Friday, December 15, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: As deaths rise, time to ban texting

Driver texting ban advances | March 8

As deaths rise, time to ban texting

There are more than 350 laws that motorists must obey on Florida's roads. But the law is silent on whether drivers can careen down the interstate at 70 mph, typing with both thumbs while holding on to cellular devices. Eyes, of course, are glued to a tiny screen.

It is a strange silence because the death and destruction is so widespread that there has been no time for law enforcement to even study or measure it. However the anecdotal and statistical evidence is piling up and crying out for action.

Nationally, deaths of 16- and 17-year-old drivers in traffic accidents in the first six months of 2012 were up a combined 19 percent over the same period in the previous year, according to a February report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. Although the reasons are not yet confirmed, the increase is all the more alarming because the state and national trend is for fatalities to decline.

Call, email or write your legislator and Gov. Rick Scott. Ask them to ban texting while driving now while the Legislature is in its annual 60-day session. Florida should not lag behind the nation in protecting all motorists from this senseless devastation on our roads.

Kevin Bakewell, senior vice president, Auto Club Group, Largo

A life of honor, service March 8, Daniel Ruth column

An inspiring tribute

Daniel Ruth is one of my favorite columnists. I greatly enjoy his eloquent sarcasm and his keen, insightful observations on the human scene. It's always fun to read a writer who mocks the famous, the self-satisfied, the "phony."

And yet I think I have never read so fine a summing up of a prominent life than Ruth gives us in his essay on the late Fred Karl. When there is so much to bemoan about politicians, how refreshing to see an exemplary, full, rich life memorialized. Thank you, Daniel Ruth, for inspiring your readers and renewing our faith in our fellow human beings.

Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon

Partisan presentation

The front page of Friday's edition is an excellent example of how partisan the media has become. Articles on Jeb Bush and Gov. Rick Scott appeared with headlines of less than stellar wording, while an article about Fred Karl pretty much awarded him martyr status. Bush and Scott are Republicans; Mr. Karl was a Democrat.

Daniel Ruth went ahead and awarded Mr. Karl sainthood. We can forgive Ruth because his article appeared in the op-ed section. I do not wish to detract from Mr. Karl's legacy; it's your paper's presentation I have a problem with.

Dave Helper, Tierra Verde

Giffords lobbies for background checks March 7

Paying for checks

As I understand it, Democratic senators are asking for background checks on all gun sales, even those by private citizens like myself. Who will conduct the background check and who will pay for it? If I want to offer a $250 handgun for sale in a Tampa Bay Times classified ad, will I want to tack on the cost and hassle of a background check, or will I just manage the sale "under the table"?

If the laws requiring registration by private citizens outside gun shows are being proposed, let's hear how they will address my right to sell my antique, nonworking 1857 Pocket Model percussion revolver to my neighbor.

Harvey Smith, Palm Harbor

Alternative to Medicaid grips GOP lawmakers | March 7

Healthy disrespect for sick

It's interesting that a legislative committee has acted against the governor and against Floridians with regard to accepting federal Medicaid help. If you were sick and given opportunity to have three years of care and 90 percent coverage thereafter, there would be no question. Apparently, these legislators have never been sick.

Louise Raterman, Temple Terrace

They can't say yes

We find ourselves being "governed" by part-time legislators who are in Tallahassee for two months, who are still ideologically transfixed against anything having to do with Obamacare, who don't have a clue of what they would do to bring health care to those who can't afford it or are so sick they can't be covered under private insurance — but nonetheless, they just can't say yes to accepting the federal dollars that would keep people alive.

The chairman of the committee that killed the bill in the House, Rep. Richard Corcoran, thinks that creating a new health care system that would be an alternative to Medicaid "is like building a house." Except that it's nothing like building a house. It's not something you can draw up and build while you are chatting with your buddies in Tallahassee for a couple of months.

Gary Gibbons, Tampa

Insurance bill clears hurdle | March 8

Homeowners bear brunt

The Florida Legislature is again reforming Citizens homeowners insurance. Every time they reform Citizens, my rates go up and my coverage is reduced. They are going to reform me right out of buying homeowners insurance.

The Republicans in the Legislature are "depopulating" Citizens. They do not want Citizens "undercutting private insurers." In 2012, insurance industry profits were at record levels and so were political donations by insurance companies. We homeowners do not stand a chance.

Lynn W. Lindeman, Hudson

Berry blitz | March 8

Wasteful entertainment

Several times a year, we see pictures of people in food-eating contests. Most recently, the Times printed a photo of a strawberry shortcake contest at the Florida Strawberry Festival.

The amounts of food the contestants attempt to consume are much more that one person needs in a day, much less one sitting. While these contests can be entertaining, I feel they are a wasteful use of food. With large numbers of people going hungry, the food from these contests could be put to better use by providing meals or, in the case of strawberry shortcakes, special treats, to those less fortunate.

Debbie Roth, Clearwater


Friday’s letters: Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes

GOP plan favors owners | Dec. 11Perils of small business ownersI wonder if the author of this article has even a clue about owning a business. Businessmen — especially small business owners — risk it all. They risk their savings, their car, their...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17