Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake Okeechobee

Reservoir project off to good start

This year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals and ordinary citizens trekked to Tallahassee to show their support for the reservoir in person.

The Legislature passed SB 10 with overwhelming support. After signing the bill into law, Gov. Rick Scott told the South Florida Water Management District to get to work, and the district is doing just that.

The law lays out an ambitious timetable for the Army Corps of Engineers and the water district to conduct preliminary planning for construction of the new reservoir. So far, both agencies have stepped up to the plate and responded with all the urgency the situation deserves.

Nevertheless, this is just the top of the first inning of a nine-inning game. The next step is critical. The water district must identify a cost-effective design and operations plan for the reservoir that will reduce harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee and provide significantly more water to the Everglades during the dry months.

So far, the district has performed commendably. As Florida continues to reap the fallout from this year’s heavy rains, this is no time for them to stop.

Eric Eikenberg, CEO, Everglades Foundation, Palmetto Bay

Tax bill

‘Help’ must be paid for

It should come as no surprise that any cut in federal income taxes will benefit mostly the wealthy. The reality is that the top 20 percent of wage earners pay 83.6 percent of all federal income taxes, while the bottom 60 percent pay only 5.3 percent. It’s simply not possible to give a significant tax cut to a segment of the population that pays such a little share of the federal income tax bill in the first place.

The only way the bottom 60 percent of wage earners get a tax cut is if they see a cut in payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes and/or those hidden taxes called "user fees." These taxes are the real tax bite for these individuals.

For example, while the bottom 60 percent may pay only 5.3 percent of all federal income taxes, they pay 29.7 percent of all payroll taxes. However, these are the taxes that support Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, our schools, first responders and infrastructure — all of which are badly underfunded as it is. Any serious conversation about cutting taxes for the middle class must include the entire tax system.

The reality is that each generation expects government to solve more and more of our problems. That "help" does not come without a cost. At some point we are going to need to have a discussion about how much we are willing to pay for that "help."

Scott Stolz, Tarpon Springs

Tax plan’s dirty little secret: AMT repeal
Nov. 14, commentary

The millionaire ruling class

Thank you for this editorial on the alternative minimum tax. I don’t understand why Democrats aren’t shouting from the rooftops how terrible repealing the AMT would be. Could it be that almost all of Congress would benefit from its repeal? Many members are millionaires, and if they didn’t come in as a millionaire they will be one by the time they leave.

Joe Jones, New Port Richey

Legislature should ban sanctuary cities
Nov. 14, commentary

Looking at crime statistics

Most of House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s piece was opinion, and while I don’t share his views, so be it. What caught my attention were the two data sources he cited. The first is a University of California, Riverside paper from 2016 that concluded that between sanctuary and non-sanctuary cities there is "no statistically discernible difference in violent crime rates, rape or property crime." The second was a Fox News report that said that after Phoenix dropped its sanctuary policies in mid 2008 that crime rates fell dramatically, with murder rates falling 27 percent and other crime rates also having a significant decrease. This was attributed to enforcing the law on illegal immigration.

This made no sense. Which is it: no difference in crime rates between sanctuary cities and non-sanctuary cities, or a huge difference as cited for Phoenix?

The Fox News report used Citi-Data statistics, so I used the same source to compare violent crime rates in three non-sanctuary cities (Phoenix, Miami and Cleveland), four sanctuary cities (New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Atlanta) and the national average.

From 2008 to 2009, the violent crime rate in Phoenix did indeed fall 17 percent. But it also fell 10 percent between 2007 and 2008, before the sanctuary city ban. In the period 2008 to 2009, all the other cities I looked at also had a decrease in the violent crime rate, ranging from minus 4 percent in Cleveland to minus 18 percent in Atlanta, with a national average at minus 6 percent. Between 2009 and 2016, the violent crime rate in Phoenix increased by 27 percent, worst among the cities I looked at; Miami, Cleveland and Atlanta all had decreases during that period as did the national average.

It looks to me like not only does the Phoenix experience not support the theory that sanctuary cities produce higher crime rates, but that Corcoran is more than willing to dish out false information as a scare tactic. I know — nothing new — but I really get tired of politicians lying to me.

John Meeks, Valrico

Counsel may look at deals by Democrats
Nov. 14

Master of distraction

It’s been a year and President Donald Trump is still campaigning. He won, so why is he still after Hillary Clinton? Now he demands Attorney General Jeff Sessions order an investigation into the uranium deal, the Clinton Foundation and whatever else he can use as a distraction from his own crooked dealings.

Mary Sims, 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,...
Updated: 12 minutes ago

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