Sunday, April 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Running up U.S. debt won't help

Budget slashes safety net | March 31, editorial

Running up U.S. debt won't help

In case the Times hadn't noticed, we're broke. President Barack Obama has added nearly $5 trillion in debt, more than the total for two terms of George W. Bush. We now have structural deficits of $1 trillion as far as the eye can see.

Obama's own budget failed to garner a single vote. He spent months selling the "Buffett rule" only to have the Congressional Budget Office say that it might raise $30 billion over 10 years — not even a drop in the bucket. Meanwhile, Obamacare cost projections have doubled to $1.8 trillion over 10 years.

Even if we eliminated defense, we would still have a historically high deficit. You can't tax the productive enough to cover this spending tsunami. When over half of the citizens have their hands in their neighbor's pocket, it is clear that the federal government has grossly exceeded its clearly enumerated powers.

Government austerity and economic growth are the solution, and this administration is hostile to both.

Raymond A. Baker, St. Petersburg

City can't give up on new police HQ April 2, editorial

Explore all options

It is unfortunate that St. Petersburg leaders have seemingly given up on building a new police headquarters. Maybe the plans can be scaled back to reflect the tougher times. However, all avenues of raising the needed monies should be explored. Form a task force of city and community leaders to explore all options.

The entire community hurts when a police officer is killed in the line of duty. But why do so many ignore the facility in which we expect them to operate? I have never seen the inside of the headquarters, but the outside and parking certainly does not portray an operation of efficiency or safety. We need to honor their commitments while they are alive and performing the duties that we expect.

Jim Rimmer, St. Petersburg

Bonds paid for past projects

Mayor Bill Foster and the St. Petersburg City Council indeed should not give up on finding a way to build a new police headquarters, and procrastinating until there is a better economic environment seems ill-advised.

No mention has been made of the possibility of financing through municipal bonds. My father was a securities dealer in the 1940s and '50s, working exclusively with cities and counties in west-central Florida that were faced with similar financial challenges. I remember some large undertakings were accomplished in times that were far from flush.

Investors were comfortable with the certainty that they would gain a reasonable return in the future and simultaneously assist in achieving a worthy civic endeavor. Are such strategies no longer viable? Many of us believe St. Petersburg's future is brighter than ever and would step up to help meet this need.

Tom Pierce, St. Petersburg

Politics of race warp Martin case | April 2

Reasoned dialogue missing

I couldn't agree more with this article. Although race may have influenced the actions of George Zimmerman, race must not overshadow the more significant issue at hand: unchecked power in the form of a deadly weapon and a law that needs re-evaluating.

However, the more we see Al Sharpton riling people up and yelling for "justice" — even if rightly so — the further we move from a more focused dialogue on "stand your ground" laws, race relations and the assignment and use of authority, to an old-fashioned "tent revival," complete with fiery histrionics from an African-American Elmer Gantry.

And every time an NRA member foments about his "God-given right" to bear arms and protect himself from an impending "Armageddon," it makes anyone seem guilty of sedition if they dare suggest even slightly changing "stand your ground."

At the end of the day, what we really need isn't to wear a "hoodie," nor to display NRA cards or concealed weapons permits. We need to sit down, look each other in the eye, and talk civilly about gun laws, about race, and about the sanctity of all life.

Ronald Thuemler, Tampa

Focus on flawed law

In my view, the Trayvon Martin case is not a racial issue and never was. This issue is entirely about the very flawed "stand your ground" Florida law.

A similar incident occurred in Valrico in 2010. An unarmed white father was at a park with his 8-year-old daughter when another child began skateboarding. An armed black man came over and demanded that it be stopped. A scuffle ensued, with the white dad being shot to death.

The black man invoked the "stand your ground" law, claiming self-defense. The judge in that case is still trying to decide whether a jury trial is warranted. But I would like to know where Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were when this equally tragic incident occurred. No marching, no loudspeakers, no insistence for "justice" for the man killed. The silence of these two hypocrites is deafening.

Frank Soos, St. Pete Beach

Health care

Don't cut access to care

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects more than 1.5 million people in the United States, and many rely on Medicaid and Medicare to cover their medical costs. Although lupus can be debilitating, most patients, including myself, manage their disease and are active in society.

Unfortunately, one of the growing trends in health care policy is cutting costs by creating boards motivated to make sweeping changes in public health insurance programs. By cutting costs, they cut access to medical care and reduce the options of physicians and patients.

The latest example is the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel of appointees chosen to reduce Medicare spending. I understand the need to control costs, but IPAB will pass along the cost to patients, hindering their access to care.

States are slashing reimbursement rates for Medicaid. A recent University of Pennsylvania study showed that 66 percent of children on Medicaid could not schedule doctor appointments.

Programs like Medicaid and Medicare need cost-control reforms. I challenge lawmakers to find solutions for providing better preventive care, adequately managing chronic diseases and reducing demands on public programs serving patients. Cutting costs by cutting patient access to care is not the solution.

Sandi Frear, Seminole

Mandates and the military

We are all made to pay income taxes, which support the U.S. military. If that isn't the biggest health care organization in the country, what is? It sure helps keep me alive and well.

John G. Bassett, St. Petersburg

Comments

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

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

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

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18