Thursday, May 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Families need access to good schools

School deadline looms | Jan. 6

We need access to good schools

The Pinellas County School Board's refusal to increase access to successful magnet and fundamental schools is a disservice to our community. We are one of the wait-listed families. We are zoned for a D school and received a special assignment seat to an A school — a seat we have no guarantee of getting next year. We are preparing to apply in the lottery for a seat for first grade in a fundamental or magnet school. We have been told the odds are not good, as there will only be a "handful" of seats available.

Next year a change in policy will further reduce access. Historically, children could move up a wait list and be offered a seat at the wait-listed school until the end of the school year. Next year the wait list will expire in March, reducing the time children have to move up the list and gain a coveted seat.

Pinellas County schools hurts our county and shows disregard for the needs of families and students by not meeting the demand for fundamental and magnet schools. My family needs access to good schools now, not a complicated system and a game of chance.

Lisa Signorelli, Gulfport

Flaws mar Florida's death cases Jan. 4, editorial

Penalties and errors

People have many images of the Sunshine State; I hope leading the nation in wrongful capital convictions doesn't become one of them.

The sad truth is that it reflects poorly on all of us that we've had more innocent men released from our death row than any other state. I hope the Legislature will require unanimity from a jury sentencing someone to death. This just seems like common sense. Indeed, it's the path every other death penalty state has taken (except Alabama, which still has more thorough criteria than Florida).

Regardless of how we feel about the merits of capital punishment, we can all agree that executing innocent people is a blunder we should work hard to avoid. If 12 individuals on a jury can't be convinced, that might be a sign that death isn't the appropriate route.

Colleen Cunningham, St. Petersburg


Districts out of line

The fiscal cliff, and before it the debt ceiling mess, are the direct result of gerrymandering. Many of the Republican members of Congress causing the problem for their party and the nation are in office because congressional districts are gerrymandered so that Democratic votes are compressed into a handful of districts. That allows Republicans to capture a larger number of districts than warranted.

In 2012, President Barack Obama won two "battleground" states, Ohio and Virginia, but Democrats won only seven of 27 congressional seats in those states. How can this be? Gerrymandering is the only logical answer.

Florida had a similar problem, now partially ameliorated by efforts of the National Council of La Raza, League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida to end gerrymandering here. We need not wait eight years for further efforts. Political incumbents will not do it because it is not in their interests. This has to be a grass roots action. Hopefully, citizens in other states (including a few in which the gerrymandering is by Democrats) can learn from Florida's recent progress.

Tim Poulton, Port St. Lucie

Gun violence

Ludicrous comparisons

We will never get commonsense laws to curb murder by guns when we have people willing to compare the accidental death by vehicles and medical mistakes to gun violence. Guns are made to do one thing: kill. Cars are for transporting people from one place to another. Baseball bats are part of a sport. Medical mistakes are made because we are human.

It is ludicrous to make these kinds of comparisons. We as a nation need to respond to ongoing murders by guns and examine how other societies have controlled this violence. We owe it to future generations.

Robert Glass, Seminole

Armed heroes are elusive

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy, one of many mass shootings in the United States in recent years, one can only ask of gun control opponents: Where is this valiant armed citizen you speak of who is supposed to save the day by taking out gunmen before they can cause harm?

We've gone through Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Newtown and countless other less prominent shootings with no appearance by this elusive savior. Continuing to wait for him while our fellow Americans are slaughtered is becoming increasingly difficult to justify.

The reality is that gun control works. This is evidenced in the simple fact that countries that implement it have dramatically lower firearm homicide rates than we do. Conservatives can ignore the facts and continue living in fantasyland if they like, but the rest of us will live in the real world and move our nation to a safer future.

Stephen Lapp, Tampa

Mental illness is the trigger

New gun laws will not work. Mental illness is the trigger. Deal with the problem of mental illness and bring back state mental institutions.

D.W. Stiles, St. Petersburg

As Obama picks Hagel, senators signal fight Jan. 7

Support for troops, veterans

During his confirmation hearings for secretary of defense, I hope Chuck Hagel is asked what he'd do to stem the epidemic of rape in the military services. There's been an annual average of 3,100 cases reported in recent years, but the actual figure is said to be closer to 19,000 annually — the difference due to the reluctance of victims to report assaults because of the impact it would have on their careers. How has this been allowed to go on?

Also, I hope Hagel is asked what he'll do to stem suicide in the military services. As of December, 482 U.S. service members had committed suicide in 2012, while 310 died in combat. A 2011 report identified 301 military suicides during the calendar year. The problem's only getting worse.

And I hope Hagel will be asked how he will advocate for the many homeless veterans on our streets. But it isn't only Hagel who should be asked these questions. Every one of us needs to look in the mirror and ask, "What — besides the car magnet — am I doing to really support our troops and veterans?"

Louis A. Claudio, Safety Harbor


Thursday’s letters: Heated chemotherapy won’t treat most ovarian cancers

Heated chemotherapy has promising results | May 16Cancer treatment not a cure-all While we were pleased to see the story about ovarian cancer treatment, we are concerned that the article could mislead many patients. The treatment described has be...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: A princess gives us a lesson to live by

Royal treatment | May 21Princess offers advice for us allThe radiant and joyful Princess Anna Noela Lokolo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recent Eckerd College graduate, has given us a huge gift in her parting words. "If people have a negat...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/23/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4Angry mob rhetoric not helpfulWe have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiment...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant Opposed to the TECO solar plantAs a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Friday's letters: Putnam and Publix, two P's lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17 A pleasure to shop elsewhere My family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye. F...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18