Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Reading must begin in the home


St. Petersburg's illiteracy problem | July 20, editorial

Reading must start in the home

It was certainly appropriate to decry the sorry state of literacy in the "St. Petersburg Five," the poorly performing elementary schools. Reaching out to businesses, politicians and the broader community is a positive step.

However, while stating it was disheartening for the families of children who attend those schools, the writer failed to include them in the clarion call. It is absolutely true that teachers can't cure the literacy problem alone. However, neither can politicians, businesses or the broader community.

Until parents become tenaciously determined to promote reading in the home and to persistently partner in the educational process, the St. Petersburg Five will continue to founder in that "rising tide of illiteracy." The home is the primary resource needed to remedy this situation. That resource needs to be the focus of the outreach initiatives.

Janet Burt, Brandon

Longevity or shakeup on board | July 20

Board should lead the way

Who runs the Pinellas County school system? I thought all decisions came from or went through the publicly elected School Board. This article says that Linda Lerner, a board member, would like to see more music and arts in the schools. The board represents the public and hires the superintendent; he answers to them, not the other way around.

If Lerner and the board would like to see more music and arts, then make it happen. Did they forget that they run the show?

John Skinner, Dunedin

This strong fence makes for bad neighbors July 20, Perspective

Fence erected as last resort

Ethan Bronner, who for many years served as New York Times bureau chief in Jerusalem, omitted one very important fact in his otherwise informative opinion piece.

That fence he writes about was only erected after a long, deadly series of terror bombings by West Bank residents in Israel on buses and in markets and restaurants.

Israel only built that fence as a last resort. The result has been a safer Israel, but the result initially had a major economic impact on the country as thousands of West Bank workers could no longer enter and Israel's labor force was not large enough to initially fill that gap.

Lawrence Silver, Oldsmar

Israel's deadly gambits | July 20, commentary

Talk won't stop rockets

Fred Kaplan's column sounds logical, except for the facts that:

• Hamas fired rockets to start the whole war, and also to break the last cease-fire;

• Hamas refused the last attempt at a cease-fire after Israel accepted;

• Hamas places launchers in "collateral damage" locations.

Kaplan has a four-line paragraph acknowledging that Hamas is hardly blameless, and then proceeds to quote top Israeli officials on the mistakes of Israel's actions. Israel has tried and found out that diplomacy does not stop the rockets.

Leonard Buckner, Tampa

Dream cruise | July 20

Protect our marine culture

Pinellas County is a destination. As a lifelong resident who is immersed in our marine culture — from the beaches to the now-pristine nurseries of our bay grass flats — I am outraged by this aspect being but a footnote in the cruise ship discussion.

I have personally witnessed the tragic effects of dredging sensitive grass flats as well as the local pollution a major seaport for cruise ships poses. I find it sad and ironic to be attracting people here to hop on a ship and sail away to a "destination" while we are potentially destroying our own paradise.

I encourage the Times to invest more time and research into the "why" of a new seaport, not just the "where" and "how." We have the world's best experts close at hand to address that issue. Many have worked hard for years to protect our precious marine culture.

If the new megaport happens, in my opinion those seeking a "dream cruise" will leave the citizens of Pinellas County with a nightmare.

Stephen A. Updegraff, St. Petersburg

Utilities want to gut goals | July 20

Consumers shut out

Once more, consumers are being held hostage by a regulated monopoly where decisions are limited to just a few major utility companies, rather than made by consumers as in many other states. And yet again we are told that the Public Service Commission can't be bothered to actually regulate this monopoly so that, heaven forbid, the utilities might have to join the 21st century.

With no competition, these utilities continue to make decisions for the benefit of themselves and their shareholders rather than for the environment or the consumer.

We need access to alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar. They will never be competitive if access is denied to us by the utilities. These entities have made it clear that they will not provide access because once energy becomes cheap, or even free, they will go out of business. Well, good riddance to a polluting industry that cares more for itself and lacks the ability to serve its customer base.

We as consumers need choices. The environment needs our protection.

Lynn Bosco, Clearwater

Jim Morin editorial cartoon | July 21

Who's the crackpot?

Jim Morin's cynical cartoon picturing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as a "crackpot at the end of a rainbow" because of her views on gay marriage is interesting. Bondi's views have been consistent, based upon her personal faith and her official duties, and haven't change with opinion polls.

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama said, "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me, it is also a sacred union. God's in the mix." When Obama's "deeply held convictions" were hurting him politically, they conveniently changed.

Which is the more crackpot or opportunistic position?

James Bowers, Seminole


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...
Updated: 11 hours ago

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: 11/18/17

Wednesday’s letters: Generosity makes all the difference

National Adoption MonthThe difference generosity makesAs a football coach, I always had to be ready to overcome unexpected challenges. With injuries, crowd noise and especially weather, the game plan is always adjusting to overcome adversity.Our stat...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17

Monday’s letters: Moore is not fit for public office

Woman: Candidate pursued her as a teen | Nov. 10Moore is not fit for public officeIt is sad that Roy Moore, a self-professed religious man, is running for a Senate seat when he is clearly unfit for any job involving the public for so many reasons...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/13/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t fall for the tax cut ruse

Tax billDon’t take your eye off the ballThe rush is on. The Republican Congress is rushing to pass a modest tax cut for the middle class while giving corporations a massive tax cut. While taking away some of the tax deductions from ordinary taxpayers...
Published: 11/10/17