Thursday, January 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Death highlights need for vaccines

Father of flu victim in shock | Dec. 21

Death highlights need for vaccines

I share the grief of Tim Harrelson, father of the 27-year-old woman in Dade City who died of swine flu, known officially as H1N1. I also voice his urgent plea that people get the flu vaccine, which includes protection against swine flu.

In December 2009, when my daughter died at age 49 of swine flu, that vaccine was not a part of the regular vaccination. It became available in the fall, but not in time to prevent my daughter's death.

Like Harrelson's daughter, she and her husband became very sick. While they did go to a doctor, swine flu wasn't diagnosed. Three days later it was too late for her. Her lungs filled. She was put on a ventilator but died three weeks later. Her husband recovered. Several others died in Pittsburgh hospitals that year.

Since then I have promoted vaccinations — not just the flu vaccine, but vaccinations for children. And I have joined with the Pinellas Immunization Team for Community Health, organized by the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County. This group, with wide community support, focuses on all vaccines, but particularly the need to increase the percentage of children 2 and under getting the proper vaccines.

Flu kills, and as Harrelson's daughter and mine illustrate, it can kill and cripple people other than the old, very young and infirm.

Some diseases thought to be things of the past, such as whooping cough, measles, mumps, diphtheria, polio, tetanus, chicken pox, smallpox and so forth, are coming back because not enough children are being vaccinated.

Bill Northrop, North Redington Beach

Paying new mayor's staff | Dec. 21

Bigger is rarely better

The mayor-elect's vision of St. Petersburg city government is a perfect example of "bigger government is better government" Democrats. He is adding new staff positions and hoping to pay for this expansion through contingency funds and voluntary staff "reductions."

The previous two administrations managed to run the city well (one administration, admittedly, better than the other one) without this additional staff.

What can these new positions bring to the table and what value will they add? The answer remains to be seen, but based on experience, bigger government is rarely better government.

Mary Bruels, Gulfport

Nice work if you can get it

It's great to see incoming Mayor Rick Kriseman fighting unemployment and poverty in St. Petersburg by hiring his cronies on the city's payroll at nifty six-figure salaries.

The problem is that by establishing a political spoils system, he is perpetuating a bureaucracy for which the city will still be paying the price long after his term in office is over.

Peter Dawson, St. Petersburg

U.S. releases documents on NSA spying Dec. 22

Snowden a whistle-blower

Recently, Shepard Smith on Fox News said that if the courts are saying that what the NSA is doing is unconstitutional, then Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower and not a criminal.

If this is what Fox is saying, then it is going to be hard for President Barack Obama to continue to call him a criminal.

I've thought from the beginning that Snowden is a hero, not a criminal. This shows that this view is becoming more widely accepted.

Michael Otto, Oldsmar

Some dietary aids damage liver | Dec. 22

There's no magic pill

Many people who are overweight or trying to lose weight want a quick fix. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Don't believe the ads that promise quick weight loss with a simple pill or tea. Save your money and get a gym membership instead.

I have lost 90 pounds by simply eating less fat and moving more. I'm 53 years old and at my last check-up my doctor told me I had the blood pressure of a 10-year-old. Yes, it did take me a while to lose the weight, but I did it without the use of any dietary supplement.

Alan Roberts, Largo

D.C. puts no brake on flood rate hike | Dec. 21

Political failure

I am a middle-class homeowner living in a modest, one-story ranch-style home in South Tampa. Like tens of thousands of other homeowners in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, my flood insurance rates are about to skyrocket. My home is not on the water, does not even have a water view, and has never flooded. Yet due to these changes, if I tried to sell my home today, it would be difficult.

Everyone acknowledges that the 2012 flood insurance reforms — while well-intentioned — have had unintended consequences on middle-class homeowners and the overall real estate market. I urge our lawmakers to fix this law without delay.

