Sunday, May 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: College inflation fueled by loans

Paul Ryan still a fan of Rand | Aug. 19, Bill Maxwell column

College inflation fueled by loans

I often agree with or respect Bill Maxwell's articles, but this opinion piece is not one of them. In it, he strongly disagrees with Paul Ryan's position that increased federal funding for student loans has led to a steady rise in tuition charged by universities and colleges.

Yet on the front page of Perspective, where the feature article discusses the cost of tuition at USF, one graph clearly shows support for Ryan's position and refutes Maxwell's. It shows that since the mid 1980s, while the Consumer Price Index has risen 125 percent, tuition and fees nationwide have risen 570 percent — twice the increase in medical costs.

When you know your student customer base has access to federal education loans and no longer has to rely exclusively on Mom and Dad and a part-time job, you bet the tuition and fees are going to go up. Basic economics says the more money your customers have to spend the more you charge them for the products.

Jack Brand, Hudson

Paul Ryan still a fan of Rand Aug. 19, Bill Maxwell column

Convenient conversion

Thank you for Bill Maxwell's column regarding the Republican candidate for vice president. As Maxwell says, this man is a lifelong follower of Ayn Rand. Any attempt to slide away from his history must be viewed as fraud and subterfuge. He and those of his political party are out to not only destroy the middle class but public education, Medicare and Social Security too.

Maxwell's column should be required reading for all in this country who intend to vote in November.

Barbara Hodges, Tarpon Springs

$20,000 | Aug. 19

USF is a bargain

Your Sunday Perspective on the high cost of college commits a cardinal sin of journalism: skewing facts to fit a predetermined story or cultural prejudice. The giant $20,000 banner shouts the cost of a year at USF, except that $13,060 (64 percent) of that figure is made up of "housing, meals and personal expenses." Last I heard, you still have to pay for these things whether you're at USF or not. Not to mention the fact that a very large percentage of the school's students are commuters. Of course an honest $7,334 banner might have evoked the exact opposite reaction to what you intended.

Then after noting that 45 out of 50 states have higher college tuition than Florida, the piece juxtaposes that with "Yes but …" and a graph of how high the national rate of inflation has been for colleges. Why didn't you add a third line showing how dramatically Florida had bucked this trend over the same time period? That's the real positive story here.

USF is a bargain. It offers educational excellence far beyond what can reasonably be expected for the funding it receives. It is a critical economic engine for the future of Tampa Bay, and at a time when the state's Republicans want to "improve" education by gutting it, needs all the help it can get.

An interesting college story that needs to be investigated is how the explosion in the number and pay of administrators in colleges over the last 20 years has contributed to that insane national rate of inflation.

Robert Clark, Tampa

What? The stimulus worked | Aug. 19

A million little stimuli

My sister and her husband have a small business. It started out as auto glass but had to diversify to window glass to survive competition from franchises of the insurance companies. The winter after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was implemented, I asked her if their business was doing okay. She assured me they were; in fact, they had won a couple of bids for upgrading windows in local schools and had to hire some extra help.

No, this piece of the stimulus didn't create a million jobs, but those school districts are saving money on heating costs and my sister was able to keep her trained workers through the worst of the recession. My guess is that there are literally millions of similar stories out there. I just wish more of those who benefited would tell their stories.

Pamela Muller, St. Petersburg

Campaign 2012

Electoral dysfunction

Not only is this election cycle producing more extreme statements and positions, but our entire electoral process is showing severe signs of stress. That stress has created a dysfunctional electoral process.

• Voter turnout: Less than 60 percent of voters will bother to turn out for the general election in November. Changes need to be made to promote higher voter turnout, including Saturday and Sunday voting, or making Election Day a national holiday.

• No paper trail: Until there is a foolproof paper trail, there will be doubt about the veracity of the vote. Computer experts have indicated that voting machines can be hacked to throw elections.

• Electoral College: The Electoral College needs to be abolished. If we want a true representative democracy, the person who gets the most votes ought to be elected.

• Voter repression: This has reared its ugly head again in states with Republican majorities in their legislatures and Republican governors. We have voted for our entire history without the need for photo ID. There is no voter fraud sufficient to suppress the votes of thousands who will lose their legitimate right to vote.

Mark Brandt, Dunedin

Matter of fairness

Under normal circumstances Mitt Romney's tax returns are not relevant; he is just another citizen paying the legal rates. But he is running for president. It is important to know what he is paying. The question is not whether he is paying the legal rate, but a fair rate.

When I consider candidates for the presidency, I would like to know they are batting for the people, not their bank account.

Carlo Salmeri, Seminole

Republican National Convention

Crimes, not protests

I am becoming seriously concerned about the proposed antics of the "protesters" coming to the Republican convention. Someone was stockpiling bricks on the roof of a building in the convention area. Another protester was quoted as saying "We won't target ordinary citizens." It sounds as if they are going to target law enforcement officers.

A brick thrown from a multistory building is a deadly weapon. I hope that the local law enforcement agencies in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties recognize these actions as such and don't just treat them as normal protesters.

Alfred J. D'Amario, Hudson


Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Friday's letters: Putnam and Publix, two P's lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17 A pleasure to shop elsewhere My family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye. F...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 18

Re: Pasco panel okays Tampa Electric solar farm after five-hour meeting | April 9 storySolar farm offers many positivesThere has been much publicity regarding the proposed TECO Mountain View solar project slated for 350 acres in East Pasco that was r...
Published: 05/14/18

Thursday’s letters: Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America

Autonomous vehicles in FloridaThe state for self-driving carsAlmost overnight, Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America. In the last three months, Voyage, a self-driving taxi service, has begun service in the Villag...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: Florida’s Community Health Centers save $1.78 for every dollar spent

Florida’s Community Health CentersHealth centers are a great dealIf you gave someone a dollar and they gave you back $1.78, wouldn’t you consider that a fantastic deal? That’s the deal Florida’s Community Health Centers provide for the state’s citize...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/16/18

Monday’s letters: Good ideas to fix schools still require enough money

Another plan for faltering schools | May 9The right ideas, cash still neededThe administration of the Hillsborough County School District should be applauded for persistent efforts to find the right formula to improve educational results of stude...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/14/18

Saturday’s letters: Short-sighted prison cuts hurt society

Call to rethink prison cuts | May 10Short-sighted prison cuts hurt societyThe Florida Department of Corrections is dismantling successful substance abuse and re-entry treatment programs to fix a $28 million shortfall. The short-sighted action wi...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/11/18