Monday, January 22, 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


Monday’s letters: Tampa Bay deserves rail as an option

New transit option: BRT | Jan. 12Tampa deserves rail as an optionI was disheartened by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s statement about his exhaustion with public transit discussions. It sounds like the government of Tampa has given up on ever realizin...
Published: 01/21/18

Sunday’s letters: Bay area shortchanged on foster care funds

Opioid crisis herds kids to foster care | Jan. 9Bay area foster care shortchangedAs mentioned in this article, the growing opioid epidemic is unfortunately bringing more children into the Florida foster care system. While substance abuse has hist...
Published: 01/20/18

Saturday’s letters: It’s not the word, it’s the racism

Presidential precedent | Jan. 14It’s not the word; it’s the racismThe Times went in the wrong direction and printed information that is rather useless. And that is strange. You usually get it right.I am talking about President Donald Trump’s prof...
Published: 01/19/18

Friday’s letters: Help for boaters against modern-day ‘pirates’

Marine towing and salvageHelp against modern-day piracyAs an avid recreational boat owner and sixth-generation Floridian, I know there’s no better way to enjoy our state’s spectacular waters than taking your boat out. Unfortunately, the fun of boatin...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18

Thursday’s letters: All Americans need health care

Doctor: Trump got perfect score on cognitive test | Jan. 17All Americans need health carePresident Donald Trump’s extensive health exam has apparently declared him physically fit for office. As I was reading about the battery of tests he received...
Published: 01/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: St. Petersburg’s culture, vibrancy impresses

St. PetersburgImpressive culture and vibrancyI recently visited Tampa Bay and celebrated New Year’s weekend in downtown St. Petersburg. I was awestruck by what I encountered and experienced. It has been several years since I last visited, and the tra...
Published: 01/16/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Jan. 19

Re: Walking leads to shocking catalogue of trash | Jan. 12 column Bring back anti-littering campaignJust came back from the beautiful, clean city of Singapore, where there is a $1,000 fine, plus community service for littering. I think a presiden...
Published: 01/16/18
Tuesday’s letters: Trump’s accomplishments unheralded

Tuesday’s letters: Trump’s accomplishments unheralded

President Donald TrumpAchievements go unrecognizedAre Americans even aware that our economy is healthier and growing much faster, that ISIS has been defeated and lost their territory, that China and other countries are buying more American goods and ...
Published: 01/16/18

Monday’s letters: Don’t be fooled by drilling turnaround

Deal blocks drilling off Fla. | Jan. 10Don’t be fooled by turnaroundWhile I am very grateful that Florida has been taken off the table regarding offshore oil drilling, it is clear this is a political move to champion Gov. Rick Scott as he conside...
Published: 01/14/18

Sunday’s letters: Left wing late to the #MeToo cause

#MeTooDemocrats come late to the causeThe Times devoted an entire page to the #MeToo issues on Sunday. The ironies here for longtime observers are nearly boundless. Twenty years ago, folks like myself were called "prudes" and worse because we found P...
Published: 01/13/18