Saturday, January 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


Saturday’s letters: It’s not the word, it’s the racism

Presidential precedent | Jan. 14It’s not the word; it’s the racismThe Times went in the wrong direction and printed information that is rather useless. And that is strange. You usually get it right.I am talking about President Donald Trump’s prof...
Published: 01/19/18

Friday’s letters: Help for boaters against modern-day ‘pirates’

Marine towing and salvageHelp against modern-day piracyAs an avid recreational boat owner and sixth-generation Floridian, I know there’s no better way to enjoy our state’s spectacular waters than taking your boat out. Unfortunately, the fun of boatin...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18

Thursday’s letters: All Americans need health care

Doctor: Trump got perfect score on cognitive test | Jan. 17All Americans need health carePresident Donald Trump’s extensive health exam has apparently declared him physically fit for office. As I was reading about the battery of tests he received...
Published: 01/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: St. Petersburg’s culture, vibrancy impresses

St. PetersburgImpressive culture and vibrancyI recently visited Tampa Bay and celebrated New Year’s weekend in downtown St. Petersburg. I was awestruck by what I encountered and experienced. It has been several years since I last visited, and the tra...
Published: 01/16/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Jan. 19

Re: Walking leads to shocking catalogue of trash | Jan. 12 column Bring back anti-littering campaignJust came back from the beautiful, clean city of Singapore, where there is a $1,000 fine, plus community service for littering. I think a presiden...
Published: 01/16/18
Tuesday’s letters: Trump’s accomplishments unheralded

Tuesday’s letters: Trump’s accomplishments unheralded

President Donald TrumpAchievements go unrecognizedAre Americans even aware that our economy is healthier and growing much faster, that ISIS has been defeated and lost their territory, that China and other countries are buying more American goods and ...
Published: 01/16/18

Monday’s letters: Don’t be fooled by drilling turnaround

Deal blocks drilling off Fla. | Jan. 10Don’t be fooled by turnaroundWhile I am very grateful that Florida has been taken off the table regarding offshore oil drilling, it is clear this is a political move to champion Gov. Rick Scott as he conside...
Published: 01/14/18

Sunday’s letters: Left wing late to the #MeToo cause

#MeTooDemocrats come late to the causeThe Times devoted an entire page to the #MeToo issues on Sunday. The ironies here for longtime observers are nearly boundless. Twenty years ago, folks like myself were called "prudes" and worse because we found P...
Published: 01/13/18

Saturday’s letters: A wall of towers isn’t progress

Skyline takes shape | Jan. 7A wall of towers isn’t progressFirst of all, once the 17 projects currently under way are completed, there will be no "skyline." There will be a wall of buildings blotting out the sun and sky. St. Petersburg has become...
Published: 01/12/18

Friday’s letters:

Gang raped at 17. Getting help at 65 | Jan. 7Help available for assault victimsEach sexual assault survivor has a unique story to tell, and Evelyn Robinson’s experience illustrates many of the emotions, and society stigmas, faced by survivors.Sex...
Published: 01/09/18
Updated: 01/11/18