Friday, January 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Issue advertising not subject to campaign limits

Mystery money corrupts campaign | July 13, editorial

Issue ads a matter of free speech

In this editorial you suggest that American Commitment's free speech right to criticize Sen. Bill Nelson's record is dependent on the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. But the Supreme Court made clear in 1976's Buckley vs. Valeo that issue advertising is not subject to campaign finance restrictions.

Unfortunately, dubious pronouncements made authoritatively have become a habit for the Times.

For instance, it is a simple, undeniable fact that the health care law passed with exactly 60 votes for cloture, the minimum required. Thus every vote was decisive, and had a single Senate Democrat, such as Nelson, voted "no" it could not have passed. Anyone who would allege, as you have, that any of the 60 was not the deciding vote is a partisan apologist, not a fact-checker.

The relevant Supreme Court decision that confirmed our constitutional right to protect the privacy of our supporters was not Citizens United but the landmark 1958 case NAACP vs. Alabama, which found that membership organizations have a right to protect the anonymity of their supporters because forced disclosure would risk retribution that could chill their free speech rights.

Given the willingness of some in the media to coordinate with outside pressure groups to intimidate and silence critics of the Obama administration, such protection is more vital than ever.

Phil Kerpen, president, American Commitment, Washington, D.C.

Most voters oppose health care law | July 13

Distortions skew result

It's not surprising that a slight majority of Florida voters oppose the Affordable Care Act. According to a recent Kaiser health reform quiz, only 25 percent of respondents know that the law does not require small businesses with fewer than 50 employees to provide health insurance. Only 27 percent know that the law does not create a government-run insurance plan to be offered along with private plans. While almost everyone feels strongly one way or the other about the ACA, respondents scored less than 50 percent on five of the 10 questions, in some cases dismally less.

That Americans scored so pathetically low on such a politically charged issue is testament to the efficacy of the Republican campaign of misinformation, distortion and outright lies regarding the ACA. See, for example, "death panels," "government takeover," "job killer," "largest tax increase in history," among many other pejorative — and inaccurate — terms.

Charles Stewart, New Port Richey

They've got theirs

I find it ironic that in your poll, the greatest opposition to the Affordable Care Act comes from those over 65. This very group has been enjoying a government health care program, Medicare, since 1965! Can you imagine the uproar if there was a movement to repeal that?

Peter McLean, Riverview

Good first step

I think this law is a good first step, though not perfect. I am already holding a rebate check from an insurance company as a consequence of the act.

I think the Democrats have to educate the public better — a none-too-easy task, I concede.

Sahasra Naman, Tarpon Springs

Quiet respect for two bay area sons | July 13

Fitting tribute

Thank you, Tampa Bay Times, for using Page 1 to honor those American patriots who fought and died beside our nation's banner in Afghanistan. The roadside bombing that took the lives of Army Staff Sgt. Ricardo Seija, Spc. Clarence Williams III and four other Americans was tragic. God bless them and their loved ones.

If I could speak to our fallen heroes, I would tell them:

Whenever Old Glory falls to the ground in flames, I will think of you, my friends. I will share your sorrow and your pain. For you are the blood and soul of our nation. You are every flag waving in the wind all across our beloved land.

Tony D'Andrea, Largo

Sheriff shoots down NRA's inane quiz July 13, Daniel Ruth column

Right on target

Daniel Ruth hit the nail on the head as he illustrated that the NRA's questionnaire is designed to get a specific response from the person seeking political office. The NRA can use the submitted answers as a tool to rally its members to oppose and criticize politicians who do not support its extremist gun legislation.

Ruth was perhaps too kind when he called the biased questionnaire "half-baked." A more accurate picture is clever, manipulative and intimidating. Hats off to Ruth for exposing this propaganda tool used against politicians who are more concerned about gun safety issues than caving in to the NRA's agenda.

Tom Burke, Clearwater

Steel to curtain the RNC | July 13

Be on best behavior

How sad to think that we have to go to such great lengths to protect our citizens from one another. I pray that no one becomes so enraged by whatever is said or is going on that a fence will be needed.

