Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Senate decides when it's in recess

Presidents must retain this option | Feb. 18, editorial

Senate decides when it's in recess

Your editorial is misleading and historically hypocritical. Presidents do have the authority to make recess appointments when the Senate is in recess. In the case of the National Labor Relations Board, the Senate was not in recess and the president does not get to determine when it is in recess.

The Constitution clearly gives only Congress the authority to declare a recess. It is ironic that Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., initiated the procedure of a "pro forma" session to prevent President George W. Bush from making recess appointments after Bush made a recess appointment of U.N. Ambassador John Bolton while Congress was in a congressionally declared recess.

Ronald Hall, Lutz

GOP stalls Hagel vote | Feb. 15

Pentagon not 'leaderless'

Will the Democrats' rhetoric of blaming everything on the Republicans ever stop? In the same article regarding the stalled vote on Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Leon Panetta will stay on the job until a new defense secretary is confirmed.

Later in the same article, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, is quoted as saying: "Leaving the Department of Defense leaderless at a time when we are in an Afghan conflict, when North Korea just exploded a nuclear device, is exceptionally ill-advised."

Which is it? Is Leon Panetta staying in his leadership role until replaced, or is he leaving the Defense Department without a leader? Don't the Democratic Party leaders talk to the White House? How can the chairman of the Armed Services Committee not know the plans of Panetta? Or is this just another "cry wolf" by the Democrats to shed negative light on the Republican Party?

Jim Rechtin, Tampa

School 'Wall of Shame' abandoned | Feb. 16

Parental guidance needed

I went to college later in life, around age 30. I could not believe the lack of knowledge among a large portion of the kids coming fresh from high school. And I'm not referring to anything very complex. Many could not do the simplest math equations or construct a proper sentence.

You cannot place the blame on teachers. The students themselves and their uncaring parents are to blame. Maybe if parents would do their part of the job of educating their children things would improve. But from what I've seen, that won't be happening soon.

Fred Kann, St. Petersburg

Shameful teaching

The "Wall of Shame" at Jefferson High School seems to reflect more negatively on the teaching profession than on the students whose comments were posted. How can a person reach the high school level without enough basic knowledge to understand the material in the posted comments?

The real shame is with the teachers of these students, both past and present. They have failed these individuals.

Joe Wareham, Tierra Verde

Expanding opportunity | Feb. 15, commentary

Private problems

Sen. Marco Rubio's pitch for private schools appears in the Tampa Bay Times on the very day that the main editorial condemns the Lighthouse of Northwest Florida, a private school, and its counterparts for unspeakable horrors. In the same vein, three letters to the editor on that day remind us that private providers of tutoring in public schools are guilty of poor performance and corruption.

Rubio's excellent experience as a public school student testifies to the ability of public schools to do a good job. Deterioration since his school days can be attributed to reduced funding for public schools and to intrusion by politicians into school matters that require the judgment of educational professionals.

The senator would enable wealthy individuals and corporations to dictate privatization by diverting to private schools the very tax revenues that could help restore public schools to the quality of his youth. The history of privatization of schools and other governmental activities confirms that it is most undesirable.

Seymour S. Bluestone, Clearwater

It was good enough for him

Sen. Marco Rubio's education plan takes tax money that could be used to strengthen public schools and transfers it to private schools in a manner that is so obfuscated that very few will understand it. It's a shame he is not directing his considerable energy and skill towards ensuring that all children get the quality public education he acknowledges that he got.

Edwin J. Bradley, Valrico

Lift veil on cost for care | Feb. 14, editorial

Medical system failures

A recent survey showed the total estimated costs of a hip replacement of a healthy senior woman varied between $11,000 and $126,000. This is beyond incredible. It should be, but unfortunately is not, criminal. What it is, in fact, is almost irrefutable evidence supporting a single-payer medical system. For all the shortcomings of socialized medicine, and there are many, what we have going on in the United States is an abomination.

For several weeks, nearly a half-million people covered by UnitedHealthcare were caught between the BayCare system and United. Both sides pointed to the other as being unreasonable. But neither would discuss black and white figures about their negotiations. Why? Because they wanted to keep them secret from their respective competitors. Because health care is a business, a huge for-profit business system in which the average consumer, and businesses providing health insurance, are getting ground up.

One of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act is that a health insurance company shall pay out at least 80 percent of premiums in benefits. Because our health care system is based on a profit motive, there were health insurance companies paying out 70 percent of the premiums they charged, leaving 30 percent for administration and shareholder profits. Compare this to Medicare, with all of its shortcomings and fraud, which costs only about 3 percent in administrative costs.

And let's not forget one other salient fact: Despite spending far more per capita on health care than any other country, the United States ranks below 14 to 19 other nations, depending on the study, in the quality of our health care.

Dorsett Bennett, Lutz


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 ...
Updated: 8 hours ago

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

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18

Pasco Letter to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 column Pasco County (and its residents) have financial incentives to recycle, but the participation rate is low. Clearly, Pasco County either needs to make recycling mandatory — by making residents r...
Published: 03/13/18