery back on the market and start segregation of balcks and jews adn anyone else who was mistreated before all their rights were given to them OH YEA YOU MIGHT AS WELL TAKE A WAY THE WOMANS RIGHT TO VOTE OR AND MIGHT AS WELL MAKE SO WOMAN CANT HOLD IMPORTANT POSTIONS IN AMERICA WHILE YOU AT IT TOO
Michael DeHaven
Plant City Florida -hillbourgh county

Mary Pomponio
(6.26.05) -
I would like to see us expand our protest to include putting pressure on the NFL Commissioner to move the superbowl, unless the Hillsborough county commission reverses its ban on gay pride displays in our public libraries. I would also like to submit our invitation to the Librarians in the United States to join us in fighting this discrimination that also involves them. The Librarians of America are a very strong group and have often stepped up to fight book banning and other forms of discrimination. Who is the Hillsborough County Commission to tell our Librarians what to display and what books to stock in their library. Can someone find the email address for NFL Commissioner Paul John Tagliabue, for you to post on your site? You should also post the email address for Librarian Associations, so that we can begin a petition to send to both the NFL Commissioner and the Librarians of America. I found this site for the Library Association, but I am not sure if that is the correct site to address our protest, I was unsuccessful in finding the email address for the NFL commissioner.
Thanks, Mary

Darleen M. Farley and Cyndi Marvin
(6.26.05) - Why???
Dear Ms. Storms:
Elected officials are elected precisely to promote the common good of all citizens. How does it make our world a better, safer place for all of us for you or any other elected official to pit one group against another. Anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and observers of the human condition tell us that for as long as human beings have existed, there seems to have been a consistent portion of them who possess a sexual orientation which places them in the minority rather than in the dominant, majority group. All that that means is that a certain number of human beings are different from the others; the same is true for blondes, red-heads, blue-eyed people, and left-handed persons as well. Differeneces mean nothing more than different. They do not mean less than. They do not mean threatening. They do not mean dangerous. They do not mean psycopathic or pathological. Differences mean nothing more than different.
I am a teacher and a mother. I am a voter and a volunteer. I am a church-goer and a taxpayer. I am blue-eyed and left-handed. You might like me if you didn't know I also am a lesbian woman. It seems that as soon as I add this last piece of information you think you know something about me that allows you to tell me I ought to be ashamed of who I am. You do not have that right. No one has that right.
Before my son was born I prayed that my child would become a person of integrity, a person committed to justice, a person capable of loving greatly and being loved greatly, a person of compassion, a person who would not harbor prejudices, stereotypes, or hatreds based on ignorance, intolerance, or indifference. That child, my only child, is now 30 years old and a resident of Tampa. His response to your legislation assures me that the answers to my prayers have far exceeded my expectations.
My partner and I both have had long careers in the helping professions. Our children (my son and her son and daughter) continue that type of work and service in our world. You might like our children if your dislike of who you think we are did not interfere. They have surrounded themselves with friends who are as kind and generous and service-oriented and compassionate as they are.
You have spread the cancer of intolerance and ignorance very wide indeed. I regret that you have done that for whether you wish to admit it or not, you bear responsibility for any harm that may come to any gay man or lesbian woman in our society. May you one day realize that you do not have the right to inflict harm on others in the name of public service. That shall be our prayer for you.
Darleen M. Farley and my parnter, Cynthia Marvin

Bob Schwartz
(6.26.05) - Chicago
Let's not forget the other bigots who have joined Rhonda's hate campaign. I think African-Americans are sensitive to charges that they are bigots for opposing equal rights.

