Sunday, May 27, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: To get results, start young

Push to close learning gap, Lifelines for poor children and Public policies made to fit people | Sept. 22

Early learning yields best results

Superintendent Mike Grego and the Pinellas County School Board, while striving mightily to overcome achievement gaps in the academic outcomes of impoverished (not just African-American) students, are spinning their wheels.

Kids raised in poverty walk into class on the first day of kindergarten 30 million "heard" words behind their middle- and upper-income classmates. This "word poverty," in a learning system where reading to learn is the norm, is irretrievable. Advanced classes, prep programs, tutors, afterschool and summer sessions, parent meetings, mentoring and so on cannot fill the gap. It's like a calcium deficiency in infancy — the bones grow weakly and the adult has a permanent and visible disfigurement.

Some folks wish to point fingers at parents. But most people raising children in poverty grew up the same way, arriving in school so far behind that catching up was already a lost cause. Racing to win is daunting at the least, impossible at the most, when you begin (through no fault of your own) miles behind the starting line.

A truly innovative approach would be for the Pinellas County school system to take responsibility for kids who aren't in school yet: the 0-5-year-old children who will be dropping out and flunking out 10 to 15 years on. Join, not in theory, but financially, with the Juvenile Welfare Board, Early Learning Coalition, Healthy Families and other preschool initiatives to start at birth (not at five years of age) to eradicate this inequality.

Difficult; maybe. Impossible; not at all. Witness the Perry Preschool Project and the Carolina Abecedarian Project, both cited in James Heckman's article. These programs have produced measurable and lasting improvements in character skills, educational attainment and employment after high school.

It could be the way to stop skidding in place and start gaining educational traction.

Juliana Menke, St. Petersburg

They should know better | Sept. 25, editorial

Echoes of Medicare debate

The fevered thrusts of the GOP against Obamacare — Sen. Ted Cruz's speechmaking and misinformation from many sources — have an interesting parallel in the passage of Medicare in 1965. President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill after John Kennedy introduced it before his assassination. It was met with the very same opposition as Obamacare. Prominent Republicans excoriated it as "socialized medicine," "not fiscally prudent," endangering capitalism by the concept of health care as a right, not a privilege, and a "battle for the American way of life."

Medicare has worked beautifully for nearly five decades, and our seniors would fight you if you touched it.

So will it be with Obamacare. Very soon the ugly shouting will die down, and Obamacare will be a blessing to so many Americans.

Lorraine Madison, St. Petersburg

One of the worst leaders

It's the Times that "should know better." Your editorial is typical. These are honorable men trying to do what's right for the country by not converting to a socialistic country. The fact that they are challenging legislation that will put the country in further debt and cost people much more than they expect is the honorable thing to do.

It is the Times that is dishonorable, supporting a president who will go down as the worst in history, and his stooges, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

This administration has lied to the people (Bengahzi), committed gross felonies by spying on its population and reporters, using the IRS to intimidate people and organizations, and has acted as a dictator by executive order rather get approval from Congress as he is supposed to do.

Bruce Harting, Clearwater

Cruz done, debate begins | Sept. 26

In time, we'll like it

Finally, Ted Cruz admits what every American, even Sean Hannity, already knew: that once Obamacare is fully implemented, more than enough Americans are going to like it to ensure it's never repealed.

I was under the impression that this is what our elected officials are supposed to do: pass legislation that the majority like. You know, things like clean air and water standards, rebuilding a crumbling infrastructure, a fair tax code, food and drug safety laws, regulation of Wall Street and big corporations, an unencumbered education system, and higher education without fear of bankruptcy.

Americans don't mind being taxed on the things they like so much as those which they don't.

These include a bloated defense budget, tax breaks for the wealthiest, farm subsidies to the corporate farms, subsidies to the most profitable corporations in America, pork projects to repay lobbyists and party contributors, and the endless interventions in foreign countries that serve only to diminish our global standing while filling the pockets of the industrial military complex's stockholders.

Since Cruz and those of his ilk know we will enjoy the security of health insurance, how about defunding some of those things that you know we don't like and do the job you were elected to do, which is protect the electorate from those like yourself.

Ray Day, Spring Hill

Operation destruction

It should come as no surprise that the tea party anarchists elected to Congress are trying to blow up the government.

Ed Bradley, Valrico

For mentally ill, find a better way Sept. 26, editorial

Nonlethal alternatives

A moose was tranquilized in Denver instead of being shot. What a novel idea. Shouldn't this also apply to humans?

Is there no other method except shooting bullets at sick and deranged people? There must be another way to restrain people that isn't permanent.

C.A. Van, Clearwater


Monday’s letters: NFL finally listens to its fans

NFL moves to endanthem protests | May 24NFL’s action comes too lateThe NFL owners are, after two years, finally growing some courage.Before these kneel-downs became the elephant in the room, team owners could have taken action to minimize the imp...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Sunday’s letters: As Jews, we should not be afraid to criticize Israel

Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Saturday’s letters: Bayshore fatalities didn’t have to happen

After two fatalities, speed limits cut | May 25Cameras needed on BayshoreOnce again, two pedestrians have died as the result of careless drivers who were speeding. Once again, the Times and other media outlets are filled with opinions about the c...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Friday's letters: Thanks to jurors for fulfilling civic duty

May is Juror Appreciation Month Thanks, jurors, for your service Trial by a jury of one’s peers is among the bedrock guarantees that make our representative democracy exceptional. Without it, the courtroom fates of defendants and civil litiga...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Thursday’s letters: Heated chemotherapy won’t treat most ovarian cancers

Heated chemotherapy has promising results | May 16Cancer treatment not a cure-all While we were pleased to see the story about ovarian cancer treatment, we are concerned that the article could mislead many patients. The treatment described has be...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Wednesday’s letters: A princess gives us a lesson to live by

Royal treatment | May 21Princess offers advice for us allThe radiant and joyful Princess Anna Noela Lokolo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recent Eckerd College graduate, has given us a huge gift in her parting words. "If people have a negat...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/23/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4Angry mob rhetoric not helpfulWe have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiment...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant Opposed to the TECO solar plantAs a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18