Thursday, August 16, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday’s letters: Majority party’s failure to lead

Trump exhorts GOP on budget | Oct. 23

Majority party’s failure to lead

The current national Republican majority, and its unpopular ideas, cannot convince Americans. They pushed a health care bill disliked by up to 75 percent of the American people. They held no public hearings. They didn’t seek out the input of the stakeholders in the health industry. Several politicians said they didn’t like the bills, but they had to pass something and this was all they had. Is that all the American people deserve? The current actions cutting health care subsidies will cause millions to lose coverage and cost the taxpayers billions, but still they go ahead. That is governing malpractice.

Now we see the same scenario playing out on tax cuts (they are instructed to no longer say tax reform). The previous budget hawks who detested spending and spoke relentlessly of the damage of the debt to our children and grandchildren in tones of doom, no longer seem to care about that issue. They have a frantic desire to pass something. Anything. Put something on the board.

Republicans, if you believe in what you are doing, make your arguments. Hold public hearings. Put experts on both sides up in the hearings so Americans can decide what they think. Try to pass your bill through the regular order, and not with only Republican votes. If your plan really benefits everyone as you say, 60 votes will come. Trying to push it through reconciliation where you only need Republicans shows a complete lack of faith in your arguments and your ability to convince. And govern.

Bill Baird, St. Petersburg

Time to say, ‘Enough’ | Oct. 26, commentary

Leaving isn’t the answer

It is regrettable that Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake have decided not to run for re-election. They and Sen. John McCain are the only people in office who have had the courage to speak truth to power. They must know that many of us share their dissatisfaction with the president’s rhetoric and behavior. Yet they have chosen to abandon ship just as it is about to sink into a sea of lies.

They may well believe their chances of being re-elected are slim, but their leaving office frightens those of us who fear that the crew remaining in Washington will be made up solely of sycophants and cowards.

Ernest W. Bartow, St. Petersburg

Actions would have helped

While it is nice to see senators like Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and John McCain call out Donald Trump for his recklessness and dishonesty, the country would be much better off had their recently discovered virtue arrived back when it could have done some good.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt and Attorney General Jeff Sessions were confirmed with just 52 votes in the Senate. Vice President Mike Pence had to break a 50-50 tie to confirm Betsy DeVos as education secretary. Pruitt, a climate change denier, has set about destroying the agency he is supposed to lead. DeVos has zero experience as an educator and doesn’t seem to believe in public schools. Sessions, his record already stained by a history of racism, has proven to be almost as dishonest as Trump.

A Trump presidency was always going to be a disaster, but the Cabinet he has selected — and which Corker, Flake and McCain all voted to confirm — has made it even worse. And of the three, only McCain had the courage and integrity to stand up and block the effort to take health care away from millions of Americans.

These senators — like many other Republicans — now recognize the damage being done to our country, and our standing around the world, by a president who lacks even the most basic sense of decency, common sense or self-control. But it will take more than words — especially belated ones — to save the country from further damage.

Buck Beasom, Tampa

Health Literacy Month

Understanding your health

Should we evacuate if a hurricane is coming our way? How do I choose a plan from the health insurance marketplace? Do I still need to worry about Zika? Why are healthy teeth and gums important during pregnancy? Should my son or daughter receive the HPV vaccine?

Each day we must make important choices that affect our health. However, nine out of 10 adults have difficulty applying health information, according to the 2010 U.S. National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy.

October is Health Literacy Month. According to the Institutes of Medicine, health literacy "is the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions." Although the field of health literacy is still evolving, it is well established that people need skills to find and use information and services in ways that are clear, understandable and meaningful, particularly given the diversity of our cultural backgrounds.

Health literacy can affect a range of outcomes: lifestyle behaviors, such as good nutrition; preventive screenings, such as the Pap test; patient-doctor communication and satisfaction; and chronic disease management, such as controlling diabetes. Limited health literacy is also associated with emergency room and hospitalization visits, poorer overall health status, higher mortality, and significant economic costs for both the individual and society.

To find out more about how to develop materials and communicate in plain language, visit

Cheryl A. Vamos, Ph.D., MPH, Tampa

Industry insider shapes EPA rules | Oct. 22

More pollution on the way

As a believer in consumer and environmental protections, I think President Donald Trump’s appointee, Nancy Beck, to the Environmental Protection Agency is in the wrong by insisting on rewriting rules to make it harder to track the health consequences of chemicals, and therefore making it harder to regulate them. Beck’s decision is a huge step backward in public safety and the environment. One of the chemicals in question is known to cause kidney cancer, birth defects, immune system disorders and other problems. Is it fair that in order to make a profit our health is jeopardized?

Carolina Neyra, Tampa


Thursday’s letters: Cigars are bad for your health

Tobacco rules don’t suit premium cigars | Editorial, Aug. 13Xyxyx xyxy xyxy xyxy xyxy xyxxxThe argument made in this editorial to exempt the premium cigar industry from FDA scrutiny is, in essence: They are not cheap, they are not fruit-flavored,...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/15/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Aug. 17

Re: County authorizes takeover of SunWest Park | Aug. 10‘A poor idea from the startWith no fanfare whatsoever, we now have a new park that no one I know ever seems to use or even know where it is. If it is bringing hordes of tourists to our cou...
Published: 08/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Habitat should help the poor, not hurt them

Habitat lender choice blasted | Aug. 12Help, don’t hurt, poorAs a Habitat for Humanity admirer, donor and volunteer, I was disappointed to read how Habitat for Humanity’s Hillsborough County affiliate reportedly stumbled in delivering its mission...
Published: 08/10/18
Updated: 08/13/18

Monday’s letters: A gun or a vote: danger is relative

‘I went off the deep end’ | Aug. 10A gun or a vote: danger is relativeAt the demonstrable risk of having someone lose his fragile temper, grab his guns, storm out his door and speed to my home to shoot me for saying so (and why NOT, Florida Legis...
Published: 08/10/18

Sunday’s letters: July’s letter of the month is ‘Time for more civil debate.’

July letter of the monthTime for more civil debate"Politics" is an activity which involves power and control, arriving at decisions based on differing interests. Normally, leaders weigh the needs of the individual with the abilities of the country. C...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Saturday’s letters: A team effort made USF preeminent

USF and preeminenceA team effort vaulted USF The University of South Florida’s designation as a preeminent state research university is a prestigious accomplishment and a tribute to the hard work of faculty, staff and students and USF System Presiden...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Friday’s letters: Don’t let pollution be our legacy

Algae blooms amid cuts | Aug. 8Brown can’t be the new greenThis headline should have said "Republicans continue to pave their way across Florida, pollute the water supply and destroy animals and their habitat." The Republicans have controlled Tal...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/09/18

Wednesday’s letters: Girl’s drowning death is one of two tragedies

Mother: Dead girl now ‘pure’ | Aug. 7Two tragediesThis is another tragedy of a parent who became overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for an autistic child. But an equally bad sequence of events is likely to happen in the days and months t...
Published: 08/06/18
Updated: 08/07/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for Aug. 10

Jacqueline Road being misusedI have issued complaints to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, traffic division and also a letter to the sheriff and have had very little positive response.We have an issue on Jacqueline Road with speeding vehicles and...
Published: 08/06/18

Monday’s letters: Enough with praise for Pier sculpture

Aerial art to billow at Pier | Aug. 3Pier art: boon or boondoggle?Well, finally! The Janet Echelman sculpture project has been approved. The dust has settled and now, at the cost of $2.8 million an over-priced, glorified flag will be flapping ove...
Published: 08/03/18