Saturday, March 17, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Hillsborough School Board speaks out against bigotry

Schools still welcome guest speakers | April 11

Board speaks out against bigotry

I was touched by the unity and resolve displayed by our Tampa community at last week's Hillsborough County School Board meeting, when many diverse community leaders spoke out against bigotry and censorship and in support of an inclusive guest speaker policy.

For the past few months, protesters representing only a small segment of public opinion used the School Board meetings to promote conspiracy theories and false allegations against Islam and Muslims.

Their fear of Muslims and serious misinformation about Islam led them to push for a policy censoring all advocacy groups from visiting our public schools to speak on relevant topics the students are studying. When asked on camera, protesters like Terry Kemple claimed that their problem was only with America's largest Muslim civil rights group, not with all Muslims.

However, at least half of the statements made by Kemple and his supporters were attacks on the entire Muslim faith and people, not any particular Muslim group. Even worse, I felt they were really attacking the American principles of pluralism and freedom of religion. These are the principles I have taken an oath to protect and are the reasons why my family chose to immigrate to America from Syria.

But on Tuesday we saw an outpouring of diverse supporters who asked the School Board not to give in to anti-Muslim prejudices. The supporters represented many faiths, organizations and ethnicities.

The Hillsborough County School Board refused to give in to fearmongering. Our success sends a strong message that we in Tampa will not allow ignorance, fear and misunderstanding to divide us.

My only wish now is that those who fear us would come and get to know us. We are one community, and we must stand united despite our differences to foster an environment where all people can live free without fear, prejudice and hatred.

Hassan Shibly, CAIR Florida, Tampa

Health Care Decision Day

Make your wishes known

If you were to experience a medical emergency and were unable to speak for yourself, would your loved ones know what type of care you wanted? You can make certain that your health care wishes are fulfilled by completing your advance directives — a living will and health care surrogate forms.

Today, April 16, is National Health Care Decisions Day, set aside to encourage people to express their wishes regarding their health care and for providers and facilities to respect those choices, whatever they might be.

It's much easier to think about this subject when people are in good health. For the month of April, you can pick up copies of advance directives at any LifePath Hospice facility in Hillsborough County or visit the website,, to download the forms. After you fill out the forms, tell your loved ones and health care providers about the care you want — or don't want — when facing a medical crisis.

Please take a few minutes today to think about your loved ones and then complete your advance directives.

Roxanne Riley, executive director, LifePath Hospice, Tampa

GOP seizes on its own 'war on women' attack April 13

Let women choose roles

Who is Hilary Rosen to sit in judgment of other women and the life choices they've made? Doesn't she realize that the rights she enjoys — to equal education, equal job opportunities, and even the chance to have an equal voice on the national stage — are things that just a generation ago very few women could even dream of? Doesn't she realize that what she takes for granted as her due, women of my generation fought long and hard to achieve? Doesn't she realize that the struggle was not just for equal opportunities in education and career, but for the right to make those choices ourselves?

My generation of women blazed a trail without the legal protections against discrimination that Rosen takes for granted. Yet isn't her criticism of Ann Romney and stay-at-home moms just another form of discrimination? Would she really take us back to that place when women sit in judgment of other women for the choices they make?

One of the greatest freedoms American women enjoy today is the freedom to choose. Inherent in that freedom is the opportunity to choose without bringing down the wrath of other women for those choices. We should focus on supporting each other as we try to juggle the extraordinary opportunities we have, not scratch each others' eyes out for making different choices.

Ann Whelan, Dunedin

'Stand your ground'

Law violates rights

In 2008 and 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on cases that affirmed the right of people to own guns and to use them for self-defense without any reference to the free-for-all that the "stand your ground" laws imply.

The Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution did not give anyone the right to stalk individuals and kill them just because they think they might look suspicious.

If private citizens in some states are allowed to be judge, jury and executioner, what has become of the right to a jury by peers? Doesn't this make "stand your ground" unconstitutional? Seems to me it violates the Constitution.

Richard Mayer, Palm Harbor

Learn the benefits of health care reform April 11, commentary

Reforms already working

I appreciate the information in this column and couldn't agree more with the statement, "Be an informed voter." Hats off to the president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.

My family has already benefited from what has been put in place. Our 19-year-old autistic granddaughter with Crohn's disease is allowed to remain on a parental insurance plan. My senior siblings have saved hundreds of dollars on their medications because the health care law closes the doughnut hole gap in coverage for prescriptions.

Heck yes, I'm for Obamacare!

Kay Dickson, Spring Hill

Parking scam hooks Rays fans | April 12

Low cost, big return

If St. Petersburg is willing to spend $1,400 — it's petty cash in the city's coffers — for goodwill that will improve its image in the eyes of its citizens, it should consider refunding the $100 it cost each driver (presumably Rays fans) to recover his or her car towed on opening day from the legitimately permitted parking lot near Tropicana Field.

It's a simple gesture that would pay dividends far greater than the cost.

Bruce Lowitt, Oldsmar


Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18

Pasco Letter to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 column Pasco County (and its residents) have financial incentives to recycle, but the participation rate is low. Clearly, Pasco County either needs to make recycling mandatory — by making residents r...
Published: 03/13/18
Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Billionaire targeting young voters | March 7Using youths in personal agendaIs anyone surprised that Tom Steyer is using his extreme wealth to support his personal agenda and the liberal agenda of the Democratic Party? His real motive, hidden in h...
Published: 03/12/18
Updated: 03/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 columnOur community, Briar Patch, in New Port Richey has really gotten on board with the recycling program. Many homeowners diligently separate garbage from recycling material and place it curbside f...
Published: 03/12/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun limits, maybe; confiscation, never

Gun controlLimits, possibly; seizures, neverThe antigun left-leaning media constantly refers to the "gun lobby" and the National Rifle Association when trying to ban and even take guns away from legitimate owners. They blame organizations for the act...
Published: 03/07/18

Wednesday’s letters:

February Letter of the MonthThe winning letter addressed the school shooting in Parkland.My generation is fearful, angryI’m a high school senior. I, and people like me, have grown up in a culture of fear — fear of getting shot in our schools, where w...
Published: 03/06/18