Sunday, April 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Budget cuts to FBI put security at risk

As individuals, we regularly examine our priorities to make decisions as we manage our checkbooks. As citizens, we expect our elected leaders to do the same with our government checkbook. The effects of sequestration are dramatic and far-reaching across all sectors of government. Some are inconsequential, some are cause for concern, and a few are downright dangerous. The drastic budgetary cuts that face the FBI pose a clear and present danger to national security and to the citizens of the United States. If these cuts remain in place it will not be a question of if, but rather when disaster will occur.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the FBI has been at the forefront of protecting us from terrorist attacks, including the interdiction of plots to bomb the New York Federal Reserve Bank; a Portland, Ore., public park; a Cleveland bridge; a Bronx, N.Y., Jewish community center; the U.S. Capitol building; the Chicago Sears Tower; the Fort Dix, N.J., military base; jet fuel tanks at New York's Kennedy airport; and scores of other critical targets. At the same time, the FBI has continued to address its other responsibilities including detecting espionage; investigating public corruption; protecting us from cyberattacks; addressing civil rights violations; and investigating major criminal matters.

FBI director James B. Comey recently assumed office with the promise of a continued, vigorous commitment to the bureau's responsibilities. But how can he fulfill that promise with one hand tied behind his back? Sequestration has cut $700 million from the FBI budget, necessitating the furlough of 36,000 employees; reducing the FBI's workforce by 3,500; imposing a hiring freeze until at least 2015; canceling interagency, law enforcement training; eliminating on-board employee training; and imposing countless other restrictions that impede and degrade the FBI's ability to address its responsibilities.

Although the general public may not yet fully appreciate the danger it faces from FBI budget cuts, law enforcement professionals do. Police leaders attending a recent International Chiefs of Police Conference emphatically deplored the budgetary problems confronting the FBI as "a body blow to law enforcement."

Do something for your country and those you care about. Now is the time to tell your elected representatives to re-examine their priorities and restore funding to the FBI. Tell them we are not content to wait until the next disaster occurs.

Ellen Glasser, president, Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, Jacksonville

Tea party factions due to collide Oct. 30, letter

Libertarian values

Judging from this letter, there appear to be a lot of misconceptions about libertarianism. Since libertarians are part of the nation's fastest-growing political faction, I think we are due at least a fair portrayal of our beliefs.

We certainly do not "scorn" compassion or charity; we revile the "forced compassion" that redistribution of wealth represents. We believe in the power of private citizens and groups to do good as they see fit, without being told by the government which causes are more worthy. And although we believe government should be limited to constitutional duties, the fact that we favor limited government does not mean that we favor zero government.

As a Christian, I can tell you that, far from alienating those who believe in God, we are more religiously tolerant than either of the two "major" parties. Freedom of religion is one of the core values for libertarians.

Most importantly, at the heart of our beliefs is that liberty and economic freedom are by far the best ways to achieve prosperity for all.

Chris Johnson, Clearwater

12 words you should stop using right now Oct. 30, commentary

English lessons

I enjoyed Alexandra Petri's commentary on improving American English. It was witty and cute, and if spoken, it would have been a fine crepitation indeed.

It brought to mind a related vexation I have involving sentence syntax; it's something that I hear ever more frequently, and it is driving me crazy. It goes something like this, "Me and him went to school and slept through English class." Would you say "me went" or "him went"? No. You would say "he and I went." You use the subjective case and put yourself last in a series of pronouns.

It is not just in personal conversation that I hear this, but increasingly on TV and other media emanations; it comes from adults as frequently as from kids. What I want to know is: Ain't no one learning students good English in school no more?

Jerry Stephens, Riverview

Affordable Care Act

Problems will pass

When Medicare Part D (a Republican idea) rolled out, it didn't work, either, and eventually it got worked out. The problems with the Obamacare website will pass as well.

The witch hunting and scapegoating and finger-pointing is tiresome.

Congress, how about working on the budget issues and immigration, and fix that horrible flood insurance bill you passed, while the geek squad fixes the website?

Oh, and one more thing: Go ahead and print some paper forms so people who don't have computer access can mail in a health insurance application.

Gary Gibbons, Tampa

Transit on right track | Oct. 30, editorial

Missing a connection

Clearwater to St. Petersburg? Our emphasis on light rail should be Tampa to St. Petersburg.

There are three destination groups to be considered: South Tampa/MacDill Air Force Base; sports venues (Bucs, Lightning, Rays); and the St. Petersburg Pier and Pinellas beaches.

Please do not leave out our brethren across the bridges when considering light rail.

John Evans, St. Petersburg

Bro Bowl's new status senseless, mayor says Oct. 30

Leadership shortage

As one of the historians who wrote a letter in support of adding the Bro Bowl to the National Register of Historic Places (and a former skater who practically lived at the Bowl for many years in the 1980s and early 90s), I could not disagree more with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's comments.

Throughout the entire public discussion of the Bro Bowl's status, the mayor has seemed bent on manufacturing conflict. It is not only unnecessary but frankly disappointing to witness. A measure of good leadership is the ability to bring constituencies together, not pit them against one another needlessly.

The mayor's assertion that the Bowl's history is "not historical" and "marginally significant" by comparison with the longer history of African-Americans in the area needlessly inflames groups against one another. Moreover, it is a straw man argument that ascribes views that do not exist to the supporters of preserving the Bro Bowl. Nobody who has supported the preservation of the Bro Bowl is opposed in any way to preserving the African-American history of the area; nor are they claiming that one history is "more important" than another.

A redevelopment plan that honors the important and deeply rooted African-American history of the area, while also preserving the nationally recognized historic site that is the Bro Bowl, should be possible. But it will require thoughtful leadership to make it happen, one that brings people together, as the Bowl itself has done for decades. It would be great to see evidence of that leadership at some point.

Dr. William S. Bush, associate professor of history, Texas A&M University-San Antonio


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

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

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

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18