Monday, April 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday’s letters: I caught the flu from a stupid policy

Exam policies at odds with flu season | Jan. 31, editorial

I caught the flu from a stupid policy

As I lay on the couch, my 102 degree fever not responding to my $97.50 prescription flu medicine, I want someone to blame. Maybe it was the kid in seventh period who quite clearly demonstrated flu-like symptoms but came to school anyway. Maybe I should know better than to shake hands with students as they walk into my room, even if I use hand sanitizer.

I start replaying every interaction I’ve had in the past 72 hours, including the three small children I held at a birthday party, who could contract influenza Type A because I didn’t know I was sick until it hit me like a palette of Advil dropped on my skull. I’m feeling guilty for holding a friend’s child, because of one simple reason: the Hillsborough County Public Schools’ exam exemption policy.

Letting kids skip their final exams if they come to school made no sense to me. It wasted valuable classroom time poring over attendance rolls to verify exam exemption eligibility, but we did it because it increased the attendance rate, and statistics are important in measuring school success. So, it turns out, we care more about an Excel spreadsheet’s bar graph than we do about sick people making other people sick. The flu is killing people this year. Healthy people. Babies. Like the ones I held on Sunday. The ones right now I’m praying I didn’t make sick.

It is time for the school board to either let students exempt for legitimate medical reasons, or do away with the exemptions, even for seniors, for good. If they have to take the tests anyway, they won’t come to school sick.

I should not be sitting here with this fever. It took me three hours to write this, because I was dizzy. I’ll be home again tomorrow, not teaching my kids, and exam exemptions are to blame. This asinine policy should end.

Calvin Dillon, Lutz

Dexter deserves thanks if flying pets
scam ends | Feb. 6, Leonhardt column

‘Therapy,’ that’s the ticket

I understand the columnist’s disapproval of those fliers who falsely claim theirs is a "therapy" pet so as to avoid the airline’s fees, and the discomfort and disruption they may cause. But take a look at the outrageous fees charged by airlines to properly travel with a pet. For in-cabin pets, passengers are required keep their pet in a carrier in their footwell, and must also give up a carry-on bag. This charge for this "service" is typically $100 to $150 one way, which cost the airlines nothing and is pure profit. It would sometimes be less costly to buy your pet a seat on the plane, but airlines won’t allow that. Some airlines will transport pets in a pressurized cargo hold, with costs that are even higher. So maybe if airlines weren’t gouging pet owners, fewer would resort to subterfuge.

Michael Sedita, St. Petersburg

Doubling down | Feb. 7, column

A $1 trillion bill for us

Anyone who followed President Donald Trump’s career before he became a political conspiracy theorist knew that he was the master of running up debt and then bailing. So it should surprise no one that the national debt, borrowing and fiscal risk are rising under Trump and his GOP enablers.

This represents a raid on the U.S. Treasury by the GOP, who seem only to want to steal from the many to enrich the very few.

Couple this with giveaways of natural resources, undoing environmental protections and removing regulations that keep banks and unscrupulous lenders in check, and we can expect most of the $1 trillion additional borrowing to be taken directly from the pockets of the rest of us.

Jerry Nepon-Sixt, Tampa

Mueller is a man to emulate | Feb. 3, letter

A good man he is, but ...

I haven’t heard anyone dispute that special counsel Robert Mueller is a decorated veteran, having been awarded the Bronze Star for heroic service in the Vietnam War, is a practicing Christian who has been married to his high school sweetheart for 52 years.

However, how effective is he at conducting an investigation?

After more than a year he has not shown one shred of evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

At what point do you throw in the towel and admit there is no evidence of collusion?

Thomas Varnum, Largo

The immigrant experience | Feb. 7, letter

Spanish was here first

Everywhere I go I see the Se habla Espańol notice. It must really peeve the English-speaking supremacists. But, perhaps, a little history lesson is in order: Places like Florida and California were Spanish territories long before North America was overrun by the English-speaking horde. Here’s the thing: English speakers came to our corner of the planet, not the other way around. Better remember that Christopher Columbus’ crew did not include anyone who spoke English.

Humberto Calderon, Temple Terrace

Pentagon says Trump ordered Washington military parade | Feb. 7

Hail to the chief?

Like most, I love a parade. No doubt, with stirring marching music along with a Nazi salute and goose-stepping soldiers, our president and some of his supporters might enjoy it even more.

Stanley Cole, Palm Harbor

The Super Bowl

Easy not to watch

Surprisingly, it was quite easy for me, a guy that has played basketball, baseball, football and hockey the majority of his life, to not watch a single NFL game this season, including the Super Bowl.

NFL players protesting our nation’s national anthem and flag is a slap in my face. If you have a problem with the police, then protest in front of a police station. I have not watched Major League Baseball since 1993 (due to strike) or NHL since 2004 (due to strike). Professional players seem to think they are bigger than the game is.

Now I watch college sports, mostly in hopes of being able to experience the game in the spirit it’s intended.

Craig Morton, Palm Harbor


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...
Updated: 2 hours ago

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 ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

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...
Updated: 30 minutes ago

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

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