Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Letters To The Editor

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


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


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...
Updated: 11 hours ago

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

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