Thursday, February 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Thankful Romney's not in charge

Romney revives debate over missiles in Europe | March 24

Good thing Romney not in charge

We need to thank Mitt Romney for reminding us what he would be doing if he had won the presidency. He would be introducing a military element by arming the Ukrainians, without any request or support from our NATO allies.

When asked what different actions he would have taken, he had no concrete advice except a longing for the days when America was feared around the world, like when George W. Bush invaded Iraq on a hunch. Then he informed us there are no countries where America is held in higher regard than it was in 2008, because we didn't bomb Syria, didn't prop up Egypt, didn't bomb Libya and haven't bombed Iran yet.

His proposal is to increase defense spending and produce fear in Vladimir Putin by installing missiles in the Czech Republic. That is exactly the provocation and excuse Putin would need to invade farther west. Then what?

Does Romney forget that we were almost universally loathed for our stupidity and bullying? Would he have us policing Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine simultaneously; against even our NATO allies' express wishes?

President Barack Obama has navigated these challenges with intelligence and the humility to recognize the limits of force. Republicans' only solution is to blame Obama, using self-serving rhetoric at the expense of our collective dignity.

Kurt Steinmann, Belleair

Ramp up pressure on Putin March 23, commentary

Don't fall for Putin's bluster

This column by Garry Kasparov throws more light on the Putin-Ukraine-U.S. situation than most comments by so-called experts and most American pundits. Kasparov's main point, that Vladimir Putin ignores history, rules, diplomacy and just plain logic, should illuminate the State Department and NATO.

If Putin really thought Russia had a right to Crimea, why did he not present a well-thought-out petition to the United Nations? In fact, he could have made a logical and almost honest proposal and asked for an open referendum with NATO and U.N. observers. Like most bullies who fear they are wrong, he relied on force, lies, bribes and the well-known aversion to another major war by all the other world powers.

But sooner or later Putin will run out of moves. The best thinkers and workers will flee. The natural gas revenue will be stolen by the oligarchs rather than invested in the military. Expect to see even more "private armies" run by oligarchs and outside of Putin's control.

Kasparov is right. Heighten the pressure. Strengthen and enforce the sanctions. Those who even hint at armed resistance or military action against Russia are just falling for Putin's bluff and bluster.

Robert P. Curran, Beverly Hills

Landed, then lost | March 23

Look deeper at salaries

Gov. Rick Scott has provided hefty financial incentives to businesses that move here, and they are always touting the "average" salaries. We should look deeper, since these averages include the pay for the CEO and other officers at the top, who usually make 10 to 100 times more than the average employee. This skews the numbers.

They should give the average pay by groups — management vs. nonmanagement employees and how many of each.

Jane Kisluk, Seminole

Red-light cameras and need for green March 22, editorial

Plenty of uses for money

Even though red-light cameras at 51 intersections have proved to save lives, reduce the number of crashes, allow police more time to keep our city safer, and actually made a profit, last week the Tampa City Council voted to take down the cameras because they didn't know what to do with the money. It was nearly $1.64 million last year.

Given that in 2012, Hillsborough County was No. 2 in the state in DUI arrests (4,030), No. 1 in DUI crash injuries (665), No. 2 in DUI crashes (1,478) and No. 2 in DUI fatalities (60), it's obvious that we need to improve safety on our roads. Here are some ideas: Fund more DUI education programs; spend more on the Sheriff's Office S.A.V.E. program; donate money to high school driver-education programs; fund outreach programs for children at risk; fix water drainage problems; repair sidewalks; add sidewalks where needed; designate more bike lanes; patch potholes; and provide more security at schools.

Discontinuing a proven, successful program and denying other programs funding is not only absurd but a dereliction of duty.

Teresa Miller, Tampa

The audacity of courage | March 20

Orchestra's challenge

I enjoyed the article about Stefan Sanderling and, after seeing him once again lead the Florida Orchestra to its highest level of performance Sunday night, felt a bit sad that we won't see him here again. His chemistry with the orchestra is clearly greater than any of the fine guest conductors we have seen for the past two years.

While I feel more comfortable listening to the "old war horses," I agree with Sanderling that the orchestra must include other works in its programming. Just look around the concert halls and observe the audiences. How many of them (us) will be attending concerts in 10 years or 20 years? Many of the composers the current audiences love were considered "avant-garde" in their day. When we were teenagers, Elvis was considered too far out; who would think that today?

For the orchestra to survive, it must adapt. It certainly should include the great composers of the past in its programming, but also must introduce us to late 20th and 21st century classical music. I am trying to keep my mind open and learn to appreciate the newer stuff; I hope other supporters of our great Florida Orchestra will do so, too.

It was probably time for Maestro Sanderling to move on, but I hope he will be invited back often and be willing to guest-conduct the orchestra that has continued to achieve greatness because of his time here.

Henry Goldhammer, Palm Harbor

Comments

Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18