Saturday, February 17, 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


Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Challenges in Hillsborough foster care

Foster failures under scrutiny | Feb. 10Challenges in foster care systemNo young person deserves to be treated as shown in the Ch. 8 segment on Youth and Family Alternatives Inc., an Eckerd Connects subcontractor. It is difficult to fathom how th...
Published: 02/12/18

Saturday’s letters: We’re all just trying to get home, one zip tie at a time

I detest Trump, but a ‘redneck’ fixed my Prius with zip ties | Feb. 3, Ruth Mayer columnWe’re all just trying to get homeLike columnist Ruth Mayer, I too am trying to find my level ground, my level-set. I too have held a tremendously deep resentm...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18

Sunday’s letters: Let’s make America good again

Everyone loves a parade | Feb. 9, editorialI’ll sit on the sidelinesAs a 30-year veteran I was appalled at the president’s plan for a military parade. Having marched in numerous parades in my career I can say without hesitation that members of th...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18

Monday’s letters: Gun safety is a proper public health issue

The question Trump failedto answer | Feb. 8, Leonard Pitts columnGun safety isa public health issuePublic health agencies address events that might harm people. Public health doctors, like myself, develop rules to protect individuals for the comm...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18