Sunday, February 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Root our health fraud and waste

Help choose the Letter of the Month

Letters to the editor offer a significant contribution to the discussion of public policy and life in Tampa Bay. To recognize some of that work by our most engaged readers, the Times will select a letter of the month and the writers will be recognized at the end of the year.

Help us choose from the nominations for letter of the month for March 2013 by visiting the website listed below by Friday. Read through the three letters and vote on the ballot at the bottom of the Web page. We will choose the finalists each month based on relevance on topical issues, persuasiveness and writing style. The writer's opinion does not need to match the editorial board's opinion on the issue to be nominated. But clarity of thinking, brevity and a sense of humor certainly help.

To see the three March nominees and vote, go to

FBI raid signals end of Universal | March 29

Root out fraud and waste

We can afford health care for all — if we stop abuses in the current system. Universal and WellCare are two recent local examples. More than 800 people lost their jobs at Universal, whose failure had a major impact on 140,000 members in 23 states. Correct waste and abuse and we can begin to slow down the rising costs of health care, which amounts to one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

Time magazine published a report on the primary reasons for our rising health care costs. Our current accountability systems, billing procedures and costs are not controlled; thus they are open to error and fraud.

If the medical profession, our hospitals, government (Medicare, Medicaid) and private insurance companies know this, why hasn't it been corrected? One effective starting point is to replace fines and penalties with jail time.

Bill Wilton, Tampa

Buyer's remorse over Florida Polytechnic March 29, editorial

Put it back under USF

If House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz had any real commitment to the conservative principles to which they allude ad nauseum, they would lead their fellow Republican state legislators in an effort to reverse last year's gutless decision to create a 12th state university out of USF in Lakeland.

Florida Poly, which should be renamed "JD's Folly" in honor of its self-aggrandizing creator, JD Alexander, then should be put back under the auspices of USF, followed by a thorough personnel housecleaning of its local administration to ensure that any trace of Alexander's cronies, lackeys and assorted sycophants have been eliminated from the premises.

Maybe now that the senator is back home in Polk County and not in Tallahassee, GOP legislative leaders will somehow find the courage to act in the best interests of the state and of its postsecondary educational system.

Joe McColloch, Tampa

The speeding ticket and the pink slip March 29, Daniel Ruth column

Lack of ethics evident

By publishing this column, the Tampa Bay Times editors condone a total lack of morals and ethics.

The democratic principles upon which our country was founded included a classless society where some may be smarter, more successful or better-looking, but as the adage goes: "We all put on our pants one leg at a time." We should all be ashamed that a special class has evolved that pretends to be better than everyone else — as well as those who have abetted such a privileged group.

I feel sorry for the trooper who was penalized for unethical conduct, but he chose to be part of the mess. I feel sorrier for Rep. Charles McBurney, who has suffered character assassination because he chose to opt out of the quagmire. The latter should be admired for the high morals and ethics he practices in life.

Finally, Daniel Ruth's cutesy way of adding a derogatory term every time he mentions McBurney's name is journalism at its lowest.

J. Daniel Techentin, Dunnellon

No good deed …

No good deed goes unpunished. Since the pope has already been chosen, would Rep. Charles McBurney like to put his name in for the next round? How can you cost a man his job for being nice?

Bruce Edgar, New Port Richey

Civilian Conservation Corps

Idea whose time is back

Sunday marked 80 years since the creation of the U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps. On March 31, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law his first "alphabet soup" New Deal initiative. For nine years, from 1933 to 1942, the CCC gave more than 4 million American men and women employment. They fought forest fires, replanted nearly 4 billion trees and provided disaster relief. The CCC demonstrated that there was no conflict between the preservation of the environment and the creation of jobs.

The 21st Century CCC Act has been sponsored by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio. The nonprofit Civilian Conservation Corps Initiative Inc. urges Americans to contact their representatives to support renewing this program for future generations.

Jay D. Alexander, St. Petersburg

Bloomberg, LaPierre trade truths, half-truths March 29, PolitiFact

Going beyond the numbers

It seems to me that your logic in evaluating the percentage of gun show purchases is flawed. You concluded that while Michael Bloomberg's estimate of 40 percent may be the best number you could find, you labeled it "Half True" because you couldn't substantiate it.

Given that there is uncertainty, I think you should have gone beyond trying to document whether the percentage is accurate. You should have tested how variability in the number would impact any conclusions that might be drawn. For instance, if the 40 percent estimate is only half-true (i.e., it's 20 percent), does that invalidate the conclusion that gun shows represent a huge loophole that convicted felons could use to buy guns?

You also quibbled that some of the 40 percent represented parent-to-child transfers of firearms. Do you really mean to imply that a parent of a convicted felon should be able to give their child a firearm without a background check?

Ed Fagan, St. Petersburg


Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Challenges in Hillsborough foster care

Foster failures under scrutiny | Feb. 10Challenges in foster care systemNo young person deserves to be treated as shown in the Ch. 8 segment on Youth and Family Alternatives Inc., an Eckerd Connects subcontractor. It is difficult to fathom how th...
Published: 02/12/18

Saturday’s letters: We’re all just trying to get home, one zip tie at a time

I detest Trump, but a ‘redneck’ fixed my Prius with zip ties | Feb. 3, Ruth Mayer columnWe’re all just trying to get homeLike columnist Ruth Mayer, I too am trying to find my level ground, my level-set. I too have held a tremendously deep resentm...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18

Sunday’s letters: Let’s make America good again

Everyone loves a parade | Feb. 9, editorialI’ll sit on the sidelinesAs a 30-year veteran I was appalled at the president’s plan for a military parade. Having marched in numerous parades in my career I can say without hesitation that members of th...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18