Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Solar farm benefit goes beyond kilowatts

Duke looks for solar farm sites | Aug. 23

Clean energy is just the beginning

For the first time I am proud of my local power company and want to praise their decision to diversify their energy source portfolio with renewables.

Going forward, I would urge Duke Energy to consider applying for the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Environment and Energy Design certification. There is an opportunity for Duke Energy and its customers to get much more value from this investment than just clean kilowatt hours. There is an opportunity to design a space that also supports carbon-sequestering plant life while providing a high-quality space for the public to enjoy.

My challenge to Duke — and hopefully they will pass on these words as a design challenge to students, amateurs and professionals — is to design something special that symbolizes and serves Pinellas County residents and guests. This is a huge opportunity — let's make something world-class of it.

Aaron Metz, Palm Harbor

Duke looks for solar farm sites | Aug. 23

Offer incentives for solar

Since solar energy isn't economical for bulk power systems, why not offer incentives to homeowners who would like to install solar in their homes? Some states already do this, but here in the Sunshine State, with as much or more sunshine than almost every other state, these incentives aren't offered.

My son-in-law, a master electrician certified in solar, installed solar in his home and hasn't had a bill over $2 since installing it. Most of the time he is selling it back to the utility. It's time for the politicians to start looking out for their constituents instead of catering to the utility companies.

Daniel Ward, Zephyrhills

Assistant teachers

Assets in the classroom

The school year is off to a bright start. The value of teachers has been recognized with some raises, and students tote bright and shiny school supplies to tackle the year. But the assistant teacher, again, starts the year unrewarded.

Amid changes in education, and as parents demand more personal attention for students, the role of the assistant teacher is more valuable than ever. We expect them to reinforce lessons presented by teachers in smaller, more personal groups and to help students achieve academic goals. They are tasked with enforcing school rules and helping teach proper behavior. They are held to the same standards as other teachers in terms of conduct.

In spite of this important role, it has been said that they are working at below poverty-line wages. It is time to take another look at the adage "price to value" and increase our price to get the value provided by the assistant teacher.

K.L. Jessee, Brandon

Early learning

Programs pay big dividends

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great German theologian, once said: "The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children." By that metric, Florida is doing better — but not well enough.

In the most recent legislative session, business leaders, policymakers and child advocates came together to celebrate Children's Week. Handprints from children hung in the Capitol rotunda, but the real work being achieved can be seen in classrooms around the state, reflected in better student performance, higher graduation rates and more jobs filled by better-prepared graduates.

When we invest wisely in our children, we invest in a brighter tomorrow. If we want a booming economy, we need to put our money where it counts. That means Florida needs to invest more in early learning.

Florida TaxWatch research shows that for every $1 invested now, $7 is saved in taxpayer burden later. These savings come from prison costs, meaning that children who participate in early learning programs are far less likely to enter the criminal justice system; education costs, because children in early learning programs need less remedial instruction; and all the other expenses we bear because of societal shortcomings.

It's not just investments in early learning that save taxpayer money, it's all the results — increases in academic achievement, economic activity and higher revenue. Children who participate in high-quality early learning programs generally make more money, have greater disposable incomes, and pay more taxes than those who miss out on the opportunity for exponentially higher growth afforded by programs like brain-stimulating, genuine-quality child care and Florida's voluntary prekindergarten program.

Dominic Calabro, CEO, Florida TaxWatch, Tallahassee; David Lawrence Jr., president, Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, chair, Children's Movement of Florida, Miami

Arms to police getting review | Aug. 24

U.S. as combat zone

The unrest and violence in Ferguson, Mo., is sadly indicative of what is wrong with having a military state. Police were hired by the citizens to "protect and serve." The United States has yet to be declared a combat zone, yet citizens are treated like "terrorists" and either shot and killed or injured and jailed for protesting militia treatment.

We cannot as citizens let this continue. We must get to the root of the problem — whether that is racism, sexism, a militia mentality or all of the above.

Amy Eisler, Clearwater

A better use for armaments

The Kurds in Iraq now face serious threats from ISIS. Their Peshmerga fighters are seriously handicapped by a lack of modern armament and equipment. Wouldn't it be a much better use of American surplus military equipment to ship it to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces rather than to American police forces? Use of this equipment has only exacerbated the street violence in American cities.

Jay Hall, Tampa

Primary election

Do your duty as citizen

When we vote, we are hiring people who directly impact our life. Think you have no power over bureaucrats making decisions? Vote. Take the job of county commissioner. Vote if you use any of these county services: roads, fire protection, hospitals, ambulance service, health and welfare programs, parks, museums, water supply, waste collection, public transportation, beaches and libraries.

Do some research on the candidates and vote in today's primary.

Marie Cunha, Hudson


Thursday’s letters: School safety requires funding

Constitution Revision CommissionSchool safety requires fundingThe Constitution Revision Commission should consider amending a proposal (45, 93 or 72) to allocate the necessary recurring funding for the new school safety mandates, separate from the ba...
Updated: 10 hours ago

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 ...
Published: 03/20/18

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