Monday, April 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Bridging gap between India, U.S.

'We're totally at home' | Feb. 23

Bridging gap between India, U.S.

The Times' recent reports on Indian-Americans and their temples are to be highly commended. They were insightful, open-minded and comprehensive in their coverage of a minority earlier seen as strange and exotic and that suffered discrimination.

Thanks to the Kennedy and Johnson-era immigration reforms that favored highly qualified professionals, that perception has undergone a remarkable change. Indian-origin health care professionals, software specialists, hoteliers and others are making significant contributions to this community while cherishing their ancient heritage and values. They hail not only from the Indian subcontinent but also from Africa, the Caribbean, Fiji and many other former European colonies. Although small in number, we are a highly "visible" minority because of our looks, accents, dress and faith patterns.

No doubt, the coming Bollywood awards event, with its promise of huge crowds, business and money, is a major factor in this new attention. But it would be wrong to see Bollywood culture as reflective of the age-old Indian culture, which has been described as the "Empire of Spirit" for its values, and Bollywood is far removed from mainstream India. However, to the extent that these awards focus on the changing cultural landscape of our area and expand our world vision, it is all to the good.

Mukunda Rao, Tampa

Another blow to public schools March 2, John Romano column

Suffocated by mandates

I would like to commend John Romano for this column. I am a retired Pinellas County teacher. I enjoyed teaching when it was considered an honorable profession, and received many intrinsic rewards from my 33 years working with high school students.

Since the FCAT became the ultimate definer of our educational system, our teachers have been maligned by the media nationwide. Florida is blessed with wonderful teachers. The problem is the Legislature has suffocated them with mandates that aren't working. Teacher morale is at an all-time low.

The fact that tax dollars are now being filtered into the private sector, reducing the monies available for our public schools to improve, hasn't helped. The complacency of the public on this issue is amazing.

The students who enter our schools today bring many more problems to the classroom than they did 20 years ago. There is more to education than test scores. Testing is just a small portion of what should be measured.

Barbara Corbett, St. Petersburg

These scores don't add up | March 2

Evaluation system failing

A teacher of the year with a VAM score below zero? What is the world coming to? This proves that our politicians and the Department of Education have an evaluation system that is devious to no end.

I have a friend who teaches special education who was considered a "needs improvement" teacher in the last school year report. This teacher's VAM score was in the mid 20s. The teacher has shared with me that the peer had no idea what was going on in the classroom. The principal was using the evaluation system to get rid of teachers from the previous principal's reign whom she didn't want.

Because of this unfair evaluation, this teacher is being micromanaged by the evaluation system, school administrators and peers. I believe this whole evaluation system is a way to manipulate teachers and cause turmoil in our schools.

Agnes Murphy, Valrico

Condos skirt big premium hikes March 3

Many can't afford it

It was interesting to read about how condo associations are able to have their flood classification changed. However, the statement "Unlike most owners of homes, they can afford to challenge FEMA flood maps" is misleading. This statement lumps all associations in the same category.

I would not dispute that there are some financially stable associations that can afford the major costs involved in getting their classification changed. But this does not take into consideration the myriad of associations struggling to keep going due to losses associated with foreclosures, etc.

These associations are in the same category as the single-family homeowner, struggling to keep up with spiraling expenses they have no control over and loss of equity in their homes and/or condo units.

Mary Jane Callihan, St. Petersburg

The Tin Man | March 2, editorial

Enlightening, frightening

Your editorial on Gov. Rick "Tin Man" Scott was both enlightening and frightening. To see all the devastation he has wrought on this state summarized in one place reveals with great clarity the steps he has taken to turn our community of individuals into a corporation ruled by the wealthy minority. His mind is still firmly rooted in his former world of stepping over (and on?) the little people in order to achieve a goal.

Unfortunately there are too many members of the voting public who will not open their eyes to what is happening.

Arthur Eggers, Tampa

Calls for forceful U.S. | March 3

Armchair generals

The armchair generals are rushing in to give advice to the president on managing the international crisis in Ukraine. Sen. John McCain, in a CNN interview, called the president "naive" about Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio and Rep. Mike Rogers called the president "weak," "indecisive," and "feckless."

With the world looking to us for direction, these remarks are not helpful and make us look like a divided nation. In their foolish rush to judgment, these men, hoping to gain political capital, are hurting the country. President Barack Obama is an intelligent and cool-headed leader who is not about to plunge this nation into another ill-conceived war.

Lorraine Madison, St. Petersburg

Obama's in over his head

Vladimir Putin does not have to worry about what President Barack Obama will do because he knows that Obama will handle this as he did Syria. That means, draw a line in the sand and when it's crossed, immediately do nothing. Obama, the community organizer, is in way over his head when it comes to global affairs.

Louis Ciardulli, Safety Harbor


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 ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

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

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

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18