Saturday, December 16, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Drug therapy and liability

Why two Americans got Ebola treatment | Aug. 10, Perspective

Drug therapy and liability

As a medical student and a resident at the University of South Florida Department of Internal Medicine, we were fascinated by the Tampa Bay Times discussion of the ethics of treating Ebola patients with an experimental agent. The article overlooked an important piece of history.

In 1996, during a meningitis outbreak in Kano, Nigeria, Pfizer pharmaceuticals provided a new antibiotic, Trovan, to the victims. In a blended humanitarian and research effort during a severe outbreak, Pfizer was able to successfully treat 94 out of 99 children with Trovan. Although life-saving treatment was administered and most survived, the gratitude was short-lived. A local medical doctor accused Pfizer of conducting an experimental trial without proper government approval. Over the next 10 years, Pfizer faced multiple legal battles resulting in a $75 million settlement and multimillion dollar legal expenses. This case gives us further insight into decisions about the ethics of using experimental drugs in treating Ebola. It is obvious that pharmaceutical companies will be wary of donating experimental medication to an area with a legacy of litigation.

Kathryn Rodriguez and Dr. Vindya Gunawardena, Tampa

Learning from chaos in Missouri | Aug. 15, editorial

Heavy-handedness fails

Until 2008, I lived in Ferguson, Mo., and I worked toward stabilizing the community. Back in 1967, I was a college sophomore spending my summer in my hometown of Detroit when the riots occurred. In the 1970s I worked in public housing complexes in another city where racial tensions were so heightened that the police refused to respond to emergency calls.

Armed troops with bayonets drawn didn't work in Detroit. Heavy-handed tactics didn't work in public housing. And Ferguson and St Louis County police armed tactics didn't work either.

When will we learn? Tensions are reduced when people on all sides of issues begin to talk to each other, get to know each other, and work toward solving problems. Police need to get out of their cars, talk to people on the street, and know people in their communities by their first names.

I have known many police officers over the years. The highly effective cops that I knew always said that their work was more social work than busting heads. But police work often attracts people who like the power that a commissioned officer has. The only way they know how to solve problems is to use force. So in 2014, much of our country looks just like it did in the 1960s and 1970s. That's sad.

Richard Cavanagh, Holiday

Pop music lives on | Aug. 10, Latitudes

Incomplete top 10s

Are you kidding me? Although there were a few gems among the "10 greatest" song lists that spanned six decades of popular music in this article, I find it hard to believe that not a single song was selected from any of these artists: Stevie Wonder, the Beach Boys, the Supremes, Aretha Franklin, the Bee Gees, Elton John, Paul Simon, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Jay Z, the Carpenters, Dave Mason, Elvis Costello, the Commodores, Sly and the Family Stone, and the Four Seasons. To quote Ms. Franklin, "You better think."

Peggy McCabe, St. Petersburg

Who's behind calls? It's Lee | Aug. 15

Reminder of record

Harry Truman's thinking matured, and he grew from sergeant's rank in a segregated American army to the president who desegregated the armed forces. Lyndon Johnson, who voted against every piece of civil rights legislation in sight while a senator, became the movement's champion as president. We would all be better off had George W. Bush changed his mind about Iraq. This is not the 1990s, and America's views have shifted radically on rights for gays and abortion; should politicians not change and grow, as well?

But most of all, the focus on Charlie Christ's views reminds us that our current governor has been all over the lot on Medicaid expansion, environmental protection, education spending, and voters' rights — all within the space of four years. Thanks, Sen. Tom Lee, for the reminder!

Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg

Greenlight Pinellas

Doubts on plan's benefits

A recent flyer in the mail promoting votes to increase the sales tax is disturbingly misleading. The literature implies it will be a "tax swap" that will reduce property taxes while increasing the sales tax. If it does as stated, then the "property owners" will benefit from reduced property taxes while the entire population, including the property owners, will pay more tax on everything they buy. This benefits the property owners and penalizes everyone else.

I would never use the rail system. Let's say I drive to the station, pay to park my car, pay to ride the train, pay a cab (twice) to take me to my destination and back, pay to ride the train back, get in my car and drive home, what have I accomplished? Used much more time and spent much more than had I just driven to Clearwater in the first place.

Dave Fagen, St Petersburg

Cars still a necessity | Aug. 14, letter to the editor

A lack of balance

The well-written letter last week saying that cars have less utilization in many cities than in Pinellas did not imply that cars are not necessary. Most large municipalities rely on a combination of buses, trains and cars to efficiently transport its citizens for work and leisure activities.

The automobile industry is an important and necessary part of our economy. So much so, that our federal government issued loans to General Motors and Chrysler to make sure they became and remained financially viable. And the United Auto Workers played a major part of the restructuring of the companies so American cars continue to be made by American workers.

The problem in Pinellas is cars are almost the exclusive means of travel. The Greenlight Pinellas plan will establish a healthy balance of buses, trains and cars to provide improved transit options while reducing traffic congestion and air pollution.

The balance of buses, trains and cars that will result if Greenlight passes will benefit all Pinellas residents.

Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg


Monday’s letters: Tax plan bad for the country

Trump, GOP make good on tax cuts Dec. 14Tax plan is bad for the countryUnless senators such as Susan Collins, R-Maine, and our own Marco Rubio develop some backbone, the Republican tax bill could well pass.The bill would inflict harm on the people wh...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Sunday’s letters: Rule of law at stake in Mueller inquiry

Sunday’s letters: Rule of law at stake in Mueller inquiry

Justice official parries attacks | Dec. 14Rule of law at stake in inquiryConservative media outlets and a number of Republicans in both chambers of Congress have launched an all-out assault on special counsel Robert Mueller and his team in an eff...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Saturday’s letters: Project silent on rising sea levels

Updated: 9 hours ago

Friday’s letters: Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes

GOP plan favors owners | Dec. 11Perils of small business ownersI wonder if the author of this article has even a clue about owning a business. Businessmen — especially small business owners — risk it all. They risk their savings, their car, their...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17