Friday, November 24, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: English must come first at our public schools


This is an outrage. Since when is it the job of American, English-speaking teachers to teach English in any and every subject to non-English-speaking students whose parents and other relatives probably speak nothing but Spanish to them at home? I hear it all the time in public, from the smallest child on up; they converse only in Spanish. It is up to their parents to learn English themselves and teach it at home first. There are classes in English as a second language.

Our teachers are called upon to do many things, including teaching discipline and respect (as well as their subject matter), all of which should be taught in the home and then reinforced in school if needed.

I know many wonderful Hispanic people who respect living in the United States enough to learn our language. And, yes, English is and always has been our official language in the 76 years I have been alive. Being bilingual is a wonderful thing, but English is and should be a priority.

Anna L. Hamilton, Tampa

Income tax

Get rid of the IRS and tax consumption

We Americans and our businesses are penalized about $820 billion to comply with the IRS's burdensome tax code (74,000 pages and growing), and to compensate for the income taxes not collected from criminals, illegal immigrants and others who should pay income taxes but don't.

And, in light of the ongoing misconduct by the IRS and its intrusive delving into Americans' lives, businesses and organizations, it's apparent that the agency is not looking out for America's needs.

Congress, instead of applying more bandages in a knee-jerk attempt to keep the IRS tax code alive, should concede that it's time to scrap the agency and implement a tax system that works for all Americans. A consumption tax — a fair tax for instance — is unquestionably the way to go. Let's tax what we spend, not what we earn. Then watch the growth in real revenue collection, consumer spending, jobs and our overall economy.

Joe O'Hara, Ocala

Immigration claims and counterclaims July 13

U.S. failures spur influx

I lived in El Salvador in 2005-06 while serving as adviser on antigang matters to El Salvador's minister of national defense and director of the National Civil Police. I also co-chaired Central America's First International Anti-Gang Conference, so I feel I understand a large part of the reason causing the huge influx of women and children crossing our border illegally.

Out-of-control gang violence causing many gang-on-gang deaths has been part of the civil unrest since 2000 in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. For nearly 10 years, governments have employed the military to help suppress gang violence, resulting in 10 to 12 deaths a day in the three countries.

This violence is not new, nor was it the key reason women and young children began swarming our border. Yes, they were fleeing gang-related violence, but the sheer volume of recent border crossings came as a result of our administration's failure to enforce and make our immigration policy clear to the people of those nations.

Furthermore, once the flood of immigrants began, the administration failed miserably to help stem the tide of illegal immigration through a prompt response and clear communication with U.S. consular representatives and the media of those countries.

It's time to quit blaming Central American countries for a problem exacerbated by our nation's failed immigration policy and enforcement. Once again, politics and the realities of a huge spike in illegal immigration are running in the opposite direction.

Harvey Alexander Smith, Palm Harbor

Supreme Court will not dictate contraceptive use | July 16, PolitiFact

Important point obscured

in Pelosi misstatement

It is unfortunate that Nancy Pelosi misspoke when she said that the U.S. Supreme Court is "five guys who start determining what contraceptions are legal." As PolitiFact pointed out, that statement is false.

It is unfortunate because the point she was trying to make is an important one. She should have said that the U.S. Supreme Court is "five guys who start determining which companies can legally withhold contraceptive coverage from their employees' health insurance program."

What's next? Allowing companies to withhold transfusion coverage or vaccination coverage because the boss doesn't believe in those interventions?

Ken Girves, Palm Harbor

Government control

It's perfectly understandable that Nancy Pelosi "misspoke" and implied the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled certain contraceptives illegal.

When the government has its hands in virtually every aspect of public and private life, it can seem as if everything under the sun falls into one of two categories: subsidized and mandated, or outlawed.

Ryan Conley, Tampa

Reaction unworthy of U.S. July 16, letter

Drug demand is the source

I agree with the letters condemning the policies concerning the children entering the United States through Texas.

One thing I have not seen pointed out is that the influx of refugees is of our own making. It is our own archaic and unsuccessful drug laws that created the barbarous cartels that are forcing these people to leave their homelands.

