Thursday, April 19, 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

Comments

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 ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

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

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18

Saturday’s letters: Health Department should butt out

Judge: Grow pot, Mr. Redner | April 12Health officials should butt outThe Times reports that the Florida Department of Health filed an appeal to the decision allowing a man who is a Stage 4 lung cancer survivor to grow pot in his backyard for his ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Friday’s letters: Open and shut: Enforce the law

Sheriff’s ICE aid policy blasted | April 10Open and shut: Enforce the lawPeople and institutions that insist on the using the euphemism "undocumented immigrant" do nothing but affirm their lack of objectivity by using such a phrase to support an ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/12/18

Thursday’s letters: Focus on offender, not weapon

Use data to curb gun deaths | April 8, commentaryFocus on offenders, not weaponsThis article tiptoes around the issue: human violence. The authors point out that automobile manufactures were pressured by regulation and law to make automobile coll...
Published: 04/11/18