Wednesday, June 20, 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: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18