Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Stop catering to state's prisoners

Florida balks over kosher meals for inmates | Jan. 21

Stop catering to state's prisoners

After reading about prisoners wanting kosher meals, plus the death row prisoner challenging his lethal injection based on "cruel and unusual punishment," I have to say: Enough already. It is clear that our judicial system is broken and we are catering to these misfits of society. Prison isn't Burger King, so you can't "have it your way."

You want to cut down on the prison population and costs? Make it so miserable that they don't ever want to come back. Breakfast: powered eggs, ham and lima beans. It is good enough for our troops. Don't like the pork? Pick it out and trade it for more lima beans.

For a bed, one bale of hay. For a potty, one bale of hay. And the prisoner has to clean out his or her cell once a week.

Art Rombkowski, Brooksville

Olustee's sideshow skirmish | Jan. 22

Lost in the past

If it's okay to deny a monument to Union soldiers at Olustee, it's only fair that Confederate monuments at such Northern sites as Gettysburg and Antietam be removed. William Faulkner had it right. In the South, not only is the past not forgotten, it's not even past.

Michael Hare, Seminole

Feds bring relief for the jobless | Jan. 21

A deafening silence

When the website to sign up for the Affordable Care Act failed miserably at first, Republicans where all over the president, berating and belittling him. Now in Florida we have a website to obtain unemployment benefits for those seeking jobs. It too failed miserably. Apart from U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, other elected officials have been mostly quiet. We would love to hear from Sen. Marco Rubio on this subject. Is he perhaps too busy making self-serving headlines regarding the "war on poverty"?

Baerbel R. Dagon, Tampa

Mayor steers clear of Cuba | Jan. 18

Buckhorn's principles

Kudos to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn for his principled stand against traveling to Cuba. The mayor correctly points out that the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba has not unshackled Cuba from the grip of a Communist dictatorship. Yet one might ask, has the Tampa Bay Cuban travel brigade led by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, USF president Judy Genshaft, Tampa Airport chief Joe Lopano, the UT baseball team, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and other dignitaries brought democracy to Cuba? Bravo to Buckhorn for not joining the herd and having the courage to speak out for democracy and freedom.

Don Menzel, Tampa

Too late to save Biltmore | Jan. 20, editorial

Renovate and reuse

I was disappointed in this editorial. Renovation and reuse of this incredible structure is the most sensible thing to do, including for our area's long-term economic vitality. The Belleview Biltmore "story" seems to be playing out to a script used far too many times in the past: allow a historic gem sitting on valuable property to begin to decay, claim it is too expensive too restore, contend that replacing the landmark with new development will be good for the economy, whisper about possible litigation and, finally, use the Chamber of Commerce and newspaper to push the city commission into allowing demolition and new zoning.

Thirty-plus years ago that script was also used in St. Petersburg with the Vinoy but, as we know, the story's final chapter changed. I still have a February 1981 St. Petersburg Times editorial calling for Vinoy demolition. Much as the editors say about the Biltmore, they said about the Vinoy: the building was deteriorating, the old hotel rooms weren't conducive to modern standards, a new development would better serve the city, etc. Today downtown St. Petersburg is a vibrant and attractive city center with a world-class waterfront anchored by a spectacular historic building, the Renaissance Vinoy Resort. Today, most would laugh at the thought of anybody having called for the Vinoy's demolition. I look forward to a future with a restored Biltmore and people laughing at the idea that some in the past had called for its demise.

Peter Belmont, St. Petersburg

Wanted: a crop of better teachers | Jan. 22

Lack of basic knowledge

Those administrators who are searching for quality teachers will have a very hard time. The last 10 years that I taught school in Pinellas County, I refused to take an intern. Why? My last one asked me, "Where is the Sahara desert?" He lacked basic knowledge to the extent that I did not want to inflict him on my students for even a day.

I began teaching when women could enter nursing, teaching or typing letters in an office. Now young women can go into any field they desire. What person in their right mind would go into teaching? It is a job that is stressful, powerless, and pays very little. The two groups that enter the teaching profession now are the few dedicated people who want to teach and those unable to be engaged in a more lucrative profession.

Money is certainly an issue. Many teachers have not had a raise in years. A bigger issue is the lack of value placed on people who teach for a living in our society. When I first started teaching in the '60s, I'd drive into the parking lot and think, "Wow! I love my job." The last years before I retired, I thought, "Gee, I wonder who is going to abuse me today." Sad.

Melanie Woods, Palm Harbor

Guns needed | Jan. 21, letter

Fantasy world

In advocating for the reasonableness of bringing a loaded gun into a movie theater, a reader references the 2012 incident in Aurora, Colo., when a gunman entered a theater and shot more than 80 people, killing 12: "Had someone such as Curtis Reeves been attending that show, do you believe that the casualty rate would have been quite so high before the shooter was taken down by a retired police officer who was packing heat?"

Actually, I believe it would have been just as high, if not higher. The reader seems to have forgotten that, in the dark theater, the Aurora gunman was dressed head-to-toe in black tactical gear, including a ballistics helmet and several other bulletproof elements. In addition, his attack included the use of a smoke/gas canister that made it even more difficult to see. The likelihood that anyone could have "taken down" someone so armed and armored under those conditions is pure fantasy — the sort of thing that only happens on the screen.

Susan Hofstader, St. Petersburg


Thursday’s letters: School safety requires funding

Constitution Revision CommissionSchool safety requires fundingThe Constitution Revision Commission should consider amending a proposal (45, 93 or 72) to allocate the necessary recurring funding for the new school safety mandates, separate from the ba...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: Let the teachers decide on guns

Trump touts arming staff as key in plan for school security | March 12It’s the teacher’s call on weaponsPlease, let’s try an alternate view about guns in the classroom. First, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the preponderance of letters about guns ...
Published: 03/20/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Published: 03/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Published: 03/19/18

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18