Monday, February 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Raising wage would help millions

It's not hard: a living wage | Sept. 1, Robyn Blumner column

Raising wage would help millions

A living wage is an obvious answer to income inequality. Seventy-one percent of people polled by Pew Research in February 2013 favor an increase in minimum wage.

Recently, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013. The proposal would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2015. It includes adjustments starting in 2016 to keep pace with the rising cost of living and an increase for tipped workers, who have earned the same wage for 20 years.

With the legislation, 30 million working Americans and their families would be able to make a decent living. According to census data by the Economic Policy Institute, 88 percent of the current minimum wage workers are adults over the age of 20 and more than 40 percent have some college education. Additionally, the minimum wage helps set the pay scale for the numerous Americans who are spending careers in low-wage jobs as a result of the recession.

Why is it a great challenge to improve income equality through a minimum wage increase? If the argument is job loss, this is more myth than fact. Following the federal minimum wage increase in 1996-97, one of the strongest periods of job growth in decades occurred.

If it is the belief that employers may go out of business, the vast majority of the largest low-wage employers in the country are earning strong profits. A 2012 report by the National Employment Law Project found that two-thirds of all low-wage workers are employed by large companies, not small businesses.

Workers must speak up and request that their legislators support the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013.

Barbara Drake, Tampa

It's not hard: a living wage Sept. 1, Robyn Blumner column

American Dream thwarted

Thank you, Robyn Blumner, for once again shining a light on the need to pay all workers a living wage. Failure to effectively address this issue over the past 30 years has led to the increasing income disparity between executives and workers that she mentions.

All workers should have the right to earn enough money to support themselves. The current minimum wage, even at a full 40 hours a week, leaves a family of four below poverty level. How does this fulfill the American Dream?

What can we do to force our representatives in Washington to see this basic need and do something about it?

Kitty Rawson, St. Petersburg

Senate panel passes resolution on Syria Sept. 5

Authorize the attack

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee gave President Barack Obama bipartisan authorization on Wednesday for a limited military attack on Syria to punish the Bashar Assad regime for using chemical weapons. The House and the Senate need to grant the president the authorization to attack Syria for three reasons:

1. A military strike prevents Assad from destabilizing the region by using chemical weapons against Syria's neighboring countries. Assad has made numerous threats against Israel to boost his image as a strong Syrian national leader. Incapacitating Assad's ability to use chemical weapons is the best way to ensure he will not carry out his threats.

2. The United States, as well as the international community, set the use of chemical weapons as a red line that should not be crossed. A military strike asserts the U.S. position as the leader of the international community.

3. A military strike against Assad will send a strong message to rogue states, such as Iran and North Korea, that using banned weapons, which contributes to instability, will not be tolerated by the international community.

It is understandable, after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, that many Americans are war-weary. However, lack of action against Assad will create an unstable international environment that is sure to drag the United States into endless conflicts. Obama's plan for a limited yet forceful military intervention will be the best option to prevent the creation of such an unstable environment.

Samar Hennawi, Brooksville

Arab states silent

In addition to the lack of support from our major allies and the U.S. public, it is amazing that the most obvious countries who should be seeking the protection of the Syrian people — large, Arab Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, etc. — have been noticeably silent. If the Syrian regime's chemical weapons attacks on its people are so horrendous, why isn't the entire world, led by the Arabs, rushing to denounce it, supporting the United States and, most importantly, using their own militaries to attack Syria? Why must the United States always act alone and unilaterally on behalf of oppressed foreign populations?

It has yet to be proven and reported beyond doubt that the civilian deaths in Syria, as tragic as they are, represent a direct, current and future threat to the United States. And, if the U.S. intervention results in a rebel seizure of the Syrian government, can we be guaranteed those same rebels will not be controlled by terrorist elements, such as al-Qaida, who will seek to directly attack U.S. citizens and interests as has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Congress should reject another questionable military entanglement in the Middle East.

James Craten, Riverview

Morning ride turns deadly | Sept. 4

Dangerous roads

I am always saddened when I read of an injured or killed bicyclist. There are far too many accidents of this type in the Tampa Bay area.

The counties and cities have done an admirable job of creating bike paths and riding lanes throughout the area. Unfortunately, roads, intersections and traffic lanes have dangerous sections where bikes and cars must coexist in close quarters.

Growing up in Philadelphia some years ago, it was commonplace for cyclists to ride opposite the traffic flow where possible. This practice has by now probably changed, but I can't remember many accidents involving bikes and cars back then.

The greatest problem I see with the present bike path designs is that there are no buffer zones between bike paths and traffic lanes. I realize that creating such zones is sadly not feasible given the present designs and conditions.

I too have a bike that I occasionally use, but having had some close calls myself, I do not ride on roads directly anymore. I usually put the bike in my car and drive to places such as parks where I can peddle with a greater sense of safety.

Edward Pettit, St. Petersburg


Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Challenges in Hillsborough foster care

Foster failures under scrutiny | Feb. 10Challenges in foster care systemNo young person deserves to be treated as shown in the Ch. 8 segment on Youth and Family Alternatives Inc., an Eckerd Connects subcontractor. It is difficult to fathom how th...
Published: 02/12/18

Saturday’s letters: We’re all just trying to get home, one zip tie at a time

I detest Trump, but a ‘redneck’ fixed my Prius with zip ties | Feb. 3, Ruth Mayer columnWe’re all just trying to get homeLike columnist Ruth Mayer, I too am trying to find my level ground, my level-set. I too have held a tremendously deep resentm...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18

Sunday’s letters: Let’s make America good again

Everyone loves a parade | Feb. 9, editorialI’ll sit on the sidelinesAs a 30-year veteran I was appalled at the president’s plan for a military parade. Having marched in numerous parades in my career I can say without hesitation that members of th...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18