Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: On health, government gets more 'bang for buck'

Health cost is the problem | May 6, letter

Use tax money for greater good

This letter writer's assertion that Obamacare is equated with "bloated bureaucracies, rationed care and long waiting times for life-saving procedures" is simply not based in fact. It is the old argument and scare tactic that the uninformed have been taught to associate with all agencies run by the government. It is a ploy used by those who resent the use of taxpayer (read, their) money for services for the less fortunate among us.

Recent studies have pointed out that Medicare gets more "bang for its buck" than private institutions and that the Scandinavian countries, which provide cradle-to-grave health care for their citizens, have far better health statistics than the United States.

Let's stop denigrating everything the government runs and realistically look at the facts and figures. The mortgage companies, the banks, the insurance companies and the energy companies are just a few of the private industry giants responsible for the recession we've experienced.

Using taxpayer money for the good of society as a whole should be welcomed by our citizens. And by the way, the next time we are at war it's my hope that the antigovernment naysayers don't want to have our armed forces in the hands of private industry that they so admire.

Coralie Lang, Tampa

Phosphate study faulted | May 6

Mitigation mirage

I'm glad to hear that "mitigation" might minimize the effects of scraping the top 100 feet off the forests, fields and streams of Central Florida. That's like your neighbor bulldozing your grandmother's house so he can build a new garage. Don't worry about the family home, the antiques or the memories, because when it's over he'll hit a few yard sales for old furniture, put a blue tarp on the roof and leave a pallet of sod near where the garden used to be. That's "mitigation" as we've known it.

It is possible to responsively mine phosphate, but staying away from water sources limits acreage, and paying for real mitigation is expensive. Any new permits should be extensively and publicly reviewed. Once the phosphate runs out, the mining companies will be gone, but my grandchildren, and their grandchildren, will be in Florida forever.

Rich Brown, Tampa

Immigration bill

Boon for the wealthy

The proposed U.S. Senate immigration reform will provide another "quantum leap" in the decadeslong process of wealth redistribution from the legal U.S. middle class to ultrawealthy individuals and corporations. These corporations will continue to simply replace good-paying working-class jobs with benefits, performed by U.S. citizens, with jobs performed by foreign nationals who will work for substantially less pay.

There will be no escape from this exploitation as even U.S. citizens who have obtained professional licensure will be replaced by foreign nationals via an influx of a large number of new H-1B visas. This is because a professionally licensed foreign national is paid at a much lower rate than the reasonable rate earned by a similarly licensed U.S. citizen.

The anemic net-new-job-growth U.S. economy can ill afford this "reform" as far as legal U.S. citizens go. However, ultrawealthy individuals and corporations will continue to employ the graft of big money in political campaigns to "pay off" the Republican Party (almost) as a whole and some Democrats. This is a practice serving as a catalyst in the continued redistribution of wealth — wealth flying out of the hands of the vast majority of U.S. citizens and into the hands of those who have bought the actions of way too many politicians in Washington.

John I. Campo, Tampa

Overcome school discipline hurdles May 7, editorial

Discipline, not suspension

Your editorial on school suspensions was right on target. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a report asking school districts to avoid out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, due to many adverse effects they have on a child.

"The adverse effect of out-of-school suspension and expulsion on the student can be profound," the experts write in the journal Pediatrics.

According to the report, students who are suspended or expelled from school can potentially be left unattended, which in turn can lead to negative or even criminal behaviors. Furthermore, students who are subject to multiple suspensions are more likely to drop out of school.

Unfortunately, suspensions are used as an alternative to discipline. It is expedient to simply punish a child by removal rather than trying to help the student understand and deal with the causes of misbehavior. Discipline is more time-consuming and places additional demands on teachers and administrators that they would prefer to avoid.

There is ample evidence that behavior management strategies that focus on discipline rather than simple punishments have sharply reduced suspensions and have changed the culture of a school.

Richard C. Horowitz, Palm Harbor

Texting ban

The danger remains

An officer on patrol spots a driver texting. The driver is within the speed limit and he is not driving recklessly. His license tag is up to date, and he's wearing his seat belt. The officer follows, looking for any infraction that would warrant a stop. But there's nothing … until a mile down the road, when the officer's perseverance is rewarded.

The driver, still texting, runs a red light, causes a deadly crash and makes another statistic for an ineffective and useless law that makes texting while driving a secondary offense.

Jim Nuhn, Gulfport

Dear Rick Scott: You're the governor May 7, Daniel Ruth column

Leadership vacuum

I thoroughly enjoyed Daniel Ruth's column. I must admit though, after reading it I became quite confused. I couldn't tell if he was writing about Rick Scott or Barack Obama.

John Waitman, Palm Harbor


Wednesday’s letters: Don’t step on local government

Constitution Revision Commission Proposal 95Proposal steps on local controlThe Constitution Revision Commission’s seriously wrongheaded Proposal 95 states that local governments "may only regulate commerce, trade or labor occurring specifically withi...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Do you have a gold star yet?

Do you have a gold star on your Florida driver’s license, and are you REAL ID compliant?Florida is a federal REAL ID compliant state, which means that driver’s license and identification cards here meet federal law as to security standards and confir...
Published: 01/22/18

Monday’s letters: Tampa Bay deserves rail as an option

New transit option: BRT | Jan. 12Tampa deserves rail as an optionI was disheartened by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s statement about his exhaustion with public transit discussions. It sounds like the government of Tampa has given up on ever realizin...
Published: 01/21/18

Sunday’s letters: Bay area shortchanged on foster care funds

Opioid crisis herds kids to foster care | Jan. 9Bay area foster care shortchangedAs mentioned in this article, the growing opioid epidemic is unfortunately bringing more children into the Florida foster care system. While substance abuse has hist...
Published: 01/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Diagnosis by journalist playing doctor

Trump’s sanity grades | Jan. 19, commentaryAn inept journalistic diagnosisI was worried the Tampa Bay Times wouldn’t find someone qualified to rebuke the findings of noted physician Dr. Ronny Jackson. To the rescue came the brilliant Gail Collins...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/22/18

Saturday’s letters: It’s not the word, it’s the racism

Presidential precedent | Jan. 14It’s not the word; it’s the racismThe Times went in the wrong direction and printed information that is rather useless. And that is strange. You usually get it right.I am talking about President Donald Trump’s prof...
Published: 01/19/18

Friday’s letters: Help for boaters against modern-day ‘pirates’

Marine towing and salvageHelp against modern-day piracyAs an avid recreational boat owner and sixth-generation Floridian, I know there’s no better way to enjoy our state’s spectacular waters than taking your boat out. Unfortunately, the fun of boatin...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18

Thursday’s letters: All Americans need health care

Doctor: Trump got perfect score on cognitive test | Jan. 17All Americans need health carePresident Donald Trump’s extensive health exam has apparently declared him physically fit for office. As I was reading about the battery of tests he received...
Published: 01/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: St. Petersburg’s culture, vibrancy impresses

St. PetersburgImpressive culture and vibrancyI recently visited Tampa Bay and celebrated New Year’s weekend in downtown St. Petersburg. I was awestruck by what I encountered and experienced. It has been several years since I last visited, and the tra...
Published: 01/16/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Jan. 19

Re: Walking leads to shocking catalogue of trash | Jan. 12 column Bring back anti-littering campaignJust came back from the beautiful, clean city of Singapore, where there is a $1,000 fine, plus community service for littering. I think a presiden...
Published: 01/16/18