Thursday, April 26, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Budget deal hits military retirees

Airfest to return in 2014 | Dec. 12

Budget deal hits military retirees

The Times front page trumpeted the great news from the Air Force that Airfest is returning to MacDill Air Force Base next year. According to its director, it is planned to be fiscally responsible and sustainable.

Yet your paper did not carry the news that the Bipartisan Budget Act — the federal budget deal designed to shield the Defense Department from automatic spending cuts under sequestration — will reduce pensions for military retirees like me, who already earned them.

Apparently the crafters of this agreement, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., do not think that "working-age military retirees," those of us under age 62, deserve all the military retirement benefits that we worked so hard to earn, enduring severe hardships and sacrifices common to no other profession.

It is no secret that military air shows are paid for with recruiting funds, but what right does our government have to spend on lavish recruiting pageantry when it can't afford to pay for the earned retirement benefits of those who already served? Last year we were promised by President Barack Obama, his defense secretaries and Congress that current retirees would be protected from any changes to the military retirement system. Another broken promise.

But hey Tampa Bay, we've got Airfest. Enjoy the show.

Air Force Maj. Debra K. Hedding (Ret.), Lutz

The nation's religious principles Dec. 12, letter

Not a Christian nation

Thursday's editorial page printed letters arguing against the separation of church and state.

Those writers appear to be ignorant of Article 11 of the 1796 Treaty of Tripoli, unanimously ratified by Congress and signed by President John Adams, which states in part: "The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."

News flash to the Bible crowd: It is not a requirement to be religious, let alone Christian, in America.

Jonathan Coleman, St. Petersburg

Florida job growth surges | Dec. 12

Facts tell the story

Last week you wrote a three-part series on Florida's job market since Gov. Rick Scott took office. It was written with facts that were badly tilted in order for your paper to demean the governor's success.

In Thursday's paper, an article by Jeff Harrington clearly sets the record straight and shows just how well Scott is leading Florida out of its unemployment problems.

It shows that with his leadership, Florida is a state that is in full recovery and growing in a way your paper cannot believe. The truth always wins out.

Bob Kinder, St. Petersburg

Faculty, HCC at impasse over pay | Dec. 10

Instructors undervalued

There is more than one way to get around paying a fair base wage for personnel at Hillsborough Community College.

Automotive instructors must be ASE-certified and have full responsibility for in-class and in-lab training and testing, just as the other department trainers do. But while the other trainers are classified as faculty, the automotive instructors are classified as employees.

The training they do is technical and complex, but their salary does not reflect their experience, skills and knowledge. They should be reclassified as faculty and valued appropriately.

Grace Ross, Brandon

State's graduation rate improves | Dec. 12

1 in 4 aren't graduating

The true headline of this article should have been how many students do not graduate from high school. A 75.6 percent graduation rate means that about 1 in 4 students do not graduate from high school.

An educated citizenry represents the future of our country. Is it any surprise that we have become less competitive on the world stage? It shouldn't be if you read this article.

Mark J. Szarejko, Palm Harbor

'You can keep it' | Dec. 13, PolitiFact

Lies and intent

Congratulations on selecting "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it" as Lie of the Year. President Barack Obama's modus operandi has been to lie about details while pleading intent.

The first and best example was on his first day as president, when he signed five "ethics commitments" executive orders, and said:

"If you are a lobbyist entering my administration, you will not be able to work on matters you lobbied on, or in the agencies you lobbied during the previous two years."

This had already been broken, as he had nominated William J. Lynn III, who had worked as a defense contractor lobbyist the previous June, to be a deputy defense secretary.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs defended it by saying there was a section of the executive order that says the president can get a waiver for a uniquely qualified candidate.

Lynn left the Obama administration to be chairman/CEO of a defense contractor after only a three-month hiatus.

Paul Huckeby, St. Petersburg

Clarity was missing

I don't call President Barack Obama's statement a lie. When he said that a person could keep his chosen insurance policy, he meant — and should have been more explicit — that his law did not require that person to give up that policy.

Lorraine Madison, St. Petersburg

Lobby career hangs on Jolly | Dec. 11

Negative slant

The negative headline chosen for this article belongs on the editorial page, not the front page. In the body of the article, it's acknowledged that members of both political parties have joined the lucrative field of consulting and lobbying.

David Jolly did not suddenly create a residence in Pinellas County; he has a long history here. His time in Washington would be helpful navigating the political system.

Robyn Dalton, Largo


Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

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

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

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