Thursday, March 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Don't kill animals during training

Medical training

Don't injure, kill animals during military training

Florida Voices for Animals, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about animal cruelty issues, is disappointed to learn that a Florida National Guard medical company has been shooting, stabbing, dismembering and disemboweling live pigs and goats in a study funded by a Defense Department grant to the University of South Florida's Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation.

In this goat lab, sentient animals are subjected to physical trauma while combat medics practice hemorrhage control, airway management and emergency medical skills. While FVA acknowledges the importance of learning these skills to care for our wounded combat soldiers, procedures to address these injuries can most effectively be taught in a course using high-fidelity medical simulation, partial task trainers and immersive learning environments. In this day and age, there are numerous simulators proven to provide training without harming a single animal.

No more animals should be killed or injured in the name of "medical science" when there are proven alternatives that do not require live animals. As Col. Scott Goodrich, a surgeon with the U.S. Army, stated, "There still is no evidence that live tissue training saves lives."

Kimberly Gronemeyer, FVA board, Tampa

Shine light on mystery donations Dec. 2, editorial

Money buys power

I have too much respect for your editorial wisdom to think that you are so naive as to believe that the Washington power brokers would kill the golden goose by requiring political donation disclosure. All politicians, regardless of party, are committed to one common goal: staying in office.

The "Abe Lincoln days" are over. Without monetary clout, a politician is doomed to failure on Election Day. Our political system will continue to chug along on the wings of wealthy men and corporations who aren't donating out of the goodness of their heart, but out of greed.

Don't expect any real campaign disclosure reform. It doesn't work for the politicians, and they make the rules, don't they?

Mick Puleo, Zephyrhills

Evaluations hint at system flaws | Dec. 4

What led to this sorry state

This headline should have been, "Evaluations hint at cultural decline." If you couple this article with the decline in the world standings, you really cannot come up with any other conclusion.

I refuse to believe our higher education institutions that produce our teachers have gotten, over the past 50 years, so inept as to produce this embarrassment in educational standards. We need to look at parents' inability to shoulder their responsibilities. Poverty, loss of social institutions, abdication of parenting to the schools, no parental evaluations or responsibility, unfunded federal and state mandates — these are but a few of the issues that have caused the sorry state of education.

But as long as we have politicians at the state and federal level whipping up the electorate (parents) by making the teachers the scapegoats, then nothing will be done to improve the lot of students or educators.

Richard Longden, Land O'Lakes

The keys to good teaching

The problem with teacher evaluation forms is simple. These forms are written by administrators and teachers who know nothing about teenagers or good teaching.

I had a wonderfully successful 35-year career teaching in Cicero, Ill., because I immediately realized that teenagers don't think like adults. In the movie Saturday Night Fever, when told to "save" for the future, Tony said: "The future is tonight." Secondly, I realized that a genuine affection for students is vital to meaningful communication.

Do you know all of your students' names the first week? Do you know something special about each student? Is there shared "joy" in the classroom where every student feels accepted? I can be in any classroom for 15 minutes and know if the teacher is going to be successful. It is about the tone set by the teacher. You can feel it, every time. It is first about fulfilling student needs and, then, about curriculum and testing.

Great teachers know these elements. Administration is lost. Therefore, in our Catch-22 educational system, administrators and Arne Duncan set the standards.

Robert F. Clifford, Tarpon Springs

Scott's elections official signals vote truce Dec. 4

Clark's public service

I would say that Secretary of State Ken Detzner had no choice but to "stand down" after he found himself up against Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark. I congratulate Clark on doing her job as a public official. It's nice to see, every once in a while, a public servant actually speaking on behalf of the public.

Darryl David, St. Petersburg

Switch to mail ballots | Dec. 2, letter

Risks of early voting

A letter writer suggests that everyone should vote by mail. What would happen if you sent in your ballot two to three weeks early and then found out your candidate got busted with one week to go for smoking crack?

Sorry, no do-overs.

James Molloy, Pinellas Park

Sales tax fairness for Florida Dec. 4, editorial

A small business burden

On the surface the sales tax solution you wrote about in this editorial sounds like a good idea, but is it really?

So a small business in New York that wants to sell items via the Internet is supposed to keep 45 sets of books, one for each state that has assessed a sales tax? I think that puts too much burden and increases the costs on a small or even a large business unfairly.

I believe the real solution would be for each state to collect its sales tax on sales made at the point of sale, where the item is located when the purchase is made. Internet sales are a totally different animal.

The bottom line is your idea sounds like something big government would legislate, rather than something that is simple, foolproof, and easier to police and enforce.

Fred Singleton, Largo


Friday’s letters: Think through assault weapons ban

Gun controlThink through assault rifle banI recently emailed a Florida state representative who had pledged, among other things, to ban assault rifles in the state. I asked him if he would ban the sale and transfer of these guns or ultimately make th...
Published: 03/22/18

Thursday’s letters: School safety requires funding

Constitution Revision CommissionSchool safety requires fundingThe Constitution Revision Commission should consider amending a proposal (45, 93 or 72) to allocate the necessary recurring funding for the new school safety mandates, separate from the ba...
Published: 03/21/18

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