Wednesday, April 25, 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: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

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 ...
Published: 04/19/18

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