Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Don't lower bar in combat training

Marine infantry standards defeating female officers | March 31

Combat training: Don't lower bar

This article noted that, historically, the 86-day infantry officer course fails about 20 percent of each class. If women are finding it difficult to pass a ground combat course like this, what will happen when they try to complete courses like the Army Ranger or Special Forces course, or the Navy SEAL course where dropout rates are between 60 percent and 80 percent?

If too few women eventually qualify for these tough combat programs, Congress could well step in to force the military to lower its standards. That is the big worry for most of us with military backgrounds.

Finally, for the media to go for comments directly to the military, i.e., the officers and senior enlisted men who are trainers at these courses, is ridiculous. Any active service member who issues a negative view to a reporter on this new, gender-neutral policy would be subject to discipline by his superiors. I would suggest the media consult with retired or prior service instructors for their opinions. That way there is no pressure from "the brass" for an approved response.

Jon Mueller, Brandon

For winning ballpark, follow the leaders April 1, commentary

Lessons of San Francisco

Michael McElveen's opinion piece leaves out one successful new stadium, that of the San Francisco Giants. Much of what he says of the others cities is true there: Good public transportation and a surrounding community have made it a success. The stadium has, in turn, made the community grow and prosper.

What makes this stadium different from those he cites is that it was financed privately. The city took responsibility for infrastructure, including light rail to the stadium's front door. That is as it should be. Government provides infrastructure and private, for-profit companies build their own facilities.

Hal Freedman, St. Petersburg

Hopes for Rays' season and future April 2, editorial

Diamonds and dollars

The expected spate of articles concerning the Rays' ongoing stadium issues has left me confused. First I read that St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster's projections regarding the economic impact that Major League Baseball provides to St. Petersburg are woefully inflated. Then, in an exclusive column for the Tampa Bay Times, a Tampa-based expert extols the many benefits of dropping a replica of Camden Yards into downtown Tampa.

Finally, amid the optimism of a new baseball season and within hours of the first shout of "play ball" on opening day, we are reminded once again that, despite the intransigence of Foster, the Rays remain steadfast in their desire to escape their existing lease with the city of St. Petersburg to look elsewhere for a new stadium.

I'm guessing that the article downplaying the economic boost to the city was intended to redefine what "reasonable" damages St. Petersburg could demand should the Rays decide to relocate. However, those same financial projections render any thought of building a new stadium to "re-energize" downtown Tampa a sheer economic folly for the taxpayers.

As a local taxpayer and lifelong baseball fan, I shall put these mixed messages aside for today and enjoy the game. I can only hope that as the season plays out, Rays fans throughout the Tampa Bay area will do the same.

Robert E. Heyman, St. Petersburg

What U.S. pays for care is sick April 2, commentary

Health care cost controls

We shouldn't be too surprised at the costs our health care system leads the world in. There's a simple reason for it. It's called free market capitalism, which in many areas works quite well. But other countries have discovered that to have a sustainable health care budget, there must be some government involvement in controlling costs.

And there's the rub. Having the government involved in controlling prices is anathema to most Americans, although it's done all the time in Medicare, which is why Medicare costs are far less than conventional health care.

It's a choice. Do we stay true to our core beliefs and accept the pain of outsized health care costs, or bend the rules a bit for a sustainable health care budget? It's a choice that eventually the American public will have to make.

George Chase, St. Pete Beach

Bullying bill

Stop online bullying

Bullying has become a huge problem. In the Florida Legislature, House Bill 609 and Senate Bill 626 are an effort to decrease bullying in public schools. The bills would mandate all public schools incorporate a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment. This would include not only bullying in the traditional sense but also cyber-bullying on or off school property.

The law currently does not include cyber-bullying in its definition of bullying. Passing this measure would be a big step in decreasing the amount of bullying that occurs in school and outside of school. Please encourage your representatives to support this bill.

Katie Sanders, Winter Haven

Sentencing reform

Treat offenders, save money

Incarceration in Florida costs over $20,000 annually per inmate. Nonviolent and drug offenders constitute 26.9 percent and 26.8 percent of Florida's prison population, respectively. These individuals are sentenced to prison for perpetrating victimless crimes. Their only "crime" often is that they are addicted to drugs. While behind bars, inmates receive inadequate treatment or vocational training at best, yet they are expected to be miraculously rehabilitated contributing members of society upon release.

Research demonstrates that drug use correlates with increased recidivism, while treatment correlates with reduced recidivism. Florida's drug court system reports downward recidivism trends among its participants. Florida House Bill 69 and Senate Bill 1704 take aim at Florida's sentencing protocols by proposing the creation of a Department of Corrections-administered intensive substance abuse treatment, therapy and vocational training program for nonviolent offenders. The program would allow the state's courts to reduce participant sentence duration by up to 50 percent, saving tax dollars and providing treatment for a growing public health crisis.

Last year a similar bipartisan House bill overwhelmingly passed both the House and Senate but was vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott. Please contact your district representatives in support of these bills.

Aaron Stratton, Casselberry

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

Wednesday’s letters: Beware candidates backed by billionaires

DeSantis declares governor run | Jan. 6Beware the billionaire backingThis line says it all: "The congressman already has the support of the president and several billionaires." If you continue to vote for billionaire-backed candidates, you will g...
Published: 01/08/18
Updated: 01/09/18

Tuesday’s letters: Drilling not worth the risk to Florida

Trump’s plan: to drill | Jan. 5Drilling not worth risk to FloridaAs a Republican and a supporter of President Donald Trump supporter, I am appalled by the proposal to drill for oil off Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts, whose beaches and economi...
Published: 01/08/18

Sunday’s letters: Social media’s risk to children

Vlogger apologizes for sharing suicide video | Jan. 3Social media’s risk to childrenThe recent story about vlogger Logan Paul apologizing for his video on YouTube of a body hanging in a suicide forest in Japan has me deeply concerned. As a fifth-...
Published: 01/06/18

Monday’s letters: On energy, nation should look forward, not backward

Trump’s plan: to drill | Jan. 5Don’t go backward on U.S. energyThinking the threat of oil drilling off our beautiful coasts was off the table, again it raises its ugly head.Interestingly, from 2005-15 the U.S. reliance on petroleum imports fell f...
Published: 01/05/18