Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Put the focus on renewable energy

Power surge | July 30

Put focus on renewable energy

This breathless article on the construction of a gas-fired electric plant seems like a free commercial for the company. It did not address what the cost of natural gas has to be to provide power at $6.55 per kilowatt, nor did it comment on the external costs of production and burning of the gas. Extraction through fracking or otherwise has costs of remediation, as does the carbon and other pollutants put into the environment. That's the problem with any extraction-based energy source, all of which ignore the total costs involved from drilling the first well to dealing with the external costs.

Florida must begin to move away from a command-and-control economy whereby monopolies in power production manipulate the Legislature and deny alternative energy production a level playing field. For example, the oil depletion allowance and other tax breaks cost taxpayers about $4 billion a year. Solar power is there for the taking and it costs nothing to produce; no external costs. Costs of panel fabrication are paid for in about three to five years in energy used, and given the life expectancy of a panel, power is then generated free for another 20-plus years.

The solar power available here is better than anywhere east of the Mississippi. Such unsunny climes as New Jersey and Massachusetts produce more solar power than Florida. When the giant power companies allow for competition instead of pushing for deceptive solar amendments to the Florida Constitution, we will see the amount of energy increase, decrease the externalities and costs of fossil fuels and become more energy independent.

Robert Tankel, Dunedin

Health care

Heading toward a crisis

President Donald Trump's outlandish tweet stating that "BAILOUTS for insurance companies and BAILOUTS for members of Congress will end very soon!" refers to the elimination of government-funded subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. If Trump ends the subsidies, insurers will have to take on the cost-sharing as they are not immediately able to drop anyone until 2018. This results in financial instability for the insurers, which would certainly lead to layoffs in not only the health insurance industry but potentially in the broader health care system. The second effect would be skyrocketing premiums and millions uninsured in 2018. With no current replacement from Republicans, this would quite literally cause a jobs crisis in the health care sector as well as punishment to the most innocent of citizens for no other reason than politics.

This president continues to show no evidence of a moral compass or evidence that he understands the nuance of any public policy decision he makes. It is incumbent upon citizens now more than ever to elect officials on either side in any local, state or federal race who carry a nuanced approach to solving our toughest challenges.

Thomas Vacca, Tampa

Baker for mayor | July 30, editorial

Baker's dubious record

It is truly sad that this once-great newspaper that I have been reading for over 58 years has endorsed Rick Baker over Rick Kriseman for mayor of St. Petersburg. I agree that Kriseman has had his disappointing moments, but they pale in comparison to Baker's. You failed to mention the attempt by Baker to close Albert Whitted Airport that was overwhelmingly rejected by the voters. You failed to mention Baker's lack of support for all citizens regardless of sexual orientation. You failed to mention Baker's unwillingness to initiate curbside recycling or his unwillingness to confront climate change in a meaningful way, an extremely important issue for the residents of St. Petersburg.

You failed to explain why you have more confidence in Baker to overhaul the sewer system. Since it is perfectly obvious that the sewer system needed an overhaul, why didn't Baker do it as mayor? If Baker's main positive is education, he should run for the School Board.

John Avery, St. Petersburg

Here is the math on single-payer | July 30, Perspective

All should contribute

You write, "A single-payer system would be similar to Medicare, which covers Americans who have turned 65." In order to get Medicare Part B, those over 65 contribute money every month. I see no contribution from those who want the government to pay for their health insurance needs. In fact, encouraging Americans to believe that our government will supply their every want is troubling. Where will the motivation for people to make better health care decisions come from if there is no connection to costs? Weight loss, quitting smoking, choosing healthier foods and routine exams all help in improving health, but creating a system where your only input is showing up and handing over your insurance card doesn't assure participating in your own health care.

If single-payer insurance was enacted, the efforts for finding fraud and misuse would have to at least double. Why create a "government company" when insurance companies already exist?

P.C. Walsh, Port Richey

State sees voter cancellations | July 31

Possible double voters

This article omits a most logical reason for the increase in cancellations. It mentions the president's commission on voter fraud and suggests that some voters may have cancelled because they don't want their personal information revealed to that commission. Ignored is the possibility that some people cancelled their Florida voter registration because they were registered to vote in two different states — just as President Donald Trump has alleged.

Looking at the list of counties seeing the biggest increases in cancellations, they appear to be the ones with the greatest number of snowbirds/winter visitors who may be registered in their home states as well as in Florida. I think a comparison of those cancellations against the voter registration rolls of those folks' home states might reveal something interesting.

Alfred J. D'Amario, Hudson


Wednesday’s letters: First day of school brings a frightening new world

Goodbye for now | Aug. 14First day of schoola scary time nowMonday morning we took our youngest child to start her school life proper. It was bittersweet and tugged on my heart strings for many reasons, but one was that her first day of kindergar...
Updated: 10 minutes ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Aug. 17

Re: County authorizes takeover of SunWest Park | Aug. 10‘A poor idea from the startWith no fanfare whatsoever, we now have a new park that no one I know ever seems to use or even know where it is. If it is bringing hordes of tourists to our cou...
Published: 08/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Habitat should help the poor, not hurt them

Habitat lender choice blasted | Aug. 12Help, don’t hurt, poorAs a Habitat for Humanity admirer, donor and volunteer, I was disappointed to read how Habitat for Humanity’s Hillsborough County affiliate reportedly stumbled in delivering its mission...
Published: 08/10/18
Updated: 08/13/18

Monday’s letters: A gun or a vote: danger is relative

‘I went off the deep end’ | Aug. 10A gun or a vote: danger is relativeAt the demonstrable risk of having someone lose his fragile temper, grab his guns, storm out his door and speed to my home to shoot me for saying so (and why NOT, Florida Legis...
Published: 08/10/18

Sunday’s letters: July’s letter of the month is ‘Time for more civil debate.’

July letter of the monthTime for more civil debate"Politics" is an activity which involves power and control, arriving at decisions based on differing interests. Normally, leaders weigh the needs of the individual with the abilities of the country. C...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Saturday’s letters: A team effort made USF preeminent

USF and preeminenceA team effort vaulted USF The University of South Florida’s designation as a preeminent state research university is a prestigious accomplishment and a tribute to the hard work of faculty, staff and students and USF System Presiden...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Friday’s letters: Don’t let pollution be our legacy

Algae blooms amid cuts | Aug. 8Brown can’t be the new greenThis headline should have said "Republicans continue to pave their way across Florida, pollute the water supply and destroy animals and their habitat." The Republicans have controlled Tal...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/09/18

Wednesday’s letters: Girl’s drowning death is one of two tragedies

Mother: Dead girl now ‘pure’ | Aug. 7Two tragediesThis is another tragedy of a parent who became overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for an autistic child. But an equally bad sequence of events is likely to happen in the days and months t...
Published: 08/06/18
Updated: 08/07/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for Aug. 10

Jacqueline Road being misusedI have issued complaints to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, traffic division and also a letter to the sheriff and have had very little positive response.We have an issue on Jacqueline Road with speeding vehicles and...
Published: 08/06/18

Monday’s letters: Enough with praise for Pier sculpture

Aerial art to billow at Pier | Aug. 3Pier art: boon or boondoggle?Well, finally! The Janet Echelman sculpture project has been approved. The dust has settled and now, at the cost of $2.8 million an over-priced, glorified flag will be flapping ove...
Published: 08/03/18