Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: U.S. should reduce its nuclear stockpiles

As members of Physicians for Social Responsibility, we are increasingly concerned by the debate on the "fiscal cliff." We know that if our country fails to reach a compromise before the end of the year, we face a situation where a hatchet may be taken to life-saving programs that prevent diseases, help keep people off the streets, and provide health care to our elderly and poor. We need a patient hand and a sharp scalpel to make the type of responsible and meaningful cuts to our federal budget to preserve our common future.

Our country is spending more money on war and defense than it has since World War II. This is not sustainable and it reflects Congress' desire to fund pet projects more than any reasonable assessment of our national security requirements. Even as our security challenges have changed, Congress continues to waste hundreds of billions of dollars on Cold War-era programs. That war is over. According to a study by the Ploughshares Fund, the United States will spend $640 billion on maintaining our bloated nuclear arsenal over the next 10 years.

This month, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., released a letter signed by 45 congressional leaders outlining cuts that could save our nation much-needed money by reducing our nuclear arsenal along with our Cold War baggage.

More spending discipline is needed in Congress, and we need a clearer definition of the Pentagon's mission. As retired Gen. James Cartwright wrote recently, "The world has changed, but our current arsenal carries the baggage of the Cold War."

Our current arsenal has over 5,000 warheads as of 2010. National security experts have long argued that spending billions to maintain an arsenal of that size is counterproductive and that the United States could maintain an effective deterrent with around 300 nuclear devices. While nuclear weapons are not the only place Congress can find savings from the Pentagon budget to pay down the debt, it should be one of the highest priorities for our elected officials in Florida.

Lynn Ringenberg, M.D., Tampa

Jefry Biehler, M.D., Miami

Lonnie Draper, M.D., Tallahassee

Rani Gereige, M.D., Miami

Todd L. Sack, M.D., Jacksonville

Ron Saff, M.D., Tallahassee

Overextended overseas

The elephant in the room is the defense budget. We have a Cold War defense without a Cold War enemy. Cut defense spending over 10 years and reform the tax code and we're back to a balanced budget.

Get our soldiers out of Germany and Japan and Afghanistan and focus on undermining the terrorist threat. We've got enough bombs and submarines and aircraft carriers and jet fighters. Our "leaders" are afraid of cutting defense because of the power of the military/industrial complex, and the issue of how to employ in America all those soldiers on standby overseas.

Mike Ahrens, Tampa

Marooned in Tampa | Dec. 12, commentary

Buses worked fine for me

Fabio DeSousa is way off base.

I was recently without a vehicle for six months. In that time, I discovered that both PSTA (Pinellas) and HART (Hillsborough) kept promptly to bus schedules.

I had no problem traversing both sides of the bay area on express buses for only $3. I traveled to the beaches, Bucs games, work, doctor appointments, etc. There were no worries with parking, and in fact I lost over 30 pounds with the increase in walking to and fro after exiting buses. Also, there are discount fares for seniors, students and the handicapped.

Sure, driving is easier (and far more expensive), but I never felt "marooned."

Ted Wolfe, St. Petersburg

Sprawl isn't a strategy

Nearly every Florida citizen without a car is marooned. This is the result of the state's century-long addiction to car-centric sprawl. It continues apace, as developers throw carloads of money at politicians.

The car capital of the world, Los Angeles, now has what is rated as one of the best public transportation systems in the nation, right up there with New York City. California policymakers realized decades ago that there is no way enough roads could be built to solve single-occupant-car freeway gridlock.

This state will remain in the transportation doldrums until Floridians elect policymakers who have the vision to lead us out of the sprawl development quagmire.

Mike MacDonald, Clearwater

In Scott vs. Crist, whom will voters forgive? Dec. 12, Sue Carlton column

Image and reality

Fortunately, there are two years between now and the election for governor, plenty of time for voters to do a better tally of Rick Scott's agenda and impact than Sue Carlton gives us. Voter restrictions are but the latest in a string of ultra-right moves the governor has made, paling beside his first-year cuts to education, efforts to privatize everything from prisons to auto licenses, waffling over the Affordable Care Act, and canceling the light-rail project. No amount of "image-remaking" can gloss over those.

Stephen E. Phillips, St. Petersburg

Citizens proposed loan program comes under fire | Dec. 5

Troubling tradeoff

I received notification this week from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. that my homeowner's insurance had been assumed by another company with an address in Tallahassee and a local office in St. Petersburg. There were no local phone numbers.

In doing some research on this company, I found that it filed with the state of Florida to do business in August 2012. What kind of assurance do we, the consumers, have that any claims could or would be paid out by such a new company? What kind of capital do they have to protect policyholders for a catastrophe or even just a simple claim?

I visited their website and did not find anything that would give me any further assurance about my policy assumption. I did find an "opt out" letter in their FAQ section, which I am processing.

We, as consumers, need to do diligent research before accepting blindly the policy assumptions being passed on to us by Citizens.

Carol Hess, St. Petersburg

Lie of the year | Dec. 12

Tax lies trump Romney's

If you think the Mitt Romney lie regarding Chrysler and China is the biggest lie of the year, you have proven your liberal bias. The collective lies from the left regarding the fairness of the tax code, specifically that the wealthy don't pay their fair share, is the lie that has perpetuated a continuous stream of lies from the left.

Steve Stanford, Tampa

Painful truths on the way

The most appropriate "Lie of the Year" would be someone stating that your newspaper is not a shill for the left.

People voting to call a lie the truthful statement by Rush Limbaugh — that the Obamacare tax load is the most onerous in history — because he sometimes distorts the truth are just the type of woefully uninformed people who thus far have kept your paper afloat. The tax truths of Obamacare are starting to unfold and they will keep on coming as we move into 2013 and 214.

Jack Kuechler, Safety Harbor

Chiefs award hefty raises | Dec. 12

Voters are to blame

For the life of me, I cannot fathom what Florida's legislative leaders are thinking. The working poor and middle class are floundering financially, while Don Gaetz and Will Weatherford are handing out substantial pay increases to their staff.

Until we step up to the plate and take responsibility for this behavior by our elected officials in Tallahassee, nothing will change. The folks of Florida will have no one but themselves to blame.

Christopher Jonathan Gerber, St. Petersburg

'Fiscal cliff'

Close the loopholes

Both parties are ignoring corporations that squirrel away tax dollars in overseas tax havens. For example, Google avoided about $2.2 billion in worldwide income taxes in 2011 by shifting $9.8 billion in revenues to a Bermuda company.

We are talking big tax dollars here, and yet I don't recall hearing anything from either party about closing these loopholes.

William R. Dubin, Hernando Beach


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: 11 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: 11 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...
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

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