Thursday, July 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Bill provides clear rideshare framework

Rideshare bill merits Scott veto | April 21, editorial

Bill gives consumers protection

This editorial grossly mischaracterizes the ridesharing legislation that passed the Florida Senate last week after four years of deliberation and debate. The bill replaces today's patchwork of inconsistent local rules — some of which were designed to protect entrenched industries from competition — with a clear statewide framework. It requires ridesharing companies to perform driver history and criminal records checks on driver applicants, outlines crimes that would disqualify someone from driving, and provides clear rules for insurance and consumer protection.

On Wednesday, I took an Uber trip from Miami to Palm Beach. The driver, Michael, told me that he sees Uber as a "godsend" that has allowed him to continue to pay his bills after a sudden job loss while being able to deal with the disposal of his late father's assets during the day. No one benefits when drivers like Michael are subject to three separate sets of local ridesharing rules on a single trip that happens to pass through three counties.

States wishing to remain competitive and ensure continued economic growth should tailor ridesharing regulations to the realities of the marketplace without closing off future innovation.

That's what 40 other U.S. states have done. Florida's leaders should be commended for following suit.

Colin Tooze, director of public affairs, Uber Technologies, Washington, D.C.

Financial Literacy Month

Personal finance education

April is Financial Literacy Month, when our country seeks to increase public awareness about the importance of sound personal financial management. A national organization known as C.A.R.E. — Credit Abuse Resistance Education — is particularly concerned with raising the money management intelligence of our older teenagers and young adults and their families.

C.A.R.E. recently raised its platform from a grass-roots initiative started by one bankruptcy judge in New York to a full-fledged nonprofit civic organization with nationwide volunteer outreach and online content, such as slide presentations and other materials. C.A.R.E. operates in all 50 states and is available in the Tampa Bay area.

Led by volunteers who are members or affiliates of the Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association, C.A.R.E. presentations have been occurring here since 2007. Our most recent presentation occurred in Tampa at the Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, to about 250 students. Our volunteers are ready to help middle and high school students, civic or other community associations, and other groups understand how to make smart financial decisions on budgeting, credit and student loans. The presentation content complies with the national standards in K-12 personal finance education, and each module takes 45 minutes to present.

Having seen a C.A.R.E. presentation at her school, one high school senior observed, "It seems like what we thought we knew about credit going into the presentation was all misleading information that we just got from ads and the Internet. I think it influenced everyone's future decisions about credit.''

Local C.A.R.E. ambassadors will provide a presentation for any organization's members, young or old. The presentations are free, and we won't try to sell you a thing. We want you to hold on to your money! Go to this website to request a visit: (scroll all the way down to "Request Now").

Catherine Peek McEwen, Tampa

The writer is a bankruptcy judge in Tampa and is a member of the C.A.R.E. board of directors.

Illegal immigration pitfalls | April 21, letter

Immigrant crime rate low

The National Bureau of Economic Research has documented low rates of involvement in criminal activities by immigrants. Undocumented immigrants over many years are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States.

With that in mind, why would the Times publish this letter emphasizing "gang violence, drug smuggling, murder and rape" by immigrants?

Florence Laureira, Hudson

Mass transit

Light rail won't work here

It's true that rail transportation is needed in large cities where many residents live in high-rise apartments within walking distance to a rail station. Also, these areas have very little parking available for cars and trucks. This is not true in the Tampa Bay area, where we mostly live in homes or condos and if we had light rail, it would be necessary to drive to the rail station, defeating the purpose of getting cars and trucks off the roads. Further, we have adequate parking available.

Driving is much better now with some road work already completed, and plans are already on the board to improve traffic infrastructure. The residents on both sides of the bay have already said no to light rail, and this should put an end to this subject. Light rail is being pushed by greedy business owners in downtown St. Petersburg, like the owners of sports teams.

Many Tampa Bay residents are winter visitors and seniors who will not give up their cars, nor will they drive to a rail station to take light rail to a destination nearby.

Chuck Graham, Pinellas Park

Sewage discharges

Negative effects persist

As a native Floridian who grew up on Boca Ciega Bay, I have always kept an eye on this body of water. I recall the endless jumping of mullet as a kid, seeing plenty of blue crabs, and an abundance of trout, snook and redfish. I went fishing recently in my usual spot and it was immediately apparent that our beloved bay is sick. The bottom (and seaweed) was covered with silt and muck, and no fish were jumping.

I believe the sewage dump from last summer is still having an effect on our bay that may have negative ramifications for years to come. We're watching you, city of St. Petersburg (and surrounding cities), to make sure this never happens again.

Brett Hayman, St. Petersburg


Friday’s letters: Trump’s excuses about Helsinki

Trump got tripped up | July 18A dangerous mix-up for a presidentPresident Donald Trump would have us believe that he misspoke when he stood on the world stage with Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed belief in Putin rather than the una...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: Watch what Trump does ... and what he says

Trump sides with Putinover U.S.A. | Editorial, July 17 Watch what he does — and what he says, too Anyone who still takes issue with the allegation that Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president need only look at his shameful and ...
Published: 07/16/18
Updated: 07/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: Leave fireworks to the professionals

Nobody is scaring birds with fireworks | Editorial, July 16Leave fireworksto the professionalsThe situation with fireworks has gotten completely out of control. I was at Curtis Hixon Park on the Fourth of July, and numerous people were exploding ...
Published: 07/16/18
Updated: 07/17/18

Monday’s letters: Make investment in the Rays an actual investment with an actual return

Paying for ballpark will take teamwork | Editorial, July 12An actual return on investmentMuch attention has been given to the cost of the proposed Rays stadium in Ybor City and who will foot the bill. The three-legged stool of the Rays, the busin...
Published: 07/12/18
Updated: 07/16/18

Sunday’s letters: Stop burning of sugar cane near the Everglades

Florida’s land of black snow | Bill Maxwell column, July 1Don’t burn sugar cane, periodIn this column, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King got a lot of things right about how sugarcane burning negatively impacts the Glades communities w...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Saturday’s letters: The dangerous days before Roe vs. Wade

The reality of back-alley abortions | Column, July 11The dangerous days before RoeI am a 71-year-old retired nurse. I still remember when abortion was illegal and birth control was restricted to married women in the United States. In 1983, I set ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/14/18

Thursday’s letters: The Rays’ Ybor City stadium will be magnificent

Rays’ big dream is small ballpark | July 11The new stadium will be gorgeousI had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of the Tampa Bay Rays "next-generation, neighborhood ballpark." I was blown away. As an 18-year resident of Tampa Bay, and ma...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/12/18

Wednesday’s letters: Let’s prepare Florida’s next generation for the jobs that have been created yet

Make Florida’s workforce globally competitivePrepare for jobs not yet createdIf you aren’t amazed by the speed at which technology is changing our world, just think back 20 years. Would you have imagined cellphones with the capabilities of a laptop c...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/11/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for July 13

Re: School meals for all students | July 6 storyParents should pay for their ownThat article really got me to thinking ... why can’t parents feed and care for their own children? When did it become others’ responsibility to do this? No one fed our th...
Published: 07/09/18

Tuesday’s letters: It’s great that Tampa’s Democratic mayor works with a Republican governor

Dems wary of Scott, Buckhorn bromance | July 8It’s not partisan to look out for TampaThe focus of a mayor should be on success in his jurisdiction, no matter the partner, for the citizens who live in his area of responsibility. Mayor Bob Buckhorn...
Published: 07/06/18
Updated: 07/10/18