Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Column shines light on hypocrisy

The church didn't want a fetus to sue | March 4, Robyn Blumner column

Column shines light on hypocrisy

Robyn Blumner has done it again. Her excellent memory and clear thinking have exposed the hypocrisy of religious leaders who twist their doctrine and theology for financial gain while holding onto their power.

Speaking as a retired pastor, I have observed that the rank and file of most religions — from Jews to Christians to Muslims — are fair-minded and God-fearing folk who only want to do what is right by themselves and others. On the other hand, those who establish laws and rule in religion seek hypocritically to control others for their own aggrandizement in wealth and power. They are shamelessly hypocritical, and Blumner is courageously exposing them for that.

Ralph N. Madison Jr., St. Petersburg

Fighting for penny a pound | March 4, Bill Maxwell column

Poor corporate citizen

After I was reminded by Bill Maxwell of my pledge to stop purchasing my tomatoes at Publix given their ongoing corporate policy to literally buy into the poor behavior of Florida growers, I turned to the business section, where I found Publix reported to be rated one of the top businesses in the world by Fortune.

This places the "corporations as people" debate into an interesting light. Does a corporation have the same moral obligation as individuals to do the right thing by our fellow human beings? I can handily combine my personal finances with my sense of right and wrong by using my wallet as my voice with businesses that act in violation to my principles.

Publix, a business that markets itself as warm and family-friendly, turns its back on almost slave-like labor by stating publicly that it "refuses to make payments directly to workers," a transparent excuse for simply choosing the bottom line over workers' lives, when other choices exist.

Here's another bottom line for Publix: Such "personhood" cuts both ways, and your corporation is not a very nice one.

Terri Benincasa, Palm Harbor

Schools to limit outside speakers | Feb. 29

Display of intolerance

At the last three Hillsborough County School Board meetings, a great deal of time was spent discussing the policy for inviting speakers into the classrooms. A group of very vocal but misinformed people are upset that a high school teacher invited Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to speak to a world religion class about Islam.

The group claimed this was not about Islam but about who was invited to speak. However, their behavior made it clear to me that this was about Islam, and about hatred. Just to give one example, several of the Muslim speakers were greeted with heckling from this crowd.

There were also a number of speakers, including myself, who actually know Shibly and have worked with CAIR. Some of these speakers represented Christians. All of us spoke positively about Shibly and about CAIR, and we attempted to correct some of the misinformation we heard.

First, he is not a terrorist and he is qualified to speak about Islam, since he is an imam. And CAIR does not support terrorism. CAIR was formed to counter stereotypes about Muslims and to work for civil liberties. Discussion of Christianity, like all religions, is allowed in the schools. Jews, Christians and Muslims come from the same tradition and worship the same God.

Melva Underbakke, Temple Terrace

Obama, GOP hopefuls trade fire over Iran March 7

Don't rush into war

Republican rhetoric advocating military intervention in Iran is reckless and endangering this great country.

However, should we get a new leader in November promoting yet another U.S.-led war, then we need to bring back the draft. The pain of sending loved ones into battle needs to be shared by every family across this nation.

True leadership is one that explores every nonmilitary option first and foremost and doesn't shoot from the hip and ask questions later, as we did in Iraq.

Baerbel R. Dagon, Tampa

Legislature turns back on public education March 8, commentary

Damaging education

Thanks to the writers of this opinion column. It is both sad and appalling to learn what our state legislators are doing to public education. The whole idea of charter companies, including for-profit corporations, taking over K-12 education without assessment measures and evaluative criteria in place is absurd.

Until our Florida politicians can get educated themselves, I'm afraid we're going to see them jump from one hasty proposal to another without using any sound reasoning and justifiable data as support.

This is evidenced by the "parent trigger" bill and the Senate bill that would allow private charter school companies to use public funds for building construction. When the November elections occur, I hope we will all remember these bills and those who supported them and, instead, vote for legislators who are educated.

Susan Zwieg, St. Petersburg

Money isn't the answer

I challenge the statement that the Legislature turns its back on education. Schools are a major part of every community's increasing taxes, but that seemingly does not produce a parallel increase in student ability.

The path to the American dream as described in this article existed in the '50s. Then we decided the system was unfair and proceeded to institute the "no matter who they are, what skills they start out with, or where they come from" ideology. It is not possible for any system to take those parameters, put them in the same schoolroom, and expect all to do well. Can you take a racehorse, a greyhound and a turtle and demand they reach the finish line at the same time?

This article decries allowing a for-profit system to at least try where the public system is failing, but why not? No amount of money will be a solution for today's public school system. Truth can be a harsh reality.

Lynn O'Keefe, Largo

It matters that they're all so rich | March 4

Penny for your thoughts

The author wrote that "a number of new studies suggest that, in certain key ways, people with that much money are not like the rest of us at all." Really? I wonder how much they paid for that information.

Diane Barker, Clearwater


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 ...
Published: 06/18/18

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...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

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