Clinton Brooks
(6.26.05) - Comments about Ronda Storms
When Ronda Storm was elected to the county commission she took an oath like so many do to uphold the Constitution of not only Florida but also the United States; and with her attacks not only against Gays and Lesbians in Hillsborough County but also against any materials regarding information about Gay's and Lesbian's or materials from people who is or who is a Lesbians is a violation of the oath she took.
The First Amendment of the very Constitution she swore to protect and to preserve, in part reads, "Congress shall make no law….bridging the freedom of speech"; which means any Citizen regardless of race, color, creed or sexual orientation has a right to have there views respected and also has the right to have this speech not blocked by any Government entity even at the county level. In the First Amendment, you will find, “abridging the press”; so when Commissioner Storm, choose to take down any materials or flyers regarding Gay or Lesbian Pride in our county, she violated a person’s right to publish materials in regards to who they are and what they represent. Lastly, , the First Amendment, reads, "the right of the people peaceably to assemble", when Gays or Lesbians are told that can't assemble any kind of group in the county, when they are told that there books, pamphlet's and other things used to assemble there "identify" in this county are not allowed, then we are taking away there right constitutional right to assemble. Ronda Storm can not take away any voice from the citizens of Hillsborough County; doing so, would mean she violated the Constitution.
The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, reads in part, "nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. This ban on any materials along with any activities (i.e. parades, meetings, etc) is only pertaining to people who are Gays or who are Lesbians and not the rest of the county in the sense that we are not banning any materials that support heterosexuality. If Ronda Storm chooses to single out one group because of who they are or what they believe and not single out another group because who they are, then Ronda Storm is in violation of not only basic human rights but also the Fourteenth Amendment which granted all people were created equal under the scope of the law.
If she can't continue to follow the Constitution of this state and this nation, then it is time that Ronda Storm find another job; because as a County Commissioner, she was elected to represent every citizen of Hillsborough County and not just her daughter and also as a County Commission she can not to single out certain citizen's because she does not want to have to explain to her daughter what homosexuality is.

Pam Rodriguez
(6.26.05) - Get over it Ronda
This one goes out to you "Bro". A loving brother who is just as proud of who he is and what he has accomplished as I am. I love you.
This whole business of wanting to ban Gay Materials infuriates me. As a sister of a Gay Male Professional that lives and works within our community would like to know how many children, teens or even adults feel that they can go to their parents and talk about their sexuality, especially if they are growing up in the "Old School" environment like my brother did. Education and Support is the tool Ronda Storms and once you take that away you are only setting yourself up for more suicides and sexually transmitted diseases, not to mention mental issues. I'm not saying add an extra class to our children's daily schedules at school or even discuss the topic openly in "Sex Ed", but just quit trying to alienate the vast majority of our community. What's next Black History Month?

Dulcie Citek
(6.25.05) -
I do not understand how Hillsborough can, as a County, approve a course of action to not recognize, acknowledge, support, etc. any people who are gay! Being a teacher, wife, and mother of 2, I'm thinking what about the children who reside in homes with gay parents, what about the gay parents of those students, what about the teen or young adult who is gay?!! Is Hillsborough County not responsible to acknowledge, recognize, and appreciate these students and families? Do they not deserve the same acceptance and support as all children and families? Are they to be ignored or thought to be not in existence? These students and families need acknowledgement and acceptance just as any other students and families do. It is not proper for members of a community to ignore or exclude any vital and productive members of its' society. The fact is that there are members of the Hillsborough community who ARE gay, but not gay first. They are people first, with a diverse array of personalities, abilities, jobs, etc. I don't get how close minded and fearful some people can be. Change is necessary for growth. All citizens should enjoy the same rights regardless of irrelevant factors such as race, gender, religion, family structure, nationality, sexual orientation, etc. These factors have nothing to do with a person's character, good or bad. There are good and bad people in any sub-culture of American society that can be thought of. Is this the 21st century? It seems as though laws here in Florida, and around the country are moving backward instead of forward.
I also have the thought that many heterosexual members of the community may feel the same as I, but are not involved in expressing those thoughts. I do believe that in order for acceptance and appreciation to begin to happen, all members of society have to actually speak up and participate to say that what is happening is wrong. It takes not only just people who are gay to fight and voice their opinions, but also people in the community who are not gay saying things are not right. This would have farther reaching effects, I believe.

W. Collins
(6.25.05) - Perfect idiot
Whatever Rockin' Rhonda is against, I 'm for it! She is such a self righteous douche bag. I don't care what the issue is, be it gay people or the strip clubs, I'll oppose her because she is such an obnoxious "perfect' woman. I'm convinced that she doesn't burp, fart or sweat. She makes me sick. She would have had a perfect role in "Animal House". Blutarsky would have eviscerated her. Go back to your gated community Rhonda and let people live as long as they don't hurt anyone or impose their views on you if you don't happen to believe in them. I'm totally convinced that she starches her underwear. The sad part is that she gets elected because there are a significant number of people just like her. Bradenton, Fl.

