Thursday, April 26, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: FCAT essays are supposed to be rough drafts

Low FCAT scores stun, upset many | May 15

Essays are to be rough drafts

As a middle school language arts teacher of 17 years, I am a bit perplexed by all the news regarding the results of the 2012 FCAT writing scores. I have always been informed that the people paid to read our students' essays were told to score the essays as rough drafts. Rough drafts, written by an adult or student, will contain conventional (spelling, capitalization, punctuation and grammar) mistakes. No one can write to perfection in 45 minutes on an unfamiliar topic. Yet this is what we are asking of our fourth-, eighth- and 10th-graders.

In December 2011, my eighth-graders took part in a field essay test for the state. Why was this field test necessary? Where are those results? Did anyone read those essays? Were there discrepancies in scoring then? If so, why weren't teachers informed? Did our county receive any money for students who participated in this field test?

If the state decides to have leniency for a student who scores a 3 and raises that child's score to a 4, what happens to students who scored a 4? A 5?

I have exceeded my time frame. I used a thesaurus, the computer's spell check and a reliable source to help edit this writing, yet I bet someone can still find a mistake or two.

Danielle Gembicki, Spring Hill

Bay area leads in home defaults | May 17

Banks engineered scheme

Apparently it's good news that homeowners are being foreclosed on faster now, so banks, Realtors, appraisers and politicians can put the awful mess behind them.

Everyone knows that the greedy banks discovered a way to make giant profits by providing lots of cash to increase demand, then crushing demand and getting their cash back from the taxpayers. They conspired with Realtors and lenders to push the dream hard and were funded by Fannie and Freddie, who would buy the worthless paper.

This was the crime that the Times' Mark Puente should be investigating and reporting.

Kurt Steinmann, Belleair

Water solution simple: Charge gluttons more May 17, commentary

Focus on commercial users

Increasing the cost of freshwater during droughts is one way to discourage use among residential consumers. However, nowhere in this otherwise fine essay do the authors address the real problem: Agriculture and industry consume more than 90 percent of all freshwater in the United States. So instead of putting more restrictions on the minority of users, water regulators should press the majority to develop efficiencies encouraged by higher prices. The commercial carwash down the street that uses 50,000 gallons of water a day should be the focus of reform, not the guy watering his plants.

Kurt Loft, Tampa

Not a civil rights issue | May 15, letter

Bad chemistry lesson

Christopher Martinez quotes the National Conference of Catholic Bishops: "Marriage is like the strength of the water molecule, with hydrogen and oxygen creating an unbreakable bond." This two-gas bond is very easily broken. It's called "electrolysis" and is routinely done in ninth-grade science labs. Moral: If you want to be a rocket scientist, don't rely on theologians for facts.

Jack R. Wilhite, Clearwater

Colo. gay rights tensions persist | May 16

Marriage's real purpose

Almost every day we see articles and hear politicians, ministers and others drone on about the sanctity of marriage, God's hatred of homosexuals, and the evils or dangers of marriage equality. Many tout the excellence of marriage between "one man and one woman" (at a time). If marriage between one man and one woman is such a God-blessed institution, why do half of them end in divorce or, for a fee paid to the church, an annulment, even when there are children born to the couple? It is time to face the reality: Marriage is a legal document to help define heirs to wealth and property.

Terry Hammonds, Dunedin

Republican priorities laid bare May 15, letter

No one's that hard-hearted

Your reader wrote, "If only our so-called representatives could be forced to stand in the living room of an 80-plus-year-old widow in a wheelchair and tell her that it is in the best interests of the country (and a Christian thing to do) that she starve in order to not disrupt the profit margin of defense contractors, maybe there would be a change of heart." Your reader has to be the only person in this world that really believes that our representatives really want this. Instead, what they want is to stop fraudulent "cradle to grave" free rides and changing of safety nets into hammocks.

Fred A. Murray, New Port Richey

Norman aide reaches plea deal in tax case May 16

Tax cheats, all

Benjamin Kelly gets slapped on the wrist for committing five years of U.S. income tax fraud while he worked for Jim Norman, while the Normans seemingly get a free pass for not paying income taxes on $500,000 received from the late Ralph Hughes. How is this any different than the rash of tax refund ID theft popping up across Tampa? They all belong in jail.

Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach

Black women and fat | May 14, column

Healthy candor

Kudos to novelist Alice Randall for tackling a persistent health threat to black women, pervasive obesity. This is a delicate subject because of our individualism, cultural preferences and race, but it is a real health dilemma and creates huge and avoidable health costs. It calls for a long, patient and communal response and reminds us we reduced smoking and learned to use seat belts, which also improved our lives and health.

James Gillespie, St. Petersburg

Change for Catholic schools | May 14

Tuition is too high

If the Catholic schools want to find out why fewer people are enrolling, they may want to look at tuition rates. St. Petersburg Catholic High School has a tuition rate much higher than USF. With the economy in its current state, few people want to pay $10,000 per year for high school.

Robert Bost, St. Petersburg


Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Updated: 8 hours ago

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...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

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