Janet Dooley, Hudson

Welcome to Florida July 16, letter

Different time and place

The hundreds of unaccompanied children who came to Miami in 1961 arrived with the blessing and acceptance of all Americans and they would have been welcomed in any state.

The letter writer came to Florida not because Texans were unfriendly, but because of Florida's proximity to Cuba — just 100 miles. She would have been welcomed in any of our states.

The unaccompanied children now arriving in the Southwestern United States are coming in under conditions not the same as those in 1961.

Don Lucian, Largo

From the Web …

A selection of reader responses posted at

Mideast cease-fire desperately needed July 16, editorial

An honest assessment

Why the hatred of Israel by Gazans? Moshe Dayan, one of Israel's founding fathers, explained why in a funeral oration back in 1956, on the death of an Israeli colonist at the hands of a Palestinian whom Israel ethnically cleansed from his home:

"Let us not today fling accusation at the murderers. What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred to us? For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived.

"We should demand his blood not from the Arabs of Gaza but from ourselves. … Let us make our reckoning today. We are a generation of settlers, and without the steel helmet and gun barrel, we shall not be able to plant a tree or build a house. … Let us not be afraid to see the hatred that accompanies and consumes the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs who sit all around us and wait for the moment when their hands will be able to reach our blood."

Dayan was last honest Israeli politician.

— Le Chifre

Future of cruising | July 13, editorial

Containers over cruises

The concern should not be the cruise port market but the container market. With the enlarged (i.e., wider) Panama Canal, there will be more containers from the Pacific Rim coming into the Gulf of Mexico and hopefully to Tampa's expanding container port services. Then, some day, Cuba will open up. It is cheaper to run freight from Tampa to Havana than from Miami.

The container market is the real concern, not the cruise ships.

— Bland

Not this oyster's world | July 13, Perspective

Old Florida's wonders

The Florida I grew up in and loved is slowly disappearing. It's sad that the mighty dollar and development are destroying the natural resources that made this state, at one time, a slice of heaven.

— dawgman


Monday’s letters: Don’t forget pain sufferers

Fighting opioids on many fronts Nov. 22, editorialDon’t forget pain sufferersSufferers of debilitating, chronic pain seem to be largely forgotten in the public and corporate hysteria about opioid abuse. There are millions of people whose chronic pain...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill will benefit all businesses

Nelson warns of tax bill’s effects | Nov. 21Proposal is win for all concernedHas Sen. Bill Nelson even read the new proposed tax bill?If he knew anything about it he should be embarrassed by his rhetoric as stated in the Times article. The corpor...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Saturday’s letters: Value and respect our teachers

Crowd backs raises | Nov. 15Respect and value our teachersTeachers are the "engine" that drives the "train" of our Hillsborough County school district. Teachers and support personnel affect every aspect of a child’s life. They are the students’ "...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Friday’s letters: Find private investors for a new stadium

Opening offer from Rays on stadium sounds too low | Nov. 17, editorialFind private investors for stadiumThe Rays "offered" to pay 18.75 percent of the costs? How outrageously presumptuous to say that they offered! Put another way, they demanded t...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Thursday’s letters: Tax plan won’t help wages

Tax billThis won’t help stagnant wagesThe unfair tax proposal that cuts taxes for the rich and most powerful and cuts the ability of working people to claim any comparable deductions is no more than another greedy power grab by the rich and powerful....
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Wednesday’s letters: Breaking down health data

Don’t let news on blood pressure raise yours | Nov. 17, commentaryBreaking down health numbersThank you for publishing the timely commentary by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch on blood pressure. The point he makes about relative risks versus absolute risks ...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17

Tuesday’s letters: Disgraceful tax proposals

Tax billDisgraceful, harmful proposalsThe very fact that the Congress of the people of the United States would propose, not to mention pass, the current tax bill is nothing short of disgraceful. What sort of representatives of the people support cutt...
Published: 11/20/17

Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17