Wednesday, April 25, 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


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...
Updated: 10 hours ago

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

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18