Sunday, May 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Too much abuse of sick day policy

A matter of public health | June 21, letter

Too much abuse of sick day policy

I have to agree with much of Susan Greenbaum's June 21 letter to the editor, A matter of public health, which was designated Letter of the Month. Sick leave should be provided to employees, particularly those who deal directly with the public. However, sick leave is abused by many and it's difficult to know where to draw the line.

It has, in fact, come to the point that many employees regard sick leave as something they are entitled to whether they are sick or not. I don't know how many times I have heard, "I think I'll take a sick day tomorrow." Never mind being sick — the person thinks he or she is entitled. I've also heard employees counting all the time they still have to take in a given year. "I have to take a week of vacation, two personal days and three sick days."

And this is not nearly as bad as those who can accrue sick days. How many times have you seen employees with thousands of dollars of accumulated leave time and sick time — particularly public employees? Sick time should never be carried over from one year to the next; it should expire at the end of every year.

Robert A. Medley, Sun City Center

Britannia finally rules | July 8

Remember the women

When I grabbed Monday's front-page section, the first thing that popped out was the top headline: "After 77 years, Andy Murray gives Brits a Wimbledon title."

That must come as a surprise to Angela Barrett, Ann Haydon Jones and Virginia Wade, all British women who won Wimbledon in the '60s and '70s.

Oh, you meant the men's title? In typical sports fashion, the accomplishments of women don't really count. You can continue to perpetuate this sexist view — or work to help erase it.

This headline doesn't help.

Scott Hopkins, Brandon

Crash inquiry looks at crew's actions | July 9

Smoking's heavy toll

I've been following the news coverage of the crash of Asiana Flight 214, which killed two people. Fox, MSNBC, CNN and Headline News all seemed to have constant coverage the first day and then news at least once every half-hour for several days afterward. The crash seems to have gotten much more coverage than the Alaska airplane crash that killed 10, maybe because the SFO crash could have killed all 307 aboard.

I wonder what the coverage and outrage would have been if three jumbo jets killed all 400 passengers and crew aboard in one day. And then if that happened the next day, and the next, and every day after that? People would be demonstrating in the streets. People would quit flying, and those who hadn't flown would pledge to never start flying.

Luckily, of course, we don't have to experience that tragedy. But 1,200 people do die every day from smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's the same number as three jumbo jets crashing. And while many do quit, about 18 percent of Floridians still smoke. Every year another 18,900 children in Florida become daily smokers, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The smoking rate is going down. Not as fast as we'd like, but it is going down. So the tobacco companies are now marketing candy and fruit-flavored tobacco products to entice kids into using them.

If you are outraged by this and want to help, become a member of the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Pinellas County and/or SWAT: Students Working Against Tobacco.

Chris Lewis, St. Petersburg

Islamists can't make democracy July 8, commentary

Parallel politics

I agree with most of what David Brooks had to say, but have to wonder if it occurred to him when he wrote, speaking of the Muslim Brotherhood — "They reject pluralism, secular democracy and, to some degree, modernity. When you elect fanatics … you have not advanced democracy" — that he could have been writing about the Republican Party in this country.

He quoted other writers who describe an Islamist follower as one who does "not accept the existence of an objective fact separate from how he feels about it." This description could be applied to any one of the Republican governors, legislators or Supreme Court justices attempting to enforce their power on a woman's right to decide what will happen to her and her fetus; to prevent workers from organizing; to deny voters the right to vote through obstructionist amendments; and all the other underhanded, disgraceful machinations today's Republicans have engaged in to supposedly make us all in their God-fearing but gun-loving image.

Gail Morris, Safety Harbor

Immigration reform

Serve the voters

Two weeks ago the Senate passed S. 744, a bill that addresses immigration reform. The historic vote has long been awaited by pro-immigrant groups. The bill cleared the Senate with a bipartisan majority of 68-32, including every Democrat and 14 Republicans.

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, has demonstrated his opposition to immigration reform because it provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Florida's 12th Congressional District covers most of Pasco County, an area that has seen an increase of Hispanic voters in the past years. There are 20,609 Hispanic voters, and most are registered Democrats. Many of these voters support immigration reform and they have vowed to remember Bilirakis' voting history when they cast their vote in November.

Bilirakis needs to remember that he was elected to vote in favor of the people he represents in District 12. A recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling indicates that 67 percent of voters in the district support citizenship and 52 percent are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports citizenship.

Jose Ceballos, Wesley Chapel

World's greatest dysfunctional body July 10, editorial

Time for a change

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell claims that "breaking the rules to change the rules would fundamentally change this Senate."

Good! Anything that fundamentally changes this dysfunctional Senate is a step in the right direction, and the sooner the better.

James Nelson, Largo


Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Friday's letters: Putnam and Publix, two P's lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17 A pleasure to shop elsewhere My family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye. F...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 18

Re: Pasco panel okays Tampa Electric solar farm after five-hour meeting | April 9 storySolar farm offers many positivesThere has been much publicity regarding the proposed TECO Mountain View solar project slated for 350 acres in East Pasco that was r...
Published: 05/14/18

Thursday’s letters: Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America

Autonomous vehicles in FloridaThe state for self-driving carsAlmost overnight, Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America. In the last three months, Voyage, a self-driving taxi service, has begun service in the Villag...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: Florida’s Community Health Centers save $1.78 for every dollar spent

Florida’s Community Health CentersHealth centers are a great dealIf you gave someone a dollar and they gave you back $1.78, wouldn’t you consider that a fantastic deal? That’s the deal Florida’s Community Health Centers provide for the state’s citize...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/16/18

Monday’s letters: Good ideas to fix schools still require enough money

Another plan for faltering schools | May 9The right ideas, cash still neededThe administration of the Hillsborough County School District should be applauded for persistent efforts to find the right formula to improve educational results of stude...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/14/18

Saturday’s letters: Short-sighted prison cuts hurt society

Call to rethink prison cuts | May 10Short-sighted prison cuts hurt societyThe Florida Department of Corrections is dismantling successful substance abuse and re-entry treatment programs to fix a $28 million shortfall. The short-sighted action wi...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/11/18