Monday, July 16, 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


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...
Updated: 1 hour ago

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

Wednesday’s letters: Let’s prepare Florida’s next generation for the jobs that have been created yet

Make Florida’s workforce globally competitivePrepare for jobs not yet createdIf you aren’t amazed by the speed at which technology is changing our world, just think back 20 years. Would you have imagined cellphones with the capabilities of a laptop c...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/11/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for July 13

Re: School meals for all students | July 6 storyParents should pay for their ownThat article really got me to thinking ... why can’t parents feed and care for their own children? When did it become others’ responsibility to do this? No one fed our th...
Published: 07/09/18

Tuesday’s letters: It’s great that Tampa’s Democratic mayor works with a Republican governor

Dems wary of Scott, Buckhorn bromance | July 8It’s not partisan to look out for TampaThe focus of a mayor should be on success in his jurisdiction, no matter the partner, for the citizens who live in his area of responsibility. Mayor Bob Buckhorn...
Published: 07/06/18
Updated: 07/10/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for July 13

Scaring birds with fireworks is a problemThe justification of buying fireworks to scare birds is the biggest problem with fireworks. My wife and I retired to a small pond across from a nature preserve. On a recent holiday, we were enjoying watching b...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/09/18

Monday’s letters: Let’s keep plastics out of the ocean now

Is a ban on plastic straws a step too far? | July 4 Plastic in oceanis not fantastic As a Tampa Bay native, I am thrilled to see a concerted effort to eliminate plastics pollution in the area, and encouraged to see small business and restaurant ow...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/09/18

Sunday’s letters: Keep the Rays in Tampa Bay

Ballpark site catches break | July 5Keep the Rays in Tampa BayLast month, the Tampa Bay Partnership led a delegation of nearly 20 Tampa Bay business leaders on a benchmarking trip to Houston, to explore the nationally recognized workforce develop...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/06/18