Thursday, June 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Poll question can sway answer

Bondi fumbles on gay marriage | June 4, Sue Carlton column

Poll questions can sway answers

Sue Carlton is astounded over a passage in Attorney General Pam Bondi's defense of conventional marriage that, briefly, states or implies that the backbone of our society depends on a solid family structure headed by a male and female father and mother. Gee, Sue, look around you and see what happens when you deviate from that.

As far as her claim that "a majority of Florida voters are okay with same-sex marriage" because of some poll, I think most people realize that the results of polls are greatly dependent on who conducts them and how the questions are asked. If the question is "Do you approve of same-sex marriage?" and the poll is conducted by the Tampa Bay Times, I'm sure the result would be in the affirmative. However, if the Catholic Church conducts the poll, I'm sure it would be in the negative.

Bill Bravick, Tampa

Lawyers judge the judges in survey | June 7

Because of small response, survey has no credibility

It's surprising that anyone would allow their name to be associated with what the "Association of Lawyers Promoting Judicial Excellence" posted on the Web as a survey. In no way do the results "provide a good way to let the public know how each judge is viewed by attorneys who are familiar with their work." The article points out that only 115 of approximately 3,200 lawyers participated.

But the unanswered — or possibly unasked — question is: How many respondents rated an individual judge? The lowest score posted on the website is an average of 2.19. That score could have resulted from as few as 16 voting attorneys, with only one of the 16 respondents giving the lowest rating possible. Just as lacking in credibility was a high score "average" of 5, which could mean only one attorney rated that judge in that category.

Is it fair to give a single attorney who may have had one case — that he or she probably lost — the same weight as a professional who could have gone before that judge 50 or 60 times in a year, possibly with as many losses as wins?

Each judge in the 6th Judicial Circuit has as many as 1,500 open cases at any one time. Those singled out for the lowest scores handle cases that vary from highly publicized, hideous crimes to minor violations that are contested on principle.

Every case has a winner and a loser. Just as sports fans blame the referee, it's natural for the losing attorney to blame the judge.

However, every ruling by judges and every comment they make to an attorney is made in public, for the record, and is subject to review by a higher court.

Ron Stuart, public information officer, 6th Judicial Circuit, Palm Harbor

Bergdahl is focus of debates | June 9

Facts and opinions

Whether the subject is a prisoner swap, cramps on the basketball court, a horse race, health care or Benghazi, many opinions are based on what cable news station the speaker watches. Critical thinking, which is based on the ability to distinguish between fact and opinion, is as rare as someone who understands that one opinion is not as good as another.

Using facts to determine opinions is too much work for most Americans, so parroting the opinions of Rachel Maddow, Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh is common.

Robert F. Clifford, Tarpon Springs

Covering up

Sweep! Sweep! It's sure getting crowded under that rug. Move over Benghazi and VA — here comes Bergdahl.

Connie Paglen, Treasure Island

Clintons 'dead broke' departing White House June 10

Financial history

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus seems to have a problem with the English language, especially tenses. Hillary Clinton said she and Bill Clinton "were" dead broke up on leaving the White House. They have been making speeches to make money in the past several years and are "now" not dead broke.

Sheila Krause, St. Petersburg

Latest Florida rail roils | June 9

High speed into the future

Concerning the "not in my back yard" comments on the proposed high-speed passenger train on Florida's east coast, there seem to be some misconceptions about noise and air pollution.

High-speed trains make little noise, as they are built as unit trains. My experience with such trains is that there is a swoosh, and that's it for noise. The right of way can have berms or trees added if necessary to allay noise fears. As to air pollution, just look at the pollution from highways.

I foresee an East Coast electric line from Boston to Miami. Currently this line exists from Boston to Washington, D.C. The logical extension is south, and getting private capital to build the southern leg seems like a no-brainer.

The current Tampa-Orlando line would need upgrading, not necessarily to high-speed, but to form part of an East Coast network. An extension across the proposed new Howard Frankland Bridge would remove some of the need to keep building roads.

John Bassett, St. Petersburg

FSU's presidential search consultant resigns post | June 10

Keep politics out of it

Florida State University is at a critical time in its history, poised to be a top research university and among the top 25 universities in the nation. Its future is now under threat by a presidential search process tainted by Florida politics. It's the same pay-to-play game that has infected the Florida Legislature.

State Sen. John Thrasher is credited with seeing that the Legislature has generously funded FSU and thus is qualified to be president. It was not too long ago that a new university was created as a favor to a politician.

All you have to do is look at the dismal list of candidates to know that this is a failed search process. Typically, candidates would be presidents of regional universities, chief academic officers of major universities and individuals with national stature in their fields. A search process free of political interference should be instituted.

Lynn W. Lindeman, Hudson


Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

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 ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

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