Thursday, April 26, 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


Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18