Sunday, June 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Donor's generous gift of sight

Donations let giving spirit of son live on | April 8, Ernest Hooper column

A donor's generous gift of sight

As a recent recipient of a donated cornea, I cannot agree more with Ernest Hooper's column on the importance of organ donation. In my role as a hospital social worker, I often provided counseling and support to families who, facing the loss of a loved one, had to make decisions about organ donation.

In my own family, I saw firsthand how the donation of an organ can give the recipient new life. Facing blindness at age 26, my father, then a medical intern, underwent one of the first cornea transplants performed in the United States in 1946. His new cornea enabled him to go on to have a successful career as a thoracic surgeon and an early pioneer in open-heart surgery. When his eye disease again threatened his sight 15 years later, he underwent a second transplant and began a second career in the U.S. State Department as the head of clinical medicine.

In the days following my own surgery, I often think about the donor of my new cornea. Reflecting on the issues of racism and prejudice that are dividing our country today, the race, ethnicity, religion or gender of my donor does not concern me — rather, it is the kindness and generosity that they or their family showed in giving me the gift of sight.

Mary Kaplan, New Port Richey

Liquor sales

Say no to booze in groceries

Ask any Florida legislator if their phone has been ringing off the hook from constituents who can't get enough vodka or rum, and they would have to say "no." Then why are they pushing hard liquor into our grocery stores without public input or backing?

It appears the driving force behind this change are corporate executives at big box stores who will profit greatly. They don't care about Florida families and are too cheap to spend money building a separate entrance. The current separate entrance policy allows for ID verification at the door along with cameras monitoring every corner, provides an avenue to prevent underage drinking, and protects our friends in recovery from making an impulse purchase. Does anyone want our children growing up with liquor as part of the food shopping experience?

Binge drinking or excessive alcohol use is responsible for 88,000 deaths in our nation, and Florida is ranked third in the nation for fatal DUI crashes. Only 16 other states allow this type of distribution. Thirty-four states do not allow hard liquor to be mixed with grocery items.

Other than creating a one-stop shopping experience that includes alcohol, I can't think of any reason for passing this bill. Our state doesn't need it and the public, the few who are aware of this proposed change, don't want it.

Teresa Miller, Tampa

Missile strike justified | April 8, editorial

U.S. history of interference

The missile strike was unconstitutional and does not serve the interests of the American people. Decades of failed U.S. foreign policy and acts of aggression in the Middle East have been nothing but a detriment to our economic and financial security. How many more trillions of dollars must be wasted, how many more lives and futures must be destroyed before this insanity ends?

For decades, the imperial United States has illegally interfered in the politics and affairs of Middle Eastern countries. In 1953, American and British intelligence removed the democratically elected prime minster of Iran from office and replaced him with a suitable puppet. Since then we have been involved in one political disaster after another, to include the invasion of Iraq based on false evidence that "justified" our aggression. One mistake has followed the next, to include our direct or indirect involvement in recent fiascoes in Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, and of course Syria. That our legacy of failure in the Middle East is unparalleled seems to make little difference to our leaders.

We should learn from the past and take into account the rise and fall of other "empires" and that it was arrogance that brought them to their knees.

Henry Pierson, Hernando Beach

Senator correct on death sentences | April 10

Overstepping her authority

This PolitiFact analysis is ridiculous. State Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, is correct that the Supreme Court has banned mandatory death sentences. However, it has upheld the option of a death penalty in states that have it.

To attempt relate this to the Orlando prosecutor is blatant misdirection. Aramis Ayala was elected to prosecute cases for Florida, and Florida has the death penalty as an option. For the prosecutor to predetermine that she will not seek the death penalty indicates that she won't consider options that she doesn't like. What other options for sentencing in other crimes will she decide she won't consider? She apparently will make her own rules for sentencing rather than determining the appropriate penalty for each crime based on the state's Constitution and applicable laws.

She essentially wants to make her own laws rather than evaluate each case on its merits and apply the law in determining the penalty.

Ronald Hall, Lutz

Medicaid may require fees | April 8

Learn what it's like

Rep. Travis Cummings, R-Orange Park, is pushing a bill to have Medicaid recipients put "skin in the game" by paying a $15 fee per month and having a job, or they lose the benefits. He has heard from anonymous providers that recipients are not taking the program seriously.

Memo to our bay area representatives: Anyone poor enough to receive Medicaid already has as much "skin in the game" as they can afford; $15 is a lot when you have nothing. Keeping or getting a job when you're coughing and hacking is difficult.

Cummings should do his job and fully represent all his constituents. He can start by going to the homes of Medicaid recipients to get a firsthand understanding of what being poor and sick is like. He needs to learn what $15 means to someone earning the minimum wage. Then he can explain why they don't deserve health care or a living wage.

Allan Ardis, Wesley Chapel


Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

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 ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

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