Sunday, February 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: A need for revenue, by whatever name

Tax hikes back on the table | July 6

A need for revenue, by any name

For over a year we have heard credible economists telling us we cannot cut spending enough to get balanced budgets — not at the local, state or federal levels.

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster is one of many leaders, including those in Europe, who are finally admitting more revenue is needed in addition to responsible spending. To kindly increase revenue, he could do like Gov. Rick Scott and other more experienced politicians, that is, call revenue-enhancing measures "tolls," "fees," "user fees," "assessments," "mandates," "penalties" or other terms that do not sound like tax increases. New or higher taxes are bad; tolls are good.

Additionally, if we allowed big, profitable corporations to pay their fare share of fees and assessments (see, no taxes) instead of giving them "incentives" that bypass contributing needed revenues, maybe we could start to see more money for schools, roads and other city services. Mr. Mayor, please do not raise taxes on citizens, then give away more incentives to big corporations.

Terry Hammonds, Dunedin

Woman survives leap from Skyway | July 6

Responsible reporting

Thanks to the Tampa Bay Times and reporter Michael Finch II for following many of the guidelines for responsible media reporting on suicide. The guidelines are intended to reduce the risk of additional suicides and encourage anyone who might be at risk of suicide to seek help.

Reporting should refrain from providing details about what the person did or how he or she did it, and offer hope by noting that suicide is a preventable public health issue. Many treatment options are available for mental health problems and substance abuse, found to be causes of suicide in a majority of related deaths.

The list of risks and warning signs in the sidebar is a partial one. Internet resources are available at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center ( for those who need additional information. Responsible reporting by the media saves lives. Thanks for doing your part.

Joanne Herrygers, Land O' Lakes

Weeny bit of smashing news July 6, Daniel Ruth column

Colliding with facts

I want to offer my congratulations to Daniel Ruth for getting the "Luddite of the Year" award for his column regarding the Higgs boson discovery. It was just awe-inspiring to see Ruth stand on the rooftops and proclaim "I don't understand science and neither should you!" There are many of us who understand what an amazing discovery this was in the world of particle physics, but Ruth is not among them.

It was laughable to see him relate that particle physics is learned in biology class, and that physicists are "petri dish types." C'mon, Dan, what high school did you attend? If you are going to diss the discovery, at least get your terms right!

Well, at least I can be thankful that Ruth wasn't around when Einstein published the theory of relativity.

Brian Hathaway, Valrico

The science of a smile

Daniel Ruth continues to be a breath of fresh air in a stale world. His views about the recent Higgs boson discovery perfectly expressed my feelings. I have no idea what a proton, photon, or even a futon is — I think that last one is for napping, right? However, I do know I can embrace my weekend with a smile on my face, thanks to Mr. Ruth.

Michael Harris, Safety Harbor

Health care act

Scott should follow law

Gov. Rick Scott has been making the media rounds vowing to ignore the steps that Florida must take to move forward with the new health care law. By ignoring the laws of the United States, he has not only broken his commitment to the people of Florida, he has made a mockery of his oath. And how many millions of taxpayer dollars did he waste fighting it?

Danielle Stutts, Tampa

Alabama lands Airbus plant | July 3

Florida lagging on jobs

Our fellow Southern states have been able to attract large, lucrative corporations that contribute substantial revenues to the tax base. Alabama's recent announcement that Europe's Airbus will build a factory in that state, along with South Carolina attracting Boeing and BMW, speaks loudly to how those states have been able to economically boost themselves through strong state government leadership.

Gov. Rick Scott and his Department of Economic Opportunity have not brought significant job growth or substantial corporate relocations since the last elections. Although the governor travels to Israel, Spain, etc., no real growth for Florida has occurred from his journeys.

In the next two years, the governor needs to lead and bring significant corporate start-ups or relocations. That is the only way Florida can keep with the economic engines of our neighboring Southern states.

Ron Frankel, St. Petersburg

Lifeguards are just that | July 7, editorial

Beware of the risks

Concerning the Hallandale lifeguard who was fired for leaving his assigned post to rescue a swimmer on a nonprotected beach, let me propose a hypothetical situation. Suppose a mother with a couple of children wanted to take her kids to the beach. Knowing her children can't swim well, she decides to take them to a beach where a lifeguard is on duty rather than another beach that's posted as nonprotected. While at the beach, one of the children is caught in a riptide and is washed out to sea. Unfortunately the child drowns because the lifeguard who's supposed to be watching this beach is off rescuing a swimmer on an unprotected beach where there's no lifeguard. Can you even begin to imagine the lawsuits against the city, the county, and the lifeguard company that would result from this event?

It's hard to tell a trained lifeguard that he's not allowed to go to the aid of a swimmer in trouble, but on the other hand, that lifeguard has an obligation to the people he's hired to protect. When people swim on beaches where there's no lifeguard on duty, they assume a certain elevated level of risk. They're aware of the risk when they go to that beach, and they must be prepared to accept the consequences of that decision.

A.T. Barnard, Beverly Hills


Sunday’s letters: Slogans won’t ensure safety

LegislatureSafety requires more than slogansOn Wednesday, our Florida House passed House Bill 839 requiring all public schools to post the state motto, "In God We Trust," in a "conspicuous place." The day before, the same Florida House declined to ev...
Published: 02/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Preserve home rule in Florida

LegislaturePreserve home rule in FloridaOn behalf of the members of Business Watch, a trade association for government contractors, I would like to voice our dismay over the Legislature’s wholesale attack on home rule. As local government contractors...
Published: 02/23/18

Thursday’s letters: Second Amendment is outdated

Second AmendmentCongress can act on firearmsThe Second Amendment is outdated, since it is predicated on the need for a "well regulated militia." Militias are defined as civilian soldiers trained under the command of competent military leadership. The...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/22/18

Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18