Friday, February 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Pope reaches out to the faithful

Pope Francis

Pope reaches out to the faithful

It was refreshing to read some good news in the Times for a change regarding the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new pope. He chose the name Francis, which was one of three firsts for a pontiff, the other two being the first Jesuit and the first non-European pope.

In his first appearance before thousands of people, he asked his brothers and sisters to pray for him in silence before he gave his blessing. His first order of business was to personally go to his hotel to pay his bill and collect his luggage in a regular vehicle.

My prayers are with him and I wish Pope Francis well as he seems to be ideal for his position, being a common man reaching out to common people. I sincerely believe he will try with all his spirit and heart to heal the wounds of the Catholic faith.

Jack Burlakos, Kenneth City

Pope Francis

Respect for animals

I was delighted to learn that the newly elected pope chose for himself the name of St. Francis of Assisi, generally known as patron saint of the animals. Indeed, Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of October 4.

On one of his nature walks, Francis reportedly preached to the birds and is often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, Francis concluded a pact with a ferocious wolf that was terrorizing local townsfolk, whereby the wolf would quit preying on the town's sheep in exchange for being fed regularly. He even persuaded local dogs to stop harassing the wolf. He freed a rabbit from a trap, returned caught fish to their stream, and fed half-frozen bees in wintertime.

I hope that Pope Francis will inspire Catholics and all persons of goodwill to show nonhuman animals the respect and compassion they so richly deserve, particularly when it comes to subsidizing their abuse and slaughter for food at the checkout counter. Joining the Meatless Mondays trend may be a good start.

Thomas Carter, Tampa

City turned its back on disabled firefighter March 10, John Romano column; Doctor candidate won't get business from city | March 14

City deserves better

The city of St. Petersburg should be ashamed of itself. First it denies a courageous firefighter, Bradley Westphal, the workers' compensation benefits he clearly deserved for an on-the-job injury. Then they waste $150,000 in taxpayer dollars fighting the proper claim by Westphal. Then they misuse my medical opinions in court without consulting me to support their bad case. Then they lose in court based on their bad judgment — leading the 1stt District Court of Appeal to rule a workers' compensation law as unconstitutional.

Finally, the city staff and attorneys decide that I — not they — have a conflict of interest and decide they will deny access for city workers to my neurosurgical services because I happen to be running for City Council. They do this to divert attention from their own failures while hypocritical politicians pile on. In the same week that a story is published in which council chair Karl Nurse expresses concerns about a "conflict of interest" he ironically states I have, he endorses my opponent. Meanwhile, City Council member Charlie Gerdes inaccurately states I don't want city workers to have "any benefits," while all I want is commonsense reforms to protect the workers' benefits but also citizens from tax hikes.

Is there any wonder why I am running for City Council? The politicians and bureaucrats running our government are incompetent and serve their own agendas, not those of the citizens! St. Petersburg residents deserve better.

Dr. David McKalip, candidate for St. Petersburg City Council, District 4

Driver texting ban advances | March 8

There's a simple solution

As an engineer, I am alarmed at the accident potential resulting from texting and even using a phone while driving. The risk to our youth and the danger they might project to others via distracted driving is very high, albeit preventable.

There is a simple fix for Detroit and other auto manufacturers. Unless the transmission is in park, an onboard chip would block all inbound and outbound cell signals. This is simple, cheap and effective. If you want to call or text, simply pull over, place your vehicle in park and text away.

Jarrell Mitchell, Sun City Center

Property insurance

Rates out of control

Malfeasance continues to run amok in Tallahassee when it comes to property insurance. Property insurance rates in Florida are now three times the national average. Incredibly, the governor and many of our "representatives" in the Capitol think the problem is that insurance rates are actually too low and that is why there is so little competition in the insurance market. Our state legislators are lackeys for big insurance.

Bob Snow, Clearwater

Freedom to make stupid decisions March 15, commentary

The government's role

Leonard Pitts is incorrect in stating the Americans kicked their addiction to cigarettes through education. The government took the lead by banning cigarette commercials on TV and preventing cigarette companies from giving out free samples to kids.

Any effort to combat America's obesity crisis should be applauded, not criticized.

George Taylor, Tampa

Florida's universities on right track March 14, commentary

More like a train wreck

Frank Brogan has his head in the sand. First Jeb Bush dismantled the Board of Regents, which oversaw all universities and assured Florida of well-planned growth in higher education. Then the voters put it back via a constitutional amendment.

Bush went against the intent of the legislation by appointing only "his people" to the replacement group. Then university budgets were slashed by Rick Scott. Then a powerful legislator pushed through a bill to fund a 12th university that no one wanted. Then Scott made a deal with UF to move it up into the top 10 in the nation, ignoring the plight of FSU and others fighting for respectability.

And Brogan thinks Florida's university system is headed in the right direction? I think it's a train wreck.

Andy Reeves, St. Petersburg


Thursday’s letters: Second Amendment is outdated

Second AmendmentCongress can act on firearmsThe Second Amendment is outdated, since it is predicated on the need for a "well regulated militia." Militias are defined as civilian soldiers trained under the command of competent military leadership. The...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/22/18

Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18