Monday, April 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Moderate approach hasn't worked

A party for moderates | March 26, commentary

Moderate approach hasn't worked

The solution Ezra Klein poses in this column is a seductive one. It presumes that voters, given a choice, will eschew partisan loyalties and unite behind independent-minded political moderates who've lost the support of their own parties.

It sounds uplifting in theory. But the reality, as the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Florida demonstrated, can be quite different.

Gov. Charlie Crist was viewed as the prohibitive favorite to win the Republican Party's Senate nomination, and then the general election, when the primary election season began to unfold.

In defiance of the solid record of political moderation Crist established as governor, charismatic tea party favorite Marco Rubio chose to challenge him from the right. Rubio's challenge then developed such strong traction that Crist shed his Republican Party label and chose to run as an independent — exactly the scenario Americans Elect envisions.

However, instead of rejecting the two political extremes and flocking to Crist's banner, Florida voters overwhelmingly supported Rubio. Given Crist's decisive defeat, the probability of another popular, high-profile political personality choosing to run as a third-party candidate is far less likely than Klein would like us to believe.

Hal Alterman, Clearwater

Supreme Court votes today | March 30

Backlash in the making

We have a president who campaigned in 2008 on a platform of reforming the health care system. He got a four-year mandate, so I assume his voters were okay with his plans. But what was going to be a huge accomplishment has become instead a disaster to be decided by the highest court in the land. How did we get here?

Powerful individuals, corporations and the whole Republican Party are hell-bent on denying President Barack Obama any achievement. Forget the fact that at one point Republicans were for reform; now they will say anything to destroy it.

This has been coupled with the large number of people who have no idea what the law is really about, fired up by a right wing that says that the government is taking over our lives.

It seems improbable that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of Obama. If the law is ruled unconstitutional, it may cause a huge backlash come November at the polls. Some 40 million people are looking forward to finally getting treatment and medicine when the plan goes fully into effect. A negative ruling may become nothing more than a pyrrhic victory.

Patrick Bauer, Wesley Chapel

One option: Cut off care

The solution to the health care mandate issue is simple: no participation, no penalty, no care. Inhumane, sure, but probably constitutional.

Richard J. Lewis, Madeira Beach

System needs fixing

It's a shame that a law meant to help everybody get access and afford health insurance is being challenged in court. A law that will actually save lives is being challenged by those who don't feel everyone should have fair access to the health care system. Accessible and affordable health care is something that will eventually become a reality regardless of what others do to prevent it. I hope that if the court does invalidate this law, our lawmakers have the stomach to take another shot at fixing this horribly broken health care system.

Anthony Roberts, Tampa

Partisan high court

As the Supreme Court debated the health care mandate, I reflected on the partisan nature of the court. Ever since the decision in the 2000 election, it is obvious how partisan the U.S. Supreme Court has become. The Citizens United decision put the icing on the cake by recognizing corporations and unions as individuals who can contribute any amount of money to a candidate.

We often refer to the Supreme Court justices as liberal and conservative. It would be more honest to refer to them as Democrats and Republicans. In the past 12 years, the decisions have obviously been pro-Republican. Today's court would never have affirmed the civil rights laws of the '60s.

The court was created by the founders to be a check on the partisan nature of the other two branches. This is why they were chosen to be on the court for life. Maybe it's time to have them elected by the people and for only a specific term.

Michael Malafronte, Trinity

Poor health outcomes

Japan, Israel, Iceland, Switzerland and Australia. What do these countries have in common? They have some of the highest life expectancies in the world and they all have compulsory and universal health care coverage. The universal health care-less United States, conversely, ranks an abysmal No. 36 in life expectancy despite being one of the richest, most advanced nations on the planet.

Universal health care with an insurance mandate is not a crazy, outlandish concept, as the opponents of it suggest. The United States is the only developed country in the world that does not have it — the only other nations that lack universal health care are Third World countries in places like Africa and Asia. Now what does that tell you?

Stephen Lapp, Tampa

Children's Board needs a makeover March 28, Sue Carlton column

Board provides key services

As executive director of the Early Childhood Council of Hillsborough County Inc. since 2007, I have been closely associated with the Children's Board. (Disclaimer: The ECC is funded by the Children's Board.) While I don't agree with everything the board does, I can honestly say that every employee I know there cares deeply about the well-being of children and families. Their mission is front and center to their work, salaries and building size aside. And regarding the building, it is basically a home away from home for many community partners, providing space for planning, training, team-building and youth development.

Jodie Tillman's article (Spending like boom times, March 25) makes some legitimate points. However, a more complete picture of the board and its work is necessary. Since 1988, the Children's Board has been responsible for funding successful, innovative programs that provide prevention and early intervention for young children and families. If the Children's Board were to go away, the harm to kids and their families would be immeasurable. If you have not been touched by the work of the Children's Board or its funded agencies like ECC, your turn may be coming. And it would be reassuring to know you have a place to turn to.

Stephen C. Martaus, Tampa

Comments

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...
Updated: 9 hours ago

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...
Updated: 6 hours ago

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

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18