Joan Hepsworth
(6.25.05) - What people won't do for big entertainment
White Chocolate was right! As if we need the "vast majority" of district 4 to back us in our quest to promote our pride. We have ourselves. We have the constitution. We have our families, sisters, brothers, lovers, partners, lifepartners, companions, and oh yes our husbands and wives. Who needs Ronda Storms? Karma is best served on a cold plate. I'd love to be the fly on the wall in the room when one of Ronda's family members reminds her that she may not be proud of her gay family members or will not "promote" their "gay pride", 'cause you know there's at least one. The cute little lesbian in Ronda's past that approached her in high school know's why Ronda is so phobic, doesn't she??? ;p
Dear Ronda, thanks for the big step!
Joan Hepsworth Tampa, Fl Thank Goodness not District 4

Rnrtnccpl -
(6.25.05) - Hurricane Storm
Don't understand how an elected official can be so stupid, she was elected by the people and for the people, and since elected it seems she is always attacking some of the voters, it's time that the recall starts and get her out before she attacks another group of voters, the other Council Members that voted with her, should look back and check to see who supported the council of stupidly. But when it comes to re-election they will be kissing everyone asses to get back into office, and yes even Ronda will appear at gay gatherings as she did before to get out the vote, but I hope all voters will get out to vote or recall her before she does more harm.

(6.25.05) -
Shame on you... ignorance is far from bliss... karma is a funny thing though, so don't be surprised if your daughter starts to excel at softball and begins wearing birkenstock sandals...
enjoy your last term in office

Stephanie Goodman
(6.25.05) - Comments & Questions
Although I am not gay, I have friends who are. Friends that I have known for years, these are good people. Everyone deserves the opportunity to peace and happiness regardless of their lifestyle.
I do not see how it is right and moral to tell a specific group of people that they cannot celebrate their pride and heritage and not bestow the same restrictions apon other groups as well.
To stop gays and lesbians from celebrating who they are will not stop children and teens from knowing about their existance. All they have to do is turn on the tv or listen to the radio, its every where!
If they are going to stop gays and lesbians from celebrating who they are, then they need to "abstain from acknowledging, promoting or participating" in black history month or cinco de mayo and other similar events that let a certain group take part in celebrating who they are and where they came from. We are all God's children, regardless of race, religion, height, weight, eye color or sexual orientation. He loves us all.... obviously Ronda Storms is not a godly person or she would see that all people should be treated equally.

Sandra Novak
(6.25.05) - Ronda
Did she just call us all "ignorant"???

Rob Thompson
(6.25.05) - stop ronda
in her tracks. This is outrageous.
Force her to resign.

Chris Salas
(6.25.05) - Stop Ronda Storms
In today's Tampa Tribune, Ronda states " In my opinion it engages Hillsborough County in very high-risk behavior... encouraging children to engage in very high risk behavior." Now I am not gay, but I grew up with family members who were gay, also making close friends who are gay. To say that a pamphlet will encourage children to "engage" in a high risk behavior is very sad. A piece of paper which helps people comes to terms with their life and giving them guidence, does not encourage high risk behavior from others. I never engaged in any sort of gay high risk behavior, and I've been around gays all my life. Ronda Storms needs to understand that being gay is not a lifestyle, it's a life!!.

(6.25.05) -Sad Day In Tampa
Another piece of freedom has been chipped away.

(6.25.05) - stop ronda stickers?
You all need to sell some "STOP RONDA STORMS" bumper stickers. I'd proudly put one on my car. I get angry every time I even hear her name.

Sandra R. -
(6.25.05) - Ronda Storms Does Not Represent My Views as a Heterosexual or as a Human being.
We all should thank Ms Storms for allowing us to see for ourselves her backwoods 50's Look is not only the Image she wants us to see in her appearance but also is what feeds the ignorance in her Politics.
It amazes me that in the year 2005 we still have these types of people in public office, that choose to live by dictating to all of us or should I say force feeding us their bigotry. We are left to wonder why does she fear homosexuality? Is it a little to close for comfort in her own home or what exactly is it that feeds her ignorance and fear.
She has been insistent that she represents the majority of the community. But she does not represent myself, my family or anyone that I am close to. So, if two people complain to her she considers that a majority. I guess that is the mind set that Hitler had to and we all see how well that worked out for him in the long run, he went down in history as a monster as he well should. Be careful where you tread now Ms. Storms I believe that you have bitten off more than even you can chew with those giant red lips (sorry couldn't help myself had to throw one back at you).
I find Ms Storms to be offensive and very self absorbed. At a time when the community is trying to attract big business, sports events, conventions, and to all around act as the Big City that we are, we have the added embarrassment of Ms. Ronda Storms. The best part of this whole scenario is that Ms. Storms holds a public office of which she was voted into and just as easily can be voted out of. If nothing else she has brought the community together to be sure to vote out of office all of the county commissioners except for Ms. Castor (we will have to see where that ends for now).
Please everyone that can read this pass it along. Register to Vote and please, please Vote this crap out of our county commission. Ronda Storms does not speak for all of us, Thank God!

