Thursday, April 26, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Florida should embrace solar, reject pollution

Florida lags on solar energy | June 14

Reject polluting industries

The true cost of burning fossil fuels is not reflected in the price that electric customers pay or in the profit that electric companies realize. The power utilities are dependent upon the fact that their pollution is not priced into their product.

Policymakers in Florida choose to ignore the destruction created by polluting industries when they dismiss the benefits of nonpolluting power sources such as solar. They do not appreciate the extraordinary value of a renewable, nonpolluting power source. Elected officials such as Rep. Will Weatherford see only today's bottom line and not the long-term price tag.

The long, slow aggregate of primitive policies like these will eventually result in a dismally polluted state of Florida that we will never be able to afford to clean up.

Kimberly Trombley, St. Petersburg

Florida lags on solar energy | June 14

It's not cost-effective

I did a study on using solar power for my condo building. I studied three proposals that showed that the sun would generate enough overall power to run the building (not the units themselves). However, it has too many drawbacks to make it worthwhile.

The life of the system is only 25 years because the solar panels begin to degrade immediately and will require replacement. The panels do not generate electricity when the sun is not shining directly on them. Our condo has no room to install huge batteries that could store some of the electricity. Thus, the building would need to stay connected to the Progress Energy grid. Excess power can be sold during the day at wholesale price but power must be purchased at night at retail prices. It will take 10 to 15 years to amortize the cost of installing the system.

Our association decided that solar is not a good investment for individuals until the initial cost is greatly reduced.

Joe Bullers, St. Petersburg

Health care rebates on tap if law stands June 13

Most won't see rebates

This editorial celebrated the $100 million insurers may have to rebate to consumers under the federal health care law's "medical loss ratio" rules, which limit what insurers can spend on administration. But these rebates aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Less than half of Floridians will qualify for rebates. Most will go to employers, not individuals. And most will be less than $100.

The rules are also driving professional agents out of business — to the detriment of small firms in particular.

Small businesses depend on brokers to "handle the responsibilities that larger firms generally delegate to their human resource departments — such as finding plans and negotiating premiums," according to the Congressional Budget Office. Without agents, they'll have to pay much more than the value of any rebate to manage their benefits programs themselves.

Janet Trautwein, CEO, National Association of Health Underwriters, Washington

'Zombie' case fuels effort to ban synthetic drugs | June 12

Keep government out

Reading this article was like reading a satire. Lawmakers and law enforcement officers are scrambling to ban these dangerous, synthetic drugs — a futile effort as drugmakers can make new variations of compounds like we change our underwear — and all the while there is a much safer substance that produces the high young people buy the knockoff for.

Here's a crazy idea: If we want to keep people from synthetic marijuana, why not just let them have the real thing? How many people have been hospitalized because they used marijuana? Arguably less than those who use cigarettes or alcohol, other lethal, legal substances.

Or even better, why not have the government butt out of what people can put into their body? How is that big government is bad when it's trying to pay teachers more or cover medical care, but good when it's cracking down on drug use?

Zoey Lowe, Treasure Island

Lost wealth and a long climb back | June 14, editorial

Let free market work

The Times editorial board endlessly asserts that more government is the answer to every problem. To quote this editorial: "But it was a hands-off Washington that enabled that mortgage and financial crisis to mushroom."

A more accurate assessment would be that our federal government caused the mortgage crisis by instructing lenders to loosen mortgage loan requirements so everybody and their brother could buy a house. This ill-conceived government effort at social engineering is what led to the mortgage debacle that brought down the housing market.

The government needs to back off and let the free market clean up this mess. It is a joke that the government has any authority at all in fiscal matters since it borrows more than 40 cents of every dollar spent.

Laura Harris, Brandon

Rice accepts far-right support | June 14

Hardly a radical

Since when does supporting the Constitution of the United States make a one a "radical"?

The heart of the oath for military or police officers is to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

The article states that sheriff's candidate Everett Rice "is now flirting with ideas well outside mainstream political discourse." Thank God. Look where mainstream political discourse has gotten us.

Bob Romanko, Largo

Chip Bok cartoon | June 15

Look to the facts

I'm no big supporter of Barack Obama. He's too much of a corporatist for my taste. But his remark about "the private sector is doing fine" was taken way out of context. He was referring to the growth of the private sector, and in that he is correct.

Americans should not make their electoral decisions based on misleading information.

Frederick Kann, Sun City Center


Friday’s letters: Why just single-member districts are a bad idea for Hillsborough

Murman’s bad idea on districts | April 20, editorialSingle-member districts’ flawYour editorial opposing single-member districts in Hillsborough County is totally correct. I have served as Miami-Dade county manager twice. The first time (1976-198...
Updated: 4 hours ago

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...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/26/18

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