Friday, June 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Farm bill a big win for Florida citrus industry

I write to express deep appreciation to some extraordinary Floridians who have "changed the game" for Florida's most iconic product.

When President Barack Obama recently signed the farm bill, he validated the hard work of many producers around the country. However, Florida came out a particular winner because of the leadership of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Reps. Dennis Ross, Tom Rooney, Vern Buchanan and Steve Southerland.

Those congressional leaders, at the urging of stakeholders such as Florida Citrus Mutual under the able leadership of Mike Sparks, and citrus growers and supporters across the state, secured $125 million in game-changing research funds to fight citrus greening. Those visionary leaders understood the profound value of Florida oranges, and we owe them our deepest gratitude for translating vision into action.

For too long, Florida growers, working closely with the Florida Department of Citrus, the Citrus Research and Development Foundation, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and many other organizations, have been fighting valiantly against greening with little notice from the nation's capital.

In waging that lonely fight, Florida's citrus industry has shown what makes us — and our nation — great: courage, innovation, vision and hard work.

Now we will add a new wave of cutting-edge, urgent research to the mix. The game has changed. America is united, and we stand ready to take on the day.

Marty McKenna, chairman, Florida Citrus Commission, Bartow

Nuclear plant tubes show wear | Feb. 23

Steam generators are safe

The steam generators at the St. Lucie nuclear plant are safe. Since their replacement in 2007, our team of experienced engineers, with validation from independent experts and oversight from federal regulators, has inspected 100 percent of the tubes every 18 months during planned refueling outages. These inspections have shown that there are no tube integrity issues that would cause failure.

Steam generator tube wear is not a new issue in the nuclear industry. In fact, there is significant data and operating experience detailing how to safely monitor and manage this issue. Like belts in a car engine, a certain amount of wear is expected over time. But, with regular monitoring and inspection, the belt will be removed well before it causes any mechanical issue. The same is true for steam generator tubes.

While engineering analyses have shown that steam generator tubes can function with over 60 percent wear, no U.S. nuclear plant would ever come close to that level. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires that tubes with 40 percent wear be removed from service. Florida Power & Light's threshold, however, is even lower and more conservative than federal requirements.

The Times article also pays considerable attention to the number of wear "indications" on the St. Lucie generator tubes. In reality, there is a significant difference between an indication of wear, which could be anything from a scratch to a rub mark, and the potential for failure. Again using the car analogy, it's like having a dent in your car door — you can see it, but it does not make the vehicle unsafe.

With respect to how these components would perform given the plant's power uprate, the safety performance of the steam generators was both verified and validated by independent experts and then again by the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — all of whom have detailed specific experience with the systems at St. Lucie. Given this fact, it is highly disturbing that the reporter chose to all but bury the perspective of our federal regulator, the NRC, while giving significant attention to the comments of two antinuclear activists.

Finally, some have implied that St. Lucie is similar to the now-closed San Onofre plant in California. Nothing could be further from the truth. The steam generators at San Onofre were a different design, made by a different manufacturer and operated at a higher power level. In fact, the type of wear evident at San Onofre is not present at St. Lucie.

Joseph Jensen, site vice president, St. Lucie nuclear power plant, Juno Beach

Pointing to a new Sundial name | Feb. 25

Don't forget Beach Drive

This was an interesting picture in the Times, with the Sundial and Pier highlighted as premier destinations off the I-375 exit. I would have thought that Beach Drive, which has numerous fine restaurants and shops that attract significant numbers of city residents and tourists, deserved equal signage. Beach Drive has done so much to bring downtown St. Petersburg to life, and is the catalyst that can help Sundial become a success as well.

Cooper Petagna, St. Petersburg

Universal recycling on way | Feb. 21

Just another tax increase

There are some people who say the red-light camera fines are just another tax, but at least they have the choice not to run the red light and avoid the fine.

For years, we have been taking our recyclables to a recycling station in St. Petersburg and would continue to do so. However, we will be charged for the new service (even if we do not use it) since the cost for the recycling project will be added to the water/sewer/trash collection bill and we have no choice but to pay it.

Rest assured, we will remember this when it comes time for the re-elections of the mayor and City Council members.

Jim Toth, St. Petersburg

Jolly was driver in fatal '89 accident Feb. 26

Not relevant to campaign

The decision to publish the story about David Jolly being the driver in a fatal accident when he was age 16 must have been rather easy for a newspaper that pounds Jolly just as hard in its news columns as in its grossly one-sided editorials.

As appalling as it was to print the story, it becomes even more astonishing given the fact the Times was tipped to the 1989 incident by an anonymous source. Credible newspapers would never use an anonymous source in that circumstance, especially in the middle of a heated election campaign.

Clearly, a 25-year-old case in which the victim, and not Jolly, was ruled at fault should have been out-of-bounds for any objective newspaper. It has no bearing on Jolly's ability to serve in Congress. One can only presume that the Times is more interested in helping Democrats than in worrying about what is the right thing to do.

Larry Shores, Treasure Island

Double standards?

I agree that this is something that should be known about David Jolly. However, it appears he is completely innocent and a victim, in addition to the deceased, of a terrible accident. You placed the article on the front page. I wonder why you did not cover the offensive remarks of Alex Sink on the front page regarding illegal immigrants and types of jobs that they perform?

John Addar, Valrico

What makes us happy? | Feb. 26, commentary

Keys to satisfaction

This piece on what makes us happy was dead-on.

There are a couple of other factors. One is exercising. Another is that, at any age, making others happy is one of the biggest contributors to our own happiness.

David Cadogan, Gulfport

Arizona governor: No discrimination Feb. 27

Turning back tide of bigotry

The governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, vetoed a bill that would have allowed businesses in her state to refuse service to many on religious grounds. Arizona is a state whose reputation has already been soiled by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's sometimes blatant trampling of human rights.

As I watch my country backslide into the 19th century era of inhuman racism and bigotry, Brewer lit a candle of hope. Not supporting those who wish to hide behind religion to legitimize bigotry took political courage on Brewer's part. Other Republicans such as Mitt Romney and John McCain urged a veto.

Tolerance is a core value without which our country as a republic will not survive. United we stand and divided we fall.

Sinclair Lewis said it best when he wrote, "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and waving a cross."

Jeff Houseman, Weeki Wachee


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...
Updated: 5 hours ago

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