Berton Corey
(6.25.05) - Freedom of speech and the ability to read approved books
If you look in the beginning of the books in question you will find that they have a Library of Congress number and as such are FREE FOR ALL TO READ The County Commissioners have no authority under Law to Remove these publication or restrict them in any way. Only a Federal Court has this priviledge.

(6.25.05) - Bigotry must be stopped
There is no room in todays society for someone that promotes intollerance and discrimination. Rhonda Storms and anyone else who promotes this type of thinking must be stopped. They are keeping Tampa from being the great city it should be. How does she think people from other cities will view this bigotry? They will choose not to live here...

Sam Holmes
(6.25.05) -You are a disgrace
I am a gay male in a commited 17 year relationship. How can you tell me and others what I do is wrong. I am proud of who I am. Their is a very strong gay (and straight) community who totally disagree with you. With all that is going on in the world, this is no time to be preaching hate. We should all get along and celebrate our differences. Sam Holmes, Tampa Florida P.S. remember the gay community also votes (unless you try to take that away too) Next election, you will not be sitting where you are now.

(6.25.05) - high risk
``In my opinion, it engages Hillsborough County in very high-risk behavior, not to mention encouraging children to engage in very high-risk behavior,'' Storms said.

The "high risk" involved in education, learning and enlightenment escapes me. Libraries supply information. It is sad (and even more - FRIGHTENING) to watch Florida libraries (or any library) lose the right to perform this duty to its users.

(6.25.05) - I want my tax dollars back!
Rhonda says she doesn't want tax payers money used to promote homosexuality. I think that she should refund all the Gay tax dollars that have been collected. We don't want the straight and gay dollars to mix....EEEEEEEEEEKKKKKK!

Dianna S.
(6.25.05) - Don't Be Stupid
Wake up it is 2005, I myself have lived in East Hillsbourgh County since I was 9yrs old (1966). I am proud of who I am and who I have become. One thing I can honestly say it really doesn't matter what others say about who you are as long as your family and freinds LOVE you for you. I am now 48yrs old still live in the same place that I call home. I can also proudly say I raised my daughter who is now 30yrs old and was born in1975 with her knowing I was a lesbian or should I say that I liked girls and I left her sexuality up to her when she was old enough to decide what sexual preferance was for her. Now she has given me a wonderful granddaughter that is 7yrs old. I raised my daughter knowing that I was a lesbian and was open with my family since I was 17yrs old. I had made my choice of being a lesbian, have you ever thought back of how hard it was to be a lesbian or gay back in the 70's it was like having to go under ground. Now where OUT and we aren't going back in the closest so get use to it and love your children for who they are and not what you want them to be. I Thank God that my parents were never closed minded and excepted me for what I want in my life and how I want it. Even if they didn't understand. So guess what to all you commissioners that are against Lesbians,Gays,Bi and any other sexual preference all I can say is we all pay our taxes and your pay checks no matter what we do in our bedrooms. We all are human beings and have to pay our bills and keep a roof over our heads. So it seems to me that Ronda and her freinds must be bored in the bedroom and have nothing else to do but waist our tax money. To me everyone needs to get a life and quit worrying about what others do in their bedrooms. Just love your children for who they are.

I am very offended with this whole issue. First let me start by saying that I am NOT "gay". I am a same gender lover. The dictionary refers to gay as happy, and I am not happy all the time. Same Gender Loving is not a life style no more that being attracted to the opposite sex. Ronda Storms needs to get a grip on life. Her children are going to grow up as uneducated as she is. She is going to have to explain why people are in wheel chairs, and have deformities, why is it so hard to explain loving someone? You don't catch "gay". We are going to be the people we are no matter what she or anyone else thinks. Same Gender Loving has been since the beginning of time, and it's not just going to go away because one ignorant minded individual decides that she doesn't want to be a parent and explain life to her children. There is only one God who can judge, and the funny thing is she will go to hell for doing what she's doing faster then I will because I love a woman. She needs to get a grip and a clue.

