Sunday, June 17, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Parents are children's first teachers

Parents should be asked questions, too | March 25, Bill Maxwell column

Parents are child's first teachers

Was Bill Maxwell sitting at the breakfast table when my husband and I discussed the responsibility parents must take to ensure their children are properly educated? Perhaps he was outside the window? Parents are their children's first and continuing teachers throughout life.

The Pinellas County school system provides formal education. Outside of that, how about family field trips, reading to your children and encouraging lifelong learning? Parents can volunteer at school and at after-school activities.

We shared family dinners. The tasks of setting the table, a prayer before meals, discussing the news of the day, sharing funny stories, admiring the positive accomplishments of other friends — all this was part of the educational process. These steps develop responsible adults and good citizens. Thank you, Bill, for expressing our thoughts so succinctly.

Norene Dagly, St. Petersburg

Parents should be asked questions, too March 25, Bill Maxwell column

Track parental involvement

This column suggests an excellent model for the "parental trigger" law. The law would remain the same: If a vote of parents equal to a majority of the number of students in the school voted for it, the school would be shut down in favor of a charter school. However, in order to be eligible to vote, the parents must objectively demonstrate parental involvement.

The criteria would be based on scientific studies, but could include such things as seeing to non-excused attendance, ensuring that homework is turned in, attending parent-teacher conferences, attending PTA meetings and the like.

This would cure the problem of charter school operatives getting uninvolved parents to vote. They would first have to get the parents involved in order for them to vote.

Ed Bradley, Lithia

Robyn Blumner column

A job well done

When I receive my Sunday Tampa Bay Times, I turn to the Perspective section and Robyn Blumner. Her articles of information, hope and worry are needed in this period of confusion and hatred. I thank her for her courage.

Her recent articles have produced name-calling responses from those who would put the pope in charge of morals, Wall Street in charge of money, Republicans in charge of regulations, and a gun in every pocket. She must be doing a fine job.

Reese Hodges, Weeki Wachee

Weigh more, pay more: Could the idea fly? March 24

Idea already in use

The idea of weighing passengers and their luggage has been implemented for well over 40 years in other parts of the world. For example, if you fly from Tortola, British Virgin Islands, to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, you and your luggage are weighed in order not to overload the small plane.

The metabolic argument is spurious simply because the law of physics doesn't care what your metabolism is. When you step on the scale, whether it's you or your luggage, the physical effort to get you off the ground is proportionate to your total weight. Weighing passengers and their luggage might even encourage folks to lose weight and get healthier in the process.

Peter Sontag, Clearwater

The difference between health care, broccoli March 29, commentary

Snark is uncalled for

In the arguments about what the government can force you to buy, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia snarkily asked, "What's the difference between broccoli and health insurance?" and stumped the solicitor general.

The answer is simple. If people don't buy broccoli, the price goes down. If people don't buy health insurance, the price goes up. And it continues to go up until it is so high that many people can't afford it any longer. It's disconcerting when someone who holds the fate of such an important issue as health insurance regards the key provision so flippantly. We can all get by without broccoli, but sooner or later we are all going to need health benefits.

Rick France, Tampa

A mandate alternative

I think the conservative justices are way off base. But perhaps the mandate should have been framed this way. You have a choice of carrying health insurance or posting a $50,000 bond dedicated to your future health care costs. If you remain healthy and never tap the bond, the money can go to your heirs and/or cover your funeral costs. This way you would not be forced to buy insurance, but you would be responsible for your own health care costs to some degree.

Kenneth Hinnenkamp, Safety Harbor

Pull plug on nuclear project | March 27, editorial

Nuclear risks too great

I applaud the Tampa Bay Times for speaking out on the proposed Levy County nuclear power plant issues through its excellent, informative articles by staff writers the past few months, culminating in a bold editorial Tuesday.

From a medical perspective alone, nuclear power and the resulting radiation and radioactive waste creates an unacceptable risk to public health and to the health and safety of future generations.

The Chernobyl catastrophe found a large increase in thyroid cancers in children and adolescents starting four years after that meltdown, and we've yet to see the cancers and genetic mutations that will result from the disaster at Fukushima.

Can we promise our children a better future? Maybe, but only if we get serious today about clean and safe alternative energy, and stop building nuclear power plants.

Lynn Ringenberg, M.D., 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