Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: St. Petersburg doesn't need new pier to make waterfront sparkle

Public to weigh in again on Pier plan | June 18

The waterfront looks great as it is

My sister is a resident of San Francisco, which has a few icons of its own: Golden Gate Park, Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, San Francisco Bay, etc. She visited this spring. Puzzled by the conversation about replacing the Pier, she said, "You've already got a crown jewel, the Dalí. And you have marvelous waterfront parks, great dining near the water, wonderful views and marvelous art venues. Why not emphasize what you already have?"

I think she has a point. We keep looking for something — what we're not sure — to make St. Petersburg stand out. That November scientific poll indicated a high demand for fine dining, air conditioning, observation and viewing areas, an iconic design and a place to walk, jog, bike and fish. We've got all that in spades. What are we trying to remake?

Sometimes I feel we are trying to create something based on a perception many years old, when we didn't have the same waterfront amenities we have today.

Let's just encourage the movers, shakers and entrepreneurs who have done us so proud to keep moving and shaking. Not spending the money allocated for the Pier replacement? Why is that a bad thing?

John Greene, St. Petersburg

On campaign trail, Scott flunking Hispanic 101 | June 17, Daniel Ruth column

The silent candidate

This opinion was right on point about Gov. Rick Scott. If pleading the Fifth is saying nothing, he is still pleading the Fifth. He never answers a question directly. And when he does, the answer has to be researched or is an obvious misrepresentation. His mouth is moving but he is saying nothing. He is good at it since he has had much practice.

Charles Madison, Valrico

Al Austin leaves lasting legacy | June 1

Amazing show of respect

I attended the visitation at the Vaughn Center for the late Al Austin, who passed away last month. As you would expect, since he was a wonderful person and did so much for the Tampa Bay area and on the national scene, many hundreds of our top officials and business leaders were in attendance. They were joined by Mr. Austin's friends from all walks of life.

What I found amazing and pleasing was the immense respect shown by the people lined up for up to an hour or more to meet with Mr. Austin's family. That respect was shown by something I did not see or hear. The entire time I was there no one spoke on a cellphone. No cellphones rang. No phones were in evidence at all. No selfies, no texting, nothing. In our present society, I found this to be an utterly amazing show of dignity and respect.

Roger P. Schulman, Clearwater

Jolly speaks out on VA scandal | June 17

Playing the numbers game

As a retired registered nurse with 27 years of service at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center, I was privy to a litany of experiences: good, bad, unexplainable but, for the most part, rewarding.

What is being missed is the denied access for mental health care by the administration's closing of 64-plus newly renovated inpatient psychiatric beds in Building 1 and then securing millions of our tax dollars to build a new "mental health tower" because "the beds are needed."

The beds are there. Who was responsible for this new construction? This is another irresponsible slap in the face to returning vets seeking promised sanctuary in a system breaking under the weight of its own vanity.

Management pats itself on the back with self-modeled goals met with a numbers game that would make Houdini proud. All the while, thousands of returning wounded carrying scars of war are told there is "no room at the inn." They deserve better.

Tom Wilson, Indian Rocks Beach

Excellent care received

I have been going to the VA for my medical care for 11 years. From the clinic in New Port Richey to the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, it has been the best care I have ever received.

However, with two wars lasting over 10 years, there was bound to be a backlog, and these so-called "concerned" congressmen and senators, including Marco Rubio, voted down increased VA funding in February. Just what did they think was going to happen? They expect the fine people at the VA to do more and more with less and less. They always seem to support the wars, but not the warrior.

Everyone at the VA should be praised and supported for their efforts, not shot down.

Yvonne M. Osmond, Clearwater

U.S. views risks in Iraq airstrikes | June 19

Dangerous implications

The "shoot first and ask questions later" crowd has criticized President Barack Obama for not immediately ordering airstrikes in Iraq, or sending troops in, and stated that his response has caused the United States to lose stature in the world.

The Iraq crisis has dangerous implications that could easily cost us (and innocent Iraqis) dearly. Many of us value the leadership of a president who chooses to use diplomacy, intelligence and careful planning to strengthen Iraq's security forces, and perhaps targeted drone strikes once ISIS militants can be pinpointed, rather than blindly dropping 500-pound bombs.

Hal Chase, Hudson

No more credit card wars

President Barack Obama has stated as a condition for assisting the Iraqi government that it must reform itself to be inclusive of all Iraqis. The president should also submit a request for approval from Congress before launching any attacks, and at the top of that request should be a list of the tax loopholes to be closed in order to pay for more war.

Tomahawk cruise missiles, bombs and personnel deployments are costly. How can we justify such action without paying for it? Those leading the charge to get into the fight should also be leading the charge on how it all gets paid for.

Gregory Parmenter, Largo


Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

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: 06/18/18

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