Monday, April 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Focus on Cuba's rights violations

Knock down U.S. barriers to Cuba | Jan. 31, editorial

Focus on Cuban rights violations

It is unconscionable that your editorial pushing for expanded U.S. diplomatic ties with Cuba fails to even mention Cuba's dismal human rights record, and in particular the unjust imprisonment of former U.S. subcontractor Alan Gross. Arrested in 2009, Gross is serving a 15-year prison sentence on bogus charges of passing "spy" equipment, i.e., telecommunications capability, to Cuba's tiny Jewish community aimed at putting them in touch with family and friends on the mainland.

While it is true that the U.S. has diplomatic relations with other "bad actors" in the human rights arena such as China and Saudi Arabia, we certainly have more clout with Cuba due to its dire economic situation and geographic proximity. The president has already given Cuba a free gift with his reversal of Bush-era travel restrictions. Why offer more incentives without first getting this minor concession — the freeing of an innocent American citizen — from our island neighbor purportedly seeking improved and expanded relations?

Evelyn Schreiber-Steckler, Safety Harbor

Path to a more secure retirement: myRA Jan. 31, commentary

Savings accounts exist for those who want them

I don't believe the waitress holding down two part-time jobs, the recent graduate now working, or the janitor who was never given the chance to invest in a retirement account need a new investment vehicle to help them save for retirement. Something very similar already exists. It's called a savings bank.

Maybe it would sound more attractive if we called it mySB. You don't need much money to open a savings account and you can add as little or as much as you can afford each payday. Most employers today have the capability to direct deposit a portion of an employee's net pay to a checking or savings account, or both. I don't see how myRA is going to change saving habits.

Richard Chichetti, Apollo Beach

Opening a can of worms

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama stated his intention to create a plan that will help the average American save more money for retirement. That is a fine idea — so far, so good.

In a column later that week in your paper, Jacob Lew, secretary of the treasury, put some meat on the bone. As usual with the Obama administration, this is where things start to come apart at the seams.

According to Lew, the adorably named myRA will allow a worker to contribute as little as $5 per week to a plan that will be administered by Washington and be invested in Treasury securities. Further, a participant may withdraw the funds, tax-free, at any time.

What is wrong with this? Let me count the ways. First, an investment solely in Treasury securities by anybody but the very elderly is too conservative to meet any meaningful retirement goals. Returns on this investment will be safe, but will trail alternate investments by miles over the long haul. Second, if the funds can be withdrawn at any time, they will be withdrawn, leaving nothing for retirement.

Finally, this plan gives even more cash to the federal government to spend today on things totally unrelated to myRA, leaving Al Gore's "lock box" empty, just like the Social Security lock box.

It's hard to fathom how this administration can mess up everything it touches — from Obamacare to something as simple as myRA.

Why can't they just leave us alone to take care of ourselves in the free marketplace?

Michael Hartman, Tampa

Amateur hour in the House | Jan. 31, Daniel Ruth column

Delete the invective

Daniel Ruth's column might just as well been headlined "Amateur hour in the White House" and featured Barack Obama's amateur status as a failed president and leader.

But do you think Ruth, the nasty-tongued liberal, could ever say anything negative about a liberal or anything good about a conservative? I bet half your readership would like to see the Times challenge Ruth to write a column about a conservative where the article must be just the facts and free from nasty name-calling such as "big smelly slab of cheese," "Everglades python eyeing a rabbit," or "can't find their own keisters." Ten bucks says he can't do it.

John W. Stuebs, New Port Richey

Two sides to SeaWorld boycott | Dec. 29

Amusement parks and zoos

In her column, Susan Thurston asks, "I wonder if Pat Benatar or the Beach Boys — musical acts that canceled shows at Busch Gardens over the controversy — have ever been to a zoo." Frankly, I would ask her the same thing.

Personally, I've been to many world-class zoos, including San Diego, and none of them do what SeaWorld and their ilk do, which is have their animals perform for the amusement of people. Most zoos actually try to perpetuate endangered/threatened species as well as educate people about the other life forms that also inhabit this planet. Reputable zoos don't make Jumbo do stupid pet tricks to teach people about the horrors of poaching and the ivory trade.

Thurston also states that "the sad reality is that humans have been doing cruel things to animals well before Shamu." Is that supposed to absolve these establishments of their actions? Bread and circuses were the way of the Roman Empire, not modern humankind. No creature should be made to live its life in captivity for the amusement of people.

Cheryl Applebaum, Tampa

Nice, but not necessary | Jan. 31, letter

Pathways to thought

A letter writer compared cursive writing as a required student skill to a dinosaur in search of a museum. I disagree.

Cursive writing opens up parts of the brain to different circuits that involve creativity; it is much faster than printing; and helps students to make connections. The writer needs to educate himself on this point and could start by talking to the educators who recommended it.

Priscilla Watkins, Homosassa

Comments

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18