Sunday, February 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Blueprint for student success

A black mother's memo on striving | Feb. 2, Perspective

A blueprint for student success

Thank you, Micki Morency, for the list for black families on how to improve student success. I will be clipping and copying it. I work as a therapist and parent mentor to mostly low-income families in Pinellas County. Repeatedly, I advise parents to form an alliance with the teachers and administrative staff at their child's school.

Almost all teachers want success for their students. Teaching can be thankless: It is poorly paid, heavy on overtime and sometimes downright dangerous. But hardest of all, teachers tell me, is trying to make headway with a kid when the parents lash out with criticism and blame, or simply ignore them.

I understand that poverty is a harsh starting place. And I also know that the only pathway out of that living hell is through education.

It is especially excellent that this list provides a solid checklist for all families, regardless of parent race, income or education.

Juliana Menke, St. Petersburg

Straight talk on Midtown | Feb. 2, Bill Maxwell column

Culture change required

As usual, Bill Maxwell tells it like it is. There was, and probably still is, a similar neighborhood in the Bronx, N.Y. Many years ago, I postulated a protocol to improve conditions there. I anticipated that meaningful changes demanded at least two or three generations of time and a vast financial investment.

There is no doubt that Midtown needs more than a bandage. Nikki Gaskin-Capehart and Kanika Tomalin can bring economic improvements to Midtown only by bringing about a major change in the culture of the community. I hope that they will set a foundation that will, in time (in reality a very long time) become a large-scale effective approach. Our political climate being as it is, I regret being short on optimism.

Seymour S. Bluestone, Clearwater

No escaping the facts

I wish to commend Bill Maxwell on his Sunday column in which he forthrightly addressed the problems facing the attempt to rejuvenate the economy of Midtown. I witnessed the results of just throwing money at a similar area in downtown Atlanta when the Underground was built at taxpayer expense. Two-thirds of the shops ended up empty and the remaining third paid no rent. The city thought it was better to have some buildings occupied than have everything vacant.

The reason the Underground failed was quite simple. Due to a high crime rate, people were afraid to go there. Maxwell acknowledged the problem and many of the contributing factors in Midtown. It was truly "straight talk" and refreshing to see him delineate the problems facing the area that discourage investment.

Personally, I don't have any easy answers to changing the culture in Midtown. Other than increased mentoring of black youth, I would not know where to begin.

I hope Maxwell's frank airing of the problems starts a candid conversation that will lead to progress for the residents. We need to be able to talk openly about solutions without the onus of being considered racist.

Mike Lyons, Apollo Beach

U.N. panel rebukes Vatican over abuses Feb. 6

Selective judgments

The recommendations issued by a U.N. panel that reviewed the handling of clergy child abuse by the Catholic Church are an overdue vindication of thousands of victims whose grievances were silenced by misguided religious authorities.

The findings are also a somber reminder that evil lurks in every corner of our social fabric, including the most cherished and venerable institutions.

But by ignoring that for centuries the Catholic Church has been on the forefront of every battle to protect and uphold the dignity of each and every human life, the recommendations are also an egregious disservice for the millions of people looking for guidance in the interpretation of the human mystery.

The U.N. panel would have impugned the vision of the Founding Fathers when they issued the U.S. Constitution because many of them were slave owners in their private lives.

I found particularly troubling the attack of the panel on the church position on abortion and contraception. While most Catholics nowadays would accept the termination of a pregnancy in the rare cases in which it represents an imminent threat to a woman's life, by preventing the birth of a child considered undesirable, abortion on demand is the ultimate form of the same child abuse the panel meant to condemn.

Lodovico Balducci, Tampa

Retire? Surely you jest | Feb. 6, Weekend

Late night leader

If the writer likes David Letterman more than Jay Leno, I get that. But when he says that Letterman is, like Johnny Carson, a towering figure, I don't see the logic. Leno has been beating Letterman in the ratings for most of the time they have been competing.

Dave Brown, Spring Hill

Conservatives nix immigration issue | Feb. 6

Reform can't wait

An estimated 40 percent of our illegal immigration population is a result of visa overstays, and our legal process is blurry at best.

Any long-term solution to our immigration system must address the visa process, it must take into account the children of illegal immigrants who have assimilated into our communities, and it must clarify the legal immigration process in general. The time to fix this important process is now.

Sharril Cooper, Lutz

Optimistic report on Obamacare | Feb. 6, editorial

Running on idle

The CBO has stated that the Affordable Care Act provides a "disincentive to work." I guess in your world that is a good thing. Good thing we are going to raise the minimum wage; that will certainly keep more people "free" from work, as well.

The old system where we had incentives to work to provide for ourselves must have failed. Some might wonder where all this "free" government money is coming from, once everybody has lost the incentive to work and thus pay taxes. Let our kids deal with that. They'll have plenty of free time.

Chris Johnson, Clearwater


Monday’s letters:

Trump’s ideas: Raise age limit, arm some teachers | Feb. 23The myth of the ‘good guy’ tacticOnce again we hear the same statement made by the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, that has been made by President Donald Trump as well as numerous conser...
Published: 02/25/18

Sunday’s letters: Slogans won’t ensure safety

LegislatureSafety requires more than slogansOn Wednesday, our Florida House passed House Bill 839 requiring all public schools to post the state motto, "In God We Trust," in a "conspicuous place." The day before, the same Florida House declined to ev...
Published: 02/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Preserve home rule in Florida

LegislaturePreserve home rule in FloridaOn behalf of the members of Business Watch, a trade association for government contractors, I would like to voice our dismay over the Legislature’s wholesale attack on home rule. As local government contractors...
Published: 02/23/18

Thursday’s letters: Second Amendment is outdated

Second AmendmentCongress can act on firearmsThe Second Amendment is outdated, since it is predicated on the need for a "well regulated militia." Militias are defined as civilian soldiers trained under the command of competent military leadership. The...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/22/18

Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18