Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Bill helps keep small businesses thriving

Tourism industry

Bill helps small businesses thrive

From the charming downtown of Tarpon Springs to the award-winning beaches of St. Pete Beach, it's no surprise that Pinellas County is one of the top tourist destinations along the Gulf Coast. With more than 15 million visitors each year that create more than $10 billion in economic impact, the tourism industry is the backbone of the region's economy.

However, a 2015 decision by the National Labor Relations Board that expanded what it means to be a "joint employer" has these businesses in a state of confusion.

Part of what makes our tourism industry so successful is the ability of business owners to contract with companies outside their areas of expertise. For instance, if a restaurant's dishwasher breaks, the owner will bring in a mechanic to ensure a speedy fix. Or a resort owner might hire a laundry service to wash all of its napkins, tablecloths, towels and sheets.

Previously, businesses were only joint employers if they exercised "direct" or "immediate" control over another company's employees. But with the NLRB's new standard, even "potential" or "indirect" control of an employee could entangle an owner in a labor-related complaint. Now, these mutually beneficial relationships could put a business owner at risk of a hefty lawsuit.

Luckily, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have banded together to provide clarity to our small businesses by introducing the Save Local Business Act (HR 3441). Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, has always been a friend to the travel and tourism community in Pinellas County and throughout the state of Florida. Hopefully, he will add his name to this commonsense legislation and help our community continue to thrive.

Keith Overton, president, TradeWinds Island Resorts, St. Pete Beach

Hurricane Irma

Power preparations

With Hurricane Irma approaching, Florida Power & Light Co. has activated its emergency response plan, and we urge our customers to finalize their plans. Despite the fact that last year FPL customers in Central and North Florida were significantly impacted by Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, we estimate that approximately half of the nearly 10 million people we serve have yet to experience a Florida hurricane.

Here's what we're doing to prepare:

• As of Wednesday, we have several thousand workers dedicated to planning and preparing to respond to Irma, and this number will continue to grow.

• We are working actively with other utilities across the country to secure and preposition additional resources for Irma's projected landfall in our service area.

• We have activated backup suppliers and equipment vendors, as well as more than 20 staging sites where restoration crews, trucks and equipment are stationed.

Since 2006, we have invested more than $3 billion to build a stronger, smarter electric grid, and we continue to leverage new technology to enhance our storm response. The investments we've made in recent years have placed FPL in the best possible position to restore power to our customers faster following a storm.

Even so, hurricanes are devastating forces of nature, and the winds, torrential rain and storm surge that Irma is forecast to bring are likely to cause widespread and prolonged outages. Additionally, should Irma's worst fears be realized, our crews will likely have to completely rebuild parts of our electric system. Restoring power through repairs is measured in days; rebuilding the electric system could be measured in weeks.

With Irma close to our doorstep, I want to emphasize keeping safety top-of-mind before, during and after the storm. We can help with safety and preparation tips at Stay safe, heed the warnings of local, state and federal elected officials, and know that all of us at FPL won't stop working until everyone's power is up and running again.

Eric Silagy, president and CEO, Florida Power & Light Co., Juno Beach

DACA's end confirmed | Sept. 6

Congress makes the laws

In this country, the legislative branch makes the laws and it is the duty of the executive branch to enforce them. Even though President Barack Obama said several times that "I'm not a king," his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order did change current law after he failed to get immigration reform passed in Congress.

President Donald Trump has simply rescinded this unconstitutional act and has given Congress six months to create legislation that properly defines the status of "Dreamers." At least this will finally give voters clarity on where D.C. politicians stand before the midterm elections.

Lou Christodoulou, Lutz

Silencer bill undermines safety | Sept. 5, letter

Rules would still apply

Several misrepresentations were made in this letter. First, they are not "silencers" but sound suppressors, which only reduce the noise of the shot below the pain level to help prevent deafness. Second, all suppressor sales would still be conducted through federally licensed firearms dealers and treated the same as a gun purchase — requiring filling out Form 4473 and submitting to a background check. No felons, domestic abusers or those committed for mental treatment would be allowed to purchase them.

Gerald Keller, Dunedin

University overreacts | Sept. 2, editorial

Higher authority

Until Pat Robertson weighs in on the real causes of the damage of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, no one can be sure that Kenneth Storey's "instant karma" explanation is incorrect.

Larry R. Bush, Tampa


Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18