Thursday, December 14, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Centrist party would be a winner

Florida sees surge in no-party voters | July 6

No party, no real voice

Of the approximately 500,000 newly registered voters since 2010, an astoundingly high percentage have registered as no party affiliation.

Some have applauded the growth of no-party voters as a sign of voter independence and sophistication. Others say it points to voter disgust with the partisan bickering that has led to government gridlock. It may be both, but it is also a sign that voters are diluting the power of their voice, which is the power of their vote.

In Florida, who our legislative and congressional representatives will be is something that is too frequently settled on the day of the filing deadline or in a party primary. This is because political parties too often do not contest incumbent legislative or congressional seats or do not field experienced, attractive and well-funded candidates. In many cases, this is because the lines have been drawn to make it so that districts are not contestable.

Except in cases in which the winner of a primary will have no opposition in the general election — in which case the primary will be open to all voters — those who register with no party affiliation are barred from participating in a political party's primary. So it needs to be understood that the decision to register as a no-party voter comes with the price of surrendering much of the power of your vote: the right to vote in a primary, which in Florida is often the real election.

Howard Simon, executive director, ACLU of Florida, Miami

The costs of cruising | July 9

Smaller ships, big margins

Wednesday's Times included an article on a new, 50-room boutique hotel in St. Pete Beach that will attract an upscale clientele and, on the front page, one on the problem of the new breed of large cruise ships that will not fit under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Possibly the answer to the problem of getting ships under the bridge is to develop a plan that attracts those who prefer smaller, luxurious ships that glide easily beneath the beautiful Skyway. Several very successful European cruise lines sell out their 150-passenger luxury ships regularly. Maybe it is time to look at smaller options rather than those that include options to tear down the Sunshine Skyway.

Joe Parnell, Land O' Lakes

Pasco may keep valedictorian awards July 8

Partisan pandering

It should come as no surprise that this criticism of Pasco County schools superintendent Kurt Browning comes from Fox and Friends. I'm sure that none of his reasoning for the change was discussed and that only outrage and vitriol were spewed, which is what that audience wants.

I'm pretty sure those commenting were not considered for valedictory honors themselves but merely were taking advantage of a chance to call Browning a left-wing liberal for thinking outside the tea party box, even though he is the rare Republican who looks at what might be right even though it may be ideologically impure.

David Sullivan, Palmetto

Religious groups ask to bypass gay shield July 9

Beliefs as discrimination

The chief executive of Catholic Charities USA is quoted as asking for an exemption based on religious beliefs. These beliefs include a prohibition on the use of birth control and divorce. In order to be consistent, should they not also request an exemption on hiring individuals who practice either?

If a organization or business can deny employment based on their religious beliefs (hiring gays or lesbians), in order to be consistent should they not also deny employment to individuals who do not practice all of their religious beliefs? On what basis do they determine some sins — birth control, having had a divorce for reasons other than adultery, shopping or working on the sabbath — are acceptable for employment, but others are not?

There is a long history of religious groups using their interpretation of the Bible to discriminate: Christians against Jews, Protestant against Catholics, justifying slavery, denying women equal rights, etc. Are we now to see such discrimination given the sanction of law? If someone does not believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, or in papal infallibility, should that give you the right to deny them employment?

E.C. Cerveny, St. Petersburg

Law requires followup, funding July 9, letter

Proven plans need funding

As a mental health professional and advocate working on the front lines for over nine years, I agree with the sentiments expressed by the letter writer. However, the reality is that Florida is ranked 49th in funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment, even though we have the fourth-largest population in the country.

The largest-ever state budget was just approved for this fiscal year, but there was limited additional funding appropriated for these essential services. If you desire that the situations improve for the children, you have to provide comprehensive services for the adults in their lives to create the healthy homes. Our legislators continually refuse to adequately fund these types of services, even though there are several model programs, utilizing evidenced-based practices, that have produced remarkable results. As we approach another legislative session in 2015, I hope readers will petition their legislators to finally provide the adequate funding that we desperately need to do our jobs.

Joan M. Andrade, Pinellas Park

Florida sees surge in no-party voters | July 6

Centrist party would be a winner

I think it is time for this country to have a third major political party; one idea would be to call it the Moderate Party. I was a Democrat for most of my life, but when the party started catering to far-left liberals I switched to the Republicans. It was not long before they started catering to the far right, so I became an independent.

Based on the numbers in this article, it appears that if a Moderate Party picked up those no-party votes, and grabbed many of the moderates from both the Democratic and Republican parties, it would be more than enough to win any election. We need a moderate politician who is brave enough to give it a try.

Willard Ottman, Apollo Beach


Friday’s letters: Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes

GOP plan favors owners | Dec. 11Perils of small business ownersI wonder if the author of this article has even a clue about owning a business. Businessmen — especially small business owners — risk it all. They risk their savings, their car, their...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17