Saturday, December 16, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Small investment could yield big return

Sliver cut from budget | June 3

Small investment with big return

The state budget signed by the governor included one appropriation that, while relatively small, could provide a more than 625-to-1 return on the state's investment. It might sound too good to be true, but that accurately describes the $8 million investment the Legislature made to protect and grow a $5 billion industry.

The $8 million appropriation will go toward planning for an expansion of the Central Florida Research Park in Orlando, which serves as the hub of Florida's modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) sector. The park, adjacent to the University of Central Florida, is home to military commands and industry partners working together on the latest training technologies.

More than 27,000 Floridians work in MS&T at more than 1,000 public and private organizations around the state, earning an average annual salary of $70,000. In an era of military cost-cutting, this industry — still largely dependent on the Defense Department — needs wise investments to protect its future. Rather than wait for budget cuts to impact an industry that has grown here over the past 50 years, Florida is moving proactively.

Outside of the Pentagon, this is the only location where all military services come together in partnership on one support area, resulting in cooperation that saves money and drives innovation. Research Park expansion would provide real estate that can help military commands lower their leasing costs and grow the atmosphere of collaboration that is already providing cost savings through cooperative purchasing.

Our Legislature — particularly House Speaker-designate Steve Crisafulli and Senate President-elect Andy Gardiner, as well as Speaker Will Weatherford, Sen. Bill Galvano, and Reps. Dana Young and Rob Schenck — and Gov. Rick Scott deserve our thanks for investing in Florida's future.

Arthur F. "Chip" Diehl III,

Brig. Gen., USAF (Ret.), Tampa

Keep funds for mental health care June 6, editorial

Essential services at risk

As a mental health professional working in Pinellas County, I am painfully aware of the recent discussions involving the proposed equity funding scheme cited in your editorial. When I first heard of it during a community meeting that I attended, my first question was: "If you enact this, what programs are we going to lose?"

Your readership may not be aware that programs operated by several nonprofit providers in Pinellas County are already underfunded, most even understaffed. The demand to supply noninsured indigent and low-income individuals with services has continued to increase yearly, yet funding has remained stagnant due to the nearsightedness and ignorance of politicians who continue to ignore the growing needs. If we lose the $3.2 million due to the proposed shifting of funds, we'll not only lose programs but also qualified staff including licensed professionals. Most of the staff at these agencies have not seen any salary raises for years.

These essential services allow for adults to lead productive lives in their workplaces, homes and communities; help individuals become healthy and improve family relationships; assist children to thrive at home and in school; and provide underprivileged people who have a diagnosed illness regardless of their age with the medical, therapeutic and support services. What will it take to finally realize that these lives have value and are worth saving?

Joan M. Andrade, Pinellas Park

Weapons of choice | June 7, reading file

Incomplete assessment

The recent report on "weapons of choice" by the Washington Post and Mother Jones listing the number of firearms purchased in the past 30 years for mass shooting was incomplete. How many of these firearms were used by shooters with current concealed-carry permits? The point being that responsible concealed-carry licensed gun owners are not part of the problem.

I would like to see more emphasis placed at the point of sale, followup investigations into applicants for a firearm purchase and increased (criminal) responsibility of parents who fail to supervise possession by their minor children.

H.A. Smith, Palm Harbor

Curb Medicare overpayments June 7, editorial

Ferret out the fraud

I am certain that the same people who can write an algorithm for "high-frequency" trading can write a screening program for overbilling in Medicare. Hopefully, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services knows enough about how they are being gouged to establish "tip-off" parameters to filter certain billing codes or other profile characteristics that would trigger audits.

I don't believe it would take very long — a few prosecutions/heavy fines/prison time — for the word to spread that Medicare fraud is no longer the road to wealth.

Ed Germond, Apollo Beach

A father's saga, told from overseas | June 6

Coast Guard's vital role

Having been raised in a U.S. Coast Guard family, I took special interest in this little-known story of the support provided by the USCG during the invasion of Normandy. Though an Air Force veteran myself, I am not sure I truly appreciated the actual importance of the Coast Guard's role in American and world affairs until reading this article.

My father was captain of the Medium Endurance Cutter Steadfast (WMEC-623), stationed in St. Petersburg in the mid '70s. He lived the Coast Guard culture from the moment he entered the academy in New London, Conn., in 1951, to his retirement 30 years later. Like Kirk Vail, I am now late middle aged; unlike him, my father is still with us.

This Father's Day I will make a special effort to understand fully the man who was responsible for caring for, protecting and nurturing a family of seven while at the same time attending to an official mission of protecting our nation's interests at sea, defending our maritime borders and, most importantly, saving those in peril.

As Harry Truman said, "The only thing new in the world is the history that we do not know." Time for something new, before it is too late.

Carl W. Albritton, Safety Harbor


Monday’s letters: Tax plan bad for the country

Trump, GOP make good on tax cuts Dec. 14Tax plan is bad for the countryUnless senators such as Susan Collins, R-Maine, and our own Marco Rubio develop some backbone, the Republican tax bill could well pass.The bill would inflict harm on the people wh...
Published: 12/15/17
Sunday’s letters: Rule of law at stake in Mueller inquiry

Sunday’s letters: Rule of law at stake in Mueller inquiry

Justice official parries attacks | Dec. 14Rule of law at stake in inquiryConservative media outlets and a number of Republicans in both chambers of Congress have launched an all-out assault on special counsel Robert Mueller and his team in an eff...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17

Saturday’s letters: Project silent on rising sea levels

Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/15/17

Friday’s letters: Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes

GOP plan favors owners | Dec. 11Perils of small business ownersI wonder if the author of this article has even a clue about owning a business. Businessmen — especially small business owners — risk it all. They risk their savings, their car, their...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17