Saturday, June 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: A shift in attitudes on marijuana

Medical marijuana gets 82 percent support in new poll | Nov. 22

A shift in attitudes on marijuana

It has become abundantly clear that not only are Americans asking for medical marijuana in increasing numbers, more are speaking in favor of recreational marijuana. When does this become too lucrative for the federal government to ignore?

The war on drugs has not only been futile, it has been extremely expensive. In the poll reported by the Times, nearly half of Floridians favored recreational legalization. We live in an unequal America that supports medical marijuana in 21 states, two of which have legalized recreational marijuana. Dozens of other states have begun decriminalizing marijuana, and our nation's capital recently passed a law making simple marijuana possession no more serious than running a stop sign.

As Floridians and equal Americans, we should have a fair chance to vote on a matter that carries such heavy criminal penalties. There has been a shift in attitudes toward marijuana, and with state budget cuts hitting so deeply, it would behoove Florida politicians to embrace the inevitable.

Michael Downss, Tampa

Obama extends health care enrollment deadline | Nov. 23

Health care law is a new tax

I am a small-business owner, physician and father. Last week I received a letter from my health insurance company that said that I can keep my current plan for one more year. After that, my premium will nearly double and my coverage will be less. Although politicians will dance around calling the Affordable Care Act what it really is, I will not. It is a tax. It is also a major paradigm shift away from the basic tenets that have allowed small businesses in this country to prosper.

Since this country's inception, there has been a contest between capitalism and socialism. In a free-market, capitalist society, astute workers have hopes of attaining some degree of prosperity by what they bring to the marketplace. These workers recognize that they have a financial obligation to the state — taxes — to provide the basic community necessities (police, roads, etc.), but they also expect that there will be a financial reward to justify their labor. It's a carrot that needs to be waved in order for businesses to strive, succeed and prosper.

By contrast, the number of those who think their government should provide them with shelter, food and health insurance has grown. There are many people in the middle of these two viewpoints. There are those who have less than optimum access to the marketplace. There are many who have been denied access to this based on their situation.

A society prospers when it helps those who cannot help themselves but demands from its citizens that they be accountable for their lives and strive to succeed by the sweat of their endeavors. It is dangerous to expect less from ourselves and merely have the philosophy that by taking from those who have more, it will benefit those who have less.

Marc Rogers, Largo

Keep independent transit agency Nov. 23, letter

An extra layer of regulation

It always amazes me how the Republican Party preaches less government regulation and more competition — until they don't. In this case, it's Victor Crist's call for keeping an independent transit agency, an extra level of government regulation. Really, commissioner?

First, Hillsborough County is the only county in Florida that has such an agency. Every other county seems to be able to provide safe, clean public transportation without the added government oversight. As far as Crist's statement that there will be less transparency if Hillsborough County takes over the agency, Florida has Sunshine Laws. Certainly, Crist should know that, since he is a former state senator. If the county took over the transit agency, its records would be open to the public.

Elizabeth Belcher, Seffner

Leadership needed on phone fraud Nov. 24, editorial

Control phony charities

We can control "charities" that abuse people and the definition with a fairly simple legal change from Congress. Let us redefine the section of the tax laws that permit an organization to be exempt from income taxes to require annual proof that 65 percent or more of gross funds raised actually go to the described purpose.

Even the government spends only 25 percent of funds on overhead; surely we can require a "charity" to be nearly as effective.

Rolf Parta, Bradenton

Iran nuke deal signed | Nov. 24

Negotiation, not war

There are only two ways of dealing with the situation we are confronted with on Iran. Either we go to war and bomb the hell out of them, or we try the old-fashioned way and negotiate.

Logic and reason tell us the latter would be the best way go. History has taught us what war and its aftermath usually bring. There are no real winners.

I applaud what Washington and the other allies are doing. I hope good sense will prevail.

Jack Levine, Palm Harbor

A home, but no help | Nov. 24

Protect, respect our elderly

Bay Gardens is typical of the epidemic taking place in America today. The abdication of responsibility for our deserving elders who are in great need is morally and ethically against the values of our civilized society.

Yet this erosion of principles continues as our elected officials consider our elders disposable and not worthy of adequate funding for quality care.

America's elders are the reason this great nation has survived. We must acknowledge our responsibility to these members of society.

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill is a responsible and caring man who will do the right thing. Brian Lee is a nationally recognized champion of elder concerns and performs a much-needed public service for his fellow human beings.

The Associates of Elder Care Advocacy of Florida urge our elected officials to prioritize the corrective action needed to rectify these abysmal conditions at Bay Gardens.

Austin R. Curry, executive director, Elder Care Advocacy of Florida, Tampa


Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18