Thursday, March 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Children's health at risk from climate change

Urgent call to action on climate | May 8, editorial

Climate affects children's health

The National Climate Assessment released last week should be a call to action for the United States. We must take steps to reduce carbon pollution or face increasingly dire public health consequences that are already beginning to mount.

I've been practicing pediatric medicine for more than 35 years and I've seen a worrisome decline in children's health over this time. When I started practicing, most of the children I saw for well-child care were healthy. But over the past decade, I've noticed a real change. More infants and children are developing significant health issues — from early-onset, difficult-to-control asthma and allergies to increasing behavioral, developmental and learning disabilities issues.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism and other disorders of brain development are identified in around 1 in 68 children in the United States, a tenfold increase in 40 years. Scientific studies have linked mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants to increases in developmental disorders.

The last year I practiced full-time, it was rare to find a child who was really, totally healthy. I believe the environment is playing a huge part in the changes I've witnessed.

The National Climate Assessment confirms that climate change is causing a host of public health issues. Asthma and allergy cases are rising because of an increase in ground-level ozone and pollen caused by higher temperatures and longer growing seasons. These temperatures are driven by higher concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere.

Our young children, with their developing lungs, brains and other organs, are most vulnerable. We must act now to blunt these serious impacts.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to release proposed standards to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants. These plants are the United States' largest source of carbon pollution.

If the EPA's new rule is strong and properly enforced, it will have a major, measurable effect on the health and well-being of our children.

Lynn Ringenberg, M.D., Tampa

SunRail system up and running | May 1

Subsidies required

It is great that SunRail is finally running. However, no matter how successful it is, the cost of maintaining the tracks and equipment will always exceed the fares. This is true even for the newest trains in the rest of the world. England's privately owned passenger trains make money for their owners, but the government has recently identified a 32 billion pound deficit in track maintenance cost that will have to be absorbed.

A train like SunRail operating on the CSX track from Tampa to Orlando would fill a real need, and a light rail line from the Tampa Union Station to the airport would be the beginning of a modern rail system.

In all such cases, government money will have to subsidize it.

Robert A. Stanton, Seminole

Bullying charges at age 5? Maybe | May 10

Use a little judgment

We're all for ending bullying, but the proposed law in Carson, Calif., is ridiculous.

Kid A, age 6, calls Kid B a poopyhead during recess. Mom B doesn't like Mom A, so she brings charges that Kid A "frightened" (or intimidated or harassed) her kid.

So Mom A is subject to a fine and will "realize her child needs help."

Again, we're all for ending bullying. But let's be reasonable about it.

Ernest Lane, Trinity

Selective histories | May 9, letter

Dissecting the differences

The letter writer asked a fair question about Benghazi and why all the embassy attacks that occurred while George W. Bush was president are not mentioned as comparison, and she deserves an answer.

First, all those attacks were from explosives set off at the buildings' perimeter or main entrance — not a full-scale assault that overran the compound.

Second, those killed were low-level personnel. At no time was the ambassador, the most protected person, in danger.

Third, there were no reports of increased security being asked for at any of the bombed facilities and not only refused but decreased instead.

Finally, for all those incidents the Bush administration was up front immediately about calling them terrorists attacks. They did not try to cover them up by claiming they were something like an accidental explosion from a natural gas line.

Eric Greenbaum, Tampa

Universe's evolution shown in great detail May 8

How, but not why

Again, science has come up with another tool to explain how the universe was created. Unfortunately it has yet to answer the most important philosophical question of all time: Why was the universe created?

Bill Grom, Gulfport

Edwards: Rowdies could leave | May 10

Bring back baseball

The efforts with regard to Al Lang Stadium should be directed toward returning spring training baseball to St. Petersburg, rather than turning it into a permanent soccer facility. I am not anti-soccer, but to deny our history when it comes to baseball is to deny one of the most valuable assets that we have.

I appreciate Bill Edwards' commitment to our city, but these are not benevolent gestures. If there was not potential profit to be made there would be no deals.

Spring training baseball used to be a vital part of our economy. St. Louis fans had retired here to be near their Cardinals. I admittedly do not have alternatives for a Rowdies venue, but surely Al Lang is not the only option. Bring back spring training baseball. Al Lang Stadium should be restored, not renovated.

Bruce Caplan, Redington Beach

Crist: Cuba policy a failure | May 10

A little help …

If Charlie Crist does go to Cuba, perhaps he can find and bring back a couple of hitters who can drive in runs for the Rays.

Dan A. Sparks, Redington Beach


Thursday’s letters: School safety requires funding

Constitution Revision CommissionSchool safety requires fundingThe Constitution Revision Commission should consider amending a proposal (45, 93 or 72) to allocate the necessary recurring funding for the new school safety mandates, separate from the ba...
Published: 03/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Let the teachers decide on guns

Trump touts arming staff as key in plan for school security | March 12It’s the teacher’s call on weaponsPlease, let’s try an alternate view about guns in the classroom. First, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the preponderance of letters about guns ...
Published: 03/20/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Published: 03/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Published: 03/19/18

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18