Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Lens, as built, will exceed $50M

New pier gets green light | May 18

Lens, as built, will exceed $50M

I admit that my opposition to this arises primarily from the nostalgia in seeing the old Pier replaced. But my position is based on more than nostalgia; it's based on my 30 years working in the Miami-Dade County Planning Department as chief of research and the de facto economist for the county's administration. One of my tasks was to gather information on how other areas carry out large public and private projects — stadiums, large public buildings, public housing, monuments, etc.

One of the biggest problems is when a project is pushed forward with a cap on expenditure. The new Pier will almost surely cost more than $50 million. Something can be built for that, but it won't be anything like the Lens design. Putting in more money or accepting something cheaper are the two options.

During design and construction, when it is most obvious if the cost limit will be bumped into, options should be considered.

Charles Blowers, Clearwater

New pier gets green light | May 18

A lens to murkiness

The Lens would be a great idea in an area with clear water and schools of colorful fish such as the Bahamas. The new Pier, though, will be a lens to nothing but murky bay water.

Most of the City Council members seem happy to be associated with a fatally flawed idea, but to protect his professional reputation, the architect should withdraw his "Lens to nothing" design rather than see his image ruined forever by a failed design.

Bruce Matern, St. Petersburg

More reason to protest | May 19, letter

Best peacemaker: weather

Letter writer Chip Thomas worries that protesters won't be able to get "close enough" to delegates and media at the Republican National Convention. How close is close enough? To squirt people with urine from squirt guns or to spit on them? How about adequate proximity for the Occupy crowds to turn Channelside into an Oakland-style war zone on national TV?

Local Democrats are already scaling back previous plans so as to give our "guests without hotel reservations," as described by one City Council member, a parking structure or the like for shelter from the elements along with water and portable toilets. Are Democrats who control Charlotte, N.C., doing likewise for tea party groups? Our climate in August is our best ally for keeping mayhem to a minimum. I like and respect Mayor Bob Buckhorn, but he'd be smarter to ban umbrellas and tents rather than licensed firearms if he truly wants peace.

Dwayne Keith, Valrico

Choosing speakers is tricky task | May 19

Colors of persuasion

Once again Aaron Sharockman and now Adam C. Smith can't help but inject their political bias and racial inferences into a story. They say the GOP highlights its diversity "even if the audience inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum is overwhelmingly white." Isn't it true that almost every convention, except perhaps the NAACP's, is overwhelmingly white? This same statement was used by Aaron when he reported on Sarah Palin speaking at the Villages. I'm waiting to read about their saying that the Democratic Convention is overwhelmingly white, which it will be.

Nelson Crowell, Weeki Wachee

Board bickers over unity | May 19

Truth comes out

Jodie Tillman's article finally offered some light on what had been a dark series of articles on the Hillsborough County Children's Board, including allegations of mismanagement, a maligned staff, a toxic work environment and a divided board. In several articles, Tillman painted a portrait of a tax-funded organization in chaos, possibly mismanaging funds, and a leader out of touch with the needs of her organization.

The truth appears to be the opposite of the characterization of the organization and of Luanne Panacek, the CEO. When unhappy staffers and individual board members, who have issues with the CEO, are allowed a public voice in a series of newspaper articles, the CEO's job becomes impossible. The board's communication must be with the CEO.

Panacek is a well-known and highly respected professional with a vision and a heart for meeting the needs of children and their families. She is an extraordinary leader with a wealth of experience as a child and family advocate who is motivated by high ethical standards. In an economic downturn, resources are limited; the needs of children and families are not. She has been providing leadership in trying to maximize the value of the public resources available, and she has been doing this while being publicly attacked.

The board needs to get its own house in order and function on the basis of credible information about the leadership and the staff. It must now act in a way that creates a clear perception that professionalism trumps self-interested politics.

James Paul, Temple Terrace

Psychiatrist rights a wrong, with an apology to gays | May 19

Breaking the silence

As a gay person, the debt of gratitude I owe the Tampa Bay Times is hard to overstate. I'd say most of us gay folks expected to go to our graves accustomed to and resigned to the deafening hush in society about the true nature of our existence. May 19's paper is witness to the honor and respect citizens can get when principled, caring dialogue is permitted.

John Meros, St. Petersburg

FCAT

Teachers' lax standards

We continue to hear the cries of pain regarding the FCAT system. As a School Board member in Ohio in the early '60s, I was the recipient not only of an excellent public school education but honored to be a member of the board. What happened between the '50s, when a graduate of a public school was prepared for either industry or higher education, and now? Whose fault is it that we now have fallen behind the rest of the developed world in educational achievement? There is plenty of blame to go around, but our children did not suddenly become too dumb to teach.

If professional educators had addressed this problem in the '70s, we would not have to worry about kids' inability to read or to fill out a job application. Instead we took the easy way out. We promoted children from grade to grade whether they could read or write. We undereducated the teachers themselves.

Teachers, I don't minimize the problems you face every day. But I do criticize the results of your work. You gave up the responsibility of in loco parentis. You buckled to the demand for grades without effort. A grade of D now passes in many places, what used to be a C is now a B, and what used to be a B- is now an A. If the profession starts applying standards of the not-too-distant past, there will be no need for the FCAT.

Richard Dimberio, Brooksville

Comments

Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

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...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

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