Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Sales tax bill helps Florida businesses

A step toward sales tax fairness May 8, editorial

Help Florida businesses

Thank you for the editorial on the Internet sales tax fairness. I was astonished that this bill never saw the light of day in the recent legislative session. On second thought, I am not astonished, given the Legislature's lack of fairness, common sense, compassion and economics regarding the federal expansion of Medicaid.

What doesn't Marco Rubio get with his "crush small business" statement? The small businesses of Florida and the large retailers of Florida (the taxpayers of Florida) are already being crushed by out-of-state Internet retailers. Is he trying to save them at the expense of Florida bricks-and-mortar businesses?

If the Republicans are so set against additional revenues to benefit Florida, why not collect the estimated $454 million in Internet sales tax that is already legally due the state and reduce the sales tax rate to make it revenue neutral? This is not that hard to do. Let common sense and fairness prevail.

Randal Cochrane, St. Petersburg

Impasse could cost businesses | May 5

Blind to citizens' needs

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Nice­ville, is quoted as saying that he had little concern for "somebody who is an adult and chooses to sit on the couch." Thus he justified refusal of federal funds to expand Medicaid.

I, in turn, have little respect for politicians who deliberately wear blinders so as to deny reality and justify their votes based on ideology rather than the needs and wishes of their constituents.

Yes, of course, there are some freeloaders who would benefit by the expansion of Medicaid. Is this sufficient reason to leave the working poor without health care? The working poor have no access to medical care except by means of hospital emergency rooms. They can't afford ongoing care.

Nursing homes and many other employers are careful to hire only part-time workers who work less than full time. As part-timers, they are not entitled to any benefits.

A typical example would be a woman of 50 who works as a nurse's aide, earning a little over minimum wage after years on the job. She works hard. Now she is developing health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, slipped disk from lifting patients, etc. But she can't afford treatment. She earns barely enough to pay her rent, utilities and groceries. Her youngest child is now over 18, so she does not qualify for Medicaid. There are very few insurance companies that offer individual policies, and their premiums are far beyond her ability to pay.

This woman's name is Legion. She (or he) is your cashier in chain stores and convenience stores. She can be found working as an aide in health care fields. She takes care of the physical needs of your elderly parent in the nursing home. But she has no access to medical care for herself.

"None are so blind as those who refuse to see." This adage applies to House Speaker Will Weatherford, Gaetz and other politicians who could easily acquaint themselves with reality. Their chosen blindness enables them to deny the urgent need for medical care by a large segment of Floridians.

Anne Rost, Clearwater

Special session on Medicaid is pushed May 7

Lives are at stake

Let's hope the Florida Legislature will make the right decision to return for a special session to pass the funding for Medicaid expansion. If not for the money, for the lives of Floridians it will save.

Statistics have indicated that 20,000 to 25,000 people die every year in the United States due to lack of medical care. Since Florida is 15 percent of the population, that would mean roughly 3,000 die in Florida.

If 3,000 people were to die in terrorists attacks every year in Florida, we would not just stand by and think, "Hey, let's wait till next year and see how this is going." In fact, federal money is spent in Florida to avoid attacks through airport and port security, the Department of Homeland Security, the military, etc. We don't turn away that federal aid.

Why should the medical security and lives of our citizens warrant fewer efforts, especially when the solution is available?

Cecilia Yocum, Tampa

Opportunity for reform

Some legislators are saying they voted against Medicaid expansion because the current Medicaid system is broken. Those of us with loved ones — be they patients or physicians — who deal with the current Medicaid system know about the dire need for Medicaid reform.

Where was the will and the groundswell of support to fix the current Medicaid program? The expansion brings the opportunity to reform Medicaid. It will be a challenging journey, but it is the right thing to do. Change is painful. Even ending slavery was challenging, but it couldn't wait. The same is true for Medicaid expansion. There is never going to be a "right time."

Diane Williams, Gulfport

Rundown house held grim secret | May 8

America's moral challenge

Stories of the three women recently found in Cleveland raise serious concerns about the social isolation in urban neighborhoods of America today. The Cleveland police report they have researched their records for over 10 years and find nothing amiss reported from the neighbors. This case raises the same issues as the Kitty Genovese case in Queens, N.Y., in 1964. Genovese was brutally attacked, her screams were heard by many neighbors, yet none called the police. They didn't want to get involved.

Is it fear of "what the neighbors might think," or is it "I don't want to meddle in other peoples business"? Is it just plain fear of reprisal? The case raises social and moral issues America's citizens must address.

Jay Hall, Tampa

A sickening sight | May 8

Pitchers need protection

What happened to J.A. Happ at Tropicana Field should be a wakeup call for all levels of organized baseball from Little League to the majors. Pitchers need head and face protection. Maintaining the status quo is unacceptable. Will it take the death of a 10-year-old Little Leaguer before anything happens?

If an employee in an industrial plant had been hit by a hard object, similar to a baseball, and hospitalized, OSHA inspectors would be at the front door. Okay, baseball: Who is going to take the lead?

Len Wilson, St. Petersburg

Arbitrator reverses officer's dismissal May 8

Shifting standards

If a citizen were to kill a pedestrian or biker while driving 20 mph above the posted limit, he would be tried for manslaughter or something worse.

Now we have an example of what happens when a policeman kills a citizen under the same circumstances. He gets his job back.

When a policeman is killed we have solemn parades and pageantry. When a citizen is killed by police we have a line item in the Times.

People often ask why I call this a police state.

Mark E. Reinecke, St. Petersburg

Sanford regains seat in House | May 8

Dangers of party-line voting

It's a sad day when a man like Mark Sanford, who was involved in a scandal as governor, gets re-elected to Congress. It doesn't say much for the Republicans and other voters of that district. That's why corruption breeds corruption. The problems of government will never be resolved with this kind of thinking. It's just sad.

People have to start voting for the man or woman, not the party.

Robert Petrosky, Spring Hill


Wednesday’s letters: Let the teachers decide on guns

Trump touts arming staff as key in plan for school security | March 12It’s the teacher’s call on weaponsPlease, let’s try an alternate view about guns in the classroom. First, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the preponderance of letters about guns ...
Published: 03/20/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Published: 03/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Published: 03/19/18

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18

Pasco Letter to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 column Pasco County (and its residents) have financial incentives to recycle, but the participation rate is low. Clearly, Pasco County either needs to make recycling mandatory — by making residents r...
Published: 03/13/18