Monday, June 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Election results and the law

Electors have a moral obligation | Dec. 19, letter

Follow the law in U.S. elections

I have been astounded and deeply dismayed by reports of the inability of a large number of liberals to accept the results of our presidential electoral process, but none has been as unsettling as this letter's comment: "In effect, (the Electoral College electors) have an obligation to save the populace from itself." What a frightening assertion.

It comes as a conclusion to a hollow argument that begins with references to the Constitution (the law), but quickly shifts to the Federalist Papers when law does not take the writer where he wants to go. When this tack also leaves him hanging, he settles on a "moral obligation" as the rationale for skirting the law, a slippery slope that fortunately is trumped (no pun intended) by "black letter law" every time.

Kenneth Beckham, Tampa

Tax credit scholarships save Floridians money | Dec. 20, commentary

Profit motive problems

What the writer neglected to say is that those Floridians saving money are not Florida taxpayers. What the tax credit scholarship program does is divert tax dollars that would otherwise go into the state treasury into the pockets of for-profit charter school corporations while seeming to enable children from poor families to obtain a better education than that provided by public schools.

Those diverted tax dollars amounted to $418 million for the 2015-16 school year and will be up to $559 million during the 2016-17 school year.

Here's how the program works. Every dollar a business donates to the scholarship program reduces that business' Florida income tax and other tax liabilities by the exact amount donated. So it isn't a donation; it is a transfer of business tax money from the Florida treasury into the pockets of for-profit charter school owners. That converts what appears to be a noble endeavor into a profitmaking endeavor.

Supporters of the program hide behind pretty words (scholarship), branding promises (Excellence in Education) and accounting sleight of hand ($5,886 vs. $7,178 means a taxpayer saving of $1,300 for each student). Part of that per pupil difference is taxpayer underwriting of charter school capital investment, which is suspected of being the main reason that major real estate investors love taxpayer-subsidized for-profit charter schools.

The issue that needs to be addressed is the evisceration of our public schools in order to enrich the owners of for-profit charter schools under the guise of improving education through school reform. A 2009 Stanford University study showed that 17 percent of charters reported academic gains better than public schools, 46 percent reported no significant difference and 37 percent showed academic gains that were worse than public schools. That is not a valid basis for dismantling our public school system or diverting tax money into the pockets of for-profit charter school owners.

Len Deadman, Clearwater

You won, now welcome to hell | Dec. 22, commentary

When will whining end?

Just when you think the whining is about over, you publish this column by Kathleen Parker. She starts by acknowledging her absolute disdain for Donald Trump. She is even blames recent terrorist incidents on Trump who, in case she hasn't noticed, is not yet president.

She claims as fact that Trump will not fulfill any of his campaign promises and she sees no reason he would even run for the office. Could it be he has witnessed the past eight years of stagnation with President Barack Obama's administration? Obama's only accomplishment was the abomination of a health care program headed for the trash heap. He has succeeded in dividing the country as never before, has stifled the economy, has set the Mideast on fire and virtually killed the morals of our country.

This is Trump's starting point. Keep that in mind as he tries to right the wrongs of the past eight years. I'm sure you'll have an open mind.

Don Niemann, Seminole

Electoral College

We can't do this again

Among the many nightmares in the future that face us, perhaps one of the most terrible is the certainty that in just four years, the whole hideous political drama will be repeated.

It's bad enough that our people are so savagely divided by ideas and opinions. To have that division exaggerated by our states' division into red and blue only turns that distrust and hatred up a notch, like a return to the bad old days of slave states and free states — and we all know where that led.

We need to get rid of the Electoral College and enter an era where each person's vote will have equal value. We need to commit to honoring the popular vote and attempting to heal our country.

Travis Sherman, St. Petersburg

2017: fiery Florida | Dec. 22

Sound the alarm

Climatologists say we are very dry and in danger of severe fires. I wonder how much help we will get from Gov. Rick Scott on this. After all, climatologists are the same people who say climate change is happening. And Scott's reaction is to say he is not a scientist, deny it's happening and call sea level rise in Miami "nuisance flooding."

If Florida starts burning up, is he going to call that nuisance dryness?

Russ A. Johnson, Hudson

Constitution Revision Commission

Learn about the process

The Leagues of Women Voters of the Tampa Bay area support citizen involvement in the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, scheduled to begin in the summer of 2017. Citizens can request to be appointed to the commission, testify at public hearings around the state, and be active in the campaigns regarding passage of the amendments that are finalized.

The leagues are sponsoring a public forum to learn more about the commission on Jan. 7 at 1:30 p.m. at the Dunedin Public Library, 223 Douglas Ave. We welcome you to join us.

Karen Marie Karinja, Clearwater

Comments

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 ...
Updated: 10 hours ago

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...
Updated: 10 hours ago

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...
Updated: 12 hours ago

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

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18