Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Politicians dither on climate change

'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

Florida Orchestra

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

Business opportunity

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


Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18