Kim Deguise-Davis
(6.25.05) - Ronda Storms is completely off her rocker
I have to contribute to this issue because based on the Constitution of the United States, somewhere the translation has been diluted. No where can I find in the Constitution does it say, Freedom of Speech unless it doesn't reflect the teachings Ronda Storms wants to inflict on her daughter. This daughter not only is being raised as a bigot and a mushroom, we are having to digest the aftermath of the feedings that she is being served.
The bikini bar in Valrico faces the same sentence structure. To quote the Commissioner, "I don't want to have to explain to my 5 year old daughter what goes on in there". Now, she has beckoned to use the same sentence in Gay Pride and Gay Rights. This 5 year old is getting one heck of a time press wise.
I am not Gay, however, I am quite concerned about censorship and the right to live in a prejudice free world. What is next? Will the businesses that do not have red doors be allowed to open freely? Or how about the Catholic Church, will the "Shrimp dance" be banned because her daughter might get confused that the dance is for "short" people, or that the "shrimp" gives her hives?
Hillsborough County has the moral police officer that isn't quite sworn in. You see, if I were to be prejudice or bias I would question; what about public officials that are not representative of the human race? Even Barbie faced a blow by Commissioner Storms, is it because Barbie's mascara hasn't flowed down her cheeks like a racoon? Then came the bikini bar, and now Gay Pride.
[``In my opinion, it engages Hillsborough County in very high-risk behavior, not to mention encouraging children to engage in very high-risk behavior,'' Storms said.]
Being Gay isn't about behavior, nor is it her decision to decide what children should engage in. I believe she has a daughter, she should govern that daughter, not anyone else's. As I was told as a young child, worry about your backyard, and leave everyone else to tend to there's.

Linda Plunket
(6.25.05) - Hatred
What a shame that there is so much hatred in our own small community. How do we expect the world to stop fighting when we have such small minded, ignorant people here. I have always found that the one who screams the loudest, has the most to hide.
With the struggle that all the minorities in our country have had to endure, you would think that the lesson would have been learned to stop hating people that are not like you.Unfortuly, we will keep repeating that lesson until we finally get it. That will take wise and intelligent people, which this person is not.

(6.25.05) -
How about making things BETTER for everyone in Tampa Bay!

Barbara Provenzano
(6.25.05) - ashamed
Iam outraged to be part of a community with a county commission whos stupidity, intolerance, discrimination and ignorance is a shame to us all.......this commission, along with the so-called religious"christians", have done more to promote hate and intolerance and set this country back, than any i can think of....although i am not gay, i respect your rights, am glad you are a part of this community and hope you will continue to fight the idiots amoung us......

(6.25.05) -
although i am not gay, i respect those if you who are and i am appalled and ashamed to see elected officials such as ronda storms and her cohorts on the county commission. the pure stupidity, ignorance , discrimination and intolerance of these members as well as the vicious so=called "christians" , is a shame we all must bear....i hope you will continue your fight against these people...there are many of us out here, who support you.

Anne Legault
(6.25.05) - One in Ten
What Storms and the rest of the bigots that voted against Gay Pride don't realize is that one person in ten, a full 10% of the population is either Gay, Lesbian, or transgendered. Another thing they don't get is the disposeable income of the Gay and Lesbian community. Why else would major corporations be actively recruiting us and offering partner benefits at a break neck pace? Any politician who believes he or she can "do without" 10% of the vote is an idiot indeed. I sincerely hope this event, which seems to be an effort to set human rights back half a century, will be the catalyst to force all of us to the polls for every election to ensure that the bigots are tossed out and replaced by people of intellegence.

Ron Hamrick
(6.25.05) - Storms havoc
Florida has its hurricanes that cause havoc and destruction. Hillsborough county has Ronda Storms. Yes, "intolerance and ignorance" (quote from storms) is not a valued trait in anyone (even county commissioners).

