Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Support transit innovations

Help choose the letter of the month

Letters to the editor offer a significant contribution to the discussion of public policy and life in Tampa Bay. To recognize some of that work by our most engaged readers, the Times will select a letter of the month and the writers will be recognized at the end of the year.

Help us choose from the nominations for letter of the month for April 2014 by visiting the website listed below by Monday. Read through the three letters and vote on the ballot at the bottom of the web page. We will choose the finalists each month based on relevance on topical issues, persuasiveness and writing style.

The writer's opinion does not need to match the editorial board's opinion on the issue to be nominated. But clarity of thinking, brevity and a sense of humor certainly help.

To see the three April nominees and vote, go to

Cars for hire must put safety first | April 23, editorial

Support transit innovations

While I agree that Hillsborough County's Public Transportation Commission rules stifle innovation and we need reform, I am deeply concerned with your characterization of current service and your recommendation to remedy it.

I am excited that Lyft and Uber's ridesharing service, UberX, have begun operating in Tampa Bay. Both companies operate at the highest industry standards and are not fly-by-night operators, but rather international companies with hundreds of millions invested in changing the way we travel. People are increasingly combining different modes to get around, and services like car sharing, frequent transit and bike share are just a few of the options from which we can benefit. We need to give Tampa Bay residents the same freedom to move around that other cities enjoy.

Both services have been operating successfully across the country to meet natural demand and do so under sound business practices. They do background checks on drivers, facilitate trainings and vehicle inspections, and Lyft even carries an additional million-dollar liability policy. Furthermore, both companies use driver rating systems to ensure that employees maintains the highest standards.

Asking innovators to sit back and wait for government to create new regulations to provide options is absurd. We have been promised action before, but no movement has happened in the past two years since the issue came to prominence.

We applaud Lyft and Uber's tenacity and encourage the PTC to be open to dialogue and move quickly to collaborative solutions. This is how we will grow as a community: not by closing doors, but by exploring and embracing new technologies.

Brian Seel, co-founder, Connect Tampa Bay, Tampa

Transit should progress | April 28, letter

Winners and losers

The letter writer states that good technology disrupts the market, increasing options for consumers and providing new economic opportunities, leading to more prosperity.

It is the claim of more prosperity that I dispute. Uber is a technology that allows the consumers to hire a car for rides to their destinations. Instead of calling a taxi, you use Uber. So the Uber company, the Uber driver and the consumer who pays a lower fare becomes more prosperous while the cab driver becomes less prosperous because he has fewer fares and tips. As a result of fewer people using taxis, the taxi company may not require as many dispatchers and may lay off people. This is not prosperity for all.

There are examples of technology reducing prosperity all around us. If you go into a big box store you may see self checkout lanes with one person servicing four lanes. Before there were two or three checkout people to serve the consumer. Technology has reduced employment opportunities, which does not contribute to prosperity for all.

Technology has also allowed many higher-paying jobs like computer programming to be outsourced. This lowers prosperity for U.S. programmers while increasing it for the non-U.S. developers.

I personally like technology. I probably spend too much time on my computer now. But I realize that technology does not increase prosperity for all.

Dennis J. Blaha, Wimauma

When player goes down, all is not lost April 28

Heartwarming story

That was a top-notch headline on page one of the Tampa Bay Times. How special is was to be able to read something as heartwarming as what the pitcher, Chelsea Oglevie, and second baseman, Leah Pemberton, from the opposing team did for injured Kara Oberer. It was proof that goodness and kindness do still exist in our world.

We need more of those headlines on page one. And those two young women need to be officially recognized for their sportsmanship.

Marcia Kay Dahlstrom, Dunedin

U.S. vows aid to Ukraine, sends troops to E. Europe | April 23

Take a look in the mirror

Perhaps Vice President Joe Biden should be applauded for challenging the Ukraine political class to confront "the cancer of corruption that is endemic in your system," but this aspersion hits close to home when considering campaign financing in this country.

Until a change is made in the United States making it illegal for any lawmaker to take more than a standard, fixed amount of campaign money, we run a high risk of hypocrisy in directing comments at others regarding the cancer of corruption.

C.E. Henderson, Palm Harbor

For benefits, military vets cross the line April 28

Appalled and ashamed

Speaking as a Vietnam War veteran, I am appalled and ashamed of any fellow veterans who purposely defraud the VA in receiving undeserved benefits, especially when there are veterans denied deserving benefits.

Veterans who are found guilty of fraudulent benefits should not only serve prison time and pay restitution but be dishonorably discharged from the branch of service they served, stripping them of any benefits whatsoever.

Jack Burlakos, Kenneth City


Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Updated: 2 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

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

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Updated: 3 hours ago

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