Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday’s letters: Hawaiian volcano is to be watched in awe, not fear

No end in sight as volcano in Hawaii
destroys 26 homes | May 7

Volcanoes erupt

The recent eruption of one of the Earth’s most studied active volcanoes is being reported, at least on TV, in cataclysmic terms posing threats to human activity and life. Although there is certainly much to be learned about one of the most significant natural processes in the geologic history of our planet, the Kilauea volcano is the centerpiece of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and home to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. This research facility focuses on Kilauea and is staffed by some of our best earth scientists constantly examining data from this heavily instrumented and monitored feature. Kilauea has been erupting, on and off, for many decades. This most recent volcanic activity on the Big Island is about as predictable as the near-hourly eruptions of the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park. Perhaps this particular event is a bit more powerful than others in the past. But its occurrence should be of no surprise.

For sure, safety is paramount and the National Park Service and the state of Hawaii should keep spectators at a safe distance. But why small settlements and villages exist within the volcano’s dangerous reach is a beyond me. If human habitation is threatened, it is the fault of the state’s planners. Evacuations should be mandatory and future redevelopment anywhere nearby should be banned.

Instead of viewing this most recent activity as a threat posing an emergency, we should be amazed and awestruck at one of our Earth’s incredible processes that has been going on for the past 4.55 billion years. The beauty, power and the knowledge of what Kilauea tells us about how our planet behaves are the real stories.

Albert Hine, Seminole

Budget shortfall affects prisons | May 7

Making money on my taxes

I was amazed that one simple question was not asked. If the prison system contracts with for-profit companies and the shortfall was $28 million, how much profit did those companies make and why did they make a profit at all if they need another $28 million to cover the budget? No legislators asked about the profits but instead were finding programs to cut. Tax dollars should be spent on state-run prisons, not on for-profit companies, just as tax dollars should be spent on traditional public schools, not on charter schools run by for-profit companies. Why is it okay to raise the budget every year to pay more to for-profit companies running state facilities and then cry that we need smaller government?

Richard Gentile, Tampa

Build up city’s staff of inspectors | May 7, editorial

Do inspections actually help?

Your editorial assumes the city inspectors actually perform a vital service. Now a retired property manager of 25 years, I frequently contracted roofing contractors to re-roof properties. Each job requires two inspections, one when the roof is dried in and another upon completion. Most inspections were drive-by. Never did I see an inspector on a roof, really checking to see if the roofers followed specifications. I did experience some roofs that were not properly done, yet all were approved by inspectors. In my opinion, the permit is little more than a tax since there is no actual inspection or warranty.

I also was involved in the construction of new homes. I recommended that clients hire a private inspector, who would review building plans and then ensure the work was properly completed by a series of visits while the work was being done. Private inspections often caught contractors using inferior materials and sloppy work. Every time a private inspector performed, my clients appreciated my advice and felt the money was well spent.

Hardy Bryan, St. Petersburg


Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

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: 06/18/18

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