Sunday, September 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Trim fat at EMS without paying consultant

Re: Panel has consultant in mind to reconfigure EMS coverage | story, July 11

Consultant is not needed to trim fat

Okay, here we go again. Is this the second, third, or fourth consultant study?

This newest one, Fitch and Associates, comes with a nearly $300,000 price tag! My EMS tax was raised last year, and we were told by County Administrator Bob LaSala that there would be no additional tax increases. Well here we are, another tax increase looming in our future, and a 300K consultant.

What was learned from the other consulting studies? What about Jeff Bernard's study a few years ago? A final product was never delivered. May we expect the same from Fitch and Associates?

As a resident and a consumer of Pinellas EMS service, I find this unacceptable. A little "fat trimming" on the bloated carcass we call EMS is long overdue. Eighteen fire departments, all with chiefs, assistant chiefs, division chiefs and deputy chiefs. A redundant private ambulance company. A County Commission that seems incapable of making a decision. County politics at it's finest, I must say.

Cut a few ambulances, cut a few fire department units, let fire departments transport 911-generated patients. I earnestly believe that a 1-2 minute longer response time would have little or no impact, as a majority of 911 calls are non-life threatening and are downgraded to non-emergency response after 911 interrogation.

I also wonder if a tax increase is granted — and it will be, mark my words — is it ever going to be decreased when the property tax revenue improves? I have never seen a tax go away. Once in place, always in place.

Don Richter, Palm Harbor

Re: Tax hike needed to cover EMS | story, July 1

Let's try a penny to pay for services

I just saw Pinellas County Administrator Robert LaSala's interview on Bay News 9 about a millage increase to cover some services like EMS, etc. I fully understand that these services are essential and must be funded. However, what I don't understand is why the homeowner is always targeted through property taxes to fund everything.

We have the Penny for Pinellas sales tax that covers capital improvement and equipment. Why could we not let the voters decide on a Penny for Pinellas operating fund? In this way, tourists, renters, recipients of public assistance and virtually everyone contributes to the services that they all use.

Some examples of why this is so unfair:

• A tourist from Minnesota is involved in an accident while on vacation in Florida. They require first responders (Fire Rescue) and transport to the hospital (Sunstar ambulance). The homeowner subsidizes both services.

• Some folks don't own cars and depend on the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority for transportation. I am a homeowner but have not ridden the bus in 50 years, yet I subsidize the PSTA. Again, a sales tax would result in everyone contributing, including me, but also the above group of non-home owners.

It is about time that people who buy into their community by purchasing a home stop footing the bill for those who don't. I'm not trying to avoid paying taxes. I would just like to see everyone share the burden.

David M. Hollingsworth, St . Petersburg

Re: Lose the car, but perk stays | story, July 12

End car perk, not fold it into salary

Sigh, here we go again. What part of "get rid of the car perk" didn't Clearwater get?

The whole reason for citizens asking — dare I say, demanding — that this giveaway be stopped was to save money, tax money, our tax money. If those "20 officials" don't want to give up the money, then perhaps it is time for them to move along to another job. That includes Bill Horne, the city manager who seems to have become far too complacent in his position.

Mr. Horne, you manage our city, the tax money of our city, and we want you to save some of our taxes from being spent in a way that we mere citizens feel is unreasonable.

Dave Cordes, Clearwater

A call to end all tax exemptions

Why will no one address the issue of nonprofits abusing the tax code and push for the elimination of all tax exemptions?

Religious organizations and nonprofits will own more and more tax-exempt property and pass the cost on to the general public. I should call myself a church and donate everything to it to escape taxes. Is that the answer?

William E. Mcpherson, Palm Harbor


Saturday’s letters: We need stats that reflect our lives

We’re measuring the economy all wrong | Column, Sept. 18We need stats that reflect our livesMajor news outlets have uniformly declared the U.S. economy to be sizzling, on fire. This column was correct in wanting us to take a second, hard l...
Published: 09/21/18

Monday’s letters: Dr. Robert Judson made great contributions to Pasco-Hernando State College

A pioneer in Pasco-Hernando education | Sept. 19Robert Judson pushed education forwardI had the pleasure of working with the late Dr. Robert Judson, the former president of what is now known as Pasco-Hernando State College, for many years. During...
Published: 09/21/18

Sunday’s letters: Inequality hurts democracy

We’re measuring the economy all wrong | Column, Sept. 18Democracy needs equalityEconomic inequality and the concentration of wealth have achieved levels beyond the comprehension of most American wage earners today. Income inequality has ri...
Published: 09/21/18

Friday’s letters: Florida’s workers aren’t reaping benefits of a booming economy

Scott didn’t put them to work | Sept. 16Florida workers not reaping the benefitsFlorida has just surpassed a GDP of $1 trillion. However, workers in Florida are not reaping the rewards. A new report released by anti-poverty organization Ox...
Published: 09/21/18

Thursday’s letters: For the sake of all involved, don’t rush the Kavanaugh vote

Delay Senate vote on Kavanaugh | Editorial, Sept. 18Don’t rush something that will last a lifetimeThe Senate Judiciary Committee finds itself in a sticky wicket. The committee should take a slow measured course of action. Trying to rush th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18

Wednesday’s letters: How home rule can help fight Red Tide

Red Tide on march | Sept. 18How home rule can help fight Red TideAt the end of 2005, as Red Tide ravaged the beaches and intracoastal waterways of Southwest Florida, volunteers from the Suncoast Sierra Club formed a coastal task force to begin de...
Published: 09/18/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18

Monday’s letters: Are we paying for the wrong kind of military today?

$1 trillion here and there | Letter, Sept. 16Are we buying the right defense?I am weary of politicians of all persuasions handing our military a blank check — in particular the conservatives who rail against budget deficits and want to cut discre...
Published: 09/14/18

Sunday’s letters: Many laws increase our liberty

‘General welfare’ includeshealth | Letter, Sept.15Someone will pay for itMany politicians are making Medicare for All the cornerstone of their campaign. Many think tanks even say the government will save money, but they neglect to say how.Medicar...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18