Sunday, March 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Key to fixing homelessness is affordable housing

Finding hope and help | July 14, editorial

Affordable housing key to solution

Front-page coverage of a chronically homeless Hillsborough County family provides a sobering, tip-of-the-iceberg assessment of the crisis facing us. Alarming numbers of Hillsborough family units struggle to pay rent far beyond federal guidelines — 30 percent of household income. While the Hartzells' $750 rent exceeding their $710 household income is rare, destructive upside-down rent-to-income ratios are commonplace and won't change without adequate affordable housing options from Hillsborough County.

No single agency can solve all the complex issues of growing countywide poverty. Existing safety net resources operating independently are inadequate to meet the current growing level of needs. "All hands on deck" are required — elected county and city leaders, public and private agencies, corporations, private donors and faith communities across denomination lines to collaboratively meet these multifaceted needs.

Hillsborough County's emphasis on a Housing First model has helped those struggling with chronic homelessness but at the expense of fewer resources available to our housing-insecure. This includes those nearly and newly homeless, where we are steadily losing ground. Lacking basic resources, including affordable housing options, our housing-insecure family units churn in and out of overpriced housing and further overload our broken social services safety nets.

Hundreds of housing-insecure families find themselves victims of a frightening slippery slope, from nearly to newly to chronically homeless, due in large part to a lack of housing options. They deserve and desperately await a housing response that only the county can provide.

Michael Doyle, Tampa

Drawing two new districts | July 16

A domino effect

Redrawing just two Florida districts is impossible. Almost all districts will have to be redrawn. Look at Florida like a cruise ship on which you want to change the shape of two cabins. When you move a wall a foot, it affects another cabin, so that cabin has to be changed along with the ones affected by that change. The interrelationship of all the cabins causes a domino effect resulting in changes — large and small — to the entire ship. Or, in Florida's case, all voting districts.

Howard Taylor, St. Petersburg

For F school, C not enough | July 17

Don't blame the teachers

Once again, it's blame the teachers when students cannot (or will not) learn mostly due to circumstances outside the classroom. Your article gave percentages indicative of a major portion of the student body not well versed in the English language combined with extreme poverty levels at home.

How is a teacher to successfully communicate with children who are unable to understand what is being taught? Then, with that frustration in mind, be fired or demoted from their job for failings beyond their control? I am not a teacher but have great respect for anyone who has the inspiration to enter a profession that is so demanding — not only in its educational requirements, but in dealing with parents, the community and a broken system, at best.

How is it that only 20 volunteers, out of 40 organizations, showed up to help? I realize most have full-time jobs preventing the effort, but I'm sure there are quite a few available. The parents also need to pitch in when they can. When my child was young, I volunteered and saw firsthand how difficult it is to deal with some 20 to 25 children at a time. I remember how it only took one disruptive child to wreak havoc on the entire class, and there was no language barrier in play.

There may be teachers who are not motivated, just as in any profession, but you have to be gutsy and dedicated to endure in this game. Ironically, a teacher with a master's in English as a second language was demoted. Go back to school and see how difficult and expensive a master's is to accomplish.

It won't be long, with this type of action, that we will have no one left to teach. Then what?

Jeanne Wallace, Brooksville

He opened his eyes to injustices around him July 17, commentary

Rhetoric and reality

Once again, Leonard Pitts nails it. Barack Obama has been our president for almost six years now. The world hasn't come to an end. The economy hasn't collapsed. No one has been sent to "death panels," and America has not become a Communist state or a welfare state. Unfortunately, the howling pundits of the hard-core right wing keep millions convinced that it has anyway.

Considering the scope of the mess left behind by the Bush administration, and considering a Republican House that refuses to do anything but prove how much they despise him, I believe Obama is doing as good a job as is humanly possible.

Ernest Race, Port Richey

Divisive presidency

Apparently you cannot criticize the president without someone thinking you dislike him because of the color of his skin. I did not vote for the man, but I listened to his message of hope and change. I wanted him to succeed. I wanted to see someone bring our nation unity and represent the best interests of all the people.

But he has divided the country even further. It has nothing to do with the color of his skin, but with his political actions, which only serve the Democratic Party and his political hacks.

Lynn Wood, Tierra Verde

Advance for gay rights | July 17

Put this debate to rest

I'm pleased that the Hillsborough County Commission has finally passed a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, and thankful for Kevin Beckner bringing this to the table.

Once again, however, we heard the same tired arguments from the same people. Since Pastor Travis Smith quotes Leviticus, I ask: How does he handle parishioners who come to church with their babies, yet they are not married? Or how does he deal with congregants who have tattoos, another sin according to Leviticus?

We escaped England in order to freely worship God in whatever manner we thought appropriate. The cry of the Christian movement to have one religion seems to resemble the religious government we fled centuries ago.

Ronald Medvin, Tampa


Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18

Pasco Letter to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 column Pasco County (and its residents) have financial incentives to recycle, but the participation rate is low. Clearly, Pasco County either needs to make recycling mandatory — by making residents r...
Published: 03/13/18
Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Billionaire targeting young voters | March 7Using youths in personal agendaIs anyone surprised that Tom Steyer is using his extreme wealth to support his personal agenda and the liberal agenda of the Democratic Party? His real motive, hidden in h...
Published: 03/12/18
Updated: 03/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 columnOur community, Briar Patch, in New Port Richey has really gotten on board with the recycling program. Many homeowners diligently separate garbage from recycling material and place it curbside f...
Published: 03/12/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun limits, maybe; confiscation, never

Gun controlLimits, possibly; seizures, neverThe antigun left-leaning media constantly refers to the "gun lobby" and the National Rifle Association when trying to ban and even take guns away from legitimate owners. They blame organizations for the act...
Published: 03/07/18