Monday, January 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Spend time teaching, not on technology

A realistic, ambitious push | Feb. 17, commentary

Time, not technology, is the key

I have been an early childhood teacher in Hillsborough County for 18 years and read with great interest David Brooks' column discussing President Barack Obama's push for better early childhood programs.

Brooks accurately pinpoints that parents are a child's first teacher and that without their skill, interest, etc., it is a hard road for teachers to travel alone. I cringe whenever I pull up next to a car and see the lights from a DVD player in the back seat or when a parent pulls out a DVD player, cellphone, video game, etc., in a restaurant. In these cases and many more, they are missing a fantastic opportunity to educate their child. Talking to your child while driving in the car or sitting at a restaurant is as vital to their development as reading to them every night.

I speak endlessly with the parents of my students about how important their everyday interactions with their child are to their child's academic success. Sometimes I'm successful, but often technology wins.

The one thing I disagreed with was Brooks' quote that "there's still a lot we don't know about how to educate children that young." We do know. The research is there. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff outline how young children really learn in their outstanding book, Einstein Never Used Flash Cards. And they are not the only ones. What we don't know how to do well is assess young children. Young children by nature are not good test takers and they learn in a developmental sequence, not at a specific point in time.

We know how to educate young children. We just need to coordinate efforts between highly effective teachers working in a developmentally appropriate environment with parents who are willing to spend time with their child and put away the technology.

Marcy White, Tampa

No austerity at the top for Citizens | Feb. 18

Ruthless with customers

As a homeowner whose feet have been held to the fire by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. for the last five years, I know firsthand how ruthless they are when dealing with me. Lowering coverage and raising rates has been their credo.

Now with your excellent article exposing the corporate officers' pay and raises, along with their blatant expenditures for food, travel, limousines and the such, I wonder how Gov. Rick Scott can sleep at night.

Being retired and on a fixed income, of all of my living expenses, insurance is the one that is bleeding me out.

Daniel Orsello, Tampa

Public service reporting

This is why I subscribe to the Tampa Bay Times. Thank you for the good reporting in exposing the continuing poor management of the only company that will insure my home. As my fees increase and coverage decreases, I am sickened by the lavish spending these people see as "normal business policy."

Milton Anderson, Hudson

Hold them to account

Citizens' "vision statement" says it is a responsive steward of the public trust. How do Citizens' executives spending exorbitant amounts on hotel accommodations, meals and travel garner the public trust and fiscal responsibility? And what about pay increases of 14 percent? The government office I worked in did not receive pay raises for the past seven years. How does firing the state-mandated internal investigator garner public trust and fiscal responsibility?

Sounds like the only efficient and fiscally responsible thing to do is issue some pink slips.

Roz Fenton, Hudson

Unfair discount denial

Citizens changed their rules to deny our discounts (in spite of our Dade County-rated shutters and roof) increased our rate, lowered our coverage, and spent the money on booze, food, travel and unwarranted raises. This is organized crime sanctioned by our state government.

Jean Hynes, St. Petersburg

Case for Obama's drone war is clear Feb. 18, commentary

Intelligence shortage

Charles Krauthammer begins his defense of the Obama administration's drone war by writing, "If we know a freelance jihadist cell in Yemen is actively plotting an attack, we don't have to wait until after the fact (to use drones)."

The key words are "if we know". Know? As in 2+2=4? Is it possible Krauthammer takes our Mideast "intelligence" sources at face value? Has he forgotten that the disastrous Iraq War was based on the faulty assumption that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction? Do neocons ever moderate their views when faced with inconvenient truths?

Robert Lockwood Mills, Sun City Center

Brand Rubio | Feb. 17

Diversity lacking

After reading Sunday's front-page article, I could not help but notice the lack of female names on Marco Rubio's team or inner circle, with the exception of "hired gun" Malorie Thompson. Rubio and the Republican Party better think seriously about that demographic before 2016.

Richard Boyett, Lakeland

Pope's unorthodox move raises many questions | Feb. 18

Resignation mystery

Here's what seems odd about the pope's resignation: Every really old pope over the past 600 years, since the last resignation, has probably grown too intellectually and physically feeble to do the job well. It's a lifetime position, and often lifetimes drag on beyond the point when anyone can do a good job. Which leads to the conclusion that over the last 600 years deputies have stepped in quietly to continue the work until the pope dies.

So what makes this pope's condition different from any of the other old popes before him? Why aren't there papal helpers who can step in under the radar and take care of business for his last few years? Or is he being pushed out under the weight of pedophile priest and Vatican bank scandals? That's an unpleasant thought, but it makes more sense than that no Vatican staffers could be found to step up and silently help the pope through his last years.

Edward Cifelli, Dade City


Do you have a gold star yet?

Do you have a gold star on your Florida driver’s license, and are you REAL ID compliant?Florida is a federal REAL ID compliant state, which means that driver’s license and identification cards here meet federal law as to security standards and confir...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Tampa Bay deserves rail as an option

New transit option: BRT | Jan. 12Tampa deserves rail as an optionI was disheartened by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s statement about his exhaustion with public transit discussions. It sounds like the government of Tampa has given up on ever realizin...
Published: 01/21/18

Sunday’s letters: Bay area shortchanged on foster care funds

Opioid crisis herds kids to foster care | Jan. 9Bay area foster care shortchangedAs mentioned in this article, the growing opioid epidemic is unfortunately bringing more children into the Florida foster care system. While substance abuse has hist...
Published: 01/20/18

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