Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: SeaWorld implicated in dolphin hunt

End savage dolphin hunt | Sept. 29, commentary

SeaWorld linked to dolphin hunt

Last week the CEO of SeaWorld, Joel Manby, co-authored a column condemning the brutal annual dolphin hunts that take place in Taiji, Japan. What Manby failed to acknowledge is that SeaWorld is intrinsically linked to the Taiji hunts through its close connection with IMATA: the International Marine Animal Trainers' Association.

SeaWorld's relationship with IMATA would be better described as "best buddies" than casual acquaintances. For example, IMATA was originally headquartered at SeaWorld, and SeaWorld trainers continue to hold numerous high-power positions within the organization. And that's significant, considering IMATA's policy allows trainers to enter the Taiji killing cove and stand side by side with hunters, violently dragging dolphins out of the wild.

These trainers handpick the "prettiest" dolphins and help sell them to marine parks for hundreds of thousands of dollars. They leave the dolphins with ugly injuries or babies too young to learn circus tricks behind — casting them aside to the slaughter heap.

For years, SeaWorld and IMATA have publicly condemned these violent hunts, while at the same time supporting a policy that expressly allows their trainers to participate in them.

It's all very well for Manby to publicly say he is against the Taiji dolphin hunts. But the truth is, there is something simple he could do right now to help end them. SeaWorld could easily cut all ties with IMATA until this organization stops its trainers violently tearing dolphins out of the cove. Instead, SeaWorld continues to conveniently look the other way as IMATA lets trainers drag dolphins away from their families.

In the words of Ric O'Barry, a veteran dolphin advocate and star of The Cove, until SeaWorld takes action against IMATA, any rhetoric condemning the hunts is just "hot air and hollow words." As it stands, SeaWorld continues to throw its full support behind IMATA — even agreeing to host its annual conference in November.

Manby was right about one thing: As a massive corporation with global influence and buying power, SeaWorld could easily use its position of power to save Taiji dolphins from unthinkable pain and suffering. The question is: Will it?

Sarah Lucas, CEO, Australia for Dolphins, Melbourne, Australia

Come clean on school budget crisis Sept. 29, editorial

Make the tough decisions

Several months ago, the Times published the results of an audit on the Hillsborough County school system done by the Gibson Consulting Group. The audit showed how the system could save $404 million. Last week, the Times reported that this system is in dire straits, with new air conditioning systems and buses needed.

My question: Were any of the recommendations from this audit actually implemented? As I reread this audit report, I noticed that administrators repeatedly stated they were "trying to avoid layoffs." Really? If positions are found to be excessive, and dollars are short, how is that relevant?

The purpose of schools is to benefit students, not to provide jobs. Sounds like common sense is needed here. Sounds like tough decisions need to be made. Does anyone in charge have the courage to do the right thing?

Marilyn Renner, Dunedin


Compare the candidates

Climate change and environmental protection have rightly become front-and-center issues in the 2016 election, and fracking in particular has emerged as a hot-button issue.

In the Florida Senate District 18 race, Democrat Bob Buesing has signed a pledge that, if elected, he will fully support a ban on fracking. Republican Dana Young talks the talk but hasn't walked the walk. In 2016, she voted for the pro-fracking, industry-supported bill HB 191 that passed the Florida House on a party-line vote. She also voted against proposed amendments to HB 191 that would have required the industry to monitor the effects of fracking on public health and would have prohibited the use of known carcinogens.

Fortunately, the Floridians Against Fracking coalition mobilized the public to demand that their senators vote against the pro-fracking bill, and it died in the Senate.

Next year, Floridians Against Fracking will be back in Tallahassee demanding a total ban. Buesing will be an ally, and he has the endorsement of the Florida Conservation Voters. But based on her consistently anti-environment track record, Young will very likely continue her support for fracking and the oil and gas industry, despite her professed concern to protect the purity of our water.

Andrew Rock, Tampa

Trump's tax records from 1995 revealed Oct. 2

Standard accounting

This article discusses the net operating loss provision of the tax code as though only wealthy families benefit from this provision. That is not accurate. Net operating profit or loss, which is the correct accounting terminology, is basic business accounting that has been used as long as business accounting has existed. It is the standard method for all businesses to determine profit or loss.

The article cites limited liability corporations, partnerships and S corporations for using this method to pass the losses to their personal tax returns. This method is used to pass both profit and loss to personal tax returns; the profits can result in an increase in the individual's taxes. The deductions listed are also standard accounting deductions that all businesses use to determine profit or loss. There is nothing illegal, sneaky, underhanded or dishonest in the use of these deductions.

Darlene Gent, Spring Hill

Following the law

Firstly, there are 7,000 pages of tax codes. Donald Trump is using exactly what he is allowed to use under those laws. If Hillary Clinton or other politicians don't like the loopholes, they should change them. They don't because of their own personal use or the use by those who have donated to them.

Rollie Blodgett, Dover


Thursday’s letters: School safety requires funding

Constitution Revision CommissionSchool safety requires fundingThe Constitution Revision Commission should consider amending a proposal (45, 93 or 72) to allocate the necessary recurring funding for the new school safety mandates, separate from the ba...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Wednesday’s letters: Let the teachers decide on guns

Trump touts arming staff as key in plan for school security | March 12It’s the teacher’s call on weaponsPlease, let’s try an alternate view about guns in the classroom. First, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the preponderance of letters about guns ...
Published: 03/20/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Published: 03/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Published: 03/19/18

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18