Thursday, April 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday’s letters: Historic preservation process needs fixing

A preservation problem | Nov. 25, editorial

Application process needs fixing

There is a reason why smaller rather than larger groups of property owners are getting together to seek historic district designation: It is St. Petersburg’s application process. And there is a reason why historic designation is being sought: The boom in construction is changing the feel of neighborhoods, and not always for the better. Sense of place and neighborhood character are important factors in choosing a neighborhood and also in maintaining neighborhood property values.

The city’s historic district application process requires a majority of property owners to vote favorably before an application can be submitted, but counts non-responding/voting owners as opposed to submittal. We know from experience that many, sometimes a majority, don’t vote. This fact, in conjunction with the city ban on submitting an application for five years if a majority of owners (responding and non-responding) don’t vote yes, means neighborhood groups are effectively encouraged to seek small historic districts as it is the path most likely to succeed.

There is a simple way to encourage larger rather than smaller neighborhood areas to apply for historic district designation. Conduct the owner vote like any other election — the majority of those voting prevail. If you don’t vote, you aren’t counted.

And by the way, the St. Petersburg process is out of the norm; most cities, Tampa being one, don’t require an owner vote for designation. Rather, designation is treated like any other zoning action: There are public workshops and hearings, but ultimately it is elected officials, not property owners, who do the voting.

Historic district designation is good for neighborhoods and good for the city, regardless of district size. Make the designation process neighborhood-friendly if you want neighborhood-sized areas to commonly share in the benefits of district designation.

Peter Belmont, St. Petersburg

Don’t forget pain sufferers | Nov. 27, letter

Pursue alternatives

I am truly sorry for the letter writer’s suffering or the suffering of a loved one. As a health care provider of 36 years, I can assure you that relieving someone’s pain is an important goal. However, it is not the only goal. We have a responsibility to make sure our patients are safe and live long, healthy lives. Chronic opioid use may lead to many other health problems, including addiction, and greatly impair the quality of a person’s life. The goal of pain relief may never result in being 100 percent pain-free, or zero out of 10 on our current, and in my mind questionable, pain scale.

Opioids should be the last resort in treating chronic pain. Many modalities should be part of the long-term treatment plan. These may include: physical therapy, occupational therapy, mental health treatment, exercise, weight control, smoking cessation, healthy eating, massage and other alternative therapies. These should be routine treatments, occurring regularly and consistently.

Most patients would benefit from ongoing therapies, not just opioids. The biggest roadblock for this is insurance. Payment for alternative modalities, if covered, is usually very limited.

I hope we follow the lead of other countries that provide long-term therapies to help those with chronic and debilitating pain.

Anne Conklin, Bradenton

Tax bill

Put benchmarks in the bill

If the stated intent of Congress’ tax reform legislation is to grow jobs in America, make that a requirement of the bill. For example, add a provision to the bill that corporations must spend at least 85 percent of any reduction in their taxes, due to a rate change, on "new" jobs or higher wages for workers earning less than $125,000. Corporations that fail to document such expenditures would pay a 60 percent nondeductible penalty to the U.S. Treasury.

Simple and specific.

Gregory Matthews, St. Petersburg

Extra money for investment

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the wealthiest Americans will benefit most from the proposed tax bill and the poor will be worse off. This is no surprise. I am blessed to be among those who will reap huge benefits from this bill if it passes.

What is not well appreciated is what I will do with all of this "extra" money. I will invest it, of course. I will invest it in whichever securities my adviser suggests, and much of this will be invested in companies outside the United States, because they give a higher return on investment. In the end, this will do nothing to improve conditions here.

Even if I do invest in U.S. securities, this will not result in increased productivity unless there is higher demand. It will be far better for our economy, our children’s future and the lives of those who are struggling to give tax breaks to those who will spend it here and not those who will invest it.

Bob Gillies, Tampa

Nuclear codes

Hand on the nuclear trigger

Some Republican senators are so worried about President Donald Trump having the nuclear codes that they are talking about passing a law that the president (any president) can’t, by him or herself, make the decision to launch nuclear weapons.

The fact that they are worried about this is frightening. Even with President Barack Obama, whom they hated, Republicans were not worried about him having the nuclear codes. And their response to this worry is wrong. The answer is not to restrict all future presidents’ ability to respond to a surprise nuclear attack by Russia or China (or someone else). One reason this is the wrong answer is that it is probably unconstitutional. Another is we can’t have a committee deciding how to fight.

There is one commander in chief. The constitutional answer to their worry is to get someone in the presidential office they can again trust with the nuclear codes.

Russ A. Johnson, Hudson


Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18

Saturday’s letters: Health Department should butt out

Judge: Grow pot, Mr. Redner | April 12Health officials should butt outThe 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 ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Friday’s letters: Open and shut: Enforce the law

Sheriff’s ICE aid policy blasted | April 10Open and shut: Enforce the lawPeople and institutions that insist on the using the euphemism "undocumented immigrant" do nothing but affirm their lack of objectivity by using such a phrase to support an ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/12/18

Thursday’s letters: Focus on offender, not weapon

Use data to curb gun deaths | April 8, commentaryFocus on offenders, not weaponsThis article tiptoes around the issue: human violence. The authors point out that automobile manufactures were pressured by regulation and law to make automobile coll...
Published: 04/11/18