Friday, May 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Expanding access to health care

Advanced practice registered nurses

Expanding access to health care

The Florida House and Senate will be taking up legislation this year that will consider expanding the scope of practice for advanced practice registered nurses, or APRNs. This legislation could improve access to primary care and save money. Those opposed to the legislation have presented arguments that have little clinical support and in reality consist of talking points and fear-mongering. These arguments consist of three major themes.

The first is that APRNs are not adequately educated or experienced to practice independently. But multiple independent studies have demonstrated that they are safe and effective health care providers with similar health care outcomes to their physician colleagues.

Secondly, opponents suggest that if APRN's can prescribe controlled substances prescription drug abuse will explode. Forty-nine states allow APRNs to prescribe controlled substances, and there is no evidence to suggest it increases the illicit prescribing of narcotics.

Finally, those who oppose expanded practice argue that the system is currently working and they see no reason to change the "physician-led team" as it currently exists. The simple fact is that for many poor and rural communities the system is not working. They do not have access to physicians and are only cared for by APRNs. As APRNs are not allowed to prescribe many necessary medications and treatments, these communities are denied access to these vital services.

Edward Briggs, St. Petersburg

Proposal for grading: Simplify | Feb. 12

A retreat on excellence

Regarding your article on how AP classes, SAT scores and improving literacy rates above 25 percent will now be taken out of the "complicated" school grading system, I am utterly appalled by Commissioner Pam Stewart's lack of commitment to educational excellence, accountability and national standards.

Stewart has removed even modest benchmarks of performance so that superintendents, and some careerist K-12 educators, will be placated. Meanwhile, highest-achieving students and schools will not be duly rewarded as the grading system, although "simplified," will become less meaningful as a comparative tool.

Unfortunately, the move to change the entire grading system, instead of actually improving school performance, once again represents a step backward, not forward, for Florida's K-12 students, hard-working teachers and committed parents.

In quantitative research, such "dumbing down" is a validity concern known as statistical regression, and is to be minimized at all costs. Instead, in the current K-12 educational bureaucratic revolt against top 100 standards, to include our state flagship universities UF and FSU, only the children of Florida will suffer.

Robert J. King, Largo

A clean vote victory | Feb. 13, editorial

All about the spending

I am encouraged that the Republican leadership showed a level of maturity not recently seen in Washington.

Now if the president would stop threatening with his "pen and phone" and Harry Reid would allow a "clean vote," or any vote, on bills the Democrats don't like, maybe the American people would be the winners.

At some point we must all realize that unabated spending, whether for food stamps or missiles, is not going to allow us to leave a better country for future generations.

Edward Germond, Apollo Beach

Lawmakers cite report to call out red-light cameras | Feb. 12

Safer intersections

To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, "There they go again." Two state lawmakers want to eliminate the red-light cameras that reduce accidents at intersections because they say, "We currently have (other) tools in our toolbox to stop the infractions." That sounds like a lot of political baloney to me. If we have those tools, why haven't we used them? Why are deaths, injuries, property damage and near-misses due to red-light running still so prevalent?

They also make the absurd argument that eliminating the cameras is necessary to stop localities from exploiting them improperly for extra revenue. Rather than throwing out the baby with the bath water, these lawmakers should put their focus on ensuring the tools they claim we have are used better in conjunction with red-light cameras and on prohibiting any improper revenue generation. We can't afford to discard the one tool that we know makes our intersections safer.

Jerry Stephens, Riverview

'Lobbyist' not dirty word | Feb. 10, commentary

Keep an eye on the money

The Times published a commentary by Darryl Paulson defending the work of lobbyists.

The article was first published Feb. 6 in Context Florida, an online opinion network. Context Florida was started by Peter Schorsch, who is the executive editor of StPetersBlog. On the StPetersBlog website, it was noted that Context Florida had made advertising agreements with "several top lobbying and public affairs firms." So we have an opinion piece defending lobbyists posted in an online publication which receives paid advertisements from lobbying firms. (To be fair, it does appear that Context Florida publishes opinions representing a diversity of political orientations.)

No doubt there are lobbyists who are ethical and pursue honorable goals. However, to deny the importance of their financial "contributions" is disingenuous.

John Dalton, St. Petersburg

His final salute | Feb. 13

Diamond class

Growing up in Brooklyn in the '40s and '50s, I had the opportunity to see the best of the best in baseball. I saw the Yankee Clipper, Mickey, the Duke, Willie, Henry, Feller, Koufax, Ted Williams and many more.

Some of these were great players and some had not only the admiration of the fans but their respect.

At the end of this season, baseball will lose a personality and a talent that it can ill afford at this time of performance enhancing drugs and scandals. Look in the dictionary under "class act" and you will see a photo of Derek Jeter.

Michael P. Catalano, Palm Harbor


Monday’s letters: NFL finally listens to its fans

NFL moves to endanthem protests | May 24NFL’s action comes too lateThe NFL owners are, after two years, finally growing some courage.Before these kneel-downs became the elephant in the room, team owners could have taken action to minimize the imp...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Sunday’s letters: As Jews, we should not be afraid to criticize Israel

Updated: 11 hours ago

Saturday’s letters: Bayshore fatalities didn’t have to happen

After two fatalities, speed limits cut | May 25Cameras needed on BayshoreOnce again, two pedestrians have died as the result of careless drivers who were speeding. Once again, the Times and other media outlets are filled with opinions about the c...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Friday's letters: Thanks to jurors for fulfilling civic duty

May is Juror Appreciation Month Thanks, jurors, for your service Trial by a jury of one’s peers is among the bedrock guarantees that make our representative democracy exceptional. Without it, the courtroom fates of defendants and civil litiga...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Thursday’s letters: Heated chemotherapy won’t treat most ovarian cancers

Heated chemotherapy has promising results | May 16Cancer treatment not a cure-all While we were pleased to see the story about ovarian cancer treatment, we are concerned that the article could mislead many patients. The treatment described has be...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Wednesday’s letters: A princess gives us a lesson to live by

Royal treatment | May 21Princess offers advice for us allThe radiant and joyful Princess Anna Noela Lokolo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recent Eckerd College graduate, has given us a huge gift in her parting words. "If people have a negat...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/23/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4Angry mob rhetoric not helpfulWe have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiment...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant Opposed to the TECO solar plantAs a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

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
Updated: 05/21/18