Saturday’s letters: Health Department should butt out

Published April 11
Updated April 13

Judge: Grow pot, Mr. Redner | April 12

Health officials should butt out

The Times reports that the Florida Department of Health filed an appeal to the decision allowing a man who is a Stage 4 lung cancer survivor to grow pot in his backyard for his own medical use. The Health Department? Not the police or the state attorney general, who apparently have more productive things to do with their time?

What public interest does the responsible person at the Health Department think itís serving by essentially persecuting an individual with advanced cancer? And the judge didnít even give Joe Redner permission to smoke the stuff; just to make smoothies out of it. In the couple of minutes that it took me to read the story, I thought of at least 30 better uses for the Health Departmentís time and budget. Perhaps the responsible individuals there should try the same. If not, maybe itís time for some adult guidance from the governorís office.

You donít need to be a retired oncologist like me to be disgusted by this ridiculous posturing.

Howard Ritter, Sun City Center

Zuckerberg put on the spot for second day
April 12

Invading our privacy

I am not on Facebook, Five or six years ago I got several emails inviting me to join. I found them disturbing because they encouraged me to join by listing names of people I knew in Europe, Alaska and other areas who were members I had email correspondence with. How and where did they get this information? Mark Zuckerberg is as guilty as anyone else in playing the public as pawns to generate income.

The public needs to hold our lawmakers accountable for protecting our privacy. Not only from tech giants like Facebook but even the phone company that allows telemarketers who use fake local numbers. Unfortunately, since lawmakers appear to suspend their morals and accept significant donations from these entities, itís unlikely that the citizens of our country will ever see laws enacted to protect us.

Tom Finn, New Port Richey

Recent murder rate in London passes N.Y.
April 2

Key news pushed aside

Especially since the Parkland shooting incident, the Times has devoted huge portions of the paper to general anti-gun opinions and coverage. Although the safe schools objective is universally embraced, there are legitimate differences of opinion regarding the merits of proposed solutions.

Itís curious that your recent coverage of murder rates in London exceeding those of New York City was relegated to a tiny article tucked away in obscurity. Was it because these murders are happening in a place where all firearms are essentially banned? Was it because you did not want to cover a situation where knives (not AR-15s) were the killing tool? Yes, this news is about Europe, but we donít hesitate to reference Europe when it suits our narrative.

Noel Flynn, Wesley Chapel

Scott makes it official | April 10

All the signs of an insider

Gov. Rick Scott announced heís running for the U.S. Senate as an "outsider" and says heís not going to "fit into Washington." His past actions donít stack up to these claims. In fact, he should fit right into D.C. politics.

As the only governor to be successfully sued for violating Floridaís Sunshine Laws, Scott and his administration cost Florida taxpayers $700,000 in settlements. From setting up private emails to avoid public scrutiny to lost voicemails after the nursing home deaths in South Florida, heís no stranger to backroom wheeling and dealing. And letís not forget taxpayers being on the hook for $237 million for private outside attorneys Scottís administration has incurred to advance and defend their agendas. Scott the outsider? I donít think so.

Anthony Edl, Odessa

Voters beware of ballot deception | April 13, commentary

Monopoly is threatened

If charter schools routinely produced substandard educational results, then Iíd agree with Julie Kessel. But they donít.

The teachers unions know they donít. Charter schools actually produce much better educated kids. Thatís the whole problem. They make other schools look bad.

Our family has had to camp out overnight, standing in line, to register for public charter schools for our kids in Virginia ó along with hordes of other concerned parents.

Charter schools threaten the government-run run monopoly on public schooling. The teachers unions look out for the best interests of the teachers, not necessarily the best interests of the students.

Whenever monopolies are threatened, they (and their allies) fight back. Thatís whatís really going on here.

John Augustine, St. Petersburg

Coastal cluelessness | April 13, letter

The missing middle

In the spirit of respecting everyoneís opinions, I respect that the letter writer relies on Fox for his news because he feels itís the only station that caters to his conservative leanings.

But I do have a couple of comments:

1. This country (and this world) is made up of many, many more people who fall everywhere in between the two polarized sides that have been fabricated. Please donít discount who makes up the majority.

2. And speaking of the majority, one cannot say that Donald Trump winning was a "wipeout" of Hillary Clinton and that there are "more of us." Just take a look at the election results. There were almost 3 million more "of them" who voted for Clinton than Trump. Itís simple to see that the majority of Americans did not, and do not, support Trump and his agenda. Regardless of what the Electoral College says, please respect that the majority did speak: They were just not heard.

Christina Aikman, St. Petersburg

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