Sunday, June 17, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday’s letters: Why term limits are a bad idea

Prescription for change | Oct. 21, letter

Terms limited via the ballot box

Recently you published a column by Adam Goodman advocating term limits and then a letter from a reader supporting his position. Here is why I think set term limits are a bad idea:

First of all, we already have term limits. They are called elections. Every two, four or six years, our elected leaders may come before the people and ask to be returned to their positions. If the voters see fit to do so time after time, then the result, good or bad, is their responsibility. If these leaders are so bad that they have to be limited, then we the people need to vote them out. If we don’t, well, it has been said that we get the government we deserve.

Secondly, I may feel my representative has been doing an excellent job over time. Nevertheless, if he is limited out, then my right to vote for the candidate of my choice has been arbitrarily removed. This does not sound much like democracy to me.

Thirdly, it has been said by many that government ought to be run more like a business. And while fresh ideas are always needed, can anyone think of a successful endeavor whose business model is to remove experienced employees after a set period and replace them with inexperienced ones?

Finally, the primary rationale for term limits seems to be that a politician who knows he won’t be around forever will do a better job representing the people rather than listening to the special interests. I think the opposite is true. A "lame duck" legislator is far more likely to be swayed by special interests who can perhaps offer him a lucrative position when his term in office is done, rather than listen to his constituents who can no longer return him to that office.

We have had term limits in Florida for a while. How has that worked out?

Michael Ross, St. Petersburg

Fired school official files suit | Oct. 20

Poor example on board

How does a woman like Susan Valdes get elected to the School Board? Isn’t a School Board member supposed to be an example for the students of Hillsborough County? Using the language she is quoted as using in this article should get her removed from the board. And certainly if she can’t be removed she should be voted out at the next election, and I for one will certainly spread the word.

Using the f-word toward another member is pure trash, and I don’t even know what the p-word she uses is. It’s time to get rid of Valdes.

Ann Anderson Urbanski, Tampa

Divide shown in Kelly’s comments | Oct. 22

Official response fell short

As a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division during the Korean War, I can easily understand why Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow could have been upset when President Donald Trump allegedly said her husband knew what he signed up for. This comment, even if made in good faith, can easily be legitimately interpreted as a heartless, uncaring remark.

No phone call or letter from any president can help the grief of a Gold Star family. What a Gold Star family deserves is that the nation mourns their loss and has an unwavering gratitude and respect for their sacrifice and that the family shall always have our continued support.

As for John Kelly’s part in this episode, I will forever respect his and his son’s great contributions, even though while carrying water for Trump he chose to unfairly attack Rep. Frederica Wilson to protect Trump. But when Kelly agreed to become Trump’s chief of staff, he knew what he was signing up for.

Tom Meyers, Tampa

St. Petersburg mayor’s race and the unknown price tags | Oct. 21, editorial

World-class sculptor

Janet Echelman is a world-class sculptor making huge-scale, soft fabric art that contrasts handsomely with the cold facades of buildings around the world.

She is from the Tampa Bay area. Yet the Tampa Bay Times is trying to keep her out of consideration for a much-needed focal point for St. Petersburg’s downtown Pier, at a time when this city’s artistic growth (in all the arts) is burgeoning.

The illustration on your editorial page last Saturday leaves readers clueless as to the impact of her work. To truly see how her art would impact our area, check her out on YouTube and Ted Talks.

Mary Ann Marger, St. Petersburg

Ornery cats find a niche | Oct. 22

Feline behavior

The subheadline in this article on the working cats program uses the phrase "nastiest felines" to describe these homeless and forgotten animals. But just because cats hiss and swat at humans from behind cage doors does not mean they are "nasty."

Felines that are not accustomed to being around humans — or those that have been abused by them — at first often react this way. But as the article reveals, these cats soften once they are given friendship, patience and a home.

Next time, let’s save the words "nasty" and "ornery" for those creatures that truly deserve it. You can find them prowling Twitter.

Deborah Van Pelt, Tampa

‘Fake’ news is not always fake | Oct. 22, Perspective

Sorting fact from fantasy

PolitiFact editor Angie Holan raises an interesting and concerning issue when it comes to verifying what one hears/reads/sees in today’s "news." As avenues for communicating continue to proliferate, differentiating "fact" from "fantasy" becomes even more challenging for the average news consumer.

Social media has significantly increased the challenge. As I have cautioned my students for close to a decade now, "Do not assume that what you see or hear, regardless of who the source might be, is true. Crosscheck your information. Verify the source of that information. Just because the purveyor of that information is in a position of supposed power and knowledge does not automatically mean that individual is correct in what he or she is proposing. Caveat lector."

Kirk Hazlett, Riverview

Comments

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18

Tuesday’s letters: Fewer guns would reduce suicides

U.S. under suicide watch | June 8Fewer guns mean fewer suicidesIt is a fact that deserves more attention, but got only one sentence in the article about the U.S. "suicide watch:" "The most common method used across all groups was firearms." I spe...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for June 15

New group to address real women’s issuesLast Saturday our Congressman Gus Bilirakis sponsored a "Woman’s Summit" at East Lake High School that was supposed to deal with women’s issues. Some topics covered were gardening, weight loss and quilting.Mayb...
Published: 06/11/18

Monday’s letters: Bring back the ferry, kick-start transit

Cross bay, but who’ll pay? | June 8Ferry could be a gateway to transitIt’s great news that St. Petersburg is committed to bringing back the world class cross bay ferry service. What a common-sense and practical thing to do in order to ease us int...
Published: 06/08/18
Updated: 06/11/18