Saturday, April 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Risks of unbridled building

Letter of the Month

August's winning letter addressed freedom of speech.

Unpopular, offensive, protected

Defending free speech is hard. It means that speech and actions that are offensive and hateful are protected. From the speech of Richard Spencer to the multimillion-dollar athletes sitting out the national anthem to the offensive racist and misogynistic rap lyrics and the burning of the United States flag, as abhorrent and hateful as these words and actions are, they are all protected under the First Amendment.

It is easy to defend words and actions that are popular, but a truly free democracy requires the protection of all speech or our country becomes nothing more than an authoritarian state. As one has seen over the past week, once-acceptable statues, markers, street and school names are no longer acceptable. Next time it will be different statues, markers, street and school names. So for those who think this purging is a good thing, then when it happens again to historical figures that are venerated today but not in the future, remember that you thought it was a great idea when it affected others.

One can protest, ignore and or boycott the speech and actions that are hateful and offensive. Violent protest, however, is not acceptable regardless of the views of the protagonist.

Anne Kraus-Keenan, Spring Hill

Harvey's lessons | Sept. 1, commentary

Unbridled building

When I read that "Houston provides a case study in sprawl, and quite frankly, dumb growth," I was immediately reminded of the County Commission's decision in Pasco County to allow development of housing on the Quail Hollow Golf Course. The editorial continues, "Houston is famous for giving a free hand to developers, and that has severely constricted flood controls, both natural and man-made."

Just over a year ago, FEMA mitigated the purchase of our home on Quail Hollow Boulevard following flooding from Hurricane Frances and, specifically, Tropical Storm Debby. Since our home's construction in the late '60s, massive amounts of fill dirt were brought in to build newer, neighboring homes, a small townhome complex and a large golf course community — effectively creating a basin around our home.

Residents of the golf course community currently face the same kind of resignation we had to face because the Quail Hollow Neighborhood Citizens Group Inc. was unsuccessful, mid August, in its attempt to solicit legal fees and appeal the commission's decision. They are acutely aware of what more roofs and concrete will mean to the floodplain they call home. I shared photos with the group of the devastation to our property from 2004 through 2014 — hoping they'd make an impact on county officials.

Virginia Lieberman, San Antonio


Help our own first

The United States has a foreign aid budget totaling $50.1 billion. The leaders are Afghanistan at $4.7 billion, Israel at $7.5 billion and Jordan at $1 billion. The people in Texas, victims of Hurricane Harvey, are suffering. It is time to cut back on these exorbitant outlier charities and help the people of Texas. Charity begins at home.

John J. Tischner, Dunedin

Electrical hazards

The tragic electrocutions of flood help volunteers in Houston leads to a question for our Florida electric utilities: Do you have the means to turn power off in areas subject to flooding? Do you have a system in place to remotely detect downed power lines and to kill the current feeding them? If not, why not?

And for people evacuating — turn the power off at main breaker box in your house on the way out. Yes, the food in your refrigerator will perish. That's far cheaper than your lives, the lives of emergency responders, or even your house if the combination of electricity and water causes a fire.

Rolf H. Parta, Bradenton

DACA's end confirmed | Sept. 6

Return on investment

One thing I hear rarely mentioned about the Dreamers is the public money that has been spent to educate 800,000 students. It must be in the billions of dollars. By all accounts, the Dreamers have grown up (or are growing up) to be fine and productive members of our society.

Aside from humanitarian concerns about sending these people back to places unknown to them, give them a chance to return our investment.

Charles M. Phillips, Tarpon Springs

N. Korea claims hydrogen bomb | Sept. 3

Safety depends on respect

North Korean leaders have access to our media outlets and read and hear daily attacks by many in the media and some in Congress describing President Donald Trump as unstable and unfit to be president. Character attacks by the media on the leader of the free world give rogue countries like North Korea the impression that we are led by a weak, unfit president. Our nation's safety depends on the media and Congress having respect for our country's president.

How can we expect rogue nations with nuclear weapons to have respect for our president when the media calls him unfit? The media plays a major role in how we are perceived by other countries. It is time for the media to return to "fair and constructive criticism."

Patricia Jenkins, St. Petersburg

Kenyan court orders new vote | Sept. 2

Do it right — or do it over

In the last 20 years, the United States has had two presidential elections with irregularities yet no "rerun."

I commend Kenya's Supreme Court for invalidating the result of last month's presidential election and standing up for democracy rather than saying, "Let's get over it for the sake of democracy."

Larri Gerson, Dunedin


Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18

Saturday’s letters: Health Department should butt out

Judge: Grow pot, Mr. Redner | April 12Health officials should butt outThe Times reports that the Florida Department of Health filed an appeal to the decision allowing a man who is a Stage 4 lung cancer survivor to grow pot in his backyard for his ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18