'Belief in climate change is optional, but participation is mandatory' | May 18
Citizens act as politicians dither
Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio have recently refused to acknowledge that climate change is caused by greenhouse gas pollution. Fortunately, however, most Floridians get it.
Eleven Florida cities and counties have passed measures calling on the federal government to strengthen efforts to fight climate change by using the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Miami stands to lose more assets from coastal flooding than any other city in the world, while Tampa's sea level has been rising steadily for more than 50 years.
With more than 1,200 miles of coastline and 75 percent of our population in coastal counties, our state faces serious danger from climate change. If only our elected officials could get up to speed, we might see policies to protect us from that threat.
Jaclyn Lopez, St. Petersburg
An inspiring performance
If a conductor can take an old war horse and breathe young life back into it, he is a conductor of great miracles. Further, if the old riders are excited about the horse and if the listeners are brought to their feet, something fresh is born.
If repainting Beethoven's Fifth Symphony wasn't enough, last week's talented guest conductor had the temerity and the talent to bring the difficult Sinfonia Sacra, by Andrzej Panufnik, to our little space in the universe. It was brilliantly conducted and very warmly received.
Something special happened Thursday at the Mahaffey Theater — Beethoven, Purcell and Panufnik — and hundreds of people were mesmerized by our orchestra and the gifted Michael Francis, who treated us to one of the most exciting performances our orchestra has given in recent memory.
If we could be so fortunate to bring this talent to Tampa Bay as our new resident conductor, we would see a new level of excellence in the arts community.
Thomas T. Luter, Tampa
President finally acts strongly on VA May 22, editorial
Care capacity strained
Whenever there is a shortage of medical treatment capacity, medical providers must resort to triage. The VA medical system has insufficient capacity to provide all needed treatment to our veterans. It has insufficient capacity because Congress does not have the political courage to raise the money needed to pay for the medical services it promised our veterans.
Now, rather than address the underlying cause of the problem — underfunding — Congress is investigating and criticizing the triage methods used by the VA. We should be outraged at the way our veterans are being treated. However, that outrage should be directed at Congress, whose cowardice created the need for triage, not the people who mismanaged it.
Ed Bradley, Valrico
Trouble at the top
It's unfortunate that the VA scandal seems to be progressing along the usual lines of application of an immediate fix and partisan blame for and defense of this administration.
Don't expect VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to accomplish anything. One highlight of his term as Army chief of staff was the ill-fated Future Combat Systems, a fatally flawed attempt at merging disparate combat and intelligence systems under one program, which cost nearly $20 billion before its cancellation. Another was the issuing of a standard black beret because Shinseki considered the practical patrol caps "unmilitary." The hated berets were finally phased out in 2011.
I'm not a veteran, but I worked in a Navy command and associated with many. Going back 40 years, I have heard a lot of complaints that while the VA hospitals were good at treating urgent cases, they neglected chronic conditions. This occurred under the past seven presidents, Democratic and Republican both.
The VA problem is caused by the toxic combination of an entrenched bureaucracy and politics that will defy any quick fixes.
James Klapper, Oldsmar
Look for deeds, not words
According to this editorial: "President Barack Obama finally displayed an appropriate sense of outrage."
If I recall, Obama displayed "an appropriate sense of outrage" over "Fast and Furious," Benghazi and the IRS scandal, but I have not seen anyone brought to account for any of them.
So forgive me if I show a bit of skepticism. When I see some high-level and very public firings, and the prosecutions of responsible individuals, then I might believe it.
Kenneth R. Gilder, St. Petersburg
Doctor salaries aren't the big cost | May 21, commentary
Ailing health care system
None of the largest cost factors in America's medical system contribute to actual patient care; all those costs are administrative.
The United States has the highest medical care costs of any modern nation. Yet across 37 indicators of performance, it achieves a score of 65 out of 100 on international benchmarks for performance.
Until the United States makes significant changes in how we spend our health care dollars, our costs will continue to rise and our health care benefits to patients will continue to decline. Is this, as some will say, the best health care system in the world?
Jay Hall, Tampa
All the news fit for a partisan | May 22, commentary
This opinion piece shows clearly that Republicans and Democrats want different news. The editorial department should show this article to senior management.
Since roughly half of the population are Democrats and half are Republicans, the Tampa Bay Times could potentially double its readership by simply including news that half of your potential market wants.
With the increased number of people reading the newspaper, you could then create more jobs and hire more people and thereby help out the Tampa Bay area.
Martin Kleiner, Tampa