Monday, June 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: On health care, put selfishness aside

Medicare for me but nothing for you — really? | July 22, Robyn Blumner column

Let's put an end to the selfishness

The statistics in this column indicating that older Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act reminded me of a confrontation I had three months ago with a senior citizen. I am also a senior citizen and am thankful that my wife and I have Medicare.

I was going into a store and noticed an older man with a hand-printed sign on the hood of his car, railing against Obamacare to anyone who would listen. As I walked past him he grabbed me by the arm and thrust a CD into my hand and told me that I needed to play it to learn how terrible Obamacare was and that it was a government takeover of our health care system.

I said that statement was not true and he knew better. I then asked why it was okay for him to have access to health care at an affordable cost (Medicare), but not those who are poor or lost their jobs through no fault of their own. His response was that I did not understand the problem or what the cost was going to be.

I said that was possible, but he still didn't answer why he got to have health care and others less fortunate didn't. He had no response; he just stood there glaring at me.

Frankly, I don't understand the apparent greed, anger and lack of compassion that some of my generation have demonstrated.

Chuck Wolowitz, Largo

Medicare for me but nothing for you — really? and Learning to be a doctor for real | July 22

Lessons from the real world

These two columns in Perspective presented quite a dichotomy. On the one hand, with the assistance of robots, the medical student Ravi Parikh is going to cure his patients and make sure, somehow, that every one of them receives their prescriptions and makes it to his clinic. Medical students get an excellent education with robots who have simulated illnesses, and they are given information on how to evolve their practices in the social and business world of today.

But their view is completely shielded from what goes on in the actual world of medicine, as Robyn Blumner noted. People are losing their jobs and insurance, patients can't afford the numerous medications to treat their illnesses, insurance companies are dictating what doctors can order and prescribe for their patients, and senior citizens are still falling through doughnut holes.

You can learn anatomy and you can learn what diseases are related to combinations of signs and symptoms, but the first time a patient describes a symptom that has no physiological basis or tells you that his three months' worth of prescriptions lasted seven months, or he didn't go to the specialist that you wanted him to see, well, students will find out that most of what you learn about treating patients is in the field and not in robots' software.

David Lubin, M.D., Tampa

The. Worst. Congress. Ever. | July 22

The primary cause

Congressional polarization has escalated since the 1960s. I am convinced that a major portion of the cause is the proliferation of closed primaries in states since that time. Closed primaries only allow voters registered for a specific party (Democratic or Republican) to vote. They encourage candidates to ramp up their primary campaigns to cater to the their parties' hard-liners.

Primary elections are low-participation elections to begin with, and when the candidates cater to the far left, or far right, they further alienate voters who are more moderate, further cutting down potential participation by those voters.

The outcome that is a small percentage of the far right and far left of each party in many states in their primaries choose the candidates that draw the preponderance of voters, and the most divisive candidates end up running against each other in the general election, winning and representing us in an increasingly dysfunctional Congress.

I believe that open primaries would help this issue by making candidates represent all the people and giving a chance to candidates who were not playing just to the fringes.

Sharry Arnold, Clearwater

A Congress we deserve

It is difficult to dispute this assessment of the 112th Congress. A recent poll indicated that 64 percent of the American people think that Congress is the problem, not the solution.

If nine out of 10 members of a corporate board thought their CEO was doing a bad job, he or she would be fired and replaced. Members of Congress have languished with an approval rating of around 10 percent for years, yet over the last 20 years they have been re-elected 85 percent of the time. Why? Generally people think their representative is okay; it's the others who are the problem.

Unfortunately, this ignores a basic tenet of a representative republic: Finding common ground and compromising is necessary to accomplishment. At this, the 112th Congress has collectively been a dismal failure.

The American people have deserved what they have experienced over the past four years, and they will deserve what comes to them over the next four. Please be as informed as you can, think about what's important long-term, and above all vote.

Dave Loeffert, Dunedin

Pinellas pokes holes in 'myth' of sandbag defense | July 25

Stopping the waves

The story is correct that sandbags do no stop water penetration. However, they are essential for stopping wave action from either storm surge and/or vehicles driving down your street.

These vehicles make waves that wash into our homes when water is at our doorstep. The city I live in would not restrict traffic on our roads during Tropical Storm Debby, which should have been closed due to street flooding of salt water and rain. Since the city wouldn't restrict traffic, I had to take it upon myself to make sandbags for my home and others.

I guess when budgets were "flush" with taxpayer dollars, sandbags worked. I think the proper way for Pinellas to handle the sandbags is to provide the bags and educate the public as to their proper usage.

Chris Fiser, Treasure Island

Synthetic pot seized | July 26

Legalize and regulate

When will America realize the never-ending war on drugs has not worked and it is time to find alternative solutions, like legalizing cannabis. The whole reason why Americans started to buy products like Gold Spice and K2 is because they could not get the real stuff. You regulate and tax cannabis like tobacco and alcohol and you will not have the problem of a fake cannabis.

Devin Wittcoff, Tampa


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: 06/15/18

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

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18

Tuesday’s letters: Fewer guns would reduce suicides

U.S. under suicide watch | June 8Fewer guns mean fewer suicidesIt is a fact that deserves more attention, but got only one sentence in the article about the U.S. "suicide watch:" "The most common method used across all groups was firearms." I spe...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for June 15

New group to address real women’s issuesLast Saturday our Congressman Gus Bilirakis sponsored a "Woman’s Summit" at East Lake High School that was supposed to deal with women’s issues. Some topics covered were gardening, weight loss and quilting.Mayb...
Published: 06/11/18

Monday’s letters: Bring back the ferry, kick-start transit

Cross bay, but who’ll pay? | June 8Ferry could be a gateway to transitIt’s great news that St. Petersburg is committed to bringing back the world class cross bay ferry service. What a common-sense and practical thing to do in order to ease us int...
Published: 06/08/18
Updated: 06/11/18