Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: National debate gets sidetracked

Politics aside, a common bond | July 7, commentary

National debate gets sidetracked

N. Gregory Mankiw's thoughtful piece articulated some of the true problems with contemporary political discourse in this country. With some caveats, he identified the principal philosophical differences between our two major political parties: equality vs. efficiency, community vs. liberty and the role of centralized power.

I have some advice for the Republican Party: Let this be the debate. These are the concepts that should distinguish the political parties when our system works best. Historically, this has been the debate, and over time the pendulum swings both ways. But our populace has a way to self-correct and find the center that defines us. It is a formula that works for both parties and the country as a whole.

But the Republican Party has sidetracked this debate in recent years. It has become the party of obstructionism, unwarranted intrusions into the intensely personal issue of abortion, Cold War strategies on foreign policy, obscene campaign finance laws, resistance to needed immigration reform, opposition to same-sex marriage, gerrymandering and voter suppression.

It is a formula that cannot survive over time, and is one that is counter to much of what historically gave the Republican Party its appeal.

Personally, I favor the Democratic position on the historically fundamental issues. But I recognize that the country is best served by a healthy debate and can respect when the pendulum swings to the right, if done so by reasonable debate on the salient issues. The current activities of the Republican Party nullify the debates that could bolster their long-term viability. Just ask Bob Dole.

Steve Allison, Temple Terrace

Charter schools surge again | July 7

A matter of safety

I would like to inform our new Pinellas County schools superintendent, Mike Grego, that the huge increase in charter schools does not have anything to do with "attractors." Parents are not flocking to charter schools because they have attractors, great facilities or better teachers. The main reason is that parents want their children to learn in a safe environment. They do not want to have to deal with their children being afraid to go into locker rooms or restrooms for fear of being accosted or hurt.

Just look at the discipline reports in terms of assaults, batteries and drugs on campus. Parents from all walks of life want their children to learn and progress without having to fear for their safety when they are just walking around campus.

Peter Serbanos, Clearwater

Gun background checks

Close the loopholes

On July 2, U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, held a town hall meeting with his constituents at the Brandon Services Center. A gentleman rose and asked Ross why he had not yet signed on as a co-sponsor to HB 1565, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, especially since on April 6 he told us at a Plant City town hall meeting he supported background checks for all sales except transfers between family members.

HB 1565 helps close the loopholes in the background check system for gun purchases, specifically those at gun shows and over the Internet. It: (1) ensures that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and (2) enhances the current background check process to ensure that criminals and the mentally ill are not able to purchase firearms. It specifically bans the creation of a database of gun owners.

Ross has received many phone calls and emails asking him to join 183 other co-sponsors of this bill from both parties. Two months ago in response to an email request from me asking him to be a co-sponsor, he wrote me that he would "look into it." Last week, as a member of Moms Demand Action, I rose and told Ross I was disappointed in his answer to the gentleman who asked the first question because he had been asked by constituents to be a co-sponsor several times over the past few months. To me he again replied, "I will look into it." This is placation and therefore dishonest.

Ross needs to remember that polling has consistently shown an overwhelming number of Floridians support universal background checks.

Ione Townsend, Plant City


Education, prevention

Many years ago I transferred to a new junior high school. There was a girl, a polio victim, who walked with large metal braces on her legs, and frankly, she clanked. Some of the other students, mostly boys, made her life miserable.

I challenged the other students and ended the bullying. I had long forgotten about this until I met with some old friends and they told me of her story and her hero. Hearing this was one of the proudest moments of my life.

Bullying is a gang mentality of cowards. They always need the support and approval of other sick personalities.

Parents, start teaching your children better. Let them have something to be proud about one day. It's a great feeling.

Lawrence Klotz, Largo

In your face lyrics July 8, Ernest Hooper column

Boycott vile music

Thank you, Ernest Hooper, for being courageous enough to speak out about the travesty that is called music today. Sixteen out of the top 20 R&B hip-hop songs "refer to women in derogatory terms."

What are we teaching our daughters? Where are the feminists? Where are the "Hollywood elite"? What about other influential leaders like Oprah Winfrey? Barack Obama has two daughters.

If someone with their enormous influence would have the courage to take a stand, the vile assault on girls and women might end! I'm not talking about censorship. I'm talking boycott. If people quit buying this trash they will change their tune.

Jennie Jordan, Treasure Island

Furloughs of civilians to affect 3,550 at MacDill | July 7

Due for a furlough

I'm curious if federal government employees who are required to take 11 days off without pay for the next three months include politicians? Seems fair to me.

Maritta Rostron, Tampa


Wednesday’s letters: Let the teachers decide on guns

Trump touts arming staff as key in plan for school security | March 12It’s the teacher’s call on weaponsPlease, let’s try an alternate view about guns in the classroom. First, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the preponderance of letters about guns ...
Published: 03/20/18

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...
Published: 03/19/18

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...
Published: 03/19/18

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