Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: End the fixation on toll roads

The future of the Howard Frankland | July 18

End the fixation on toll roads

The Howard Frankland Bridge has two spans — a northbound span, opened in 1960, and a southbound span, opened in 1990. Each span has four lanes. A six-lane replacement span has been proposed for the 57-year-old northbound span.

So far, so good, right? Two more lanes to handle the traffic increases since 1990.

Well, there is a small problem. Department of Transportation planners cannot seem to stop fantasizing about toll revenues.

Their plan calls for two of the six lanes to be express toll lanes — one in each direction. How would you like to pay a toll only to find yourself hurtling along at 70 mph down a concrete tunnel slightly wider than your car, with other cars flashing by you going the other way at the same speed, only a few feet away? What happens when there is a breakdown in one of these narrow lanes? Can you imagine the backup? How many newborns will be named "Howard" after their birth in one of these backups?

The bigger problem, however, is that an unimpeded six-lane road is much more efficient than a four-lane road plus two one-lane roads. So, the current plan spends hundreds of millions of dollars and doesn't do much to improve congestion.

The DOT planners, in conjunction with budget planners, need to get off the toll idea. Roads should compete for funding out of normal tax revenue streams with any other need of the people. Roads are not a privilege, they are a right due to taxpayers.

Michael Hartman, Tampa

Elements of a long-term solution | July 19, letter

Follow other nations' lead

If more unfettered "free markets" will solve our health care crisis, I have two questions for the letter writer.

First, why do all other industrialized nations embrace single-payer health care, with per capita costs less than one-half that of the United States?

Second, why is the United States the only nation where its citizens must resort to bankruptcy courts to resolve excessive health care bills?

Government and "free markets" must work in partnership in order to "promote the general welfare," as proven by the experience of all industrialized nations except the United States.

Mike MacDonald, Clearwater

Putnam backs campus guns | July 19

No guns on campus

Here we go again: guns on college campuses. Adam Putnam wants them there; I don't. I teach on one. Ideally, college should be a place where ideas are shared and considered. Tempers have been known to rise when deeply felt beliefs are questioned, even challenged. That's okay. It's part of learning how to question both others and oneself, how to be not just critical but also self-critical, how to express oneself, and most importantly, how to listen. Some students prove better at this than others. Carrying a gun should not be a part of this process. Heated debates are fine, even necessary. Heated debaters with guns? Not so fine.

I recommend that Putnam get behind what a clear majority of Floridians want: background checks for all would-be gun owners. Many of us have become just plain tired of political decisions that profoundly affect our lives being dictated by Big Oil, Big Sugar, Big Pharma — and the NRA, which, in the case of guns on campus, should stand for Not Really Appropriate.

Richard Downing, Hudson


Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Updated: 9 hours ago

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...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

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