Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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

Comments

Wednesday’s letters: A princess gives us a lesson to live by

Royal treatment | May 21Princess offers advice for us allThe radiant and joyful Princess Anna Noela Lokolo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recent Eckerd College graduate, has given us a huge gift in her parting words. "If people have a negat...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4Angry mob rhetoric not helpfulWe have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiment...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant Opposed to the TECO solar plantAs a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Friday's letters: Putnam and Publix, two P's lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17 A pleasure to shop elsewhere My family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye. F...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 18

Re: Pasco panel okays Tampa Electric solar farm after five-hour meeting | April 9 storySolar farm offers many positivesThere has been much publicity regarding the proposed TECO Mountain View solar project slated for 350 acres in East Pasco that was r...
Published: 05/14/18