Sunday, December 17, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Contraception issue was settled decades ago

Republican primary campaign

Issues were settled decades ago

Republicans want to eliminate Planned Parenthood and make contraception hard to get? You've got to be kidding. In 1972 I volunteered for Planned Parenthood in Lexington, Ky. That is 40 years ago — before abortion was legal. At that time, Planned Parenthood was an essential provider of affordable health care and contraception for women and men. (They tested for and treated sexually transmitted diseases.) They still are.

Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court forced Connecticut to stop outlawing contraception in Griswold vs. Connecticut. Yes, young people, it took the Supreme Court to make contraception legal for married couples. Now, the Republicans and their billionaire donors want to make the courts answer directly to them. If you think your rights are safe when money controls who becomes a judge, think again.

Catherine Blackburn, Gulfport

Charter school's troubling twists | Feb. 26

Articles on school skewed

The biggest losers of the Tampa Bay Times' recently skewed reports about the Life Force Arts and Technology charter school are its students, most of whom come from lower-income, African-American and Hispanic families.

The positive letters from parents and the success of the students at LATA were ignored by the Times reporter, who never quoted any of the parents or teachers who have continued to participate in and support LATA until the end of his article of March 7, and yet, he was provided with letters from parents and knew the positive results of our FCAT scores last year almost two months ago — well before the series the Times has been spinning on the school.

Your reporter was also provided with the data that there was no religion being taught in the school. The fact is the Times misrepresented the community holiday event the students, each with signed parental approval, attended at the Church of Scientology in Tampa. The children received toys, food, clothes and storybooks.

If going to one event at a church was a problem, why was the Times not concerned about the fact that the school was housed in a Christian church for over two years and even held school performances in that church's sanctuary with Bibles and "Come to Jesus" fliers aplenty? This was certainly never a problem for us at LATA because then, as now, we did not incorporate religion into the school. I raise this point to show just how hypocritical the Times is.

The Pinellas County School District only graduates 21 percent of its male African-American students — of the nonmagnet students last year, only 9 percent passed the FCAT, with the superintendent of the district stating that, "You do not teach students to read in high school." Does that mean that even if they can't read, there is no need to expend funds on remediation because by the time they are in high school they just won't be able to? Is the superintendent saying just let them graduate not being able to read?

This is absolutely unacceptable for any child and a condemnation of the attitude toward African-Americans in the school system.

Because of the reading problems our students were experiencing when they entered LATA, we wanted to use a proven method of literacy remediation. Study Technology is a nonreligious method that is successfully used in both public and private schools all over the United States and the world. However, even though there was a seminar done that introduced this to the teachers, the Study Technology was never implemented with the children. LATA was just not able to do this because of our limited tutorial resources.

That the Times ignored all of the above shows that they are continuing their racist, biased and hypocritical agenda and care nothing about helping our children. Shame on you, Times!

Louis Muhammad, Life Force Arts and Technology Academy board chairman, Clearwater

County sets bait for trophy store | March 14

Low tech vs. high tech

It's hard to believe our leaders are planning to spend $15 million in public funds as an incentive to land a Bass Pro Shops store. For only $21 million in Texas Enterprise Fund incentives, Austin will land a $304 million expansion of an Apple facility with the promise of 3,600 jobs over the next few years.

Apparently we have money to give away. Maybe it's our poor educational system that keeps real business from seriously considering Florida as a home.

Hal Freedman, St. Petersburg

Jobs numbers aren't good news for Scott March 14

Voters should have known

Gov. Rick Scott has been accused of everything from wrecking schools to failing to create jobs. When are the voters going to admit it's not his fault? Floridians voted for him despite his known connection to a health care company involved in fraud — what did they expect? Did the people who voted for him honestly believe his promises? If they did, then I've got some awesome land in the Green River area for sale.

Robert Greer, Brandon

Tribe gets okay to kill 2 eagles | March 14

Religious rites have limits

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a permit to allow the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming to kill two bald eagles for religious purposes. By that logic, if there were descendants of Aztecs, would we allow them to sacrifice a human because it's part of their religion?

The freedom of someone's religion clearly oversteps its boundaries when it harms someone or something else. Shame on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Barbara Cabrera, Beverly Hills

An 11-minute meeting, at great expense March 15

Compressed schedule

Rep. Joe Gibbons said it right: "If taxpayers understood the process they would be very upset." I don't understand the process, but when we came here in 2000 and found that the legislative session was only two months we were astonished. How can a major state like Florida with an annual budget of $70 billion adequately legislate on such a compressed schedule?

By comparison New York state has a $135 billion budget and opens its session in January and closes it when needed. North Carolina has a budget of nearly $20 billion and has a full five-month spring session.

Years back I asked Sen. Mike Fasano why the Legislature meets for only two months. He said that it was a constitutional mandate. I suggest nothing should be cast in stone. Please change it.

Jack Bechtold, New Port Richey


Monday’s letters: Tax plan bad for the country

Trump, GOP make good on tax cuts Dec. 14Tax plan is bad for the countryUnless senators such as Susan Collins, R-Maine, and our own Marco Rubio develop some backbone, the Republican tax bill could well pass.The bill would inflict harm on the people wh...
Published: 12/15/17
Sunday’s letters: Rule of law at stake in Mueller inquiry

Sunday’s letters: Rule of law at stake in Mueller inquiry

Justice official parries attacks | Dec. 14Rule of law at stake in inquiryConservative media outlets and a number of Republicans in both chambers of Congress have launched an all-out assault on special counsel Robert Mueller and his team in an eff...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17

Saturday’s letters: Project silent on rising sea levels

Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/15/17

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...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

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