Monday, May 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Medicaid benefits Florida's middle class

Medicaid helped speaker's family | March 6

Medicaid benefits Florida middle class families

It is not surprising Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford didn't initially know his family benefitted from Medicaid. Most of the people who will benefit from Obamacare in general or from the Medicaid expansion don't realize how these programs will benefit them and countless others.

It is also not surprising that Republican lawmakers fear a tea party opponent in the next election more than they value the health of their constituents. Pediatricians all know families in the middle class who rely on Medicaid for help with devastating and chronic illness like that of Weatherford's brother. We also know families whose private insurance ended with the loss of a job.

Republicans say Medicaid is "broken," but my experience with the program over many years says otherwise. It is the current private plans that don't serve families who lose a job or who have a child with a devastating illness.

Let's work together to expand Medicaid to those who need it most and to free the rest of our families from insurance that may not be there when they need it most.

Mark Morris, M.D., Tampa

An irresponsible move on Medicaid March 5, editorial

The money's not there

Your editorial suggests that "to leave billions of federal dollars on the table and deprive nearly 1 million Floridians of Medicaid coverage would be fiscally irresponsible and morally indefensible."

Accepting billions of dollars that the federal government has borrowed, with no intent, let alone a plan, to pay back, dumping the debt on our children and grandchildren because we think we deserve free stuff — that is fiscally irresponsible and morally indefensible.

Dave Loeffert, Dunedin

Political realities

The about-face of Gov. Rick Scott's Medicaid expansion position, suddenly seeing the light and becoming a man of the people, hit the wall hard when it got to Tallahassee.

What a great strategy. Take a short-term hit from the tea party supporters, knowing those same folks will render the expansion dead on arrival in the Legislature.

This way he can say, "See, I tried," while the House ideologues can keep their tea party purity. From the hard-core right standpoint, it's all good. They can all look the other way while thousands of Floridians are denied desperately needed health care services. Well played indeed, governor.

Robert Mathews, St. Petersburg

Cardinals not in a rush to plan church's future | March 6

Church must address abuse

The church, as it chooses a new pope, must realize that one of the biggest problems weighing on it is the molestation of innocent boys at the hands of not just priests, but higher-ranking clergy. It is time for reflection on not just this generation of priests, but the past generation and the future priests who are drawn to the church.

As men of God, priests in cannot honestly think these actions would win approval from Jesus. The Catholic Church should have an amnesty period of, say, one month. In that time, if a priest felt the urge to hurt innocent children, or knew of someone who did, this would be the time to leave the church. The church wants change and members to return. Let's start with honesty.

Brian Duncan, Tampa

Bay area nourishes the scene | Feb. 28

Bravo for coverage

Cheers and thanks to John Fleming for his article in Weekend bringing attention to our local community theaters. Because of the lack of newspaper publicity over the years, these theaters, which bring Broadway-quality productions to our community, go largely unrecognized in favor of the more costly professional theaters. Both are extremely important and should be publicized, but increasingly residents are not aware of the gold mines in their midst performed by the very talented and dedicated unpaid volunteers who make it all happen. Ticket prices usually range from $15 to $25, far less than one might expect considering the quality of participating artists.

Community theaters fill an important need in every area fortunate enough to have them, and should be recognized and publicized by all news media. We thank you for this recognition.

The mission statement of St. Petersburg City Theatre is: To promote the advancement of live theater and provide quality entertainment while developing and encouraging local nonprofessional talent.

Ann Parrish, St. Petersburg

Internet sales tax plan picks up steam March 3

Level the playing field

For too many years, out-of-state online-only retailers like Amazon.com have exploited a tax loophole that allows them to avoid collecting Florida sales tax, giving them an unfair price advantage that threatens to put stores like mine out of business. Meanwhile, each month we dutifully remit the sales taxes collected on behalf of the state, which Florida relies on to pay for parks, police, schools and more.

The Times reported that state lawmakers are considering legislation that will close this loophole and level the playing field for Florida's traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. We're hopeful as each year as the Legislature slowly moves closer to a solution, but discouraged to see misinformation repeated. Contrary to state Senate President Don Gaetz's claim, e-Fairness legislation is not a new tax. It merely creates a process for businesses to collect sales tax that is already owed.

Main Street businesses are essential threads in the fabric of communities throughout Florida, and many are struggling to recover from the economic downturn. It is fundamentally unfair for the state to continue to basically subsidize out-of-state businesses at the expense of those of us who have invested here — providing jobs, keeping proceeds and profits circulating locally, and reinvesting in our home state. State lawmakers can help Florida businesses stay competitive by finally passing this commonsense legislation.

Carla Jimenez, co-owner, Inkwood Books, St. Petersburg

Lopano lovefest sets Tampa mayor on edge March 2

Community asset

Since 2010, I have been honored to represent the district that includes Tampa International Airport in the Florida Legislature. The airport is a crucial economic engine for the entire region as it creates jobs, attracts businesses and facilitates tourism, which is such a vital part of our economy.

Many changes have been made to improve Tampa International Airport, such as the volunteer ambassador program, the opening of a USO center, new restaurants that reflect Tampa's culture and aggressive marketing of the airport to attract new flights.

Our community cannot risk taking a step back and losing CEO Joe Lopano to another airport and city. It is my sincerest hope that the Aviation Authority board will work to find a way to keep him here for many years.

Janet Cruz, state representative, District 62, Tampa

Comments

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant As a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant tin rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from my home. It will run 1.4 mile...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Friday's letters: Putnam and Publix, two P's lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17 A pleasure to shop elsewhere My family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye. F...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 18

Re: Pasco panel okays Tampa Electric solar farm after five-hour meeting | April 9 storySolar farm offers many positivesThere has been much publicity regarding the proposed TECO Mountain View solar project slated for 350 acres in East Pasco that was r...
Published: 05/14/18

Thursday’s letters: Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America

Autonomous vehicles in FloridaThe state for self-driving carsAlmost overnight, Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America. In the last three months, Voyage, a self-driving taxi service, has begun service in the Villag...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: Florida’s Community Health Centers save $1.78 for every dollar spent

Florida’s Community Health CentersHealth centers are a great dealIf you gave someone a dollar and they gave you back $1.78, wouldn’t you consider that a fantastic deal? That’s the deal Florida’s Community Health Centers provide for the state’s citize...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/16/18