Monday, November 20, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: School success and social class


Schools aren't really failing | Sept. 29, Robyn Blumner column

School success and social class

Cherry-picking the putative aims and motivations of labeled enemies, cherry-picking sources, and cherry-picking data within sources cited may add up to a nice pie, but it does not amount to a useful diagnosis or prescription for the complex issues in our educational system.

Empirical evidence agrees that social class is a leading factor in educational performance. However, if one includes the pits with the cherries:

• Income is just one factor in social class (the reason college applications ask for parental education levels and do not ask about income).

• "There is an achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged students in every country; surprisingly that gap is smaller in the U.S. than in similar postindustrial countries, and not much larger than in the very highest scoring countries," according to a 2013 study by Stanford and the Economic Policy Institute.

• According to the same study, "Achievement of U.S. disadvantaged students has been rising rapidly over time, while achievement of disadvantaged students in countries to which the United States is frequently, unfavorably compared — Canada, Finland, Korea, for example — has been falling rapidly."

Am I the only reader dissatisfied with Robyn Blumner's habit of creating arguments on every issue that always seem to end with heaven on Earth without the damned conservatives?

J.P. Byrne, Largo

Sensible tax funds reforms | Oct. 3, editorial

Taxes paid by consumers

In this editorial you state, "But this (excise tax on medical devices) is a sensible way to get a major player in the lucrative health care industry to help defray some of the costs of health care reform."

Apparently your editors do not understand who pays excise (and sales) taxes. These taxes are paid by the purchaser, not the manufacturer, therefore medical device manufacturers will not be paying this tax. The burden will fall on the users of medical devices, many of whom are poor and needy.

You should consider this fact when supporting increased excise and sales taxes.

Arthur Richard, St. Petersburg

Health care

Government care is here

A Newsmax article reports that Rep. Will Weatherford, the Republican speaker of the Florida House, claims that government-run health care does not work. What does he call Medicare, VA health care, military health care, etc.?

Maritta Rostron, Tampa

United to halt flood of misery | Oct. 2

A realistic alternative

One statistic that I did not see in the several articles concerning flood insurance: what percentage of homeowners affected by Biggert-Waters own their home mortgage-free? At a median price of $132,000, I suspect this may be a large percentage.

These folks have the choice of not purchasing flood insurance as part of their policy. Given that the risk of flooding is low and that the bulk of the damage from hurricanes is from wind, this seems a realistic alternative to accepting a 100 percent (or greater) increase in flood insurance premiums.

Ken Keller, Temple Terrace

Locals call for arrest in killing of gator Oct. 2

Hunt was a public service

In regards to the one-sided reporting and interviews of people wanting to punish the legal alligator hunter from Clearwater, they need to see some logic.

Alligator hunting is perfectly legal and permitted in this state for some very specific reasons. Hunting is a necessary tool to manage many species of wildlife, including alligators. For the record, there are thousands of permits issued to hunters in this state every year.

This 13-foot-long, 700-plus-pound alligator was a perfect specimen to be harvested due to its size and potential for seriously injuring or killing somebody. "Big Al," as the gator was affectionately was called by some, had already caused several complaints to be lodged by people living on the lake. It was not a pet. It was a wild animal that would be looked at much differently if someone's child or loved one was maimed or killed.

Florida (Pinellas County in particular) has a very healthy alligator population that needs controlling. Almost every lake or pond has several swimming around, and I have yet to play golf on one of the local courses without seeing some very large gators swimming around.

Adam Rothenberg, Palm Harbor

Walmart honoring others' BOGO deals Oct. 2

Marketing masquerade

Since when does a retailer's marketing decision warrant a front-page story? Walmart's decision to "honor" BOGO deals is hardly world-shaking news. The story reads like a PR release.

There is much newsworthy material that could be written about this corporate giant, good and bad, but a decision to copy other stores in offering BOGO deals is not news. It is an everyday marketing decision cleverly disguised as news.

If I were Publix or Winn-Dixie, I'd demand equal space.

Sonia Fader, St. Petersburg

Government shutdown

Negotiation variation

It's a good idea to use sanctions to force the Iranians to negotiate.

It's a great idea to use the threat of force (war) to get the Syrians to negotiate.

But it is unthinkable for the president to negotiate "with a gun to his head."

What am I missing?

Cordell L. Jeffrey, Gulfport


Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers

Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14Stop laying blame on teachersI am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. Sh...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Nov. 17

Questioning fees draws snarky responseYou are probably aware of the new Pasco utility fees that became effective last month.Under the dubious title of "convenience fee" for making utility payments by credit card or e-check, Pasco Utilities adds $2.75...
Published: 11/15/17

Dollars need to stay at home if south Brooksville is to survive

As a member of the Moton High School Class of 1967, I grew up a poor but very happy child because of the love given to me by all. So all I had to do was be a child and not rush to be an adult.There were many black businesses along a four-block area o...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/18/17

Wednesday’s letters: Generosity makes all the difference

National Adoption MonthThe difference generosity makesAs a football coach, I always had to be ready to overcome unexpected challenges. With injuries, crowd noise and especially weather, the game plan is always adjusting to overcome adversity.Our stat...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17

Monday’s letters: Moore is not fit for public office

Woman: Candidate pursued her as a teen | Nov. 10Moore is not fit for public officeIt is sad that Roy Moore, a self-professed religious man, is running for a Senate seat when he is clearly unfit for any job involving the public for so many reasons...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/13/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t fall for the tax cut ruse

Tax billDon’t take your eye off the ballThe rush is on. The Republican Congress is rushing to pass a modest tax cut for the middle class while giving corporations a massive tax cut. While taking away some of the tax deductions from ordinary taxpayers...
Published: 11/10/17

Sunday’s letters: End greyhound racing in Florida

Tom Lee wants to phase out greyhound racing | Nov. 8Put a stop to this cruel industryKudos to Sen. Tom Lee for shepherding a constitutional amendment to end greyhound racing in Florida. Greyhounds forced to race live in misery and frequently die ...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/10/17