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
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
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