Friday, June 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Recommendations are no surprise

Sizing up candidates | July 27, Tim Nickens column

Recommendations are no surprise

This column suggests that the Times interviews candidates from all political parties and then makes its recommendations in a nonpartisan manner, and that it takes this work seriously. I have a hard time taking this column seriously.

Reading the Times is almost like reading the Democratic National Committee Web page. All of the Times editorial writers are liberals, the paper almost always recommends Democrats over Republicans, and the front page is constantly used to write negative stories about Republicans.

There isn't much suspense left about whom the Times will recommend for any statewide or local office in the November elections. When Charlie Crist ran for governor as a Republican, the Times recommended Jim Davis, the Democrat. Now that Crist has reinvented himself as a Democrat, changed his stance on almost every social issue, and proved that he is a politician most interested in furthering his own political career, there is no doubt that the Times will enthusiastically recommend him for governor.

Louis Ciardulli, Safety Harbor

Woman dies in gun accident | July 28

Guns don't fire themselves

I read with great sadness about the death of Katherine Lynn Bryan, a pregnant mother, as a result of an accidental shooting. These types of incidents are all too common, in part because the news media fail to focus on the lack of responsible gun ownership, which is the root cause of such tragedies.

The Times article stated, "The gun accidentally fired and shot Katherine Hoover in the head, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office." Beyond the poor use of the passive voice, this sentence represents a common mistake in news coverage of accidental shootings: Guns do not mysteriously fire themselves. They do not have the agency to be responsible for killing someone. Accidentally or not, a person fired that gun.

Hundreds of Americans (disproportionately teens and young adults) needlessly die each year as a result of accidental shootings. It's time that news coverage of accidental shootings takes a public safety/public health approach, and focuses proper attention on the human parties that are responsible for exercising proper commonsense gun safety (not treating guns as toys, storing guns unloaded, using trigger locks, etc.) that is necessary to end all-too-common, preventable tragedies such as Mrs. Bryan's death.

Brendan R. Watson, Ph.D., assistant professor of journalism, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis

Standards constant, but lessons vary July 27, Perspective

Lesson plan for success

This column should be required reading for all who oppose Common Core State Standards. At last, someone has pointed out the difference between standards (an outline of what students should know and be able to do at each grade level) and curriculum (daily instruction determined by teachers, schools and districts to assist students in meeting those standards).

I applaud Karin Chenoweth for illustrating the difference by using three specific examples of different lessons used to address the same targeted standards. The lessons are engaging, rigorous and creative — all challenging students to be thinkers. Her piece affirms my belief that it is the curriculum in our schools that needs to be scrutinized — not the Common Core standards.

Elizabeth Dick, Riverview

Hunting answers | July 27

Legalized abuse of ethics

Here's how it works (first take a Dramamine and wait 10 minutes): Abuse leads to a law banning donors' (in this case Big Sugar) giving money to our (our?) politicians. This leads to a new law to instead allow Big Sugar to give the big bucks only to political parties, who in turn … wait for it … give the money to our politicians. The only difference? Now there's no transparency.

Our elected leaders are mum as to Big Sugar's paying for hunting licenses and trips to King Ranch in Texas. "Please ask the GOP," they say. But GOP spokeswoman Susan Hepworth will allow only that no laws are being broken. Of course not. Why break a law you just wrote?

Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and the boys are starting to look like the toxic derivatives foisted on unwitting consumers during the banking crisis. Meanwhile, Big Sugar continues to dump phosphorous into the Everglades. And we get to pay to clean it up. But not until we go to the polls and re-elect these guys. In the words of Nancy Reagan: "Just say no."

Richard Downing, Hudson

Look into both parties

Regarding your two stories and the sidebar interview with Adam Putnam on the King Ranch hunting trips as political fundraising events in kind, Putnam's comment about not playing golf got me thinking.

I am sure your crack team of investigative reporters would not need long to find equivalent golf resort trips made, as fundraisers in kind by politicians, for the Democratic Party of Florida.

It will go far to counter the inevitable (and probably deserved) responses you will receive claiming bias.

Terry R. Arnold, St. Petersburg

Racy novel returns to school's reading list July 29

Book not appropriate

The Pasco County schools' decision to put John Green's "racy" novel Paper Towns back on the eighth-grade reading list was an example of wimpy spine syndrome. The article reports that superintendent Kurt Browning faced threats of legal action from anti-censorship groups after deleting the book from the list. He claims that he didn't change course because of those warnings and threats from the National Coalition Against Censorship. Let's see a show of hands of those who believe that.

The mother whose daughter asked her about the definition of masturbation and noted that the book contained f-bombs and references to teen sex was rightly concerned. Browning said he and district leaders wanted to take community standards into consideration. I doubt seriously if the f-word being used in eighth-grade teaching materials falls under the heading of acceptable community standards in Pasco County. I don't live in Pasco County, but if I did, it would be time to take a stand.

James S. Woodrow, Bradenton


Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

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...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

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