Monday, July 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Fracking puts Floridians' health at risk

Fracking

Fracking harmful to public health

Bills to allow natural gas fracking are racing through the Florida Legislature at such a pace that our legislators can't possibly have the time to understand the science and risks and make well-informed decisions for the citizens of Florida.

Fracking means injecting water and chemicals, many toxic, into the ground to release trapped natural gas. Millions of gallons of polluted wastewater are injected back into the earth, left in open pits or trucked elsewhere for disposal, threatening water supplies.

The Florida Medical Association and the American Medical Association studied the provisions of Florida's bills and adopted policies stating that these bills threaten human health. The doctors oppose the lack of water testing, the secrecy provisions that allow drillers to put any chemical into the Floridan aquifer without telling us, and the absence of serious safety studies.

As doctors, we have an obligation to protect our patients' health. Extensive scientific and peer-reviewed medical literature has found fracking harms public health. The effects range from headaches, rashes and nosebleeds to more serious neurologic problems, infertility, birth defects, potential for cancer, and an increased risk of premature births and miscarriages.

Fracking uses millions of gallons of potable water for each fracking well; this is water needed for drinking and agriculture. When our aquifer becomes contaminated or runs dry, then what's the plan, Tallahassee?

A majority of Floridians want to ban fracking. The best prescription for a healthy Florida is to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Lynn Ringenberg, M.D., Tampa

1 jet, four safety alarms | Jan. 23

Safety accusations mislead

As Allegiant's CEO, I feel I must speak up. The story published on Jan. 23 repeats the faulty premise that something is wrong with Allegiant. Let me be clear: There is not.

As a growing business, we have garnered a new level of attention. That, coupled with contentious labor negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, representing our pilots, creates a perfect storm of attacks and accusations. Examining airlines in similar disputes establishes a pattern of the Teamsters employing this destructive strategy.

Your paper repeatedly allows individuals affiliated with the Teamsters to manipulate your readers. Chris Moore of the Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition has marketed misleading stories about Allegiant's safety record for months. This supposedly independent third party knows nothing about our operation and has zero credibility given their direct involvement with our labor negotiations. John Goglia, despite his accomplishments, has professional ties to the Teamsters and zero firsthand knowledge of our operation.

Misleading the public about safety is a common tactic of the Teamsters. While we expect manipulation from them, we — along with your readers — expect more from you. We welcome scrutiny, but you should scrutinize sources and understand conflicts of interest before printing irresponsible allegations.

Such allegations are a disservice to hundreds of committed aviation professionals who maintain and fly our aircraft and who exemplify our culture of safety. Many have been with Allegiant over a decade, far from the mere days worked by a former employee you cite as an expert. Acknowledging someone who spent little time or effort learning our operation and procedures, at the expense of dedicated, long-term Allegiant employees, is insulting.

I am proud of the thousands of aviation professionals who focus each day on our safe operations. I thank our maintenance employees for all their hard work and this community for their continued support.

Maurice J. Gallagher Jr., chairman & CEO, Allegiant Travel Co., Las Vegas

Florida Legislature

Just do your job, legislators

If you support guns on campus, open carry or further restrictions on women's health care options, please don't ask for my vote. I base my judgments on issues, not party.

Also, if you haven't been in a classroom since you left one, don't presume to tell educators how to do their job. Do provide them the resources needed.

Protect our streams and waterways. Foster small and existing businesses. And last but not least, balance the budget and get over all of the squabbling.

Connie Kone, St. Petersburg

Cash rolls in at vote time | Jan. 24

Selling themselves short

I was disappointed to read that three Hillsborough County commissioners took a paltry $11,200 from developers before voting to approve an apartment project rezoning. That's less than four grand a vote, and seems hardly enough.

Our county commissioners have a long tradition of trading gifts for votes when dealing with rezonings. In the past 15 years alone, development interests have given commissioners gifts that included half-million-dollar lakefront mansions, phantom jobs with big salaries and lavish trips to Las Vegas. The current crop of commissioners need to up their game or risk ruining this legacy.

Jim Swain, Odessa

Comments

Monday’s letters: More reaction to Trump

Trump sides with Putin over U.S.A. | July 17 editorialVoters will have to protect national securityThe American intelligence agencies are in unanimous agreement that Russia involved itself in the 2016 election, all to benefit the candidacy of Dona...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18

Sunday’s letters: What to do about the National Flood Insurance Program

Time’s running out on flood insurance | Column, July 18Kill the flood insurance programThe Republican ethos (Sen. Marco Rubio) is that government should not interfere in markets and that privatization should be implemented whenever possible. That...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18

Saturday’s letters:

Time for more civil debate"Politics" is an activity which involves power and control, arriving at decisions based on differing interests. Normally, leaders weigh the needs of the individual with the abilities of the country. Can America afford a soci...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18

Friday’s letters: Trump’s excuses about Helsinki

Trump got tripped up | July 18 A dangerous mix-up for a president President Donald Trump would have us believe that he misspoke when he stood on the world stage with Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed belief in Putin rather than the un...
Published: 07/18/18
Updated: 07/20/18

Thursday’s letters: Watch what Trump does ... and what he says

Trump sides with Putinover U.S.A. | Editorial, July 17 Watch what he does — and what he says, too Anyone who still takes issue with the allegation that Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president need only look at his shameful and ...
Published: 07/16/18
Updated: 07/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: Leave fireworks to the professionals

Nobody is scaring birds with fireworks | Editorial, July 16Leave fireworksto the professionalsThe situation with fireworks has gotten completely out of control. I was at Curtis Hixon Park on the Fourth of July, and numerous people were exploding ...
Published: 07/16/18
Updated: 07/17/18

Monday’s letters: Make investment in the Rays an actual investment with an actual return

Paying for ballpark will take teamwork | Editorial, July 12An actual return on investmentMuch attention has been given to the cost of the proposed Rays stadium in Ybor City and who will foot the bill. The three-legged stool of the Rays, the busin...
Published: 07/12/18
Updated: 07/16/18

Sunday’s letters: Stop burning of sugar cane near the Everglades

Florida’s land of black snow | Bill Maxwell column, July 1Don’t burn sugar cane, periodIn this column, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King got a lot of things right about how sugarcane burning negatively impacts the Glades communities w...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Saturday’s letters: The dangerous days before Roe vs. Wade

The reality of back-alley abortions | Column, July 11The dangerous days before RoeI am a 71-year-old retired nurse. I still remember when abortion was illegal and birth control was restricted to married women in the United States. In 1983, I set ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/14/18

Thursday’s letters: The Rays’ Ybor City stadium will be magnificent

Rays’ big dream is small ballpark | July 11The new stadium will be gorgeousI had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of the Tampa Bay Rays "next-generation, neighborhood ballpark." I was blown away. As an 18-year resident of Tampa Bay, and ma...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/12/18