Paris Nicholoff
(6.25.05) - sickened and saddened
It is unbelievable to me that someone in such a high position could be so insanely ignorant. I am trying my hardest not to stoop to her level and fill this email with all horrible and ridiculous statements that I could so easily make just by reading a few of her sickening comments. I'll am going to do my best to be civil.
Having gotten that out of the way... this whole situation, like her hairdo, seems so dated. Okay, that was uncalled for. To say that "homophobia," so to speak, is any less ignorant than racism is ludacris. The root of both problems is hate. If she would rather teach her daughter to hate human beings due to their sexuality, so be it. It is a sad world we live in after all. If she wants to spread this hate to libraries, she is sick. Libraries, of all the places in the world, are places that should remain free of censorship at all costs. Reading, like speaking, is a human right that should not, under ANY circumstance be limited or taken away. Seeing a display of books accompanied by a few pamphlets isn't going to turn anyone gay. If that is her fear, than this woman really needs some psychological help. By discouraging the acknowledgment of gay pride, she is encouraging hate crimes, unhappiness, and in some cases suicide among those living uncomfortably in their sexuality.
Its hard to tell what this woman thinks she is accomplishing. As far trying to avoid explaining to her child what it means to question her sexuality goes... everyone, whether they're gay or not, questions their sexuality at one point or another. I don't mean that everyone wonders if they are gay at some point, I mean that with knowledge of sexuality, comes curiousity. Curiousity leads to experimentation. Experimentation, whether gay, straight, bi...whatever, is a part of life. If she doesn't want her daughter to be gay, than for her daughters sake, I pray she isn't. If she doesn't want her daughter to read about equality, than she shouldn't allow her daughter to go to the library. If she doesn't want support available for those who need and want it enough to actually call one of the hotlines or visit one of the websites listed on the pamphlet... she is just a mean spirited, cold hearted person. Is finding out about homosexuality from books and pamphlets set out at the local library worse than coming home and asking mommy what "faggot" means? Is learning to accept people for who they are wrong? Is treating someone differently because they prefer same sex realationships right? Lets compare and contrast for a moment. What if it was Suicide Awareness Month and the library had pamphlets directing suicidal people to help. Would she force them to take it down because she doesn't want to explain to her child what it means to question the value of her life? Does she not understand that her daughter is going to learn about these things no matter what she does, everyone at one point or another finds out about homosexuality. I can pretty much guarantee that learning about it in a library by celebrating equality is much MUCH less vulgar than any other way. By doing what she is doing she is making much larger a spectacle of the issue than any di-cut, glue, and poster board display ever could. I guess I have gone on long enough, although I could go for hours more. Her seemingly unconscious bigotry is mind boggling. Its funny how can people of such ignorance can draw such fine lines and still feel good about themselves. The situation has a certain element of irony that makes it purely nauseating. Gay Pride Month is about acceptance, peace, and humanity... go figure that she would view now as the perfect time to make a flamboyant statement of discrimination. One step forward to steps back. I will close by saying that I learned about homosexuality at a very young age. It is due in part to this exposure that I am so comfortable with my HETROsexuality. It is far less dangerous for one to become aware of sexuality before they, themselves are sexually active, regardless if they're straight or not. I can only hope that Ronda will be shut down. I can only pray that she will, if unable to accept, at least learn to tolerate. My love to those who stand for peace, P.N.

(6.25.05) -
This contraversy is very sad and frightening. Ronda Storms needs to resign and seek help for her disorder. Ronda Storms has caused alot of hurt and pain to the Tampa Bay community and the entire United States. Is Ronda Storms high or what? Jeb Bush, please be the leader you are and fire Ronda Storms so the tax payers of Florida can concentrate on our jobs and pay our taxes and continue to feel safe and free. Now we are engaged in a war of equality. We will not rest. It is the year 2005.

(6.24.05) - Wronga Storms
It's a shame that Ronda Storms and Hillsborough County's leaders are such bigots. There are many wonderful gay authors, and anyone should be able to access their work, even young adults. I invite ALL Hillsborough County residents to come on over to St. Petersburg this weekend and spend your money where you're appreciated. Our vibrant Gay-Friendly community awaits you with a friendly City Counsel and one of the largest Gay Pride Events in the entire Southeast. However we'll trade you even up, our Mayor for yours! We love Pam! Ed. St Petersburg

Tawnee Stith
(6.24.05) - WOW!
Is this really 2005? How can this happen in this day and age? Don’t we have more important things focus our attention on? How about all of the children that have died recently because we let predators run the streets? How about crazy people with guns shooting people for no reason at all? Why don’t we focus on real issues that affect our safety as a community?
Gays and Lesbians? Are you joking? Are they really doing something wrong? Is it anyone’s business, especially in the government, who we are sleeping with? Let it go! Get over it! Step in, free your mind and accept that we are all created equal. What a concept that would be if everyone would embrace it! Those words flow out of people’s mouths everyday, but do they really think that way? We all have the same blood running through our veins! We all have the same feelings! NO ONE wants to feel the disgust of discrimination that this woman is putting out! When we all decide to accept each other as we are, our world will be a better place!

I think ronda should take care of more serious things.We didn't ask to become gay and she should be an adult and deal with it. We're here and not going away. There are many other important things to worry about. We don't bother her why bother us. thx
Iknow she won't get my vote when its time,and there are 1000's of us out there.

