December Letter of the Month
The winning letter addressed sexual harassment.
It’s time to clean up bad behavior
Why are so many women coming forward against sexual predators now? Because at last they can.
Now 83, I all too well remember when sexual harassment at the workplace was something a woman had to tolerate. In a law firm where I worked days while putting myself through college at night, it was normal practice for female employees to avoid getting on the elevator with the most senior partner as well as avoiding passing him in the hall. He was known to for his "low wave" as young women passed by. None of the younger partners told him not to do it, but we women were told it was our job to avoid such encounters. The implication was that women who were harassed were looking for it, perhaps by dressing provocatively or flirting with the abuser.
Things are a lot different now, although not completely right yet. Women have a lot more power and can speak out; but they still do not have equal power or equal salaries or management status in major corporations. Finally, people are listening and believing those who do come forward.
To make America great again and keep it that way, we must clean up the behavior of all those in the public eye so they actually deserve the respect that goes with the role they seek.
Adele Ida Walter, Tampa
Clean up nursing homes | Dec. 30, editorial
Standards under attack
Your asking for a cleanup of nursing homes by the federal government is shutting the barn door after the horses are gone.
On Christmas Eve, the Trump administration eased fines against nursing homes that harm residents or place them at grave risk of injuries. The regulation for fines was put in place under the Obama administration.
Federal records show that since 2013 nearly 6,500 nursing homes — four out of every 10 — have been cited at least once for a serious violation and Medicare has fined two-thirds of those homes.
In November, the Trump administration exempted nursing homes that violate eight new safety rules from penalties for 18 months.
Last June, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rescinded another Obama administration action that banned nursing homes from pre-emptively requiring residents to submit to arbitration to settle disputes rather than go to court.
We were away during Hurricane Irma, but I do remember hearing that our Republican governor got rid of a lot of emails that showed details of a nursing home problem right after he got maximum publicity about how much he felt something needed to be done. Does anyone know what our Republican Legislature has done to alleviate nursing home problems so dear to the heart of our governor?
Richard E. Beebee, Wimauma
5 workers die; who pays? | Dec. 30
Public ends up paying
Tragedies like this are very sad and unnecessary. The power company will be advised to not apologize or take responsibility, but rather write a check, call the public relations department and make it all go away.
The reality is that sometime in the future, the power company will submit a rate increase request to the Public Service Commission to make up for all of the past bad management decisions. Undoubtedly the commission will shamelessly approve and move on to other "get out of jail free" requests.
In the end, the public will have long forgotten any tragedy, checks will have been deposited, public distaste for utility entitlements will ensue and a new, higher bill will show up in the mail for the pleasure of having power readily in your home.
Past performance proves future behavior, so until full accountability and loss is solely shouldered by the utility, there will not be reason to make responsible and progressive decisions.
Darryl David, St. Petersburg
Pulse responders still fighting PTSD Dec. 30
Helping those in need
Contrary to common thought, not everyone gets PTSD, even from an horrific event. Most people just get shook up, recover and go on.
Most first responders are pretty tough, physically and psychologically. Horrific stuff is what they train for, but rarely (thank goodness) get to do. Most of the time all they need after is a debrief and to know that they did right. The debrief is done with the peers who were there and a few trained counselors to structure it and to identify those few who will need extra work.
Effective treatment is in fact hard to get. Lots of treatments are being tried. Few are helpful. One that is, when done right, is traumatic incident reduction. It was most recently used for first responders at the Grenfell Tower fire in London. People are being trained in the United States, but there are not enough of us yet. Give us time.
Rich Brown, Tampa
Utility rates may climb | Dec. 29
Commission in their pocket
What happened to the days when a company was responsible and had to take it on the chin to absorb costs relating to doing business?
The Public Service Commission has been socking it to the public every time a price increase is needed in order for the utilities to make a grand profit for their investors. Perhaps it is time to return to elected members for the PSC who, hopefully, will justify any changes and act in the public interest.
Bill Schellhaas, South Pasadena
Cold grips U.S. | Jan. 2
Running hot and cold
Every time there is a cold spell, the global warming deniers scoff at those who accept the research on climate change. However, when there is unusually hot weather, I never hear the same people say that global warming must be real.
When people belittle scientists from all over the world, it often demonstrates "igniosity," the dangerous combination of ignorance and grandiosity.
John Dalton, St. Petersburg