Thursday, May 24, 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


Wednesday’s letters: Thanks to jurors for fulfilling civic duty

May is Juror Appreciation MonthThanks, jurors, for your serviceTrial by a jury of one’s peers is among the bedrock guarantees that make our representative democracy exceptional. Without it, the courtroom fates of defendants and civil litigants would ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: Heated chemotherapy won’t treat most ovarian cancers

Heated chemotherapy has promising results | May 16Cancer treatment not a cure-all While we were pleased to see the story about ovarian cancer treatment, we are concerned that the article could mislead many patients. The treatment described has be...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Wednesday’s letters: A princess gives us a lesson to live by

Royal treatment | May 21Princess offers advice for us allThe radiant and joyful Princess Anna Noela Lokolo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recent Eckerd College graduate, has given us a huge gift in her parting words. "If people have a negat...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/23/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4Angry mob rhetoric not helpfulWe have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiment...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant Opposed to the TECO solar plantAs a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18