(6.24.05) - My Questions For Rhonda Storms
On the issue of Ronda Storms and her bombardment on the rights of the gay community, frankly, I am disgusted. Her trampling on the rights of gay, transexual and lesbian Americans has truly shown the flaws of Florida government. The absolute close- mindedness and ignorance this woman displays raises several questions of which I demand answers. How could a woman like this come into such power? Why does she feel the need to seperate the community in such troubling times when she should be working to unify the community? And finally, when did gays, transexuals and lesbians become second-class citizens? What people like Ronda Storms must realize is that we gays, transexuals and lesbians are people too. We vote, pay taxes, and salute the same flag. So, why must our books be banned from the library? The answer is simple, discrimination. Ronda Storms has been spreading her ignorance and hatred for too long now, and it is time to stand up. I strongly request that all of you go to the Gay Rights March this Sunday and tell Mrs. Storms how you feel. Show the power of the gay community and take back your rights. Darlene

John F.
(6.23.05) - Ronda sucks
You know, it was just a matter of time until Rhonda finally bit off more than she could chew with her stances on things. She's been a massive regressive NIMBY as a county commissioner and she's gotten ill reviews from any forward thinking individual in Tampa Bay...
I need to thank the Gay community because finally someone is standing up to Storms and saying that she's wrong. Not just that, but there are those in the Tampa city government and elsewhere in the Bay area that are denouncing Storms and the Hillsborough County Commission as a whole because of this.
Of course I expect the Neo-Conservatives and the Fundamental Christians from around the nation to try to ride to Storms rescue but it may just become another Terri Schiavo debacle for them....
I support equality and tolerance, I support the Constitution of the United States and I think that Storms is well in the wrong.

(6.22.05) -
First United Church of Tampa, a congregation of the United Church of Christ, opposes the County Commission's anti-gay policy. Visit to read our press release.

(6.22.05) - Let's walk around the rosie...
A man named Al Jireau has been walking around the County Office Bldg daily M-F from 4:30 to 5:30 carrying a rainbow flag. 5 of us joined him yesterday, and I went alone today from 12:45 to 2:30 pm.
I have a vision of someone there around the clock, from 8'ish to 5'ish, walking around the block, carrying a rainbow or American flag or a sign. People will honk, smile, ignore. A few will preach at you. Several will verbally agree.
If you have a few minutes or a few hours to do this, then just go. Park, feed the meters (quarters only), take your flag and walk. As long as you can, as often as you can.
Invite someone you know who might be willing and available to do this. We need to people who work there and especially the Commissioners who are still there (Mark Sharpe was out front talking today and I know he saw me...BaysNews9 did!). No organization or permission needed. If you are comfortable, please do this for us...yourself, me, our friends, the Gays who work for the County.
It's good exercise, and you might see some cuties who work downtown! Gayly yours, in the struggle...Ric

Susan D.
(6.22.05) - Thank you to our Supporters & Community
I personally want to thank each of you who came out in support of our Community on Monday night. This past election demonstrated that our fight for Equality is not over, and the recent actions by the Hillsborough County Commission prove that we are not even safe in our own back yards.
There are individuals that will argue that what the county did doesn't really affect them. What they and so many others do not understand is that this is just another chip, another broken piece of the very foundation that we call Liberty. Little by little, our Community's opponents will chip away at our Foundation. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, "They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Stand up!
I know we still have friends and family who aren't "political", who remain in the closet and fear the ramifications of their speaking out. For those people who are unable to "get involved" I encourage you to gently take them by the hand and lead them to the nearest money order store where they may anonymously acquire a money order in any denomination they wish and make it out to "Equality Florida".
Let us not forget that June is Gay Pride Month. On June 27th 1969 a courageous few took a stand, sparking a three day riot and the beginning of the Gay Civil Rights Movement. Our numbers have grown and our strength is in our numbers and in our pockets – let’s use them both to make a difference. -Polk County Resident

(6.22.05) - It In Now Time
I thank Ronda for one thing - getting the gay community in Tampa off its collective butt. Not since the County raised the ugly head of bigotry in the mid 90's has this community come together to raise their voice. The turn out at the rally this past week was amazing - but we cannot let the momentum die. Although I am not sure of the reasoning behind a march this Sunday from the Library to a closed County Building - I will be there - but let us keep pushing for the day when we all march, along with out str8 friends, our other minority friends - through a busy downtown - during the day - when we stop traffic and show the masses our resolve - to a building filled with County workers to whom we are showing our support. Let us all take out Library Cards and ask the Librarian where the gay themed books are; continue to call and write your commissioner, from your district and insist on a direct answer from them about how they feel about your anger and fear; continue to write to the newspapers and the TV stations and keep this issue in front of the community. But be ready for the day when Equality Florida or some organization realizes it is time to protest in the midst of the weekday - and not hide away on a Sunday - be ready then to show how important your life is. Learn the words to We Shall Overcome, and We are a Gentle Angry People and sing them as we march - because as the song says - We are Fighting, Fighting for our Lives.

