Saturday, June 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Congress can't find the money for veterans

Hold VA to account | May 25, commentary

Congress can't find the money

Sen. Marco Rubio would have us believe that he is leading the way to straighten out the VA with a bill allowing mid-level managers to be fired. This is a man who, with his party, killed a bill that would have given the VA $21 billion to help greatly with one of the agency's real problems, understaffing.

There is another bill for an existing program for veterans with traumatic brain injury that Congress must renew or it will expire. Rubio's party hasn't decided whether to renew that program or not.

Their reason in both cases: America would have to borrow the money. So, in simplistic terms, they can borrow the money — now estimated to be $7 trillion — to send troops to war, but not to take care of them.

This is the same party that can continue to give the oil and farm industries tax breaks and subsidies, continue to fight to give corporations lower tax rates — but when it comes to wounded troops, they can't find the money.

Jack Smith, Oldsmar

Increased wait times

I have been receiving health care at Veterans Administration hospitals for over 15 years, and I could not be more pleased with the quality of care I have received.

The wait times have increased over the years, but that is due to the increasing number of veterans who are seeking quality health care at little or no cost to the veteran.

If you want to reduce the wait times, then limit the access to VA care as it was before open enrollment was permitted.

Robert Myers, New Port Richey

Board: Expedite water projects | May 21

Protect Florida's wetlands

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is responsible for protecting our wetlands. Does that give it the right to permit developers to destroy these precious environments? Floridians and visitors to our state are able to enjoy sun, surf, rivers, lakes and springs. But most people are oblivious to the fragility of our peninsula.

Florida is basically floating on a limestone foundation. Developers, with the state's blessing, have stressed Florida's natural resources to its limits. Swiftmud must no longer be allowed to pass out permits for the building of new housing and business developments.

Florida is riddled with sinkholes. How many more homes and people need to be swallowed up before the state takes notice? We are polluting our aquifers with a population that is already too large to be accommodated by a shrinking water supply.

We must be better stewards of Florida.

Michele Shriver, Palm Harbor

In Calif. rampage, warning signs from man but no police action | May 26

Search wasn't justified

The reporter seems to indicate that the deputies responding to a "check on the welfare" call on gunman Elliot Rodger should have searched his residence and would have been able to remove the firearms later used in the rampage.

The Fourth Amendment the Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures without probable cause. The deputies under these circumstances would have had no probable cause. They found Rodger calm and cooperative. The deputies cleared the call and took no further action because that's all the could do.

I also find it interesting that over the Memorial Day weekend, 12 people were shot in Chicago, leaving two dead and 10 wounded. Why was there no coverage of that?

Terry Hobt, Tarpon Springs

Rubio's ready, but is the nation? May 15, Daniel Ruth column

Spinal cord research is vital

This column mentions Sen. Marco Rubio's championing a resolution designating September as Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month as an insignificant legislative accomplishment. On behalf of all spinal cord injury research groups across the nation, my son and I disagree.

An estimated 1.275 million people in the United States live with a spinal cord injury. Roughly 100,000 of those are injured soldiers who have returned from serving their country. My organization, the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is dedicated to finding new therapies and hopefully one day, a cure, for people suffering from paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury.

The Miami Project and other research groups are grateful to Sens. Rubio and Bill Nelson for their leadership and attention to a cause that is making a difference for those who struggle with spinal cord injury and paralysis. We like to think our research gives them hope for a better tomorrow — certainly a significant accomplishment.

Nick and Marc Buoniconti, Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Miami

The longest war

Remember Vietnam

The war in Afghanistan is considered to be the longest war America has been involved in.

The truth is the war in Vietnam was America's longest war. The first military personnel arrived in November 1955. The first military casualties occurred in October 1957. The last military casualties occurred in April 1975. America had a military presence in Vietnam for over 19 years.

Frank Lavallee, Valrico


Celebrity scribblers

The first thing I see when I walk into a bookstore is tons of dazzling books with enticing and alluring jackets. A good majority of them, however, have one thing in common: They are written by celebrities. It seems we have transitioned into a time where talent and hard work are no longer admired. Instead, we hunger for a chance to uncover some secret about a celebrity's life.

It is ironic that many of these "celebrity books" weren't even authored by the celebrities themselves. Ghostwriting is what made all this possible. Celebrities express their ideas to an accomplished writer and collect a big check for merely having their name on the book.

The next time you walk into a bookstore, at least consider works from noncelebrities. There are people bursting with potential who are not celebrities.

Alexandra Carey, Lutz


Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

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...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

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 ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

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