Friday, August 17, 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


Friday’s letters: I’ve lived in countries lacking a free press; you wouldn’t want to

Striving to keep truth flowingfor democracy | Editorial, Aug. 16I’ve lived in places lacking free pressMore than half my adult life I’ve lived, worked or studied in countries governed by dictators or authoritarian rulers in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ukr...
Published: 08/17/18

Monday’s letters: Why I left the Republican Party

Where is the blue wave of voters? | Aug. 14Why I left the Republican Party I clicked the button. Instantly I was no longer a Republican. I had believed we were experiencing a horrible hiccup in the history of the Grand Old Party. My party had sto...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: Cigars are bad for your health

Tobacco rules don’t suit premium cigars | Editorial, Aug. 13Xyxyx xyxy xyxy xyxy xyxy xyxxxThe argument made in this editorial to exempt the premium cigar industry from FDA scrutiny is, in essence: They are not cheap, they are not fruit-flavored,...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/15/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Aug. 17

Re: County authorizes takeover of SunWest Park | Aug. 10‘A poor idea from the startWith no fanfare whatsoever, we now have a new park that no one I know ever seems to use or even know where it is. If it is bringing hordes of tourists to our cou...
Published: 08/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Habitat should help the poor, not hurt them

Habitat lender choice blasted | Aug. 12Help, don’t hurt, poorAs a Habitat for Humanity admirer, donor and volunteer, I was disappointed to read how Habitat for Humanity’s Hillsborough County affiliate reportedly stumbled in delivering its mission...
Published: 08/10/18
Updated: 08/13/18

Monday’s letters: A gun or a vote: danger is relative

‘I went off the deep end’ | Aug. 10A gun or a vote: danger is relativeAt the demonstrable risk of having someone lose his fragile temper, grab his guns, storm out his door and speed to my home to shoot me for saying so (and why NOT, Florida Legis...
Published: 08/10/18

Sunday’s letters: July’s letter of the month is ‘Time for more civil debate.’

July letter of the monthTime for more civil debate"Politics" is an activity which involves power and control, arriving at decisions based on differing interests. Normally, leaders weigh the needs of the individual with the abilities of the country. C...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Saturday’s letters: A team effort made USF preeminent

USF and preeminenceA team effort vaulted USF The University of South Florida’s designation as a preeminent state research university is a prestigious accomplishment and a tribute to the hard work of faculty, staff and students and USF System Presiden...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Friday’s letters: Don’t let pollution be our legacy

Algae blooms amid cuts | Aug. 8Brown can’t be the new greenThis headline should have said "Republicans continue to pave their way across Florida, pollute the water supply and destroy animals and their habitat." The Republicans have controlled Tal...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/09/18

Wednesday’s letters: Girl’s drowning death is one of two tragedies

Mother: Dead girl now ‘pure’ | Aug. 7Two tragediesThis is another tragedy of a parent who became overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for an autistic child. But an equally bad sequence of events is likely to happen in the days and months t...
Published: 08/06/18
Updated: 08/07/18