Monday, September 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10

Pinellas should end partnership with ICE

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the county jail. Gualtieri claims that his partnership with ICE is solely for the purpose of keeping undocumented violent criminals off the streets. He invoked the Trumpian, fear-laden narrative of "rapists, murderers and thieves" to support his voluntarily detaining people for ICE for $50 a day.

The sheriff said two important things: He has no interest in detaining people whose only crime is re-entering this country to be with their families. He also admitted that he has no idea what crimes (or lack thereof) a person has committed when ICE asks him to detain them. The sheriff admitted he has no idea if they are violent criminals or if they are like Luis Blanco, whose only crime was re-entering the country to be with his wife and children. The sheriff claims he has no interest in detaining someone like Blanco, and yet the sheriff did detain him. And now Blanco is separated from his seven children and pregnant wife.

If the sheriff wants to continue to invoke the narrative of rapists, murders and thieves, the burden is on him to make sure his claim is actually true.

When asked about Luis Blanco, the sheriff shrugged his shoulders and claimed to have never heard of him. The sheriff failed to explain how we are safer because Luis Blanco was detained in the county jail and is now back in Mexico. My invitation still stands, sheriff: Sit down with the Blancos and me and look into the eyes of a family you helped destroy. This is completely within your control — end your partnership with ICE.

The Rev. Andy Oliver, St. Petersburg

The writer is pastor of Allendale United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg.

Allegiant Airlines

Safety investigation needed

In early 2016, my family experienced an in-flight mishap during an Allegiant Airlines flight. Like many Allegiant travelers, we were drawn in by low fares and direct flights. But as a 14-year veteran Air Force pilot with more than 1,300 hours of combat time, I knew what we’d experienced during our flight was uncommon and dangerous.

For my 4-year-old son, Ethan, it was his first time to fly with Dad. As the MD-80 aircraft accelerated to "rotation speed," I described exactly what was happening, except that just before we lifted off, one of the engines failed. The moment I was using to cultivate Ethan’s love of flying turned into a moment of terror as the aircraft shuddered and swayed as it decelerated and came to an abrupt stop on the runway.

After the experience, I would learn hundreds of other passengers were having similar experiences — on a weekly basis. Thanks to the keen reporting of Tampa Bay Times, Allegiant continues to be deeply scrutinized. In a 2016 interview with Times reporter Bill Levesque, I told him that I wanted to ensure my story was told because I was concerned the status quo would lead to a loss of life. This concern remains.

The FAA’s lack of action on behalf of passengers proves hard-hitting journalism is requisite to the safety and health of our nation and economy. If the press can’t hold regulators accountable for failing to take action, we the people lose. But now it’s our turn. As citizens, we’ve become aware of a company that is habitually unsafe, a company the FAA will not hold accountable. With this knowledge, it is we the people who must now ask our congressional representatives to make a formal inquiry into this matter.

David Stuckenberg, Tampa


Tuesday’s letters: Amendment 4 is a matter of reason

Amendment 4 will save taxpayers money | Column, Sept. 23Amendment 4 is a matter of reasonMy lifelong Republican brother is a moderate, more mainstream thinker, not wedded to extreme right-wing orthodoxy, so I asked him how he plans to vote on Ame...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Dr. Robert Judson made great contributions to Pasco-Hernando State College

A pioneer in Pasco-Hernando education | Sept. 19Robert Judson pushed education forwardI had the pleasure of working with the late Dr. Robert Judson, the former president of what is now known as Pasco-Hernando State College, for many years. During...
Published: 09/21/18
Updated: 09/24/18

Saturday’s letters: We need stats that reflect our lives

We’re measuring the economy all wrong | Column, Sept. 18We need stats that reflect our livesMajor news outlets have uniformly declared the U.S. economy to be sizzling, on fire. This column was correct in wanting us to take a second, hard l...
Published: 09/21/18

Sunday’s letters: Inequality hurts democracy

We’re measuring the economy all wrong | Column, Sept. 18Democracy needs equalityEconomic inequality and the concentration of wealth have achieved levels beyond the comprehension of most American wage earners today. Income inequality has ri...
Published: 09/21/18

Friday’s letters: Florida’s workers aren’t reaping benefits of a booming economy

Scott didn’t put them to work | Sept. 16Florida workers not reaping the benefitsFlorida has just surpassed a GDP of $1 trillion. However, workers in Florida are not reaping the rewards. A new report released by anti-poverty organization Ox...
Published: 09/21/18

Thursday’s letters: For the sake of all involved, don’t rush the Kavanaugh vote

Delay Senate vote on Kavanaugh | Editorial, Sept. 18Don’t rush something that will last a lifetimeThe Senate Judiciary Committee finds itself in a sticky wicket. The committee should take a slow measured course of action. Trying to rush th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18

Wednesday’s letters: How home rule can help fight Red Tide

Red Tide on march | Sept. 18How home rule can help fight Red TideAt the end of 2005, as Red Tide ravaged the beaches and intracoastal waterways of Southwest Florida, volunteers from the Suncoast Sierra Club formed a coastal task force to begin de...
Published: 09/18/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18

Monday’s letters: Are we paying for the wrong kind of military today?

$1 trillion here and there | Letter, Sept. 16Are we buying the right defense?I am weary of politicians of all persuasions handing our military a blank check — in particular the conservatives who rail against budget deficits and want to cut discre...
Published: 09/14/18