Sunday, September 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Opportunities for medical advances with Cuba


Bioscience opportunities abound

In this time of rapidly evolving changes in relations between the United States and Cuba, there are tremendous opportunities for business. And there may be no greater area of opportunity for Cuba-Tampa Bay relations than in bioscience and medicine.

Tampa Bay has one of the most sophisticated and advanced medical and bioscience communities in the nation. One way to strengthen the region's medical and biotech industry is to collaborate with Cuba. As a past board chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, I led several delegations to Cuba to discuss issues of importance to both sides, including transportation, culture, business and medicine. During those trips, I saw firsthand the many ways in which Cuba is advancing medical technology.

Researchers in Cuba have developed a promising lung cancer treatment and vaccine, known as CimaVax, that's been available to Cuban citizens since 2011. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's trip to Cuba in 2015 led to an agreement to bring CimaVax to the United States, and U.S. facilities are evaluating the treatment for use here.

Last year, Cuba also became the first country to receive World Health Organization validation that it had eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. The WHO director-general called the development "one of the greatest public health achievements possible."

But current restrictions are holding Cuba back from making even more medical progress. Because of the U.S. embargo against Cuba and other restrictions in this country and in Cuba, Cuban medical institutions are sometimes unable to get crucial equipment, parts and pharmaceuticals.

Since we're geographically close to Cuba, scientists and doctors from the Tampa Bay area could travel to Havana to meet with Cuban experts and work together on studies, research projects and other health advances. Residents, fellows and doctors from Cuba could travel here for classes, professional training and continuing education. And since Tampa Bay is a center for state-of-the-art medical care, we could also play host to patients from Cuba seeking specialized treatments.

Cuba is a country of over 11 million people. It's foolish to shut ourselves off to the many medical opportunities that exist. Let's start 2017 by fostering more engagement between the medical industry in Tampa Bay and Cuba by exchanging research, data and information. These partnerships are about treating people, curing diseases and overall public health. They are issues that should have no boundaries, geographic or political. We can't let politics stand in the way of medical progress.

Ronald A. Christaldi, Tampa

The writer was 2015 chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. He is a business lawyer with Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP.

Open carry

Guns only add to danger

The lives of Florida's children and teens are at risk if SB 140 passes. It is a dangerous, extreme bill that will lead to open carry on school and college campuses. It is sponsored by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota. Polls show that students, faculty and campus law enforcement overwhelmingly oppose guns on campus. When guns on campus was considered last session, the Florida State University police chief noted that it would make his officers' job considerably more challenging by forcing them to differentiate between "good guys" and "bad guys."

College life is all about young people under high pressure, and many take risks with drug and alcohol use. Easy access to guns only heightens these safety risks. There is no evidence to support gun lobby claims that guns protect students from crime. To the contrary, alcohol directly impairs judgment on whether to fire a gun.

We should be strengthening laws to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people — and stop school shootings before they happen. The only people carrying guns in our schools should be trained law enforcement and trained security guards.

Gemma Kay, Lutz

President-elect Trump

Daily digest on tweets

Whether we like it or not, the president-elect has redefined journalism. So you need to change your game to defeat his whack-a-mole tactics. Instead of chasing his tweets and retweets, how about a Page 2 chart that posts his "Tweets of the Day" on one side and concise, digestible analysis on the other. Some of us will still read the more in-depth articles, but most will only read the shortest of sound bites. It's a sad reality, but the game has truly changed.

Tony Macchia, Tampa

Seek scientific explanations | Jan. 2, letter

Searching for a purpose

The letter writer misreads Ross Douthat's recounting of the near-death experiences of professed atheists. Douthat never claims that these experiences are beyond scientific explanation. Rather, he describes how, when confronted with the unexplained, even the most hardened atheist may begin to question the conviction that God does not exist.

The sciences have a great deal to teach us about our material world and the universe in which it resides. Those disciplines, however, cannot explain the ultimate question: What is our purpose in this ever-expanding, beautiful, ordered and mysterious cosmos? For Douthat, and countless others around the world, the answer is found in "God's love for us" and in that "one specific history-altering experience: a divine incarnation, a baby crying beneath a pulsing star."

James De Furio, Tampa

Partnership in bloom | Jan. 2

Coral reproduction

Despite the fact it made me a bit queasy, I was encouraged to read that coral reproduction from banked coral "DNA" is proving to be doable thanks to recent local research. Still, I long for the days when "what happens on the sea floor stays on the sea floor." For the sake of decency, y'know.

Steve Douglas, St. Petersburg


Saturday’s letters: We need stats that reflect our lives

We’re measuring the economy all wrong | Column, Sept. 18We need stats that reflect our livesMajor news outlets have uniformly declared the U.S. economy to be sizzling, on fire. This column was correct in wanting us to take a second, hard l...
Published: 09/21/18

Monday’s letters: Dr. Robert Judson made great contributions to Pasco-Hernando State College

A pioneer in Pasco-Hernando education | Sept. 19Robert Judson pushed education forwardI had the pleasure of working with the late Dr. Robert Judson, the former president of what is now known as Pasco-Hernando State College, for many years. During...
Published: 09/21/18

Sunday’s letters: Inequality hurts democracy

We’re measuring the economy all wrong | Column, Sept. 18Democracy needs equalityEconomic inequality and the concentration of wealth have achieved levels beyond the comprehension of most American wage earners today. Income inequality has ri...
Published: 09/21/18

Friday’s letters: Florida’s workers aren’t reaping benefits of a booming economy

Scott didn’t put them to work | Sept. 16Florida workers not reaping the benefitsFlorida has just surpassed a GDP of $1 trillion. However, workers in Florida are not reaping the rewards. A new report released by anti-poverty organization Ox...
Published: 09/21/18

Thursday’s letters: For the sake of all involved, don’t rush the Kavanaugh vote

Delay Senate vote on Kavanaugh | Editorial, Sept. 18Don’t rush something that will last a lifetimeThe Senate Judiciary Committee finds itself in a sticky wicket. The committee should take a slow measured course of action. Trying to rush th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18

Wednesday’s letters: How home rule can help fight Red Tide

Red Tide on march | Sept. 18How home rule can help fight Red TideAt the end of 2005, as Red Tide ravaged the beaches and intracoastal waterways of Southwest Florida, volunteers from the Suncoast Sierra Club formed a coastal task force to begin de...
Published: 09/18/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18

Monday’s letters: Are we paying for the wrong kind of military today?

$1 trillion here and there | Letter, Sept. 16Are we buying the right defense?I am weary of politicians of all persuasions handing our military a blank check — in particular the conservatives who rail against budget deficits and want to cut discre...
Published: 09/14/18

Sunday’s letters: Many laws increase our liberty

‘General welfare’ includeshealth | Letter, Sept.15Someone will pay for itMany politicians are making Medicare for All the cornerstone of their campaign. Many think tanks even say the government will save money, but they neglect to say how.Medicar...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18