Monday, January 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Look into influence of lobbyists

No tax hikes, but some cuts | March 11

Look into influence of lobbyists

This summary of the 60-day legislative session that ended Friday is a great learning tool for those who don't follow what goes on in Tallahassee. People can see at a glance just what did or didn't get done. Also, John Romano's column (A Senate story of conscience vs. agenda) mentions how term limits may affect legislation.

While these articles are excellent and provide some insight, I'd like to see more in-depth information related to the influence of lobbyists and the specific legislators who are influenced. An emphasis on "go along to get along" votes that don't benefit constituents who elect our officials would make for interesting reading.

Much of what happens in Tallahassee appears to demonstrate indifference to the citizens. Elected officials should be focused on higher standards than prolonging their own tenure in office.

David Wallace, Seminole

Personal injury protection

Changes hurt consumers

Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-majority state Legislature got their wish with the recent personal injury protection "reform" as it greatly serves the interests of the large PIP auto insurance companies at the expense of the citizens of Florida.

This PIP reform was sold as an antifraud measure, but instead ends up greatly reducing the health care benefits of law-abiding PIP policyholders while allowing the auto carriers to have, over time, a net increase in their rates to the consumer.

Acupuncture and massage therapy are cut out of PIP coverage across the board, and chiropractic benefits would be limited to $2,500.

It is no surprise to see our governor side with the large auto carriers and against the citizens of Florida, keeping in mind the millions that went into his own pocket as CEO of a hospital chain.

John I. Campo, D.C., Tampa

An atomic money grab | March 11

Regulated monopoly

It is misleading to accuse Progress Energy of "crony capitalism." Progress Energy, like other electric utilities in the country, is a regulated monopoly. Most public utilities are regulated monopolies intentionally created in the best interests of the public.

The concept originated with Adam Smith and was advanced in this country by progressive New Dealers eager to implement Franklin Roosevelt's promise to string electric lines into every rural hamlet and hollow. The concept evolved into investor-owned utilities with a guaranteed rate of return regulated by local public service commissions. It has actually worked out pretty well, providing Americans with the most reliable and economical electric utility service in the world for the past 75 years. But this arrangement is not and never has been free-market capitalism.

Progress Energy will spend millions on engineering and licensing evaluation costs for their proposed nuclear facility before they turn over the first shovelful of dirt. This is how the regulators have rigged the process; again in the best interests of the public. These are legitimate costs of doing business, and under the regulated monopoly process the utility should be allowed to recover these costs as they are accrued.

T.S. "Mac" McDonnell, St. Petersburg

Energy policy

Abundance ignored

Having lived in Florida for 12 years, I am astonished at the lack of clear thinking on this subject. What is it that Florida has in abundance? Sunshine. So why do we not see roofs covered in sunlight-gathering cells to provide electricity to heat our water and give us light? Because the Legislature, being dependent upon the power companies to finance their election campaigns, makes sure that only old-fashioned coal or oil-fired power stations are allowed to provide us with very expensive electricity.

Why should any thinking entrepreneur try to make a fortune giving us such cheaply produced electricity? Because he or she knows full well that the Legislature would legislate them out of business.

John Starkey, St. Petersburg

How doctors die | March 11

Learn about palliative care

This article by Dr. Ken Murray beautifully discusses a major challenge in health care: how to care for people with serious and incurable illness. The "do everything" and "never give up" mentality that we encounter, and sometimes encourage, in our patients and families facing serious illness commonly leads to greater suffering, financial devastation for families and unsustainable health care costs for the rest of us.

That doctors frequently choose paths other than aggressive and "futile" care for themselves when faced with terminal illness should inform the rest of us. Fortunately, there is another way to approach the care of serious illness.

Palliative care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness — whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care can be provided together with curative treatment.

Focusing on palliative care in serious illness not only can increase the quality of remaining life, but may also give patients more time. Patients who are in less pain, more control of their decisions and less likely to return to the hospital tend to stick around longer. Access to palliative care has grown dramatically in recent years as patients, doctors and hospitals recognize its value. Tampa Bay has several hospital-based palliative care programs and some outpatient programs as well. Patients and families should insist on this kind of care, whatever their goals or stage of serious illness.

Dr. Howard Tuch, director, Palliative Care Services, Tampa General Hospital, Tampa

Florida Bar denial is senseless waste March 11, editorial

Follow the law

The story of Jose Godinez-Samperio is sad indeed. Sad that in the 14 years he lived illegally in the United States neither he nor his parents bothered to take the proper legal steps to obtain for him the right to remain here and to take the Florida Bar exam as prescribed by law.

I can understand that, due to the state of enforcement of our immigration laws, they probably felt if they just ignored the law, then presented their sad story as they have, the man would get his license and the "chumps" who have gone about the immigration process properly could just wait even longer, behind this individual who knew how to beat the system.

Bill Goggin, St. Petersburg


Do you have a gold star yet?

Do you have a gold star on your Florida driver’s license, and are you REAL ID compliant?Florida is a federal REAL ID compliant state, which means that driver’s license and identification cards here meet federal law as to security standards and confir...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Tampa Bay deserves rail as an option

New transit option: BRT | Jan. 12Tampa deserves rail as an optionI was disheartened by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s statement about his exhaustion with public transit discussions. It sounds like the government of Tampa has given up on ever realizin...
Published: 01/21/18

Sunday’s letters: Bay area shortchanged on foster care funds

Opioid crisis herds kids to foster care | Jan. 9Bay area foster care shortchangedAs mentioned in this article, the growing opioid epidemic is unfortunately bringing more children into the Florida foster care system. While substance abuse has hist...
Published: 01/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Diagnosis by journalist playing doctor

Trump’s sanity grades | Jan. 19, commentaryAn inept journalistic diagnosisI was worried the Tampa Bay Times wouldn’t find someone qualified to rebuke the findings of noted physician Dr. Ronny Jackson. To the rescue came the brilliant Gail Collins...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Saturday’s letters: It’s not the word, it’s the racism

Presidential precedent | Jan. 14It’s not the word; it’s the racismThe Times went in the wrong direction and printed information that is rather useless. And that is strange. You usually get it right.I am talking about President Donald Trump’s prof...
Published: 01/19/18

Friday’s letters: Help for boaters against modern-day ‘pirates’

Marine towing and salvageHelp against modern-day piracyAs an avid recreational boat owner and sixth-generation Floridian, I know there’s no better way to enjoy our state’s spectacular waters than taking your boat out. Unfortunately, the fun of boatin...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18

Thursday’s letters: All Americans need health care

Doctor: Trump got perfect score on cognitive test | Jan. 17All Americans need health carePresident Donald Trump’s extensive health exam has apparently declared him physically fit for office. As I was reading about the battery of tests he received...
Published: 01/17/18

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...
Published: 01/16/18

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