I know the threat of terrorism is always going to be a way of life now. I just hope hosting the RNC does not bring out the worst in our own citizens.

Sabina Harshbarger, St. Petersburg

China-made U.S. Olympic uniforms cause furor | July 13

A matter of national pride

I was furious when I heard our Olympians will be wearing made in China uniforms in London. It is an insult to our athletes. China is one of the worst civil rights violators in the world.

Where is our national pride? And who are the goofs who made this decision?

Ray Gilliam, Clearwater

Rays attendance

TV option is too attractive

To increase attendance, the Rays need to stop televising every home game. They should only televise road games. Why would people in this low-wage market fight the traffic, pay to park, purchase a ticket and pay $13 for a beer and hot dog when they can watch the game in the comfort of their own living room?

Tom Plate, Largo

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Friday’s letters: Help for boaters against modern-day ‘pirates’

Marine towing and salvageHelp against modern-day piracyAs an avid recreational boat owner and sixth-generation Floridian, I know there’s no better way to enjoy our state’s spectacular waters than taking your boat out. Unfortunately, the fun of boatin...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18

Thursday’s letters: All Americans need health care

Doctor: Trump got perfect score on cognitive test | Jan. 17All Americans need health carePresident Donald Trump’s extensive health exam has apparently declared him physically fit for office. As I was reading about the battery of tests he received...
Published: 01/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: St. Petersburg’s culture, vibrancy impresses

St. PetersburgImpressive culture and vibrancyI recently visited Tampa Bay and celebrated New Year’s weekend in downtown St. Petersburg. I was awestruck by what I encountered and experienced. It has been several years since I last visited, and the tra...
Published: 01/16/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Jan. 19

Re: Walking leads to shocking catalogue of trash | Jan. 12 column Bring back anti-littering campaignJust came back from the beautiful, clean city of Singapore, where there is a $1,000 fine, plus community service for littering. I think a presiden...
Published: 01/16/18
Tuesday’s letters: Trump’s accomplishments unheralded

Tuesday’s letters: Trump’s accomplishments unheralded

President Donald TrumpAchievements go unrecognizedAre Americans even aware that our economy is healthier and growing much faster, that ISIS has been defeated and lost their territory, that China and other countries are buying more American goods and ...
Published: 01/16/18

Monday’s letters: Don’t be fooled by drilling turnaround

Deal blocks drilling off Fla. | Jan. 10Don’t be fooled by turnaroundWhile I am very grateful that Florida has been taken off the table regarding offshore oil drilling, it is clear this is a political move to champion Gov. Rick Scott as he conside...
Published: 01/14/18

Sunday’s letters: Left wing late to the #MeToo cause

#MeTooDemocrats come late to the causeThe Times devoted an entire page to the #MeToo issues on Sunday. The ironies here for longtime observers are nearly boundless. Twenty years ago, folks like myself were called "prudes" and worse because we found P...
Published: 01/13/18

Saturday’s letters: A wall of towers isn’t progress

Skyline takes shape | Jan. 7A wall of towers isn’t progressFirst of all, once the 17 projects currently under way are completed, there will be no "skyline." There will be a wall of buildings blotting out the sun and sky. St. Petersburg has become...
Published: 01/12/18

Friday’s letters:

Gang raped at 17. Getting help at 65 | Jan. 7Help available for assault victimsEach sexual assault survivor has a unique story to tell, and Evelyn Robinson’s experience illustrates many of the emotions, and society stigmas, faced by survivors.Sex...
Published: 01/09/18
Updated: 01/11/18

Thursday’s letters: Opioid bill could do more harm than good

Opioid bill opponents line up | Jan. 6Bill’s potential to harm patientsLegislators are proposing putting more restrictions on physicians’ ability to prescribe pain medications. Yes, the addiction problem is a serious one, and the law seems well-i...
Published: 01/08/18
Updated: 01/10/18