Friday, February 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Freedom of, and from, religion

Weatherford: Coaches can lead prayers | Oct. 1

Freedom of, and from, religion

Freedom of religion is in the Bill of Rights not to protect the majority, but to protect the minority. The school is a public place, and as such needs to follow the rules of the Constitution, including no public official (a role that coaches play) to lead or be involved in prayer.

State Sen. Wilton Simpson of Trilby is quoted: "I found it (prayer) was something we all wanted to do, or it felt that way." This quote is quite telling. Of course it "felt that way" if every player was praying in the same manner. Those who felt uncomfortable would not have spoken up because of the discomfort it would have caused. That is the reason for the law in the first place: to protect those who do not, or cannot, speak up for themselves.

Kudos to Pasco County school Superintendent Kurt Browning for standing up for the law and not caving in to pressure from House Speaker Will Weatherford. Weatherford claims that the coaches are being barred from expressing their religion; however, they are free to express their religion, just not in their official capacity as coach. The county has already said that students may lead prayer, but that officials may not. Teachers and coaches act as an arm of the government, and as such may not lead prayers.

The Bill of Rights has served us well since our country's founding. Let us not abandon it now in a misguided attempt to serve a zealous, outspoken individual.

Loni Kaplan, New Port Richey

Weatherford: Coaches can lead prayers Oct. 1

Faith and its place

My hat is off to Pasco County schools superintendent Kurt Browning. In this state it would be wildly popular to advocate school prayer. Though the calendar says 21st century, our Legislature seems to long for the days of Leave It to Beaver.

I grew up in those days and watched people who were "different" pummeled during recess. Most of it was caused by differences in the religion of the majority versus the religions of the minority.

Educators need to leave religion out of the school. There are myriad other opportunities to practice your chosen faith.

It is simplistic to long for a simpler time; as we all know the times changed because they needed to change.

Richard Longden, Land O'Lakes

Long shutdown hinted | Oct. 2

Busting the budget

For the last five years, the Democratic-controlled Senate has failed to produce a budget. Instead, they've fallen back on a constitutionally questionable "continuing resolution" process that provides none of the spending accountability mechanisms built into the normal budget approval process.

The predictable result has been five years of deficits in excess of $1 trillion. Every year as the clock ticks down, Democrats demand a renewal of the continuing resolution, hurling accusations that Republicans will shut down the government if the feds are not allowed to continue spending like drunken sailors. The mainstream media chimes in with alligator tears over all of the folks who will be irreparably harmed when everyone's favorite government program is temporarily suspended.

This year, the Republican leadership in Congress agreed to continued, unprecedented spending. All they asked in return was a one-year delay in the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. This is a huge shift in the way we handle health care that many Americans do not want, and even the president agrees there are some serious implementation issues.

So just exactly who is not willing to compromise here?

T.S. "Mac" McDonnell, St. Petersburg

Obamacare not going away

Republicans are going to pay a high price at the polls next election for holding the country hostage with this shutdown fiasco.

Obamacare isn't going anywhere, so that might be the only good thing to come out of this.

Anthony Roberts, Tampa

House memory loss

Less than a year ago, in an election touted by both sides as a referendum on Obamacare, America voted in favor of it. The memory loss of this referendum suffered by the House Republicans could be treated at a memory clinic. Because of Obamacare, they would not even be denied coverage because it's a pre-existing condition.

Edwin J. Bradley, Valrico

Remember at election time

If the current members of Congress were running Apple or Coca-Cola, those companies would be out of business today. Instead, they are running the biggest business in the world and shutting it down.

Their backbiting, one-upping and "my way" attitudes will result in layoffs, loss of income and a huge blow to a fragile economy. Government for the people? Ha. I hope every voter will remember this on Election Day.

Barbara Rizzo, St. Petersburg

Cost for medical records could soar Sept. 30, commentary

Computerize, print

If your physician doesn't have computerized records, find one who does. And a note to the Florida Board of Medicine: You should be able to get a "copy" (meaning nonpaper) of your records and have it put on a thumb drive. You could then print them yourself at a cost of about 2 cents a page.

M.J. "Mim" Merta, Dunedin

Insurance for all? Hardly | Sept. 29

Poor decisions

Letharius Smith, 27 years old, "didn't have a job or insurance" and "lives with his girlfriend and their three children."

Pardon me if I can't quite work up any sympathy for this person. For those of us who were responsible and married and put money in savings prior to making the decision to have children, there is resentment in having our tax dollars go to fund insurance for those who don't/won't work. Then there is the second issue of procreating without a thought as to the future care of the children.

Bonnie Hill, San Antonio


Thursday’s letters: Second Amendment is outdated

Second AmendmentCongress can act on firearmsThe Second Amendment is outdated, since it is predicated on the need for a "well regulated militia." Militias are defined as civilian soldiers trained under the command of competent military leadership. The...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/22/18

Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18