Sunday, February 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Congress should step aside

Special counsel; broad power | May 18

Congress should suspend inquiry

I have complete confidence that Robert Mueller, working with the FBI, will resolve all issues concerning alleged Russian interference in our election. His broad authority will allow him to investigate other issues including unmasking, illegal surveillance and obstruction of justice.

I have little faith in congressional hearings, which too often provide a stage for grandstanding politicians making points for re-election.

I would suggest Congress suspend its investigations, go back to the business of the people and wait for the results of Mueller's investigation, which likely would make further congressional hearings irrelevant.

Harold Dean, St. Petersburg

House Bill 785

Sign stroke bill into law

While the Florida legislative session has come to an end, the wait for those who have been impacted by stroke or may one day suffer from the nation's leading cause of disability and fifth-leading cause of death has begun.

Thanks to Rep. MaryLynn Magar and Sen. Bobby Powell, who stood up as stroke champions this session, Gov. Rick Scott now has a bill on his desk that would work to improve clinical outcomes for stroke sufferers.

The bill addresses funding statewide research and strengthening the state's network of hospitals to provide a consistent level of top-quality care to every patient.

Every four minutes a life is lost to stroke, underscoring the need to prioritize stroke care and the need to smartly invest in research. Governor Scott, Tampa Bay is counting on you to stand up against heart disease and sign this session's stroke legislation, HB 785, into law.

Charles Sand, M.D., Tampa

Bilirakis defends health bill vote | May 15

Voters' political negligence

The story about the Tennessee woman who tried to run down her ACA-hating congressman got me thinking, and so did the article about Rep. Gus Bilirakis.

Voters commit gross negligence whenever they vote for someone because his father held the seat for decades, or because she "seems nice" or "goes to our church" or seems "patriotic." In this age of instant mass communication and instant mass destruction, a congressman or senator is either getting you closer to what you need or keeping you away from it.

Before you need anything else, you need good health. It's the foundation to everything else good that may come in your life. Bilirakis is not your friend, your pal, your neighbor or a guy that you owe anything to at this stage of the game. He stood in the way of decent health care not only for the hundreds of thousands of his own constituents who foolishly counted on him to do right by them, but also many tens of millions of other Americans across the nation who need good health care.

He did so by voting with impunity for a colossal tax cut for the tiny fraction of America's richest families and wrapped that tax cut in the lie of an "improvement over Obamacare," something the Republican bill most definitely is not.

Bilirakis and the GOP played their loyalists for a bunch of suckers and won.

Steve Douglas, St. Petersburg

He can't hide from this vote

My wife and I voted for Rep. Gus Bilirakis in 2014 and 2016, but his tactic of keeping his head down in a time of national disturbance will change our vote in 2018. We understand his sense of safety in a gerrymandered district, and how the hundreds of thousands of lobbyist dollars and a family name and legacy allow him to shrug off a sector of his constituents. We heard him say at a town hall in February, "I listen to what is said and will take those ideas back to Washington." The next day the Times quoted him as saying, "But I am not changing my votes."

When the House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and support the American Health Care Act, Bilirakis dutifully voted with the herd. He uttered barely a word, as if by being quiet he would escape notice. This bill removes millions of lower-income people from health care, and the savings in federal money is passed along as tax cuts for the upper 1 percent income population.

If anyone has written to this congressman recently, you no doubt received a letter with the canned sentence, "During my time in Congress, I have repeatedly opposed and voted against the misuse and wasteful spending of your tax dollars and believe that Congress should carefully consider which programs are funded with taxpayer money."

Sir: You cannot have it both ways.

Chuck Hawkins, Safety Harbor

Pants on fire claim on health care | May 14, PolitiFact

Insurance for all

Thanks for the research and the clarification that people really do die from lack of health care insurance. Since the question seems to be how many thousands of Americans die each year because they lack health insurance, it is time to make sure all Americans have insurance.

The recent health care bill that passed the House that would end health insurance for millions. Now the Senate is taking up the bill. Time for us to call, write and visit our senators, asking them to write a bill so all Americans have affordable health care.

Willie Dickerson, Snohomish, Wash.

Trump accused of leak | May 16

Presidential prerogative

I find it appalling that your newspaper would print an accusation that the president leaked sensitive information to Russia. First of all, the president is the ultimate authority on who gets told what. Presidents have released such information for years. Franklin Roosevelt told Winston Churchill about the atomic bomb, but other people were locked up or lost their job for saying anything about the bomb.

This is a non-story that will grow bigger by virtue of exaggeration by the liberal media who are attempting to destroy a duly elected president.

Wayne Parlow, Ridge Manor


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

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