Saturday, June 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Cuts to USF would hurt research funding

USF budget cuts

Cuts could sap research funding

The proposed budget cuts to the University of South Florida are myopic at best. To put things into perspective, let me offer the following: Over the last 10 years, federal funding to USF researchers has increased by over 200 percent. USF spends over $300 million annually in funded research. Why is that? It's because the best research talent wants to come to a place where the atmosphere is collaborative and where there is institutional support to complement their research.

As an architect specializing in science and technology, I have had the opportunity over the last three years to participate in reviewing an abundance of grant applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. One of the requirements for funding is the institutional commitment of the university or entity sponsoring the application. This is normally in the form of matching funds or previous project funding for the principal investigator.

If funding for USF dries up, the domino effect is that grant applications will be weak and probably go unfunded. To allow the strangling of a main research engine in Florida through arbitrary budget cuts is contrary to the state's goals of job creation.

USF contributes over $3.7 billion to the regional economy. To have that jeopardized by a senator who represents only 2 percent of the Florida population is unconscionable.

Jeff Talka, Tampa

USF worthy of support

I am the proud parent and mother-in-law to two very successful USF graduates. We take a great deal of pride in the footprint that USF makes in the Tampa Bay area and indeed in the state of Florida. It is a vibrant, progressive school that has done itself and its student body proud.

When the United States is slipping in academic standing in the world economy, how can our Legislature even consider cutting funding to an outstanding school just to placate one legislator? Shame on all of us if this budget cut takes place. We should be supporting our schools and our students, not denigrating them at the whim of one man's ambition.

Mahala Ernst, Brooksville

Spending on elderly squeezes rest of U.S. Feb. 15, commentary

Too much on defense

Robert Samuelson's article on spending and the elderly uses percentage of GNP to give the impression that military spending is down and dropping further. The problem with that is that the ratio is meaningless as a way to express the proper amount of spending. If your cable bill is $100 this year and you double your income next year, should your cable bill go to $200?

Between 2000 and 2009 the defense budget increased 177 percent in real dollars. It consumed 28 percent of the discretionary budget in 2000. In 2010 it consumed 50 percent of the discretionary spending.

Samuelson brings up Social Security and Medicare as squeezing the budget, but both those programs have dedicated streams of revenue and have been in the black for years. The problem has been all those tax cuts and military spending that ballooned the deficit, starting with Ronald Reagan.

Christopher Radulich, Apollo Beach

32-year wait for death is over | Feb. 16

Make punishment prompt

That it took 32 years to execute Robert Waterhouse points out maybe the biggest fault in the death penalty process. I can see an automatic appeal, but then give the condemned person one year (from the date of sentencing) for any additional appeals.

To be effective, reinforcement (both positive and negative) needs to be administered somewhat soon after the event. Moreover, it is extremely unfair to the victim's survivors to make them wait so long for closure.

Ernest Lane, Trinity

The Zuckerberg Tax | Feb. 16, commentary

Slippery slope tax plan

Does anyone believe this "mark-to-market" concept would stop at unrealized gains on unsold stock? Or stop at those with $2.1 million or more in income?

Mark-to-market taxation could be expanded to include, but certainly not be limited to, unrealized gains on bonds and stock options; unsold homes and other real estate; traditional IRA investment holdings; gold, silver and even diamond engagement rings. While we are at it, let's not forget frequent flier miles.

The $2.1 million income floor could be systematically reduced to coincide with "revenue" needs, and, of course, not indexed for inflation.

This is not just another "his lips are moving" lawyer joke. It is much, much worse and very dangerous.

Robert Katcha, Palm Harbor

Lead by example? Council lags a bit | Feb. 16

Duty of all citizens

Recycling should not be a question of profits to waste management companies or cost to local governments. It should be everyone's concern as this is a vital service to ensure the preservation of our natural resources.

Our natural resources can't last forever, and recycling is an efficient and vital way to help preserve them. It is the responsibility of all Americans to get serious about recycling as it is the responsibility of local, state and federal governments to promote recycling without taking sides on this issue. And it is the responsibility of waste management companies to provide adequate bins and service. After all, don't they get paid for the recyclable materials plus charging to pick it up?

Let's all chip in and do our part.

Jack Burlakos, Kenneth City

Individual choice

An elected official should be in office to represent the people, not to carry out personal agendas. Evidently, City Council members believed the majority of constituents wanted curbside recycling and voted in favor of the optional service.

To suggest that an elected official then serve as an "example" by signing up for that service is ridiculous. They did their jobs in representing the people and giving residents the option for curbside recycling. It is each individual resident's choice to sign up for the service, recycle through another means or not recycle at all.

Carolyn Fries, St. Petersburg


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...
Updated: 10 hours ago

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