Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Keep Florida parks wild

Making parks profitable | March 1

Keep Florida parks as wild spaces

Our state parks are a wonderful treasure. More than 30 million park visitors last year are an indication of their value. Three national awards speak volumes about how wonderful they are. State parks created 29,400-plus jobs and returned at least 86 percent of their cost, not to mention all the water they protected and air they helped clean. We need clean water, jobs and, yes, wild spaces.

We do not need our parks being places for running someone else's cattle. We don't need them to be stripped by logging or palmetto berry or frond harvesting for someone's personal gain. We don't need more golf courses or RV parks on public land. We don't need people to be dumping landscaping waste on our public land. We don't need hunting in our parks, and we don't need fancy conference centers when people come to see the wild side of Florida.

The draft proposal to permit any or all of these activities in Myakka River State Park should be stopped. The little bit of gain to be realized from them is much less than the total of the damage that would be caused — damage that takes years or decades to repair.

Mary Keith, president, Tampa Audubon Society, Tampa

February job gain a robust 235,000 March 11

Convenient statistics

President Donald Trump is so happy with the robust job gain in February that he retweeted the report. After months of denying the government job reports as phony, he is now accepting and happy. White House spokesman Sean Spicer talked to the president regarding the about-face and said, "To quote him clearly … 'They may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now.' "

Translation from Trumpese: If I don't like the news, it's phony; if I like it, it's real.

To quote the president again: So sad!

Cynthia Hazlett, St. Petersburg

Get set for pill mills all over again March 11, letter

Patients need relief

As a former resident of Massachusetts who recently moved to Florida, I can tell you that legal marijuana, in fact, does not act as a catalyst for what the writer stated: "Parks began to be cluttered with homeless, crime increased, unemployment increased, high school dropout rates increased."

In order to have a medical marijuana card in Florida, one must pay $200 to see a specific doctor, wait 90 days and then pay another $50 for a follow-up phone call before a prescription can be written. Once written, the state currently waits another 90 days to provide said prescription, which is specific for product and amount.

Having family in Colorado, and having spoken to them many times, I have heard that the streets of Denver are, in fact, not covered with the above mentioned problems. Also, there are many reasons for these issues other than medical marijuana.

As a retired medical social worker, I can also state that when questioning a patient in the hospital and asking what his or her first drug experience was, the answer was invariably alcohol. The patients would become outraged that I would clump alcohol with drugs, as they felt far above drug addiction with their alcoholism, but I will tell you that alcohol remains a far greater risk to our children than marijuana.

I ask Floridians to do real research and believe real information. People suffering with cancer and chronic pain deserve non-narcotic relief.

Tobey Burwick, Dunedin

Let's stick to the facts

This letter reminds me of the bumper sticker "Better to be informed than opinionated." Since more than 25 states have legal medical marijuana dispensaries and have not reported any of the problems described in the letter, it is obvious this was opinion and not knowledge. Having visited a few of these states and having seen corner dispensaries, I have never seen lines or patients waiting outside the facilities.

Furthermore, addicts typically do not seek out marijuana. The illegal substance of choice for addicts remains legal prescription opioids and illegal controlled substances. So, let's have an informed conversation and not resort to hysterical misinformation.

Ray Day, Spring Hill

Educator bonuses could expand | March 11

Build a team, build success

As a teacher, counselor, assistant principal and principal for over 40 years in Miami-Dade County, I think the "Best & Brightest" reward plan will only divide educators and create resentment that will lead to a negative school culture. Rewards should be designed to foster community building where all are involved in the success of all students.

When our school was awarded a monetary bonus we, as a shared decisionmaking school, voted to share the bonus with all of our employees. How great we all felt to be a part of the winning team.

Allan R. Bonilla, St. Petersburg

Vacation rentals

Floridians support rentals

A recent poll from Mason-Dixon research showed that Florida residents overwhelmingly support vacation rentals, with 93 percent of respondents saying visitors should be allowed to stay in accommodations other than hotels.

Vacation rentals bolster Florida's reputation as a premier destination by offering visitors a different experience than hotels, while also driving visitor spending to Florida homeowners and businesses. Vacation rentals generate over $30 billion for Florida's economy.

Sadly, special interests are pushing for outright bans on short-term renting in municipalities across the state.

State Sen. Greg Steube and Rep. Mike La Rosa introduced bills to protect vacation rentals. I urge legislators to stand with Floridians and support these bills, SB 188 and HB 425.

Denis Hanks, executive director, Florida Vacation Rental Management Association, Kissimmee

Comments

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18