Thursday, June 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: UAW largely broke Detroit's back

Detroit, the new Greece | July 23, column

UAW largely broke Detroit's back

Paul Krugman asserts that the Detroit tragedy debate has been hijacked by people who would liken the issue to the Greece crisis. Krugman himself hijacks the debate by asserting that market forces brought about the automobile industry decline. Not so! It was UAW excesses and government actions (local, state and federal) that brought about the demise.


• Federal law required the Big Three to recognize and deal exclusively with the UAW, which would then sequentially "target" them for strike action, relying upon loss of market share as a threat to bring the selected company to terms.

• Michigan law allows for a "union shop," which furthered strengthened the UAW's hand.

When I worked in the auto plants:

• I witnessed numerous acts of sabotage by fellow union workers (e.g., pouring nuts and bolts into crevices of auto bodies, assuring a lifelong rattle). When workers were infrequently caught in the act, they were fired — only to be reinstated after wildcat strikes devoted to such reinstatements. The same was true for workers caught being drunk/drinking on the job.

• Walkouts occurred in the summer because "it was too hot to work." Sabotage of the numerous fans on the production line was a factor, as were windows that were broken. The walkouts correlated strongly with days on which the New York Yankees visited the Detroit Tigers for baseball.

• Walkouts occurred in the winter because the plant temperature was too low. You guessed it — broken windows were still in abundance.

• In the '70s, Detroit made enormous investments in automatic tooling for engine production (as a means of offsetting the competition's lower operating costs). Congress soon followed with pollution reduction requirements that obsoleted the engine and tooling; it gave the Japanese/Honda stratified charge engine a real opening. To amortize the tooling investment, Big Three management continued with the existing engine design/tooling and used Band-Aid expedients, like feedback hoses from exhaust back to combustion. Poor performance resulted (I recall my 1975 Chevy having significant "hesitation" in response to accelerator pedal commands). This is the origin of the "American cars are no good" propaganda — furthered by some bombs like the Chevette and Edsel. These bombs and some management compensation excesses are valid criticisms, but their real effect is negligible compared the previously delineated considerations.

Donald Barnhill, Trinity

Not whether to test our children but how July 21, column

More testing isn't answer

Jeb Bush, in his opinion piece, continues to push the idea that more testing is the answer to the problems that beset our educational system in spite of the recent evidence that this approach has failed. Notably, Bush uses the words "test" and "testing" a total of nine times. "teacher" twice and "teaching" not at all. Throwing more tests at children is not the answer. The problem requires an integrated approach in which families, teachers and administrators all play a role.

Families must be responsible for nurturing, in their children, a readiness to learn; teachers must be qualified and supported in their efforts to teach, and administrators are called on to arrive at an assessment process that is authentic and reliable.

Cary Sipiora, Tampa

Now that's a racist agenda July 26, letter to editor

Misguided notions

I find it sad this letter writer doesn't see the rampant prejudice dripping from his "observations." First off, minorities aren't "gleefully" doing anything. Caucasians are having fewer children and Hispanics are having more. There is no minority plot that is being gleefully hatched against anyone. Minorities are just living their lives. It is simple math.

Second, if the letter writer will employ some basic research and math, he will find that the largest amount of food stamps flow to Caucasians, not minorities. And more important, because food stamps aren't bad per se, the vast majority of people on food stamps are job holders, children or seniors over 65!

So having taken down the two lies put forth by this letter writer, we are left with the realization that this man is just prejudiced and uses Republican talking points to justify his "outrage." He appears to hold the view that people are poor because they are lazy. He might want to ask white people who collect food stamps after working eight hours a day whether they agree with him. I find it amazing looking at the shambles that is the Republican Party these days how any logical person could vote for Republicans.

Philip Ryan, Land O Lakes

Long-term plan halts door-to-door delivery July 25

The cluster box problem

Perhaps the day of at-home delivery should cease, but what is so labor intensive about delivery to street-side boxes? Going to cluster boxes may make sense in condos, but in residential neighborhoods it requires people with walkers or wheelchairs to somehow make their way to the cluster box. Will busy parents ask children to go and retrieve the mail from a remote location? Will there be video surveillance? Because I already know what the next problem will be.

Years ago I suggested that, where practical, use H-shaped street-side stands holding two adjacent property mailboxes. This would cut delivery time and wear on postal vehicles in half. That idea was rejected by the postmaster general. Before I would embrace cluster boxes I would easily accept deliveries on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That would create solvency without risking anyone's safety.

Leonard Di Nardo, Seminole


Consider private casinos

When will our legislators wake up and do what's right for Florida? Last year alone, Seminole Indian casinos earned $2 billion and employed 55,648 in direct jobs and 14,269 in indirect jobs. Can't these legislators count? Can't they see the benefit to the state in terms of taxes?

It's time to consider private casinos. Religious groups don't want them, and why not. Many of them sponsor bingo. State-allowed private casinos benefit everyone. The state's recent decision to do away with Internet game rooms put many people out of work, and senior citizens who found some pleasure in this form of entertainment now sit at home and think about their illnesses.

Jobs, jobs and more jobs should be what's on minds. It helps our economy, takes people off unemployment and food stamps, and really helps out the middle class by offering them new opportunities. Open the doors for those things that help the state's finances. And bring back the Internet game rooms for entertainment.

Vic Gonzalez, Spring Hill


Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18