Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Don't fall for Big Tobacco's ploy

Proposal restores judicial fairness | March 18, letter

Don't fall for Big Tobacco's ploy

In this letter to the Tampa Bay Times, Associated Industries of Florida urges support of a seemingly innocuous bill to change Florida's punitive damage statute. What AIF would not publicly admit is that this bill is meant to bail out only one industry — Big Tobacco.

In 1994, a class-action suit was brought against Big Tobacco for addicting the Greatest Generation to its cigarettes while concealing what it knew about the harms of smoking. These were people who started smoking before there were warnings on the packs and before Big Tobacco admitted it knew cigarettes were killers. A jury heard nearly two years of evidence and hit Big Tobacco with a $145 billion punitive damage verdict to punish it for what it did to those 700,000 Floridians.

Big Tobacco managed to drag things out for 15 years. Then it got what it asked for. The Florida Supreme Court said each family would have to file its own individual lawsuit and seek its own punitive damages. Those cases are still proceeding, 21 years after the cases were first filed, and Big Tobacco is finally being held to account for its intentional actions. Now, Big Tobacco wants to change the rules midstream — as if our laws should protect the most heinous and prolific of killers.

Big Tobacco is trying to buy its way out of this accountability "problem" by paying 100 lobbyists to pass a bill that would result in Big Tobacco being treated differently than everyone else. When AIF tries to persuade you to support such a change in the law, they should at least tell you who they're working for. That AIF would support a Big Tobacco bailout without ever mentioning Big Tobacco really says it all.

Sean Dominick, president, Citizens Against Cigarette Manufacturers, Palm Beach Gardens

Yes, I'd like fries with that | March 15

Hold the fries

It's obvious Sean Daly is trying to bring levity to declining sales at McDonald's. But he provides horrible advice to McDonald's to "lose the salads, the wraps and the complex chicken sandwiches" and go back to heavily promoting the basics like the Big Mac (530 calories, 27 grams of fat), fries (510 calories, 24 grams of fat), and the Shamrock shake (680 calories, 20 grams of fat) — a meal that totals 1,720 calories with 71 grams of fat.

This meal may be appealing to what McDonald's calls "heavy users" — customers who eat there three or more times per week. But heavy users comprise only 22 percent of McDonald's customers, showing that their regular overconsumption of extremely unhealthy foods doesn't fit into contemporary culture.

Better advice: Cut down on menu items that are nothing more than belly-bombs of fat, sugar and salt. Maybe the rest of us will visit more often.

Dewey Caruthers, Gulfport

Coke as healthy treat: fact or fizz? | March 17

Nutritional deficit

I say "fizz." Remember the elementary school demonstration of putting a piece of red meat in a glass of Coke and watching what happens in the next few days? After that, who wants to grab a "meal" of burger, fries and a Coke?

In the '80s President Ronald Reagan pronounced that ketchup was a vegetable to save money on school lunch programs. Frat and sorority houses have long promoted the mantra of "one beer: two servings of vegetables." Better health for America, with lower health care and insurance costs, begins with a fundamental commitment to better nutrition from the cradle for one and all.

Rob Dennard, Belleair Bluffs

A fight against official secrets | March 15, editorial

Openness, accountability

For almost 50 years of my practice as an attorney, the issue of public records and their availability has been discussed repeatedly. None of us objects to the addresses and other personal information of our police officers and prosecutors being confidential.

What I have never understood is why the very people who should be fighting for the release of public records are the people trying to develop more and more exemptions. Keeping as many records as possible public is the keystone to open government. It enhances the ability of the voters to determine what kind of a job those they have elected are doing.

Louis Kwall, Clearwater

Tax cuts and growth: facts versus the rhetoric | March 16, commentary

Main Street is hurting

The Marco Rubio-Mike Lee tax plan suggests eliminating the tax on capital gains and dividends for the "job creator" class. But only a percentage of these income streams are generated from job creators; many simply come from investors. Also, the mergers created with Wall Street financing can create capital gains, but they also can eliminate jobs.

If we analyze the economy, it is Main Street that is struggling financially, and that is why the demand for products and services is weak, resulting in poor GDP growth. Therefore I believe taxes should be reduced on the working class, so they have more money to spend to create a need for more products and services. This will create a need for more jobs here in America.

Jim Demmy, Kenneth City

History's harsh verdict? | March 17, letter

Obama oversteps

The letter writer was quick to take sides with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei regarding the letter sent to Iran by the 47 Republican senators. I find it interesting that she is perfectly fine with a president overstepping his constitutional powers, attempting to broker a deal with a rogue, enemy nation without transparency or congressional approval.

As for the lack of foreign relations experience of the freshman senator, what is the difference between that and a community organizer/freshman senator from just a few years ago?

History will judge the eight years of Barack Obama's presidency harshly.

Gary T. Weil, Tampa


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...
Updated: 2 hours ago

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

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