Wednesday, April 25, 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


Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18