Saturday, April 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Letters: Sales tax increase was supposed to fund roads

Sales tax increase was for road work

How can you possibly raise the gas tax another five cents? What happened to the 1 percent sales tax, part of which was supposed to go for the roads?

What are the people who drive to work every day going to do? People who use gas for their businesses will have to raise the price of their products. It goes on and on, and it has gone on for too many years now. People are struggling as it is. How much more can you take from us before we have to leave Pasco County??

I am retired on a fixed income which does not go up every year as does everything else.

Allen Kotter, New Port Richey

Taxpayers can't afford to pay more

I am curious if Commissioner Ted Schrader drives a county car and gets free gas. Many of our public employees are provided with perks that exclude them from the increases that they propose taxpayers pay.

Time for our public officials to wake up and realize that the taxpayers are struggling and make due with the revenues they are currently getting.

H.G. Shirer, New Port Richey

Editor's note: Pasco commissioners are not issued county-owned vehicles.

Commission has its own loophole

It is dismaying that Pasco commissioners have chosen to postpone consideration of closing the gun-show loophole on background checks.

Waiting to see the outcome of legal cases in other counties is just an excuse for those commissioners who want nothing to do with any sort of rational gun laws. If this is the case, they should have the courage to state their position without relying on this convenient crutch. Then we, the voters, would know where they stand when the next election comes around.

Larry Schmitt, Hudson

Commissioners should speak up

I am urging county commissioners, as public servants, to vote to close the gun-show loophole. It is important that we stop ignoring the facts. We can make Pasco County a safer county for its residents and voters.

The people who should not be allowed to have a gun — criminals, mentally ill and domestic abusers — don't need to find someone to buy a gun for them in Pasco County, or any other county near us. Just come to Pasco's flea markets and gun shows. With a private seller there's no background checking and no waiting. It's so simple. Pay for a gun and walk out with the gun the same day. Use the gun that same day or night.

Do you understand how terrible that sounds? The big argument against closing the loophole is that the criminals get their guns from stealing or the black markets, so why make this change. It won't stop the bad guys from getting guns. Well, think about it. With the gun-show loophole in this county, they don't have to pay extra for a stolen or second-hand gun in the black market. They just come to Pasco County where the commissioners think that background checks would be unhealthy for private sellers at these places. It may stop people from going to gun shows or dealers at the flea markets and that would hurt business.

Please go through with the hearing on the gun-show loophole. Let the public hear your answers and let the public speak in front of you to tell you their feelings about this. This is a democratic society and the people want their say.

Jim Simons, New Port Richey

Represent people or leave office

Once again, our elected Pasco commissioners refuse to acknowledge the will of their constituents by refusing to act on closing the gun-show loophole.

National polling indicates 91 percent of those surveyed support universal background checks on all gun purchases. Addressing the loophole does not infringe on Second Amendment rights; it enhances public safety. If our commissioners refuse to step up and represent us, it's time for them to step down.

Jean Cifelli, New Port Richey

Bill could save lives of newborns

There is legislation in Tallahassee that could save hundreds of young lives across Florida, but the bill is not moving in the House of Representatives.

A simple, two-minute test measuring oxygen levels in the blood of a newborn could mean the difference between survival and death. Two bills that would require this kind of testing before a newborn leaves a birthing facility are pending in the Legislature. This is one of those rare examples of legislation that everyone should be able to support.

House Bill 81 and Senate Bill 124 would require that pulse oximetry, as it is known, be performed on every newborn before going home. The noninvasive test can detect if the oxygen level in the baby's blood is low, which could mean the infant has an undetected heart defect that needs to be treated.

Though the Senate bill has moved through its first two committees, the House of Representatives has not heard the bill yet, and the time to hear it is slipping away.

The American Heart Association, which is urging support for the screening, has heard from many families who have taken home an infant thinking the child is healthy only to later notice cold hands and feet, bluish color, mottled skin, difficulty breathing or eating. The screening test could help spot these problems early on and even prevent an infant from going into heart failure.

This change to newborn screening is being considered in over half of the state capitals across the country. Over half of Florida's hospitals already conduct the test. The legislation would have the Department of Health's newborn screening program implement it in all birthing centers.

It's estimated that congenital heart disease affects from seven to nine of every 1,000 live births in the country.

The costs associated with implementing the testing are minimal — as little as $2 for a two-minute test. Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and the other members of the House could prevent a lot of heartache as well as a lot of burden on the public by adopting this simple step. This measure is supported by the American College of Cardiology, the Florida Society of Pediatrics, the Florida Medical Association, the Florida Nurses Association and the Florida Hospital Association.

Jenna Winzenburg, Tampa


Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18

Saturday’s letters: Health Department should butt out

Judge: Grow pot, Mr. Redner | April 12Health officials should butt outThe Times reports that the Florida Department of Health filed an appeal to the decision allowing a man who is a Stage 4 lung cancer survivor to grow pot in his backyard for his ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18