Thursday, January 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Wasting tax money on legal fight

In Tallahassee, they love that dirty water | Feb. 11, Daniel Ruth column

Tax money wasted on legal battle

The next time those who believe in small government consider voting for our current governor or attorney general, consider the following:

Several states and the federal government (the EPA) have agreed to a process to clean up Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Virginia. This agreement is being contested by private interests.

Our small-government governor and his attorney general have decided to spend my and your tax dollars to join this legal fray by filing a brief on behalf of the private companies. Regardless of the merits of either side in this suit, can anyone tell me why my tax dollars are being used to interject Florida into an issue involving other states?

Dudley Clapp, St. Petersburg

'Lobbyist' not a dirty word Feb. 10, commentary

The problem is money

In his defense of the lobbying profession, Darryl Paulson either overlooked or conveniently avoided the real issue. The problem is not with the those who practice the art, or with the profession itself. Few question their right to exist or their value.

The problem is the undue influence they wield as a result of the vast sums of money at their disposal, money that they pass both over and under the table into the eager hands of those we send to Washington to represent our interests. Worse is the fact that most of their contacts with Congress are cloaked in secrecy. Shut the spigot off, bring the contacts out into the sunshine, and "lobbyist" would no longer be a four-letter word.

Robert A. Shaw, Madeira Beach

A one-sided view

This columnist puts a very sugarcoated spin on lobbyists. He has some good points, but he totally ignores the bad side.

I spent a lot of time in Washington over a couple of decades. I've hired lobbyists and have been on both sides of lobbying efforts, some high-powered. I think I know a bit about lobbying and, yes, I have known lobbyists who are good and decent people — and some who are not.

Darryl Paulson is correct that lobbyists can be beneficial to lawmakers at times, as when they are educating and expressing constituents' point of view. He is also correct that all lobbyists represent a "special interest," but all special interests are not equal in influence, nor are all lobbyists equal in power.

Lobbyists also provide a lot more than "useful information." Sometimes the "information" is not factual. They do more than make presentations. They cajole, persuade and arm-twist. They bring influence, money and votes from those they represent. Some of that is legitimate, but too much is not.

Joe Crites, Clearwater

Candidates hone their messages | Feb. 4

Too quick to commit troops

After listening to David Jolly state that he would support armed intervention in Syria, I had to shake my head. As a Purple Heart recipient from Vietnam, I continue to be amazed by how some politicians are so cavalier about committing young men and women to war without batting an eye.

Greg Reed, Tierra Verde

Mentoring makes a difference Feb. 10, commentary

Help for bay area students

The Take Stock in Children school-based mentoring program described by Ann Romano provides motivation, guidance, coaching and scholarships to our youth to help break the poverty cycle. The Hillsborough Education Foundation and Pinellas Education Foundation match adult mentors with low-income, at-risk students to help them develop academic, social and life skills. A mentor's commitment of one hour a week can help a student complete high school, earn a scholarship and graduate from college.

The payback is a productive individual who is an asset to the community. You can make a difference by mentoring a Tampa Bay student who never dreamed of attending college.

Gene Pizzo, Tampa

Fighting for a fix | Feb. 10, letter

Leadership shortage

I am very pleased Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, is working so feverishly on his constituents' behalf. Perhaps his efforts would have been better applied and his constituents better served if he would have voted against Biggert-Waters in the first place.

Christopher Jenkins, Tampa

CVS won't sell tobacco | Feb. 6

Snuff out smoking

Bravo to CVS for phasing out tobacco altogether. Clearly, it is highly inconsistent for a health care company, complete with health clinics staffed by nurse practitioners, to be selling tobacco products. Recent reports indicate that the drugstore chain Walgreens is re-evaluating its policy.

These corporate changes are important steps toward making people decide not to smoke cigarettes, a deadly poison with no "up side" other than a momentary kick and the trap of warding off withdrawal effects of the same drug.

Michael S. Greenberg, Clearwater

Officers: Teens run wild | Feb. 11

Stop the troublemakers

As a high school teacher in Hillsborough County, I am not surprised by the violence at "fair day." While the vast majority of students are well-behaved, there is a significant minority who seem to invite trouble wherever they go. It seems more than obvious that if a large number of teens are let loose on their own, without parental guidance of any kind, trouble will ensue.

My students, reading Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451, pointed out a quotation from this novel when we talked about Friday's violence. One of the young characters says to the adult, "I'm afraid of children my own age. They kill each other. Did it always used to be this way?" The novel was written in 1953, but this statement appears to have been written today.

I know that "fair day" is supposed to be an economic boost for Hillsborough. However, there are only two solutions in my mind: Either require students to show up with adult supervision or, better yet, end "fair day" in Hillsborough.

Ronald Medvin, Tampa

Comments

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...
Updated: 7 hours ago

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

Thursday’s letters: Opioid bill could do more harm than good

Opioid bill opponents line up | Jan. 6Bill’s potential to harm patientsLegislators are proposing putting more restrictions on physicians’ ability to prescribe pain medications. Yes, the addiction problem is a serious one, and the law seems well-i...
Published: 01/08/18
Updated: 01/10/18