Monday, June 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: New freedom for workers

The article "Obamacare's toll on jobs" fails to recognize that in a capitalist economy jobs are created and sustained by demand from consumers for products and services. Employers hire workers to perform certain tasks to fulfill that demand. When workers who complete those tasks do not work 40 hours a week, the employer can hire more workers or different workers to fill the hours. The freedom to have health insurance separate from employment does not create a negative toll on jobs.

If employees have the freedom to seek part-time work, then society has been made better, not worse. They are free to work at what they want or when they want and they are no longer a slave to a job they hate, or hours they don't want, just to get or keep health insurance.

Only time will tell if employers have to raise wages to attract part-time workers without providing health care insurance, but I am willing to bet that their costs will go down in the short run. The reduction in employee costs per hour makes it possible for employers to increase the number of employees and by definition jobs.

The article explains some of these facts but the headline is very misleading. The media needs to educate the public on the true issues with our health care delivery system so we can fix the problems, not create panic over increasing workers' freedoms.

Arthur W. Huge, Tampa

Give video of shooting public airing | Feb. 5, editorial

Rights and responsibilities

Having a right to do something does not necessarily make it the right thing to do. This applies to the "right" to see the video of the shooting as well as the idea of carrying a gun into the theater.

I am surprised that your editorial does not mention the notion of "trial by media." While it would seem to be in the public's interest to see the video once it is submitted in court when the trial begins, I do not see the value of tainting the jury pool.

I believe in the right to a fair trial and do not think the video should be aired publicly before the trial.

Tina Spangler, St. Petersburg

Changing of old guard on Cuba | Feb. 5, editorial

Relic of another era

It is time to end the Cuban embargo.

My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Cuba with an organized tour under a license from the U.S. government. Cuba is a beautiful tropical paradise and its citizens are among the friendliest I have ever met in my extensive travels.

Our tour was a people-to-people tour and we spent eight wonderful days meeting with Cubans. We dined with them, we danced with them, we toured their homes and businesses, we had Spanish lessons, history lessons, architectural lessons and we visited their churches and monuments. We spent four days in Havana, a jewel in the Caribbean Sea.

Throughout the trip we noticed that there are no overweight Cubans. There is not enough food to go around. We noticed that all the buildings built in the 1930s are still standing but have had no maintenance in 50 years. Havana has an ancient water supply. Water is trucked in daily and runs out by midafternoon.

Why is that? In a word, embargo. Cuba's population is just over 11 million, and 89 percent are under age 65. So there are three generations of Cubans who had nothing to do with the events in the 1960s but who are paying the price.

Since the retirement of Fidel Castro, his brother Raul has moved toward loosening state control and allowing Cubans to operate businesses. He also encouraged tourism, and we saw many tourists from Europe, Canada and the islands.

What is the purpose of the embargo? None of the original "transgressions" are viable anymore. Communism is no longer the scourge of the Earth, yet we continue to make life miserable for everyone in Cuba.

Removing the embargo would open tourism and U.S. citizens would discover a country with wonderful, vibrant people in a tropical paradise. And the entire Cuban population would be eternally thankful.

Peter Graulich, Inverness

No money, no movies | Jan. 31

Stop corporate welfare

Florida taxpayers paid 60 percent of the wages of temporary workers hired to film three movies. This $6 million is a small part of the $296 million we have spent since 2010 to subsidize the entertainment industry. The rationale is that it helps tourism. Well, there is a rationale for every giveaway to business, whether it is sports, conventions, medical, insurance, finance, manufacturing or tourism.

They all need "incentives" to come to Florida. Every smart business is now playing states and cities against each other to obtain the best deal. The practice of giving away tax dollars to businesses is escalating rapidly toward a zero-sum game. New York state recently raised the ante with its TV commercial that offers 10 years of no taxes to businesses relocating to certain areas in the state.

This madness must stop. If taken to its logical conclusion, this practice of corporate welfare will bankrupt states and cities unless individual citizens are taxed more and more. At its very core, this practice is either bribery, extortion or both. It is also unethical and unfair to existing businesses. It should be made illegal nationwide. In a free-market economy, every business must compete on a level playing field and pay for its share of infrastructure, resources and services necessary to maintain a civil and functioning society.

Jon Erion, Oldsmar

Florida's lost opportunities

This article documents another example of how Florida misses the boat, this time related to lack of funding for filmmakers who would want to use our state as their location.

The current MovieMaker magazine lists 20 top cities and towns to live and work as a moviemaker, and Florida couldn't even muster one spot on the list.

I find it pathetic that a state with great weather and locations of interest cannot compete with other states such as Texas and Tennessee for a portion of the filmmaking business.

George Petrick, Riverview

Puerto Rico

A troubled, forgotten island

This week, Puerto Rico's general-obligation bonds were downgraded to the "junk" category. I'm sure financial commentators can come up with many reasons why that happened, but what is at the root of the seemingly everlasting problems of this island?

Now that the concept of inequality is in vogue, it is time to examine what ails the "poster child" of inequality under the American flag: extreme economic inequality, unequal citizenship rights and obligations, unsettled political status and other inequalities that derive therefrom.

Puerto Rico is a minuscule boil on the body politic of the United States, but the boil is festering. It is time to remove the cobwebs, dust off the "Puerto Rico Desk" and bring it down from the attic in whichever corner of the Washington federal bureaucracy it lies forgotten.

Perhaps it is wishful thinking to expect Congress to pay significant attention to the struggling island if there is no political pressure on politicians to act. All Latinos entitled to vote in U.S. federal elections should be educated on the importance of bringing to finality the question of Puerto Rico's political status. Either independence or statehood would work toward equality for the island: independence would bring equality in sovereignty with other countries; statehood would secure equality in rights and obligations with all the states of the union.

Jose L. Calabria, Land O'Lakes

Hillsborough okays $125,000 for ferry study Feb. 6

Not worth the expense

According to the MacDill Air Force Base website, there are 10,500 military personnel and 4,000 civilian personnel employed on the base. With a pie-in-the-sky figure of 10 percent possibly living in the Apollo Beach area, and assuming a 10 percent ridership, a very optimistic figure would put the number of people who would use the proposed high-speed ferry service at around 145.

So why should we, the taxpayers, spend $24 million of our money to provide transportation for about 145 people? That's over $165,500 per rider. How long will it take to get the return on this investment? Is that the best use of public money? If this is such a good idea, why aren't businesses lining up to invest in this enterprise? I think it's quite obvious.

Rick France, Tampa

CVS won't sell tobacco | Feb. 6

Sending a message

It amazes me how many people still smoke. Would they quit if they knew how horrific it is to die slowly from smoking? My mom continued to subject our family to second-hand smoke until the day she passed away. I miss her terribly and know she could have had many more years with us if she just had quit smoking earlier in life.

I hope in my lifetime to see smoking and the sale of tobacco products banned completely. Praise to CVS for being the first company to send this message to smokers and help them to quit.

Lorraine Stevenski, Land O' Lakes


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: 3 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: 3 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: 5 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