Friday, November 17, 2017
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


Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Updated: 11 minutes ago

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Updated: 21 minutes ago

Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers

Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14Stop laying blame on teachersI am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. Sh...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Nov. 17

Questioning fees draws snarky responseYou are probably aware of the new Pasco utility fees that became effective last month.Under the dubious title of "convenience fee" for making utility payments by credit card or e-check, Pasco Utilities adds $2.75...
Published: 11/15/17

Wednesday’s letters: Generosity makes all the difference

National Adoption MonthThe difference generosity makesAs a football coach, I always had to be ready to overcome unexpected challenges. With injuries, crowd noise and especially weather, the game plan is always adjusting to overcome adversity.Our stat...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17

Monday’s letters: Moore is not fit for public office

Woman: Candidate pursued her as a teen | Nov. 10Moore is not fit for public officeIt is sad that Roy Moore, a self-professed religious man, is running for a Senate seat when he is clearly unfit for any job involving the public for so many reasons...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/13/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t fall for the tax cut ruse

Tax billDon’t take your eye off the ballThe rush is on. The Republican Congress is rushing to pass a modest tax cut for the middle class while giving corporations a massive tax cut. While taking away some of the tax deductions from ordinary taxpayers...
Published: 11/10/17

Sunday’s letters: End greyhound racing in Florida

Tom Lee wants to phase out greyhound racing | Nov. 8Put a stop to this cruel industryKudos to Sen. Tom Lee for shepherding a constitutional amendment to end greyhound racing in Florida. Greyhounds forced to race live in misery and frequently die ...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/10/17

Friday’s letters: Hillsborough school making strong progress

Hillsborough school district in financial, leadership crisis | Nov. 5, editorialSchool district’s achievementsWhile I respect the Times’ editors and acknowledge our district is facing financial challenges (facing them head-on, in fact), I feel it...
Published: 11/08/17
Updated: 11/09/17

Thursday’s letters: House bill not in patients’ best interests

Florida House Bill 81Bill not in patients’ best interestsFlorida legislators are considering a bill prohibiting hospitals and health plans from requiring board certified physicians to periodically demonstrate they are current with the latest advances...
Published: 11/07/17
Updated: 11/08/17