Monday, February 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Skyway land swap aids economy, environment

Skyway land swap bad idea for state | Feb. 19, editorial

Plan aids environment, economy

This editorial negatively characterized a vision for the Skyway Preserve on the causeway. The vision includes a commercial area, public boat launches and parking and a marine mammal research and education center.

The area in question has been impacted by the mining of sand for Skyway construction. It is not pristine; it is disturbed. It is not flowing with abundant sea grasses; the bottom has been impacted from the construction of the Skyway Bridge. The whole point of the land swap is to have development in the most impacted area. Calling this a "scheme" is unfair. To summarize a few of the misconceptions:

• If a land swap were to take place, property that completes the Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve and protects real environmental and cultural assets would be protected — forever. Trading roughly 100 acres of the disturbed area for roughly 1,000 acres of property the state has wanted for a long, long time is a good deal for everyone.

•About one-third of the private property has vested dredge and fill rights. Even without a land trade, a project can be developed; it would just look very different.

•Support facilities for the marine mammal stranding network in the Southeast United States are both woefully underbuilt and underfunded.

The Tampa Bay Times suggested that financing the project is at issue. But visions are not financed; finished plans are.

The people involved in this project have been part of community-benefiting undertakings in the Tampa Bay area ranging from the Florida Aquarium to the redevelopment of Ybor City. We are leaders in efforts to protect Florida's native plants and habitat, successful business people and outdoor enthusiasts.

We are determined that this project will feature both economic viability and environmental sustainability. To suggest otherwise is wrong.

Bill Blanchard, managing partner, Skyway Preserve, Tampa

Food truck debate drags on in council Feb. 24

Consumers want choices

Why are food trucks such a problem for St. Petersburg when other cities have had great experiences with them? New York, Chicago, Austin, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver seem to have found a way for them to operate in their cities without all this drama we are seeing in St. Petersburg. Even Tampa has them.

Let's start paying attention to consumers. We want more choices. Stop procrastinating and bring food trucks to St. Petersburg.

Alan Aipel, St. Petersburg

No carnival atmosphere

Our brick-and-mortar restaurant owners and builders have made a huge investment in our downtown area, and we have their foresight to thank for the popularity of St. Petersburg. Food trucks parked on downtown streets, and even worse, in our parks, will degrade the image of the city and unfairly compete for the customers coming to downtown.

Now that the city has revived, let's not destroy what has taken so long to build by allowing the carnival atmosphere of food trucks.

Bruce Matern, St. Petersburg

Holy oil won't help Children's Board gain traction | Feb. 27, Ernest Hooper column

Simply a form of prayer

Ernest Hooper asks in his column: "Do you trust an agency head who thought having her office anointed with holy oil would help resolve tensions with board members?"

He is referring to Luanne Panacek, CEO of the Children's Board of Hillsborough County. If by this question he means, "Do we trust someone who thinks prayer makes situations better and God's blessing can only be a good thing?" then the answer is yes.

The oil represents no more than prayer and could only help. The prayer was conducted on Sunday and was not meant to infringe on anyone. It's concerning to hear anyone would criticize this CEO for asking for God's favor and blessing over this agency. God bless Panacek and the Children's Board.

Lacy Welch, Lithia

Senate approves Poly; USF cuts would be reduced | Feb. 24

Partial victory on funding

It was great to read that an agreement was reached between legislators in Tallahassee and USF. The decision to cut 58 percent of USF's state funding was shocking. I want to thank lawmakers from the Tampa Bay area for their efforts in negotiating the deal. However, we cannot ignore the fact that USF will still face a cut of 26 percent.

What will happen to USF funding in 2013-14? Our legislators should be talking about closing tax loopholes and making corporations pay their fair share instead of cutting crucial services that affect the lives of many citizens of Florida.

Katherine Harriel, Safety Harbor

Police called in after Nike shoe buyers get unruly | Feb. 25

Poor values on display

What a horrible example of our values: rioting over $250 tennis shoes made in Asia by an American company using cheap labor.

Robert Biggers, Clearwater

Audit: Schools top-heavy | Feb. 25

$20,000 to state obvious

This is another classic example of tax dollar waste. The Pinellas County school system spent $20,000 to do an audit "in hopes of identifying ways to be more efficient." The results of the audit showed that the school system is top-heavy.

This answer could have been found free of charge by asking myself or any other veteran classroom teacher.

Jim Toth, St. Petersburg

Bad bills still lurking at Capitol | Feb. 25, editorial

Checks, balances erode

Republicans and tea party supporters are quick to claim deference to the Constitution. However, they are creating a slow drip that is washing away the checks and balances critical to our democracy.

Witness Florida House Bill 971, which gives the governor more power over the appointment of judges. The slow drip unchecked becomes a flood. We must stop it now to preserve our democracy.

Marek Knop, St. Pete Beach


Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Updated: 6 hours ago

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