Friday, March 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Prisoner swaps are nothing new

Terrorists won't forget the Bergdahl precedent | June 13, commentary

Prisoner swaps are nothing new

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in his enlightening book Duty, specifically details a trade of five Iranian terrorist prisoners for a British computer consultant during the administration of George W. Bush. The terrorists carried out kidnappings, killings of innocent civilians and planned the murder of five U.S. soldiers in Karbala, Iraq.

The five terrorists were released between 2007 and 2010, including the mastermind killer, Qais Khazali. The British "consultant" was specifically traded for Khazali. There was much debate within the Bush administration, but ultimately the trade was made.

The Bowe Bergdahl trade for prisoners of war is not unique to the Obama administration, and realistically is one method utilized to repatriate military and civilian detainees held by the enemy.

Ron Frankel, St. Petersburg

Warning: Neglect voting at your own risk June 12

The duty of a citizen

John Romano's column on the importance of voting was one of his best yet. If you don't like the policies, you have to change the policymakers, and the only way to do that is to make your wishes known at the ballot box.

One of the reasons Eric Cantor was defeated was that too many of his supporters thought his re-election was a slam dunk and stayed home. Don't rely on your neighbor to go to the polls for you. Don't let the majority of the minority rule.

Deborah Green, Sun City Center

Easing burden of student debt June 14, editorial

Policies push up costs

It boggles the mind that we encourage people to spend more on college, and then wonder why colleges keep charging more. The president's latest move does nothing to reduce the cost of college; rather, it makes it easier for young people to get even deeper in debt and encourages colleges to keep tuition high.

Colleges keep raising tuition because they can — they know that politicians will keep subsidizing the costs to buy votes. These policies are nothing more than price supports that have allowed tuition costs to skyrocket. Encourage students to spend and borrow responsibly, and prices would stabilize.

Chris Johnson, Clearwater

Pot foes get billionaire ally | June 11

A better alternative for pain

I continue to be amazed at all of the opposition in Florida to medical marijuana that is based entirely on fear of its use for recreational purposes.

Medical marijuana is not prohibited in Michigan, and in conversations with a responsible Michigan user I have learned that it is available there as a product that helps to suppress pain without the euphoric effects sought by recreational users.

The only side effect is increased appetite, which is relatively benign. Compare that to the many severe side effects of the opioids and steroids that now dominate the pharmaceutical market in our state. Consider also that recreational users have no interest in a product that does not produce euphoria. A medical marijuana law limiting use and sale to noneuphoric products would be of value only to people who genuinely need it for pain and other legitimate medical purposes. It would be no threat whatever to law enforcement, and only a benefit to society in general.

Even the pharmaceutical industry could benefit if it would turn its attention to perfecting marijuana-based painkillers to replace the current opioids and steroids that have destroyed the lives of so many people in recent years.

Sheila Smith, San Antonio

Adelson's political play

There is surely no mystery in Sheldon Adelson's donation to the anti-medical marijuana contingent in Florida. The aim is to turn out a conservative set of voters in November — just the sort who will back Rick Scott for a second term.

Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg

Out-of-state meddling | June 14, letter

Casino mogul eyes Florida

The letter writer wonders why casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is bankrolling the fight against the medical marijuana initiative in Florida. For years, Adelson and other casino bigwigs have been trying to get a foot in the door to set up shop against the Seminoles. Previous governors have wisely avoided opening up our state to outside casino operators. But now, we have a governor who loves big checks. If you want a favor, write a check to the Republican Party or to one of his favorite projects and Florida is yours to exploit.

It is not a surprise that the Drug Free Florida Committee accepted outside money. They know they're fighting an uphill battle because the majority of voters support Amendment 2, and no matter how many times they show the old Reefer Madness movie, the public isn't buying it.

Bob Dalzell, St. Petersburg

Mass killing in Iraq claimed | June 16

It was only a matter of time

When the United States invaded Iraq, everyone with any knowledge of the history of the Middle East knew that three things were going to happen.

First, sooner or later Saddam Hussein was going to be gone. Second, sooner or later the United States was going to leave Iraq. Third, sooner or later Sunnis and Shiites were going to be at each other's throats, as they have been for over a thousand years.

It was only a matter of time.

Ralph Scott, Gulfport

Rays fans didn't ring their cowbells right June 14

Support the home team

As I was reading this article on the Rays fans thrown out after ringing their cowbells at "inappropriate" times, I was dumbfounded to see it all came at the instigation of Red Sox fans. It floored me that Rays fans who came to support their team would be escorted out because of complaints by probably the most arrogant, full-of-hot-air fans who visit Tropicana Field.

Rays fans go to have a good time and support their team. Those Boston fans had some gall to complain considering the stuff they dish out on a regular basis.

Rene Tamargo, Tampa


Monday’s letters: Driverless cars on perilous roads

Driverless cautions | March 23, commentaryDriverless carson perilous roadsHaving watched the video of the tragedy in Tempe, Ariz., I believe the police are correct. This accident could not have been avoided as the pedestrian stepped out of the sh...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Friday’s letters: Think through assault weapons ban

Gun controlThink through assault rifle banI recently emailed a Florida state representative who had pledged, among other things, to ban assault rifles in the state. I asked him if he would ban the sale and transfer of these guns or ultimately make th...
Published: 03/22/18

Saturday’s letters: Tax guns to pay for security

Million-dollar questions | March 21Tax firearms to pay for securitySo public officials are wondering where they’ll get the money for stationing an armed guard in every school. How about heavily taxing every gun? It’s the proliferation of the weap...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: School safety requires funding

Constitution Revision CommissionSchool safety requires fundingThe Constitution Revision Commission should consider amending a proposal (45, 93 or 72) to allocate the necessary recurring funding for the new school safety mandates, separate from the ba...
Published: 03/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Let the teachers decide on guns

Trump touts arming staff as key in plan for school security | March 12It’s the teacher’s call on weaponsPlease, let’s try an alternate view about guns in the classroom. First, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the preponderance of letters about guns ...
Published: 03/20/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Published: 03/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Published: 03/19/18

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18