Friday, November 24, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Plan raises quality of cancer care


Cancer research

Plan raises quality of cancer care

We applaud Gov. Rick Scott for his ground-breaking proposal to raise the overall quality of cancer care in Florida by investing $80 million in next year's state budget for cancer research.

Cancer places a terrible burden on families in Florida, which ranks No. 2 in the country for cancer incidence and mortality. The long-term funding of this proposal, which the House of Representatives has adopted, will promote game-changing cancer research while providing resources to recruit and train the best and brightest physicians and scientists — resulting in improved cancer care and greater access to care across the state.

A critical component of the governor's plan is increasing the number of Florida institutions that can attain the prestigious Comprehensive Cancer Center designation by the National Cancer Institute. This honor is awarded only to cancer centers demonstrating excellence in all phases of research and is held by only 41 centers in the United States.

Currently, Moffitt Cancer Center is the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida. We have earned and maintained this designation thanks in part to our more than 400 clinical trials testing therapies guided by our basic research that have led to new, cutting-edge treatments, including our recent ground-breaking success in the treatment of melanoma.

Another important factor in achieving the designation has been our role in training more students in the field of oncology than all other Florida institutions combined. We believe that training tomorrow's workforce, whether in the clinic or the laboratory, is critical to advancing cancer care in our state.

We urge the Florida Senate to support this forward-thinking proposal, which we believe will improve the lives of Floridians impacted by this terrible disease.

Alan List, M.D., president and CEO, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa

For most, odds of IRS audit: 1% | April 14

Tax cheats cost everyone

The fact that Congress actually loses more money by cutting the IRS enforcement budget should be proof enough that many so-called deficit hawks really don't care about reducing the gap between revenue and expenses. These cutbacks go back to the Bush administration, when the number of business audits went dramatically down and the number of earned income credit audits went up. They found the one group — EIC filers (without lobbyists) — where it actually costs more to audit than the IRS gets in recovery and increased those audits while cutting other, much more "profitable" types of audits.

I'm not sure which is worse: congressmen bragging about cutting the IRS budget or the average taxpayer who applauds such cuts, not realizing that letting the tax cheats get off free costs us all more in the end.

Andrew Fussner, Seminole

Wired to work with marijuana? | April 14

Pot's multiple benefits

I worry that the miraculous effect that pot's cannabinoid molecule has on epilepsy will eclipse the benefits of pot's other components. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta described the benefits as an "entourage effect," a term coined by Israeli researchers in 1998 to describe the synergistic effect of the multitude of components found in the whole plant.

As the future unfolds, we'll see these components isolated, tested, FDA-approved and marketed. Meanwhile, patients with ailments that benefit from the whole plant should be allowed to have it. While likely not the panacea claimed by zealous supporters, pot is certainly not the bugaboo claimed by zealous detractors.

As if the medical benefits were not enough, recent research papers are finding that states with legal medical pot are seeing improvements in public safety, as compared to states where medical pot is still illegal. They found reductions in suicides, traffic fatalities and beer consumption — all with no significant change in pot use. Most recently, a paper in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, reported reductions in serious crime and concluded, "These findings run counter to arguments suggesting the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes poses a danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes."

In November, vote for Amendment 2 to let patients have the whole plant.

John G. Chase, Palm Harbor

Deputies investigate horse rescue | April 12

Dedicated volunteers

I have been involved with RVR Horse Rescue for almost 2 ½ years. I have never seen a horse neglected by anyone at RVR. What I have seen is sacrifice and sleep lost sitting with sick horses, and I have seen dedication and love for these animals. RVR works closely with equine vets, and we have a vet tech who lives on the premises.

We recently completed work on a medical stall to be able to handle the most severe cases of injury and neglect. RVR is totally volunteer-run. This is our passion. If a call goes out for assistance, our volunteers answer without hesitation.

Dee Goodhand, Lithia

Equal-pay demagogues | April 14

Fighting fire with fire

The points in this column are well taken. However, Ruth Marcus overlooks the broader political context in which the Democrats are speaking. Thanks to prolonged ideological thinking and behavior by Republicans, questionable claims in ads, and the politicizing of daily actions and decisions, the level of rhetoric has escalated to an all-time high (or low, depending on your point of view). As a result, it seems that hyperbole is necessary in order to be heard.

Our country would run more effectively if the levels of noise and stridency were reduced in our discussions of policy and legislation.

Sharon Mayes, Palm Harbor

Demagogues right and left

After reading this Ruth Marcus column, I was somewhat confused by her reasoning. She said that she was for equal pay for women and that she would vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act if she were a member of Congress. Yet she accuses the Democrats, who do support it in Congress, of being demagogues. That is a pretty strong word, considering the demagoguery of the Republican Party on this issue and many others in the past five years.

Michael Malafronte, Trinity


Friday’s letters: Find private investors for a new stadium

Opening offer from Rays on stadium sounds too low | Nov. 17, editorialFind private investors for stadiumThe Rays "offered" to pay 18.75 percent of the costs? How outrageously presumptuous to say that they offered! Put another way, they demanded t...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Thursday’s letters: Tax plan won’t help wages

Tax billThis won’t help stagnant wagesThe unfair tax proposal that cuts taxes for the rich and most powerful and cuts the ability of working people to claim any comparable deductions is no more than another greedy power grab by the rich and powerful....
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Wednesday’s letters: Breaking down health data

Don’t let news on blood pressure raise yours | Nov. 17, commentaryBreaking down health numbersThank you for publishing the timely commentary by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch on blood pressure. The point he makes about relative risks versus absolute risks ...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17

Tuesday’s letters: Disgraceful tax proposals

Tax billDisgraceful, harmful proposalsThe very fact that the Congress of the people of the United States would propose, not to mention pass, the current tax bill is nothing short of disgraceful. What sort of representatives of the people support cutt...
Published: 11/20/17

Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers

Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14Stop laying blame on teachersI am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. Sh...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Nov. 17

Questioning fees draws snarky responseYou are probably aware of the new Pasco utility fees that became effective last month.Under the dubious title of "convenience fee" for making utility payments by credit card or e-check, Pasco Utilities adds $2.75...
Published: 11/15/17

Dollars need to stay at home if south Brooksville is to survive

As a member of the Moton High School Class of 1967, I grew up a poor but very happy child because of the love given to me by all. So all I had to do was be a child and not rush to be an adult.There were many black businesses along a four-block area o...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/22/17