Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Early child care pays big dividends

Early childhood education

Quality care pays big dividends

America's future lies in the overall well-being of our youngest children. Child care providers, advocates and caregivers have dedicated lifetimes to researching, developing and bringing crucial resources and support to communities, like those found across Hillsborough County, all to better ensure that children grow up healthy, safe and ready to succeed in school and ultimately in life.

Then why is it that we've seen a host of tragedies involving child safety in early childhood programs across the bay, most recently in Hillsborough County?

It's simple really — these incidents are a symptom of a broader issue. That is, without consistent, comprehensive quality early childhood standards we will not cultivate the quality of program providers needed in order to have opportunities for our children to be safe and ultimately compete in the academic or economic arenas. Prioritizing funding for early childhood development must be a beginning part of our overall plan to get our state and national economy on track.

We must elect and support legislative leadership that understands the system changes and budget supports that are necessary to sustain and improve quality early childhood and school readiness programs, because our future depends on it.

World famous economists have proven that quality preschool is far more cost-effective than programs that correct educational and social problems in later years.

Quality early learning programs and providers are the most effective and efficient way to ensure that every child has access to the quality environments that provide the academic and life skills to get along and get ahead. It's not just an investment in children; it is an investment in our society and our economy.

Dave McGerald, Tampa

Panel rejects couple listing | Jan. 25

Religion had no place

In voting on a registry for unmarried couples, Hillsborough Commissioner Al Higginbotham cited his religious beliefs in rejecting the measure.

What, however, would God-fearing folks like the commissioner have done if, for example, a conservative Mormon who espoused a belief in bigamy had ruled according to his/her religious beliefs? There is no religious test for office. An atheist could have been elected and, accordingly, ruled based on his/her lack of belief in God.

Rulings informed by one's personal beliefs are no way to weigh the civil rights guaranteed us all by the Constitution. Women may now vote. African-Americans are moving steadily toward political equity, and the LGBT community is equally entitled to the same rights as every other American endowed by his/her creator (or lack thereof) with certain unalienable rights.

Higginbotham's religious beliefs should bear no weight in upholding or denying the rights held dear by the Founding Fathers — whether they believed in God or not.

Christopher Jonathan Gerber, St. Petersburg

Baseball great called "The Man" | Jan. 20

Forever a fan

Thank you for this moving article on the passing of the great St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Stan Musial.

In the early '60s, I was living in St. Louis and a die-hard Cardinals baseball fan. My 10-year-old nephew Tommy had been diagnosed with leukemia; Tommy was a huge Stan Musial fan.

I went to Stan and Biggie's restaurant in St. Louis on the chance that I would see Stan. He was seated at a large round table with a group of business associates. I brought a new baseball with me to his table, excused myself and asked Stan if he could sign the ball for my nephew. He jumped up and said, "Come with me."

Stan took me to his upstairs office where he had a full complement of memorabilia. He said, "Take anything you want," and he proceeded to write a personal message on the ball: "Tommy, get well soon. Stan Musial."

Tommy died later that year with the ball signed by his favorite player at his bedside. That ball is still cherished by our family, and I am forever a fan of the great "Stan the Man."

Lawrence Scanlon, Largo

Clinton gives forceful defense | Jan. 24

Words or deeds

Recently I've heard quite a few elected and appointed public officials use the term "I accept full responsibility" — notably Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.

Instead of being an end-of-conversation quote, shouldn't "I accept full responsibility" be a call for action against these officials for their lack of fulfilling their duties and obligations? I wonder what Harry Truman's input might be if he were here today?

Dan Pawlowski, Dunedin

Rays' woes take toll, owner says | Jan. 25

Downtown Tampa solution

The Rays' attendance problem requires no debate. The disappointing crowds predate the dramatic economic downturn, so while regional disposable income is an important factor, the reality is that we have an aging facility located on the fringe of the population center. Even if the handwriting is on the wall, who can blame St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster for his legal defense of the city? Understandably, he doesn't want to be remembered as "the guy who lost the Rays." Unfortunately, whatever informal claim St. Petersburg had on the Rays, it has been forfeited by season after season of empty seats.

But there's hope. Although I live 10 minutes from the Trop and love the convenience, I've been to enough ballparks in other cities to know that a downtown urban center facility has huge advantages. Unfortunately, transportation issues in Tampa on nights of a full house at the Tampa Bay Times Forum already create a problem, so adding a baseball game to the mix will turn Tampa's roads into parking lots.

The solution requires big-picture thinking: an urban entertainment center, cruise and sports complex with light rail connections to the region's major cities, beaches and population hubs. A project of this size will create jobs, foster further economic development, and bring Tampa Bay into the big leagues of national players as a destination location.

The Rays are a statewide asset, and the issue deserves a state-driven solution. The clock is ticking, so let's get to work.

William H. Weller, Tierra Verde


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: 5 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