Monday, December 11, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Parents should keep tabs on young drivers

Teenage drivers

Work to keep young drivers safe

Memorial Day marks the beginning of the 100 deadliest days of the year on our nation's roads for teen drivers. Hundreds of teens are killed in car crashes and their families devastated. These deaths are unacceptable, especially because many are preventable. I implore parents to remain vigilant and play a role in the fight to end these tragic crashes.

School might be out, but teens still need to be off the roads by 10 p.m., when teen crash risks sharply increase. Although teens may spend more time with friends during the summer months, they should not ride with or carry other teen passengers. Just one teen passenger increases a teen driver's crash risk by as much as 48 percent. Parents, please don't ever sacrifice safety for convenience. If your teen is out late or with friends, make other travel arrangements. The risk is not worth the potential consequences.

I lead the Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition, established by the Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council to raise awareness about why teen crashes occur and what we can do to prevent them. I encourage parents to get involved and become advocates for their teens' safety on our roadways. By doing so, I'm confident this summer can be the safest yet for our teen drivers.

Danielle Branciforte, Tallahassee

Paying for health care benefits, getting none May 20, commentary

Disconnected thinking

Alan Green's opinion piece was a brilliant example of holistic thinking: the ability to see how all the different parts of a system (think health care or economics) affect one another, and how poor decisions on one input can favorably or negatively impact the entire system and the people in it.

Unfortunately, this intellectual skill far exceeds the ability of the majority of our state legislators, whose most common thinking process is more narrowly focused. So unfortunately, many of our state's lower-income citizens already lacking health care will continue to go without. And you, my fellow Florida taxpayer, will continue to pay for those in other states who had the intelligence to make the right decision.

Donald Ruths, Brooksville

Even in surplus, few mercies | May 21

Missed opportunities

I am deeply saddened by Gov. Rick Scott's decision to veto $1.3 million in funding for a Metropolitan Ministries transitional housing facility. Scott's campaign motto was "Let's get to work," and his priority during the budget process was, "Is it going to help our families get more jobs?" The construction of the facility would have created hundreds of jobs for the struggling residents of Pasco County. The facility would also have provided job training, which would help the homeless to obtain gainful employment in our communities.

The issue of homelessness is very near to my heart. For over two years, I was part of a homeless ministry in Port Richey. Our ministry was small, which allowed us to really connect with the homeless on a personal level and minister to them.

I believe the general public has an overall negative and tainted view regarding the homeless. Most of them are just looking for someone to talk to and for someone who would recognize that they are real people just like the rest of us, but who were unfortunate enough to have been dealt various life challenges.

Judy Prine, New Port Richey

Hillsborough County Commission

For better representation

All Hillsborough County residents should have better representation on the County Commission. There has been a significant increase in population since the structure of the commission was last determined, and the structure needs to be revised.

However, changing an at-large commissioner to a new district commissioner is a shortsighted and unacceptable. It will reduce the representation and power of all residents.

The makeup must be an odd number to avoid tie votes. More importantly, the proportion of at-large representatives must be retained so residents in any district have the opportunity to gain approval of their issue by combining their district vote with votes of at-large commissioners who do not have a district bias.

My suggestion is to change to a nine-member commission with four at-large commissioners and a new district, thereby giving all districts a representative for a smaller population.

Joye Gasser, Sun City Center

On scandals, no sale | May 21, commentary

Public entitled to know

Since when should the pursuit of facts and the investigation of an issue be based on whether or not it "resonates" with the public? For one, the public may just be plain tired of the continuing misadventures coming out of Washington. In any event, the public is entitled to know what happened there.

As to Charles Blow's assertion that Republicans hate the IRS, I didn't know that all Republicans thought in lockstep on this, or any issue. I am a reluctant Republican (based on the alternative), but I do not hate the IRS or paying my fair share of taxes. Taxes, and the many vital governmental functions they pay for, are not an "absolute evil" as Blow believes all Republicans think. It may be the excesses of government that people object to. Blow uses "tea party" and "Republican Party" interchangeably. They are not the same.

Getting to the truth about Benghazi is important if for no other reason than to prevent it from happening again. And yes, I can find Benghazi on a map as I am sure many Times readers can.

Sam Levine, Tampa

Governor steps up inmate deaths | May 20

Voters are watching

It would be fun to watch Gov. Rick Scott's moves if they weren't so tragic. He bought and paid for his election four years ago with promises of jobs. First he destroyed many existing jobs. Now he claims credit for any new jobs in the state, even those he had nothing to do with.

In addition, he is trying to play nice with all those he insulted and deprived of help, such as teachers. They are not fooled.

Now he seems to think that he can win over some people by ordering more and quicker executions. He should look around and see that more states are dropping the death penalty, and that Florida has a terrible reputation for putting innocent people on death row and allowing only a jury majority, rather than a unanimous decision, to ask for execution.

I hope not only that Scott will wake up to reality but that Florida voters will too.

Lucy Fuchs, Brandon


Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Wednesday’s letters: Bill gives small businesses tax relief

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3Small businesses get tax reliefThe Senate and House have now passed their respective tax bills. Once Congress sends a final package to the White House, President Donald Trump will deliver us the most powerful tax re...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/05/17

Tuesday’s letters: Transplant bill will help Medicare patients

November Letter of the MonthThe winning letter addressed the unresponsiveness of elected officials.Representatives aren’t listeningFor whom do our legislators work? I ask because my Florida senator doesn’t appear to work for me. I drove 27 miles on N...
Published: 12/04/17

Monday’s letters: A citizen’s heroic act

Suspect arrested | Nov. 29A courageous citizen’s actOn Nov. 28, a courageous act occurred in the Tampa Bay area. It was one that law enforcement professionals applaud and hope becomes more frequent. An ordinary citizen did the right thing and spo...
Published: 12/01/17

Saturday’s letters: Historic preservation process needs fixing

A preservation problem | Nov. 25, editorialApplication process needs fixingThere is a reason why smaller rather than larger groups of property owners are getting together to seek historic district designation: It is St. Petersburg’s application p...
Published: 11/30/17
Updated: 12/01/17

Friday’s letters: Allegations from distant past have political tinge

Published: 11/30/17