Monday, February 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Snowden's theft, treachery

Help choose 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 annually.

Help us choose from the nominations for letter of the month for December 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 December nominees and vote, go to

Snowden deserves plea deal Jan. 3, commentary

Snowden's theft, treachery

It was appalling to read the New York Times editorial supporting leniency for Edward Snowden. But thanks to the Tampa Bay Times for printing Ruth Marcus' article, which details the scope and the massive damage of Snowden's theft and treachery.

Snowden did not limit his revelations to domestic surveillance but stole and distributed classified foreign intelligence. Does anyone really believe Snowden was smart enough to be employed by one of the world's leading management and technology consulting companies — but not smart enough to find a way to give a proper alert to what he believed was unwarranted domestic surveillance? He made an attempt, he says: "told two supervisors." That's it? How diligent; how exhaustive.

The bottom line is that Edward Snowden loved Edward Snowden more than he loved his country, and he gave in to his narcissistic and self-absorbed impulses to steal and divulge classified foreign intelligence without regard to the harm to his country. He wants to leave Russia? Let him stay; they deserve each other. Should he return, he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent permitted by law

William R. Eleazer, St. Petersburg

Hillsborough schools opt for armed guards Dec. 19

Expensive and dangerous

As a junior attending Steinbrenner High School, I was troubled to hear our elementary schools were to soon be receiving armed guards. Like anyone else, I was horrified by the Connecticut shootings, however I feel this defensive measure is a mistake. Tragedies such as Sandy Hook reflect complicated societal issues that cannot be solved with a simple solution, certainly not one that is expensive and introduces weaponry to our elementary schools.

Melissa Ferrin, Lutz

Reforms target military pensions | Jan. 1

Spread the sacrifice

Lt. Col. Stephen Preston expresses his anger that Congress may trim military pensions by a small cut — "a one percentage point reduction in the annual cost-of-living increase."

The 2010 report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles) warned us that we can't get a handle on our debt unless we reform civilian and military retirement benefits and also the real long-term drivers of debt, including the growth of health care entitlements and Social Security. The commission reported a desperate need "to reform the tax code, which is riddled with trillions of dollars in economy-distorting loopholes."

Yes, Congress has been too generous over the years in increasing the above programs. Most of us condemn our Congress for not having political courage to do the right thing. I think we ought to get behind Congress and support those who prudently spread the sacrifice among all but the poorest.

I served in infantry units in Korea and Vietnam, and I'm blessed that I'm in good health and have what I consider a good retirement; I'm willing to give my share. After all, it's the future of our country, and as some in Congress have often said, we don't want to pass a huge debt burden on to our children and grandchildren. So write, phone and email your senators and representatives to do the right thing.

Paul D. McPartland Sr., U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), Port Richey

Florida tuition

Governor deserves praise

College students across the state are returning to classes this week and paying our tuition bills. We should also be thanking Gov. Rick Scott. This past year, the governor used his veto pen to "hold the line" against yet another year of tuition increases on our students and families, demonstrating that access to public higher education is still a Floridian value. His action broke an unsustainable trend of cost increases on students, and that deserves applause.

It's important, too, that our state continues to see its public universities as an invaluable asset deserving of investment. This past year, the Legislature agreed to this principle and began restoring some of the funding our schools lost during the recession. This matters because our universities are engines for growth that provide thousands of jobs, generate billions of dollars in statewide economic impact and lead to the creation of new industries through research and patent activities. They also supply a diverse, talented and highly educated workforce to our state's employers. At a time when growth remains necessary to encourage new development and drive our state's economic recovery, policymakers should be encouraged to continue the positive trends they started in 2013.

So thank you, Florida, for seeing a path forward and embracing it. Thank you for acknowledging that severe and repeated tuition hikes hurt families and don't help our state economy. Thank you for affirming that massive cuts to public education budgets aren't the answer to our state's economic questions. And thank you for showing that investing in human capital is a primary tool to position Florida's economy for success in the 21st century.

Carlo Fassi, president, University of North Florida student government, Jacksonville


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