Wednesday, February 21, 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


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

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18