Sunday, July 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday’s letters: Our government isn’t responsive to the people

Senate’s focus: safety | March 4

American democracy is failing

The checks and balances that once kept our representative democracy from being overrun by the power elite and the extreme political factions they target and manipulate are failing. As the gun debate so clearly illustrates, partisan politics and money are what control legislators on big questions like a ban on assault rifles. The majority of people want it, but big money, big campaign donors and primary systems that favor the most extreme voters make it a major liability for politicians who, for the most part, are just trying to keep their jobs and lucrative connections.

The Supreme Court has become too politicized to check corporations and their lobbyists and gobs of money. They are, after all, reliant on politicians for their lifelong appointments. Once in, they can pursue their expressed ideologies until retirement.

There are many expressions of concern about this sad situation daily in the media, and yet when it comes down to actually trying to fix it, we leave it to the least powerful members of our society, e.g., underpaid workers, single parents, the alternatively gendered and now teenagers. As a result, the United States is an oligarchy in the making.

Jane Sellick, Palmetto

Senate’s focus: safety | March 4

Teachers in the bull’s-eye

I’m not sure what weapons are being suggested that teachers arm themselves with, but it seems that if they are not wearing body armor with a helmet and equipped with a least an AR-15 they won’t stand much of a chance against an equally armed perpetrator, will they?

Arming teachers is like putting a bull’s-eye on them as they will become the primary target. Banning the type of assault weapons such as the AR-15 and rifles similar to them is the first logical step in bringing these tragic occurrences under control.

Jack Burlakos, St. Petersburg

I was Baker-Acted; it’s no fix | March 4, Perspective

Guns, not mental illness

It is unfortunate that the writer had such an unhelpful firsthand contact with Florida’s Baker Act. In the interest of some balanced perspective, I would add my comments as someone who worked in a Baker Act receiving facility (they’re called Crisis Stabilization Units) for over 10 years.

I empathize with the writer’s experience. Although CSUs are often understaffed and underfunded, that is no excuse for the fact that the quality of care offered in such facilities is often inconsistent. For what it’s worth, in our CSU I believe we endeavored to treat patients well and I am convinced there were many people we were able to help. However, I am also aware that even when we gave our best effort there were individuals for whom we could have no long-term effect.

From different perspectives, the writer and I reach the same conclusion: More restrictive mental health laws and involuntary mental health treatment is not going to address gun violence. Gun violence is not a mental illness problem. It is a gun problem.

Jonathan Jaberg, Largo

A reality check for transit plan | March 5, editorial

Get the basics right first

This editorial is on target. An untested 41-mile rapid transit bus line makes no sense. This needs to be refocused on getting people back and forth from downtown St. Petersburg to downtown Tampa, with a stop at the airport. The dedicated lanes will be a lot easier to implement by staying out of the Wesley Chapel area.

With a shortened rapid transit bus line that connects to the proven and effective downtown streetcars and the ferry line connecting the sister cities on Tampa Bay, we have a solution within our reach. Cut back on the 41-mile route and build up the streetcar and ferry lines. That makes much more sense.

Ivylyn Harrell, St. Petersburg

Trump announces tariffs on steel, aluminum
March 2

Allies, consumers to suffer

President Donald Trump’s latest threat to impose a steep tariff on steel and aluminum imports makes no sense, unless it is politically motivated, diverting attention from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Jared Kushner’s financial dealings and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election.

If Trump follows through with his promise, America’s closest allies, such as Canada and South Korea, will be harmed by the tariff. Representatives from U.S. steel manufacturers blame their financial difficulties on dumping by China’s subsidized companies, but U.S. imports of Chinese metals have been sharply reduced in the past 10 years due to a U.S. tariff on Chinese metals already in effect, the closing of several Chinese metalmaking plants and a current boom in Chinese construction.

The biggest losers from higher imported metal prices will be the aerospace industry, automobile manufacturers, large equipment producers, beverage companies and the U.S. consumer, who will have to pay higher prices for finished goods.

Ultimately, U.S. workers will lose too by an economic slowdown if other countries retaliate by imposing tariffs on U.S. exports.

Henry Weese, Palm Harbor

An unfair exchange

I am no fan of President Donald Trump. However, if you export a car from America to Europe, their import tariffs will add an extra 30 percent to the final cost, plus shipping.

If you import a car from Europe into the United States, you will be charged a tariff of 2.5 percent. Something’s not quite right here.

John Starkey, South Pasadena


Monday’s letters: More reaction to Trump

Trump sides with Putin over U.S.A. | July 17 editorialVoters will have to protect national securityThe American intelligence agencies are in unanimous agreement that Russia involved itself in the 2016 election, all to benefit the candidacy of Dona...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18

Sunday’s letters: What to do about the National Flood Insurance Program

Time’s running out on flood insurance | Column, July 18Kill the flood insurance programThe Republican ethos (Sen. Marco Rubio) is that government should not interfere in markets and that privatization should be implemented whenever possible. That...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18

Saturday’s letters:

Time 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. Can America afford a soci...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18

Friday’s letters: Trump’s excuses about Helsinki

Trump got tripped up | July 18 A dangerous mix-up for a president President Donald Trump would have us believe that he misspoke when he stood on the world stage with Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed belief in Putin rather than the un...
Published: 07/18/18
Updated: 07/20/18

Thursday’s letters: Watch what Trump does ... and what he says

Trump sides with Putinover U.S.A. | Editorial, July 17 Watch what he does — and what he says, too Anyone who still takes issue with the allegation that Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president need only look at his shameful and ...
Published: 07/16/18
Updated: 07/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: Leave fireworks to the professionals

Nobody is scaring birds with fireworks | Editorial, July 16Leave fireworksto the professionalsThe situation with fireworks has gotten completely out of control. I was at Curtis Hixon Park on the Fourth of July, and numerous people were exploding ...
Published: 07/16/18
Updated: 07/17/18

Monday’s letters: Make investment in the Rays an actual investment with an actual return

Paying for ballpark will take teamwork | Editorial, July 12An actual return on investmentMuch attention has been given to the cost of the proposed Rays stadium in Ybor City and who will foot the bill. The three-legged stool of the Rays, the busin...
Published: 07/12/18
Updated: 07/16/18

Sunday’s letters: Stop burning of sugar cane near the Everglades

Florida’s land of black snow | Bill Maxwell column, July 1Don’t burn sugar cane, periodIn this column, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King got a lot of things right about how sugarcane burning negatively impacts the Glades communities w...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Saturday’s letters: The dangerous days before Roe vs. Wade

The reality of back-alley abortions | Column, July 11The dangerous days before RoeI am a 71-year-old retired nurse. I still remember when abortion was illegal and birth control was restricted to married women in the United States. In 1983, I set ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/14/18

Thursday’s letters: The Rays’ Ybor City stadium will be magnificent

Rays’ big dream is small ballpark | July 11The new stadium will be gorgeousI had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of the Tampa Bay Rays "next-generation, neighborhood ballpark." I was blown away. As an 18-year resident of Tampa Bay, and ma...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/12/18