Thursday, December 14, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Drug treatment saves lives, money

Drug court's first-class success | Jan. 24

Drug treatment saves lives, funds

Hillsborough County has also implemented a drug court treatment program to divert adults who have committed drug offenses from jail and prisons.

These special courts were funded by the state Legislature two years ago by diverting $13 million to build a new prison. Because many of our state leaders understand that addictions are treatable and should not result in expensive prison time, many Florida counties were able to start offering these individuals a chance to turn their lives around, stay in the community, and receive intensive drug and alcohol treatment to assist them back to a healthy life.

Over the past 18 months, the partnership in our county has accepted over 300 men and women into treatment with a very high success rate (70-plus percent). These are men and women who will remain in their own homes, continue to work and care for their families and receive alcohol and drug treatment free.

This is not an easy program and does result in some being discharged and sent to prison. However, the cost savings for those who do complete and continue to pay taxes, care for families, and maintain a healthy lifestyle amount to millions of taxpayer dollars every year.

Hillsborough County has the second highest success rate behind Orange County. Please support treatment in your community. It saves us all time, money and lives.

Sara Romeo, CEO, Tampa Crossroads, Tampa

$288M for customers | Jan. 21

Rewarding failure

Only in our dollar-driven mind-set could this theft be legally accomplished. In what other type of enterprise can management be rewarded for abject failure? These highly paid executives bungle an attempt to "fix" a problem in which they have no expertise. And now they expect their customer base to pay for their mistakes. Unbelievable.

At one time a guaranteed profit of 6 percent was acceptable. No longer. Now it is above 10 percent and still not adequate for these guys. And all with the agreeable disposition of our dear Public Service Commission.

There is no other business that can realize high profits while paying high salaries and having all errors and mistakes paid for by a captive base of customers without recourse. Only in America.

Austin R. Curry, Tampa

A chance to dish out some restraint | Jan. 20

Personalities and choices

The criticism of Paula Deen's failure to mention that she has had diabetes for at least three years is off the mark. That is a personal matter.

The personalities on the Food Network and other cooking channels are just that — personalities. If you watch and cook everything you observe on TV, you will certainly get more than diabetes, but you have that choice. There is much to learn on these shows, from food knowledge to cooking techniques. And they are just plain entertaining.

If you are a follower of Deen, you know she does encourage moderation. But more important she extols family values and coming together to prepare food and eat with friends and loved ones.

My bet is that her acknowledgement that she is diabetic will drive many people straight to the doctor. And that cannot be bad.

Judy Lavaron, St. Petersburg

For debtors, sell now or pay later | Jan. 22

Bad tax policy

This column warned those who are underwater with their mortgages to sell before 2013 or they will have to pay taxes on the amount a bank forgives in a short sale.

I think it would be more reasonable to tax them for the amount forgiven only if they realize any gains in the sale next time. To tax people on what is essentially a loss (equity) is not good tax policy. Maybe if the government would make the corporations pay their share, this tax would not be needed.

This month Citizens for Tax Justice published a report showing 280 Fortune 500 companies paid 18.5 percent corporate tax instead of the 35 percent stated rate. A GAO report last year stated the derivatives used by Wall Street do not fit easily into taxing structures and abuse can occur. And those making over $108,500 per year do not pay more payroll tax.

Jim Demmy, Kenneth City

Florida GOP primary

Ask relevant questions

When will the press, and debate moderators, start asking candidates of both parties questions that really matter?

Here is a starter question. Why is the interest rate you pay for a mortgage, currently hovering around 4 percent, dozens of times higher than the interest rate you get for your deposit accounts? I'm old enough to remember when mortgage rates were "only" twice, or maybe three times, higher than deposit interest rates. And we wonder why bank execs rake in bonuses in the tens of millions?

Will questions about Newt Gingrich's marriages have an impact on your future? How about Mitt Romney's tax returns? Can questioning Rick Santorum on abortion and gay marriage possibly be more irrelevant?

Charles E. Lehnert, Riverview

Airport security stops senator | Jan. 24

Security run amok

This article makes it abundantly clear that the Transportation Security Administration has gotten out of hand. As a frequent traveler from Tampa, I have the unenviable experience of passing through the TSA checkpoint at TIA weekly. The semi-nude scans were already slow and unnecessarily intrusive. Lately it has gotten even worse.

There weeks ago the screener groped my chest because I was wearing a tie. Last week, their scanner saw a shadow on my knee and another on my backside (I have no replacement parts and had nothing in my pockets). This week the agent insisted on checking under my wristwatch and groping my underarm (again with no cause beyond a false-positive from the scanner).

It is time to rein in the TSA.

Gregg Niemi, Tampa

Atheists and ethics | Jan. 21

A matter of morality

Atheists, so this article says, are widely viewed as lacking any ethical standards. This discussion complacently shares space with details in the paper describing lapses in honesty along with rampant hypocrisy by Newt Gingrich, proud convert to Roman Catholicism and a great advocate for Christian values. As an atheist, I laugh, albeit bitterly.

Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon


Friday’s letters: Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes

GOP plan favors owners | Dec. 11Perils of small business ownersI wonder if the author of this article has even a clue about owning a business. Businessmen — especially small business owners — risk it all. They risk their savings, their car, their...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17