Friday, April 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Scott's lack of interest in jobless

Website just one woe for agency | Jan. 26

Florida treats jobless appallingly

I have been following closely the status of Florida's CONNECT website, primarily because I am one of the millions of people affected by the federal government's failure to extend emergency unemployment compensation. Gov. Rick Scott and his team should have named the website "Florida DIS-CONNECT." The governor's lack of interest in Florida's unemployed is appalling.

In a Jan. 23 article, the Times depicted the reality of trying to communicate with this agency. It took numerous calls to my state senator, Tom Lee, to resolve my issues after they made me wait five months for a determination and payment. And Lee is on the committee that oversees this agency. How embarrassing is that?

A Jan. 26 article quotes Jeffrey Atkinson asking if the state is going to wait for us to "fall under." The answer is yes. Headlines report that the Florida jobless rate fell to 6.2 percent, but that is because those of us who have timed out due to Congress' failure to act cannot continue to report our job searches because we are locked out of CONNECT. If you want a true percentage of the jobless rate, allow the jobless to continue to report.

Scott can continue to tout his low-wage job creation while giving millions to companies that have not created jobs. But he refuses to act to assist the unemployed in the state. We want to work. But even the application process is electronic and "looks for key words" electronically to disqualify applicants. There is something truly wrong with this system. Perhaps the next governor will have enough empathy to address this very serious problem.

Diane M. Drake, Temple Terrace

Medical pot on ballot | Jan. 28

Children at risk from pot

Voters should reject "medical marijuana" on the ballot in November. I saw firsthand the damage it can do during my nine years as a juvenile judge in Pinellas County. Adolescents who used marijuana appeared before me paranoid, unfocused, depressed, chronically truant from school, mean and rebellious at home, fighting with parents and siblings. When I would send them to drug court to be educated, they would fall asleep.

Nothing in the "medi pot" ballot language prohibits minors from obtaining a "referral" for marijuana. All they need is a "condition." Ironically, that "condition" could be the very depression and paranoia linked to marijuana usage.

The American Psychiatric Association has taken the position that adolescents are particularly vulnerable to harm, given the effects of cannabis on neurological development. There is plenty of evidence that the more marijuana is available, the more it will fall into the hands of our youth.

The sad kids in my courtroom most often used marijuana to mask the effects of abuse, neglect and feelings of inadequacy. It wasn't a fun "high." These kids need adult help, counseling, tutoring and mentoring. They need hope, not dope.

For the sake of our kids, vote "no" to marijuana in November.

Irene Sullivan, Pinellas-Pasco circuit judge, retired, Pinellas Park

California is poor role model | Jan. 27, letter

Middle of the pack

The letter writer is correct in saying that Florida's unemployment rate has dropped, but let's put it in perspective before annointing Gov. Rick Scott the state's savior. Unemployment has decreased throughout the country and Florida is currently ranked 25th nationwide. This is not exactly a crowning achievement for a governor who has spent millions of state dollars on corporate "incentives" and brands himself with a "let's get to work" slogan. For all of his bragging you would think Florida was No. 1 instead of middle of the pack.

Sallie Elmore, Largo

Floridians left behind on coverage Jan. 26, editorial

Let the House vote

Your editorial makes a strong and compelling case for the state House Republicans to join the state Senate in accepting $51 billion to give health insurance to 1 million uninsured Floridians.

As you report, Republican Sen. Rene Garcia of Hialeah has introduced a bill similar to the one passed 30-1 in the last session. However, House Speaker Will Weatherford hasn't indicated he would allow a vote on the bill if passed again by the Senate.

If Weatherford is opposed to the bill for ideological reasons, then he and others who have similar beliefs should vote against the bill. But 1 million uninsured Floridians deserve an up-or-down vote by all House members. Weatherford blocking a vote as he did last session is indefensible.

Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg

Money means jobs

Due to House Speaker Will Weatherford's inability to accept Barack Obama as our president, he continues (apparently single-handedly) to refuse $51 billion in federal Medicaid money for our state. Besides providing access to health care for approximately 1 million uninsured Floridians, these funds would create many thousands of jobs in the health care industry and save businesses an estimated $253 million a year in tax penalties.

It's past time for our citizens to stand up against partisan politicians, such as Weatherford, who selfishly deny others benefits that they themselves take for granted by virtue of their privileged positions.

Bob Lindskog, Palm Harbor

Study puts brakes on red-light cameras Jan. 23

The way of the world

Cameras are everywhere for safety.

In Germany you just might wind up with a speeding ticket even if you never see a police officer. Do not bother to explain that someone else was driving. Along with the ticket comes a photo of the driver and vehicle and another of the license plate. The fines are high.

In Medellin, Colombia, cameras have been added throughout the city. Your photo and a ticket will arrive for three different infractions: red-light running, not stopping behind the pedestrian crossings and for pico y placa (peak and plate) violations. The latter is a traffic mitigation system designed to keep traffic lighter during peak driving hours.

The only reason red-light cameras were put in place in St. Petersburg was because citizens did not obey the signals. For you few drivers who like to complain, stop going through red lights and threatening people's lives and the adults will let you drive without having your picture taken.

Martin L. Daugherty, St. Petersburg


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

Saturday’s letters: Health Department should butt out

Judge: Grow pot, Mr. Redner | April 12Health officials should butt outThe Times reports that the Florida Department of Health filed an appeal to the decision allowing a man who is a Stage 4 lung cancer survivor to grow pot in his backyard for his ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Friday’s letters: Open and shut: Enforce the law

Sheriff’s ICE aid policy blasted | April 10Open and shut: Enforce the lawPeople and institutions that insist on the using the euphemism "undocumented immigrant" do nothing but affirm their lack of objectivity by using such a phrase to support an ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/12/18

Thursday’s letters: Focus on offender, not weapon

Use data to curb gun deaths | April 8, commentaryFocus on offenders, not weaponsThis article tiptoes around the issue: human violence. The authors point out that automobile manufactures were pressured by regulation and law to make automobile coll...
Published: 04/11/18