(6.21.05) - Opening Minds and Hearts
"Okay. I've taken the time to read the postings on Bay news 9 and considered all opinions with an open mind. The result? - I'm stunned and saddened. I find it curious and ironic that those who would speak so vehemently against supporting the promotion and education about Gay and Lesbian rights, do so by advocating the heterosexual point of view and pushing it at gays and lesbians as a model that those "sinners" should follow. This is accompanied by the rant that no one has the right to promote or impose their own point of view on others. It's utterly laughable. And for those that suggest that better energy is spent on preventing war....don't they realize that, at the root, war is the oppression of free beings. Added to this, I have read no solid argument by those who oppose the support of gay and lesbian rights for that opposition....just name-calling and misspelled, misquoted biblical references. Oh, and by the way, who has the limitation to expend energy on only one injustice at a time? I have no fear that this too, shall pass. It's a burp. It's nothing in the greater scheme of things than a stupid woman who has been content in her ignorance. She needs to be addressed, certainly, and she along with people like her will ultimately fade out."

(6.21.05) - Love thy Neighbor?
"With the recent bigotry displayed by the Hillsborough County Commissioners I'm reminded of a billboard a local church has erected; That "Love thy Neighbor" thing...I meant it! - God. Another thing, when did Katherine Harris get demoted to the represent Valrico as a Hillsborough County Commissioner?"

David (6.21.05) -The BOCC in Hillsbourough Forgets Quickly
"Students read in our history books about the movement of black and woman’s rights in America. It is fact that there are blacks and women sitting on the BOCC in Hillsborough County. Decades ago this would not have been allowed. I would like to know how they would feel if these rights and freedoms that they have now were to be taken away. Many Gay’s and Lesbians face these obstacles everyday, at work, at home, in school. Fear of being themselves and living their lives free from what a small portion of society says is not OK. How soon these blacks and women forgot that they were fighting a similar battle just a few decades ago. The Gay and Lesbian Pride movement is more then just a street festival or some books on the shelf of a library. It is the self acceptance of who we are as individuals and the power to say “it is OK to be me” when some in our communities say it is not. Suicide amongst teens and closeted younger people is still at an alarming high.

When I came out eight years ago I learned that happiness is not black or white it is colorful, you take the good with the bad the red and the blue. Gays and Lesbians move forward and learn that the undereducated people that feel this hatred are merely in fear of what they don’t understand. There are some bad apples in every bunch; the news and society tend to recognize these people and more so for the sensationalism of it all. What about the Gays and Lesbians in the community that are making a difference for the underprivileged, the poor, the needy? I can only hope Ronda Storms and the rest of the BOCC that voted for this unconstitutional action take time out to educate themselves with diversity in the community so Hillsborough County will be known as a community that welcomes all with open arms and a warm heart. "

Johnny (6.21.05) -For: Commissioner Ronda Storms
"I would like to thank you personally for showing how ignorant some people in a governmental position can be. Our country IS based on Freedom, and I believe that you THINK that only certain types of people Deserve, THAT freedom...I guess to "you", GAY people, do not deserve that. You are the type of person who makes it hard for people like us. People in your shoes wonder, why there are so many suicidal teens. With your "intelligence", you should do some research on gay teens and look At the number of attempted suicides based on being SCARED of who they Are. THEN, look at the numbers for the ones who actually, commit it. THEN, do the research on the ones who tried, failed, and now have to live in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives. THEN, maybe you will Realize why WE, have PRIDE. Pride is more than a gay social event; pride is more than a fun weekend. PRIDE gives out help, freedom, and wisdom, that way other homosexual people will realize, that they are no DIFFERENT, because of there sexuality, and for other people that can gain a better perception of what we are. If people like YOU didn't make it so HARD for us, we wouldn't have to have a pride. So next time your at home with your loving family, kids, career, etc. Just pretend your homosexual for 1 minute, then maybe you can see how we feel 24/7, knowing that, by a stupid vote from a few people, that all, THAT can be taken from us, at any moment. Thank you for your time. Johnny Faro"

Hillsborough County:
Ronda Storms
County Commissioner, District 4
Call her : 813.272.5740
Fax : 813.272.7049


2005 Sponsors: