Saturday, May 26, 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


Monday’s letters: NFL finally listens to its fans

NFL moves to endanthem protests | May 24NFL’s action comes too lateThe NFL owners are, after two years, finally growing some courage.Before these kneel-downs became the elephant in the room, team owners could have taken action to minimize the imp...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Sunday’s letters: As Jews, we should not be afraid to criticize Israel

Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Saturday’s letters: Bayshore fatalities didn’t have to happen

After two fatalities, speed limits cut | May 25Cameras needed on BayshoreOnce again, two pedestrians have died as the result of careless drivers who were speeding. Once again, the Times and other media outlets are filled with opinions about the c...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Friday's letters: Thanks to jurors for fulfilling civic duty

May is Juror Appreciation Month Thanks, jurors, for your service Trial by a jury of one’s peers is among the bedrock guarantees that make our representative democracy exceptional. Without it, the courtroom fates of defendants and civil litiga...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Thursday’s letters: Heated chemotherapy won’t treat most ovarian cancers

Heated chemotherapy has promising results | May 16Cancer treatment not a cure-all While we were pleased to see the story about ovarian cancer treatment, we are concerned that the article could mislead many patients. The treatment described has be...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Wednesday’s letters: A princess gives us a lesson to live by

Royal treatment | May 21Princess offers advice for us allThe radiant and joyful Princess Anna Noela Lokolo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recent Eckerd College graduate, has given us a huge gift in her parting words. "If people have a negat...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/23/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4Angry mob rhetoric not helpfulWe have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiment...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant Opposed to the TECO solar plantAs a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18