Monday, March 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Ideal juror appears to be ignorant

Exhibit A on hard task of picking a jury | July 17, column

Ideal juror appears to be ignorant

The writer's views on jury selection techniques during the George Zimmerman trial reminded me of my two experiences of being part of a jury pool. The first time I received a jury notice, I was sent packing when I said I had a journalism degree. The next time I was summoned, it was obvious the trial dealt with financial issues, as anyone with knowledge of the stock market was dismissed. The fact that I had a brokerage account made me an undesirable juror.

Each time I had looked forward to doing my civic duty. And each time, I realized that the lawyers were determined to fill the jury with people ignorant of whatever issue the trial concerned. It would seem that the ideal juror knows nothing, reads nothing and listens to nothing. Is there any wonder then that we often end up with verdicts that dismay and confuse the public?

Christine Vaughn, Harbor Bluffs

Ignoring the hungry in the House July 17, editorial

A lean, mean stance

I have sent the following message on this issue to each Tampa Bay Republican member of the U.S. House:

"Disappointingly, you know, and in fact count on, hungry Americans being those least likely or unable to vote (since about half of them are children), and most assuredly not able to make large donations to your next campaign.

"The same cannot be said of agribusiness, large farms whose well-connected owners make hundreds of thousands of (personal income) dollars, thus getting billions in taxpayer money to subsidize their operations.

"I will be a voice for my fellow Tampa Bay citizens who work hard, often at multiple low-paying jobs, but still have insufficient income to pay rent, see a doctor when their child is sick, pay for transportation to/from those jobs, and put food on their table each day. I will remember your vote when I cast mine.

"I will be the constituent advocate that you are not."

Terri Benincasa, Palm Harbor

Government can't do all

Rather than castigating the House Republicans for wanting to curtail funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the Times should be commending those who understand that Congress' profligate spending on social welfare programs must be kept in check.

It is not a federal governmental function to feed the less fortunate. That is a responsibility we all share, but we can do so much more efficiently though our houses of worship, directly or through charities. No compassionate person wants to see a child go hungry, but we do not want the federal government to provide all forms of sustenance for everyone, as that in turn leads to the mind-set that the federal government will take care of all of our needs.

If we continue down this path of having the federal government take care of all of our nutritional, housing and health care needs, then SNAP, crackle and pop goes the great experiment that is the United States of America.

Bruce Barnes, Safety Harbor

Wrongheaded farm bill

So the House approved price supports for large agribusiness in a bill that did not include food stamps. Does the House majority not understand that domestic consumer purchases are 70 percent of our economy? They say their concern is about an increase in food stamp eligibility and cost, but the cause is clearly related to the Great Recession and a 30-year decline in jobs, hours and wages for the middle class — not laziness, as Rep. Paul Ryan suggests. Moreover, authorizing unending corporate subsidies probably encourages corporate laziness.

Food stamps pay for food purchased from agribusiness by low-income people who would otherwise not be able to. But the House majority would rather give subsidies, guarantees and tax exemptions to agricultural businesses than make them earn their profits in the marketplace — with the help of low-income citizens using food stamps to buy food from them.

I understand that food stamp recipients rarely make political contributions.

Robert H. More, Riverview

School grades padded | July 17

Empty boast for Scott

It is certainly convenient for Gov. Rick Scott that his handpicked education commissioner has managed to fiddle with the system used to assign grades to schools. Scott can now claim as an achievement removing more than 100 schools from the list of failing schools. One more meaningless boast to be added to Scott's run for re-election.

Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg

Nothing new

I was flabbergasted to read this headline. As a former member of the charmed class who gets to administer FCATs every year, guidance counselors, I can say with confidence that school grades in Florida have been padded, stretched, reinterpreted and outright lied about every year since Florida went on the FCAT standard.

The ever-declining scores seem proof that obsessing over an arbitrary, obviously relative standard will never accomplish lasting school reform. That would require thought, investment and probably listening to the people on the front lines — the undervalued, discredited teacher class. They need and want to do more than follow an FCAT manual.

Mary Sellick, Parrish

Selig losing patience over stadium impasse July 17

Look at Miami mess

Bud Selig, Major League Baseball commissioner, says his patience is running thin and something must be done and done quickly. What we could do is build a $2 billion stadium like Miami did. It is easy to see what that did for Miami — the Marlins have worse attendance numbers than the Rays. It's baseball, stupid, not the stadium or the city.

Ed Cadden, St. Petersburg

Medical pricing verging on the criminal July 16, column

Stop unjust practice

I want to thank you for your continuing attention to this subject. The outrageous practice of charging the uninsured many times what insured patients pay needs to stop. There is no reasonable justification for it; it simply takes advantage of those least able to pay. In this case, there really "ought to be a law."

Ray MacGrogan, Tampa


Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18

Pasco Letter to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 column Pasco County (and its residents) have financial incentives to recycle, but the participation rate is low. Clearly, Pasco County either needs to make recycling mandatory — by making residents r...
Published: 03/13/18
Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Billionaire targeting young voters | March 7Using youths in personal agendaIs anyone surprised that Tom Steyer is using his extreme wealth to support his personal agenda and the liberal agenda of the Democratic Party? His real motive, hidden in h...
Published: 03/12/18
Updated: 03/13/18