Thursday, April 26, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Protect our precious resources

New pressure for manatees | July 2

Safeguard our precious resources

According to the articles of incorporation that Save Crystal River Inc. filed with the Florida Department of State, its reason for existing is to "represent the interest of the citizens of Crystal River against excessive government regulation of the river and resources of the surrounding area." Nothing is said about safeguarding these precious resources, of which the endangered manatee is only one portion.

The petitioners are more interested in being able to buy or sell property unencumbered by environmental concerns; speed down the river in their powerboats; and generally protect their individual property rights at the expense of the habitat of creatures that only thrive due the fact that they are protected by law.

How many of the people petitioning to have the manatee's status downgraded to threatened have ever actually been in the water with them? Have they seen the devastating damage that propellers have inflicted on these creatures? More likely they watch manatees from their boats and curse the fact that they are not allowed to create a wake or build that big hotel on the river where the manatee sanctuaries are located.

Yes, these animals are flourishing. But it is only because of their protected status, not in spite of it.

Cheryl Applebaum, Tampa

New pressure for manatees | July 2

Progress as destruction

It's no surprise that the Pacific Legal Foundation, on behalf of Save Crystal River Inc., wants to reclassify the status of the Florida manatee population from endangered to threatened. In this state, anything that gets in the way of the polluting industries — wait, I mean "economic progress" — has to be pushed aside. Even if it is a benign, homely-but-adorable 1,200-pound swimming puppy dog with flippers.

I fail to see how asking boaters to go 5 or 10 mph slower through a wildlife sanctuary is impacting anyone's "freedom," let alone their "economic opportunities."

Ron Thuemler, Tampa

State needs motorcycle helmet law July 4, editorial

An individual choice

I wore a helmet when I rode. But motorcycle riders know the dangers of riding with or without helmets, so in my opinion freedom of choice should be maintained.

I would like to know how many of the average 160 deaths before the new law, and the 457 in 2012, were from head injuries. And don't include neck injuries, as they are sometimes caused by the helmets. Let's compare just deaths caused by head injuries.

I believe in freedom of choice on this issue.

Donna Hastie, Gulfport

Most immigrant kids will go back | July 7

Doing nothing isn't option

As a member of and frequent visitor to the Florida Holocaust Museum, I am struck by the similarity of the current rhetoric about immigrants gathering at our borders to escape violence and hunger and that documented about Jewish immigration before and during World War II in many exhibits in the museum.

This is certainly a difficult issue. The United States cannot provide a haven to every person in need, but doing nothing is also not an option. Let's work together.

Donald Cunningham, St. Petersburg

Stop fighting a losing battle | July 6, editorial

Her eye is on higher office

Regarding Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's indefensible defense of the same-sex marriage ban, I think the Times editorial missed the real point. You mention that Bondi is using "tortured court filings" and is "defending the indefensible." I don't think so. I think Bondi is trying to beef up her conservative credentials in the event a Republican is elected to the White House — looking to be considered as attorney general, a vice presidential candidate or possibly a conservative commentator.

In any event, she is not sincere. The Times is editorializing against what she is saying, but the hopelessness of her argument suggests that she is simply using this issue to give herself a higher profile and positioning herself for the prospect of Rick Scott losing his position.

Brian Beaudry, St. Petersburg

Follow the oath

According to Webster's New World Dictionary an oath is "a ritualistic declaration, typically based on an appeal to God … that one will speak the truth, keep a promise, remain faithful, etc." I am certain that Pam Bondi took an oath to faithfully execute the laws of the state of Florida when she was sworn in as attorney general.

Your editorial beseeches her to ignore her oath and to refuse to enforce the state's law against gay marriage. We already have too many examples at the federal, state and local levels of political leaders who take their oath of office with no intention of ever following it. If that is acceptable conduct, why even take an oath?

Peter J. Dawson, St. Petersburg

Supreme Court justices in battle, armed with words | July 3, commentary

Lack of religious diversity

The Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case has been explained by the statement that "men and corporations do not get pregnant."

The elephant in the room, however, is the lack of religious diversity on the court. Six justices are Catholic, the other three are Jewish. Since Catholic religious doctrine opposes the use of birth control and all six judges have at one time or another asserted their deep religious faith, they should have recused themselves from ruling in this case.

Such a recusal would have led to a 3-0 ruling supporting the requirement that all corporations and businesses pay for access to birth control. Congratulations to Justice Sonia Sotomayor for supporting the "wall of separation" despite her religion.

Neil T. Feldman, Seminole

'God Bless America'? Take it out of ball game July 4, commentary

Simple solution

Here is a very simple solution for Roy Peter Clark to avoid hearing God Bless America at baseball games: Don't go to baseball games or move to another country. Problem solved.

John Dressback, Largo


Friday’s letters: Why just single-member districts are a bad idea for Hillsborough

Murman’s bad idea on districts | April 20, editorialSingle-member districts’ flawYour editorial opposing single-member districts in Hillsborough County is totally correct. I have served as Miami-Dade county manager twice. The first time (1976-198...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/26/18

Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18