Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Realistic end-of-life options

Facing the unavoidable | Jan. 30, commentary

Realistic options for end of life

David Baker's column should be required reading for everyone. Having been a registered nurse for 35 years, I applaud his straightforward, clear and undeniable case for physician-initiated end-of-life discussions with patients.

I have worked in many health care settings and witnessed firsthand people in debilitated conditions undergoing invasive, painful procedures because loved ones felt it was the "right thing to do."

I cared for a 91-year-old, extremely frail, helpless gentleman, post-stroke, unable to swallow or eat, whose wife had a feeding tube placed. The man was in obvious discomfort, and quietly said to me, "I just don't want to do this anymore." His wife was brightly trying to cheer him up, saying, "This will make you stronger so you can come home." This man was not going home. The tube would prolong his life in a nursing home, away from those who loved him. Death is not an elective procedure to be avoided. It is inevitable.

I have read countless wonderful articles on end-of-life journeys written by experts and "average Joes" alike in your newspaper.

Kudos to the Tampa Bay Times for continuing to keep the conversation alive on this difficult subject.

Sharon Scheiblein, Hudson

Facing the unavoidable Jan. 30, commentary

Making decisions early

I was motivated to write you due to the recent death of my 95-year-old mother. I too was put in a position of making decisions regarding the direction of care we would allow the doctors to make. The prime difference was that both my parents discussed with me in their later years what they would deem acceptable treatment.

It was a practical decision we should all make while we are young and of sound body and mind. Both of my parents felt that they would not wish to be "hooked to a ventilator" or have invasive treatments. Over a year ago, I signed the necessary releases to assist my father in avoiding the complicated extension of his life with artificial machines. He died as he wished, with only comfort and care.

This past week my mother was hospitalized and, as expected with the aged, complications arose. She too did not wish to have any invasive procedures. On the last day with my mother she told me, "I'm ready to go and join your father." Once again, the papers had been signed to provide only comfort and care.

With these conversations, and mandated with a living will and health care surrogate documents, I know the correct decision was made.

John Caton, St. Petersburg

Two sides to SeaWorld boycott | Jan. 29

Captivity is the problem

Susan Thurston's column is a rambling attempt to defend the indefensible. She says her "top takeaway from Blackfish (the CNN documentary) is that trainers don't belong in the water with killer whales." Maybe her top "takeaway" should have been that killer whales don't need trainers. Maybe it should have been that killer whales, the largest animals in captivity, whose range in the wild is hundreds of square miles, do not belong in amusement theme park tanks.

She ends by saying, "We should respect their wildness," while apparently still condoning confining these animals to captivity in small cement enclosures. Huh?

Michael Furlong, Treasure Island

Cruelty is simply wrong

Susan Thurston writes about "a mother whale screeching when separated from her baby" and describes capture as "kidnapping a child from its mother," yet defends the theme park for rehabbing some animals.

Well, doing a few good deeds doesn't negate the misery and abuse that's been inflicted on sea mammals in marine parks for decades.

She goes on to justify it by mentioning seal clubbing and elephant killing for ivory. What's the point? That we shouldn't stop cruelty to orcas and dolphins because other atrocities exist?

There's a reason so many former trainers interviewed in Blackfish regretted their past. It's because they've come to realize it was just plain wrong.

Jim Patterson, Tampa

Raise up, don't drag down | Jan. 29, letter

Wages have stagnated

The letter writer argues that what workers "earn" reflects their value as employees. Historically, wages have reflected increases in worker productivity. But since the mid 1970s, despite strong labor productivity growth, wages have remained nearly flat.

For instance, while Caterpillar realized record profits last year ($5.6 billion, equal to an increase of $45,000 per worker), these profits were not equitably shared by Cat workers who received no wage increases. Did the CEO of Caterpillar "earn" his multimillion-dollar salary, or did he confiscate what was due his workers who produced the company's profit?

The stagnation in worker compensation is closely related to the membership decline of American labor unions — in large part due to congressional and state anti-union laws. Most European nations have union membership of at least a third of their labor force; those countries have much less income inequality than the United States.

Robert White, Valrico

Group deciding future of Florida panther Jan. 30

Give the panther a chance

It's not a good sign for our state animal when the group deciding its future consists of five state and federal officials, a major landowner and one environmental activist. By my count that will probably work out to be one vote for the panther and six against. Add to that Larry Williams' statement that he believes "the group will function better outside public view."

The panther is the state animal and is on the brink of extinction. Any deliberations deciding its fate and future habitats should be open to the citizens of Florida. Saying there will be public forums on the committee's plan is meaningless. That translates to letting the public have its say and then just doing what they want anyway. Let the public and press in on the meetings and give the panther a fighting chance.

Deborah Green, Sun City Center


Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Published: 03/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Published: 03/19/18

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

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