Thursday, December 14, 2017
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


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

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Wednesday’s letters: Bill gives small businesses tax relief

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3Small businesses get tax reliefThe Senate and House have now passed their respective tax bills. Once Congress sends a final package to the White House, President Donald Trump will deliver us the most powerful tax re...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/05/17