Monday, July 16, 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


Monday’s letters: Make investment in the Rays an actual investment with an actual return

Paying for ballpark will take teamwork | Editorial, July 12An actual return on investmentMuch attention has been given to the cost of the proposed Rays stadium in Ybor City and who will foot the bill. The three-legged stool of the Rays, the busin...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Sunday’s letters: Stop burning of sugar cane near the Everglades

Florida’s land of black snow | Bill Maxwell column, July 1Don’t burn sugar cane, periodIn this column, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King got a lot of things right about how sugarcane burning negatively impacts the Glades communities w...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Saturday’s letters: The dangerous days before Roe vs. Wade

The reality of back-alley abortions | Column, July 11The dangerous days before RoeI am a 71-year-old retired nurse. I still remember when abortion was illegal and birth control was restricted to married women in the United States. In 1983, I set ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/14/18

Thursday’s letters: The Rays’ Ybor City stadium will be magnificent

Rays’ big dream is small ballpark | July 11The new stadium will be gorgeousI had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of the Tampa Bay Rays "next-generation, neighborhood ballpark." I was blown away. As an 18-year resident of Tampa Bay, and ma...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/12/18

Wednesday’s letters: Let’s prepare Florida’s next generation for the jobs that have been created yet

Make Florida’s workforce globally competitivePrepare for jobs not yet createdIf you aren’t amazed by the speed at which technology is changing our world, just think back 20 years. Would you have imagined cellphones with the capabilities of a laptop c...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/11/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for July 13

Re: School meals for all students | July 6 storyParents should pay for their ownThat article really got me to thinking ... why can’t parents feed and care for their own children? When did it become others’ responsibility to do this? No one fed our th...
Published: 07/09/18

Tuesday’s letters: It’s great that Tampa’s Democratic mayor works with a Republican governor

Dems wary of Scott, Buckhorn bromance | July 8It’s not partisan to look out for TampaThe focus of a mayor should be on success in his jurisdiction, no matter the partner, for the citizens who live in his area of responsibility. Mayor Bob Buckhorn...
Published: 07/06/18
Updated: 07/10/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for July 13

Scaring birds with fireworks is a problemThe justification of buying fireworks to scare birds is the biggest problem with fireworks. My wife and I retired to a small pond across from a nature preserve. On a recent holiday, we were enjoying watching b...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/09/18

Monday’s letters: Let’s keep plastics out of the ocean now

Is a ban on plastic straws a step too far? | July 4 Plastic in oceanis not fantastic As a Tampa Bay native, I am thrilled to see a concerted effort to eliminate plastics pollution in the area, and encouraged to see small business and restaurant ow...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/09/18

Sunday’s letters: Keep the Rays in Tampa Bay

Ballpark site catches break | July 5Keep the Rays in Tampa BayLast month, the Tampa Bay Partnership led a delegation of nearly 20 Tampa Bay business leaders on a benchmarking trip to Houston, to explore the nationally recognized workforce develop...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/06/18