Thursday, June 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Fiscal cliff's raw deal for taxpayers

Off the cliff, not out of the woods | Jan. 3

Deal does no favors for taxpayers

Our Congress and the president have done us no favors with this so-called agreement. Both parties are still posturing for their own causes rather than acting for the welfare of America. Both parties' plans were about raising taxes, not reducing the debt.

For example, will America still give Egypt, now controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, more than a $1 billion in military aid, all paid for with money borrowed from China. That money could have helped us with health care, education, infrastructure repair, unemployment assistance, etc.

Our $17 trillion debt didn't occur overnight. Even though the Obama administration has run up the debt sharply since taking office, prior administrations for the last half-century, along with Congress, have approved debt increases time and again to further their own ideals and to benefit those who financed their campaigns.

We no longer have a government "of the people, by the people, for the people." America is being literally sold to foreign interests to force us into the new, one-world order of socialism/communism and dependency on Big Brother. It will be a world of equally impoverished people worldwide.

Richard Valentine, Palm Harbor

International itinerary | Jan. 2

An incomplete 'success'

While the success of any venture is measured by return, it seems that a number of key questions were not included in the deemed "rare victory" of landing new international service with Edelweiss flights to Tampa International Airport.

What is the return after factoring in the subsidies spent to secure the new flights? Is it not concerning that a plane flying only four times a month during the majority of the year is still unable to sell more than 63 percent in September or 89 percent in October?

The larger looming question is what return on the taxpayers' investment is being put back into the local economy as a result. The article did not address what percentage of travelers coming into the region on these flights are staying in the area — or, more to the point, how many nights on average they are staying in Hillsborough or Pinellas County hotels vs. those who simply hop in a rental car and drive to Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and points beyond and spend our local tax dollars incentive there. Have there not been surveys for arriving and departing passengers to draw some specifics to better answer this key question? If so, that would be more relevant to the true merits amid all the congratulations going around.

The bottom line is this: What happens when the subsidies paid for from this side are discontinued at the end of the two-year agreement? If they cannot even fill a paltry four flights a month consistently for the majority of the year, is it really a win for the area and the best use of significant marketing contributions totaling close to a million dollars? The nature of operators like this is if a destination in Mexico or the Caribbean offers them the incentive money, the loyalty is shallow and likely will be a losing proposition.

Tom Tilley, St. Petersburg

To idiots: Guns and giddiness don't mix Jan. 3, John Romano column

We can make America safer

Although I agree with John Romano's column in general, I cannot agree with this statement: "As much as some people might want to blame the proliferation of guns in America, the reality is those numbers are not going to change any time soon."

When it comes to gun violence, the proliferation of guns is clearly the problem. A mental patient, a petty thief or an angry neighbor is much less a threat when you take the gun out of the equation.

The NRA spends a lot of its time talking about the Constitution. However, they seldom focus on the fact that the right to bear arms is the result of an amendment to the Constitution. What can be amended once can be amended again. It won't happen if people are convinced it can't happen, so let's start talking about it.

This will not produce quick results. What is needed is a longer view of the problem. Limits on the numbers and types of weapons people can own and the size of magazines they can possess would be a good start. A thorough, no-nonsense background check should be compulsory for any firearms purchase. After all, we already place limits on machine guns and hand grenades, so it's no stretch to limit the kinds and numbers of guns that people can own. It's just common sense.

If we start now, we could make America safe again, if not for us then for our grandchildren. We should stop defending our inaction by claiming nothing can be done. That's not what Americans do.

John Chandler, Largo

19 days of gun deaths in America | Jan. 3

More facts needed

This commentary leaves out many details, so it's just a statement of numbers trying to make a point of someone's agenda.

Here are some facts that were left out that would give a more accurate report on gun deaths and not make it seem like they were all murders.

How many deaths were the result of police shootings?

How many deaths were the result of private citizens protecting themselves or someone else?

How many deaths would have occurred anyway via another weapon if a gun wasn't available?

How many deaths were because someone was not trained in the safe handling of a firearm and shot themselves or someone else?

How many deaths were in Chicago, Washington, D.C., or another place where there are very strict gun laws?

So let's take one nut case who killed 26 people, subtract them and deaths in the above categories, and report that number.

James Molloy, Pinellas Park

All of Tampa Bay is a stage | Jan. 3

Arts are the way forward

The monthlong Shakespeare Festival is just the sort of venture that St. Petersburg leaders should focus on, rather than desperately holding on to a baseball franchise or building a gimmicky pier.

With the right marketing strategy and mix of artistic offerings, St. Petersburg could transform itself into a wintertime playground of the arts, attracting thousands of visitors from all over the world to enjoy outdoor amenities during the day and performing venues at night.

And those visitors probably would be looking for more creative dining than hot dogs. When will St. Petersburg stop trying to be more like other cities and start building on its unique strengths? As Shakespeare said, "O, had I but followed the arts!"

Ray Smith, Tampa


Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18