Monday, March 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Lawsuits driving up medical costs

Tort reform

Lawsuits drive up medical costs

One day last month, I was sitting at a traffic light listening to the radio when tort lawyer John Morgan came on telling me that he was "for the people." I glanced up at a billboard and saw two really slick-looking attorneys telling me that they would seek justice for me. A couple of minutes later, a large city bus came by covered in Pepto-Bismol pink paint with an 800 number on the side and an attorney's name in large letters.

Within a couple of minutes, I was being encouraged to file a lawsuit by three different law firms. This is one reason why our emergency rooms are overcrowded. People involved in minor fender-benders are attempting to establish a record of injury. This is why doctors must practice unnecessary and expensive "defensive medicine" to protect themselves from lawsuits. This is why our medical expenses are higher and why our insurance rates are going up. And that is why we lose businesses to Texas and other states that have enacted genuine tort reform.

Florida trial lawyers arrogantly believe that their political contributions can control tort reform that would make it harder for them to extract money from insurance companies, doctors and businesses. There has been incremental tort reform in Florida the past few years, but nothing like Texas or Mississippi has enacted.

John Galloway, Tampa

Cut the rate, grow jobs | July 15, letter

Demand brings growth

If you say something loudly enough and often enough, people will tend to believe you whether or not what you're saying is true. This seems especially true given the number of letter writers who argue for a lower tax rate and claim that it will somehow result in jobs, which seems like nonsense.

Businesses create jobs when there is more demand for what they sell or do than they can handle, not when they get a windfall or a lower tax rate. "Releasing pent-up demand" is a supply-side canard, just like "we can't find enough qualified workers" is — unless you add the phrase "at the price we want to pay."

Chris Woodard, Tampa

Break the impasse on immigration policy July 14, commentary

Congress should be fired

In this column, co-authors and business billionaires Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates implore Congress to get past ideological gridlock and finally pass immigration reform legislation.

That's a great start, but it doesn't go far enough to fix what's broken in Washington. Fortunately, the entire U.S. House of Representatives is up for re-election in November. Now's the time for voters to turn our own inaction into action and go to the polls en masse and fire Congress. That's right: Give every last incumbent the boot.

Of course, there's no guarantee what will happen if, by the miracle of an organized voter uprising, the nation actually did give every incumbent the boot and come January we had a U.S. House of Representatives composed entirely of 435 new members. But we're absolutely certain of what's happening now: crippling legislative inaction on dozens of vital issues.

And, as hard as it is to accept — and as easy as it is to point fingers at the inept politicians in Washington — we have only ourselves to blame because we sent them there. And we're the only ones who can throw them out. The buck stops with us. So let's quit passing it. Let's fire Congress and start over again. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Jeffry Scott, St. Petersburg

Race for governor in ethical quagmire July 15, Steve Bousquet column

Tuned out from political ads

Some years back my wife and I decided to "pull the plug" on television. The Dukes of Hazzard was, I think, the No. 1-rated show at the time. When I was a kid, we had three choices: NBC, CBS and ABC. There was plenty to watch that included wholesome, intelligent, edifying material. As hundreds of channels were added over the years, there seemed to be nothing to watch. TV seems to blight everything it touches: sports, politics, religion, marketing, you name it.

I've rarely seen any of those feckless political ads that Steve Bousquet referenced in his column. And that suits me just fine.

Joe King, New Port Richey

Centrist party would be a winner July 14, letter

Open up the primaries

With more and more voters registering as independents, recent letters make a valid point that they are giving up the ability to participate in most Florida primaries. Nevertheless, these voters are still making an important declaration outside the primary process. They are clearly casting a vote against the increasingly radical positions of the two major political parties.

The rise of a more moderate third major party, as advocated by one letter writer, would be an awesome event; unfortunately, it's not likely to happen any time soon. Instead of pressuring voters to accept party affiliations they find distasteful, I suggest Florida follow the lead of many other states and make primary elections open. That would give all voters a voice without compromising their principles. I suspect it would also increase the number of independents and show how little the public really cares for the two major parties.

Jerry Stephens, Riverview

Scott offered a lesson on climate | July 16

Save your breath

A message to the scientists interested in educating Gov. Rick Scott on climate change. There is an old Florida saying: You can't teach a pig to sing; it's a waste of your time and annoys the pig.

Darryl David, St. Petersburg

Redistricting quandary | July 16

Special election solution

The judge ruled that the Legislature did not follow the law when the voting districts were redrawn. This applies particularly to two districts. The Legislature agrees, but says it's too late for this to apply to the 2014 election.

So hold the election for the sake of expediency, but then proceed in good faith and due speed to draw up acceptable districts. Then hold a special election in the two outlier districts. Problem solved.

David Beaven, Clearwater


Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18

Pasco Letter to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 column Pasco County (and its residents) have financial incentives to recycle, but the participation rate is low. Clearly, Pasco County either needs to make recycling mandatory — by making residents r...
Published: 03/13/18
Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Billionaire targeting young voters | March 7Using youths in personal agendaIs anyone surprised that Tom Steyer is using his extreme wealth to support his personal agenda and the liberal agenda of the Democratic Party? His real motive, hidden in h...
Published: 03/12/18
Updated: 03/13/18