In particular, I urge Sen. Marco Rubio to co-sponsor the most promising avenue for reform, which would delay the rate increases for four years. Twenty-six U.S. senators have co-sponsored this bill, but Rubio is not among them. Senator, please do the right thing and stand up for your constituents.

Mark Zajac, Tampa

New Year's

For a more peaceful nation

As we come to the end of a year in our lives, can we dare to hope for a more peace-filled America? Will we hear "the sound of the dove in our land"?

We rant and rage in political battle. Morale is at a low ebb. We listen to the media express opinions about even inconsequential things. We seem to find ourselves in divisive camps and trenches. We are bombarded by the noise of information leveled at us from every direction. More information is not transformational. We need transformation.

On that note, we need to pivot as Americans to the tranquility of acceptance and recognition of the diversity of opinions around us.

Can 2014 bring us more cooperation and unity? Can we accept this challenge as Americans united in the concepts of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for all?

Florence Laureira, Hudson


Friday’s letters: Help for boaters against modern-day ‘pirates’

Marine towing and salvageHelp against modern-day piracyAs an avid recreational boat owner and sixth-generation Floridian, I know there’s no better way to enjoy our state’s spectacular waters than taking your boat out. Unfortunately, the fun of boatin...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: All Americans need health care

Doctor: Trump got perfect score on cognitive test | Jan. 17All Americans need health carePresident Donald Trump’s extensive health exam has apparently declared him physically fit for office. As I was reading about the battery of tests he received...
Published: 01/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: St. Petersburg’s culture, vibrancy impresses

St. PetersburgImpressive culture and vibrancyI recently visited Tampa Bay and celebrated New Year’s weekend in downtown St. Petersburg. I was awestruck by what I encountered and experienced. It has been several years since I last visited, and the tra...
Published: 01/16/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Jan. 19

Re: Walking leads to shocking catalogue of trash | Jan. 12 column Bring back anti-littering campaignJust came back from the beautiful, clean city of Singapore, where there is a $1,000 fine, plus community service for littering. I think a presiden...
Published: 01/16/18
Tuesday’s letters: Trump’s accomplishments unheralded

Tuesday’s letters: Trump’s accomplishments unheralded

President Donald TrumpAchievements go unrecognizedAre Americans even aware that our economy is healthier and growing much faster, that ISIS has been defeated and lost their territory, that China and other countries are buying more American goods and ...
Published: 01/16/18

Monday’s letters: Don’t be fooled by drilling turnaround

Deal blocks drilling off Fla. | Jan. 10Don’t be fooled by turnaroundWhile I am very grateful that Florida has been taken off the table regarding offshore oil drilling, it is clear this is a political move to champion Gov. Rick Scott as he conside...
Published: 01/14/18

Sunday’s letters: Left wing late to the #MeToo cause

#MeTooDemocrats come late to the causeThe Times devoted an entire page to the #MeToo issues on Sunday. The ironies here for longtime observers are nearly boundless. Twenty years ago, folks like myself were called "prudes" and worse because we found P...
Published: 01/13/18

Saturday’s letters: A wall of towers isn’t progress

Skyline takes shape | Jan. 7A wall of towers isn’t progressFirst of all, once the 17 projects currently under way are completed, there will be no "skyline." There will be a wall of buildings blotting out the sun and sky. St. Petersburg has become...
Published: 01/12/18

Friday’s letters:

Gang raped at 17. Getting help at 65 | Jan. 7Help available for assault victimsEach sexual assault survivor has a unique story to tell, and Evelyn Robinson’s experience illustrates many of the emotions, and society stigmas, faced by survivors.Sex...
Published: 01/09/18
Updated: 01/11/18

Thursday’s letters: Opioid bill could do more harm than good

Opioid bill opponents line up | Jan. 6Bill’s potential to harm patientsLegislators are proposing putting more restrictions on physicians’ ability to prescribe pain medications. Yes, the addiction problem is a serious one, and the law seems well-i...
Published: 01/08/18
Updated: 01/10/18