Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Local government stuck with the bill

Plan for property tax cut heads to voters | May 3

Local governments will get bill

The Florida Legislature's tax-cutting heroics place the burden on local government — their favorite punching bag.

Last week, the Legislature passed a joint resolution to ask Florida voters if they would like to increase the homestead exemption from $50,000 to $75,000, thus saving property taxpayers a significant amount of money. If passed by more than 60 percent of voters, the measure would solidify one of the largest tax cuts in Florida history, to the tune of about $645 million.

So what's the big deal? That sounds great, especially in "Corcoran for Governor" campaign materials.

But that $645 million makes an impact on local governments that rely on tax revenue to provide levels of services that residents have become accustomed to. When millage rates or other service fees increase, local governments have to use their political capital to justify their actions; the Legislature, meanwhile, rides high with their tax-cutting bullet points and points to the spending habits of local government.

Government needs to work for us with our best interests in mind, not one respective body over the other. The same voters who elected Donald Trump president will no doubt vote to put money in their pockets and then blame local government when it gets taken back. My only hope is that termed-out legislators who need a job and run for county commission will be on the dais in time for public comment.

Ricky Butler, Pinellas Park

Rules for pet stores argued | May 4

Poor treatment of animals

Last week's news articles about animals, although on the surface disparate, possess a common theme: human gain.

Puppy shop owners decried Hillsborough County's proposed ordinance to restrict new businesses from buying animals from abusive mills, saying the rule would hurt their bottom line, and several racing greyhounds at Derby Lane were found with cocaine in their systems. But perhaps the most moving news item was the photograph of an exhausted "working dog" that accompanied the May 3 story on the military seeking businesses to develop "pharmaceutical products," a euphemism for drugs, to improve dogs' performance in combat.

For eons, humans have used animals — domesticated and wild — for gain and profit. But to move toward a more progressive, compassionate society, we must boldly question this mind-set. Indeed, as stewards of the Earth and its creatures, we must decide whether we will be merciless or merciful. It is a difficult question, but one we must ultimately answer.

Deborah Van Pelt, Tampa

House GOP gives Trump a victory | May 5

Lack of empathy

What does it take for Republican lawmakers and Trumpcare supporters to understand the need for health care that covers all citizens and pre-existing conditions? Do they, or their loved ones, actually have to lose their health insurance and contract some awful disease to understand the need for health care reform that provides coverage for all? Or do they, in this Christian country, really care so little about others?

John Clay, Tallahassee

Bill is worse than first one

After the first Trumpcare debacle, I was somewhat encouraged when the president said he may have to work with moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats to produce a workable bill. Unfortunately, he and the House leaders decided to produce an even more heartless and regressive bill in order to attract support from the radical alt-right and tea party rather than working with moderates. Trumpcare seems to be more about a huge tax cut for the rich than improving health care.

This is bad medicine, and I tip my hat to those moderate Republicans who stood up to say it isn't right.

Jerry Stephens, Riverview

House rejects bill allowing officials to meet in secret | May 3

Champions of openness

Kudos to the four Democratic and three Republican state House members who voted to ensure transparency, and a commitment to representative democracy, by opposing HB 843. As a Republican and committed Roman Catholic who is both pro-labor and pro-life, I am tired of the back-room deals and the oligarchy that our state government has become.

Representatives like Larry Ahern, Chris Latvala, et al., have supported odd legislation appealing to special interest groups ranging from red-light camera support to gun proliferation on college and university campuses. Enough is enough with the secret deals. The state political machine, of either political party, must be held fully accountable to the people who voted them into office, and our sunshine laws ensure such transparency.

Thus, special thanks should be given to GOP lawmakers Rep. Shawn Harrison, Rep. Kathleen Peters and Rep. Jake Raburn for standing firm for U.S. representative democratic openness and transparency.

Robert J. King, St. Petersburg

Trump's China card | May 3, commentary

Open to new thinking

I have been as critical of the actions of President Donald Trump as many others, but this imaginative and intriguing article explains a radically different possibility about his dialogue with the leaders of Russia, China, North Korea and the Philippines.

Being openly critical and hostile to these leaders will not likely produce any sort of workable attitude or meaningful discourse. We should see it as a strategy that, while highly unusual, probably does work at various levels of interpersonal communication. Trump's connections through his worldwide business associations may facilitate this as well.

Many will find this strategy absurd at first, but this article should be read before dismissing it. I believe it can be seen as a sign of strength rather than weakness and the possible benefits are enormous.

Earl Kendall, Largo


Tuesday’s letters: Leave fireworks to the professionals

Nobody is scaring birds with fireworks | Editorial, July 16Leave fireworksto the professionalsThe situation with fireworks has gotten completely out of control. I was at Curtis Hixon Park on the Fourth of July, and numerous people were exploding ...
Published: 07/16/18
Updated: 07/17/18

Monday’s letters: Make investment in the Rays an actual investment with an actual return

Paying for ballpark will take teamwork | Editorial, July 12An actual return on investmentMuch attention has been given to the cost of the proposed Rays stadium in Ybor City and who will foot the bill. The three-legged stool of the Rays, the busin...
Published: 07/12/18
Updated: 07/16/18

Sunday’s letters: Stop burning of sugar cane near the Everglades

Florida’s land of black snow | Bill Maxwell column, July 1Don’t burn sugar cane, periodIn this column, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King got a lot of things right about how sugarcane burning negatively impacts the Glades communities w...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Saturday’s letters: The dangerous days before Roe vs. Wade

The reality of back-alley abortions | Column, July 11The dangerous days before RoeI am a 71-year-old retired nurse. I still remember when abortion was illegal and birth control was restricted to married women in the United States. In 1983, I set ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/14/18

Thursday’s letters: The Rays’ Ybor City stadium will be magnificent

Rays’ big dream is small ballpark | July 11The new stadium will be gorgeousI had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of the Tampa Bay Rays "next-generation, neighborhood ballpark." I was blown away. As an 18-year resident of Tampa Bay, and ma...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/12/18

Wednesday’s letters: Let’s prepare Florida’s next generation for the jobs that have been created yet

Make Florida’s workforce globally competitivePrepare for jobs not yet createdIf you aren’t amazed by the speed at which technology is changing our world, just think back 20 years. Would you have imagined cellphones with the capabilities of a laptop c...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/11/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for July 13

Re: School meals for all students | July 6 storyParents should pay for their ownThat article really got me to thinking ... why can’t parents feed and care for their own children? When did it become others’ responsibility to do this? No one fed our th...
Published: 07/09/18

Tuesday’s letters: It’s great that Tampa’s Democratic mayor works with a Republican governor

Dems wary of Scott, Buckhorn bromance | July 8It’s not partisan to look out for TampaThe focus of a mayor should be on success in his jurisdiction, no matter the partner, for the citizens who live in his area of responsibility. Mayor Bob Buckhorn...
Published: 07/06/18
Updated: 07/10/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for July 13

Scaring birds with fireworks is a problemThe justification of buying fireworks to scare birds is the biggest problem with fireworks. My wife and I retired to a small pond across from a nature preserve. On a recent holiday, we were enjoying watching b...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/09/18

Monday’s letters: Let’s keep plastics out of the ocean now

Is a ban on plastic straws a step too far? | July 4 Plastic in oceanis not fantastic As a Tampa Bay native, I am thrilled to see a concerted effort to eliminate plastics pollution in the area, and encouraged to see small business and restaurant ow...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/09/18