Saturday, June 23, 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: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18