Monday, June 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Leaving Medicare alone not an option

I am writing in response to a column that appeared in these pages attacking Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney for their efforts to save Medicare. Lost somewhere in the hyperbole and humor is the recognition that our nation is at a crossroads and the stakes of a presidential election have perhaps never been higher. Voters deserve an intellectually honest debate before casting their ballots in November, and it would be refreshing to see our local paper facilitate that kind of a dialogue rather than penning the same tired and misleading attacks we hear when the issue comes up.

The fundamental truth about Medicare in America is that doing nothing will bankrupt the program, and seniors who currently depend on the program will face cuts. Put another way, leaving Medicare alone is not possible. The choice not to reform the program is in fact a decision to allow the eventual death of the program. President Barack Obama has no plan to save Medicare.

Romney and Ryan have a plan to save Medicare. For those 55 and older, there will be no changes to Medicare. For the next generation, implementing common sense reforms will encourage choice and reduce costs while keeping the promise of Medicare for this and future generations.

Voters wanting to know whether Romney and Ryan are willing to propose bold solutions need to look no further than the Medicare debate. Fact is, they have the courage to have an honest conversation with voters in this country and will not let politics and propaganda get in the way of policies that will preserve the safety nets in our society while getting spending and the national debt under control.

Florida Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa

Republican National Convention

Government service

I'd like to welcome the Republicans to our fair city and let them know that we stand ready to make their visit safe and enjoyable.

Whether they travel here by car, plane, boat or foot, the DOT, TSA, NSA, NHTSA, FAA and others are working for them. NOAA, the NWS and FEMA will keep them abreast of the weather. The FBI, CIA, State Department and DHS will protect them while they're here, as will the TPD, HCSO, our fire department, SWAT teams, National Guard, Coast Guard, FDLE and other law enforcement agencies. First responders in the medical field are poised to handle anything, should the need arise.

I hope they remember these things while they're here bashing "big government."

Madeline Orio, Tampa

Priorities out of order

Pinellas County is so broke there isn't enough money to cut the grass or pick up the trash on the county right of ways. However, they have just managed to find $600,000 to pay for a party for the Republican Party. It is always a matter of priorities. We just do not have our priorities in order.

Margaret Hyde, Clearwater

GOP platform: No exception for rape, incest Aug. 20

An affront to women

The Republican platform that includes no provision for abortion in the case of rape or incest is also an affront to human life — that of the mother. Especially in those cases, a woman should have the right to choose.

Rape is not sex — it is a violent crime against women, and no woman should have to suffer the horror of rape and then be told they have to bear the offspring of the man or men who raped her. This does not honor the sanctity of the life of the woman.

Cecilia Yocum, Tampa

Look at the president | Aug. 21, letter

Glad to contribute

This letter says President Barack Obama's support comes from "the selfish, self-centered and intolerant recipients of his leftist largesse who sing his praises."

The writer may resent having to help others in need, but not everyone thinks that way. I've paid lots of taxes over the years. The only government largesse I could be accused of taking was free advice from the Small Business Administration decades ago when I was building a company that eventually employed more than 30 people.

If part of my taxes help feed the hungry, care for helpless children or the aged, I'm glad to have contributed. There are millions like me who aren't "selfish, self-centered" or "intolerant recipients of leftist largesse" who are proud to support those programs and, frankly, are disappointed by those who get no satisfaction from helping and who rail angrily about government efforts to do so.

We are the government; is it wrong to help others?

Terry Dunham, St. Petersburg

Syrians see rising losses from war | Aug. 20

A dictator's prayers

One of the most appalling photos I've seen in the Times was the recent one showing Syrian President Bashar Assad in prayer. Was he praying for Allah to send him more bombs to destroy his people? What a disgusting human being.

Bob Dalzell, St. Petersburg

Tampa Bay Rays

Support lacking

There is talk of the Rays moving to Tampa. If they do, we don't have to build them a new stadium. Attendance at two recent games would fit in Steinbrenner Field. All the fans would be closer to the action, and the TV cameras wouldn't be showing 24,000 empty seats.

But, alas, I don't think they'll be moving to Tampa. It's more likely to be Charlotte or Las Vegas.

Philip Valenti, Lutz

Jobless benefits elusive for many | Aug. 22

Kicked to the curb

This article literally brought me to tears. It explained how Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-majority Legislature have gone to great lengths to keep unemployed Floridians from collecting unemployment compensation that is due to them. The expression "Kick them when they are down" comes to mind.

Florida is finally first in something: Of all 50 states we now pay fewer unemployment claims than any other state adjusted for population. Thousand of Floridians who have never collected a dime in welfare, many of them veterans, are being kicked to the curb when they need help the most.

Peter Newton, Clearwater

Florida's fisheries

Protect against overfishing

In 2007, Congress implemented science-based catch limits for public trust fishery resources, which was a good thing. So it's with concern that I hear the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee is holding a field hearing on fisheries in Panama City today.

There are those who haven't liked the hard work of rebuilding our fisheries to sustainability. And they frequently promote concepts that create loopholes catering to the "leave us alone" fishing businesses of old that put such a serious dent in our fisheries.

One House bill along these lines would allow any fishery that has not had a stock assessment within five years to be exempt from fishing limits. This would surely create an incentive to fight against funding for stock assessments. The predictable result? A return to overfishing.

Fishermen need a long-term model, as does tourism. That's why I'm proud to have TradeWinds Island Resorts hosting the Guy Harvey Fisheries Symposium in September, where fishery experts will discuss the science of overexploited and thus underutilized fisheries.

Over $1 billion and 500,000 jobs are lost because of overfishing. I hope the result of this field hearing is solving that problem, because sustainable fisheries are a good catch for tourism, Florida and the nation.

Keith Overton, president and chief operating officer, TradeWinds Island Resorts, St. Pete Beach

Keep it simple: Cast vote by mail Aug. 20, letter

No hasty decisions

I do as the letter writer does with my sample ballot: I read as much as I can and mark it in the comfort of my home. I continue to gather information right up to Election Day and then take my sample ballot to the polling place.

My reason for going to the polls on Election Day is that information on the character and positions of the candidates continues to emerge right up to that day. If I vote early enough to get my ballot mailed in time to be counted, I miss several days or more of important information about the candidates.

We need an informed electorate. The earlier the vote, the less information the voter has.

Rebecca L. Johnson, New Port Richey


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 ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

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...
Updated: 9 hours ago

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...
Updated: 11 hours ago

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

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18