Sunday, February 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: State should foster rideshare innovators


State should foster innovations

Florida has an opportunity to foster innovation in the new arena of ridesharing. It is clear that Floridians enjoy these services and support their growth — last year alone, Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing companies provided millions of trips for Florida residents and visitors. However, in some Florida communities small but powerful special interests are fighting innovation, choosing to erect obstacles rather than forge strategic partnerships that foster growth.

The latest example of this shortsighted approach is in Hillsborough County, where the Public Transportation Commission is considering increased local regulations that threaten consumer choice. These regulations are designed to stifle innovation, attempting to fit a new and disruptive approach to transportation into an archaic set of regulations and a framework that simply does not fit.

The bigger issue is how all of Florida will embrace the innovation embodied by these companies. It is clear that we must establish a single, unified approach to welcoming ridesharing and other groundbreaking services so our residents and guests know what to expect as they travel from one community to another.

As majority leader of the Florida Senate, I am determined that our Legislature will soon enact reasonable standards for the ridesharing industry to both protect our citizens and foster growth for the companies involved. We must replace the confusing amalgamation of state and local regulations that hurt competition and ultimately hamper the growth of our state economy and advancing technology.

State Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton

Campaign 2016

On disabled, a stark contrast

This election I will be voting like our lives depend on it, because for people with disabilities and their families, that is reality.

My son Mike was born with spinal muscular atrophy. Our doctors warned that his life would be short, but 35 years later, Mike continues to defy expectations.

Even though he requires 24-hour care, Mike has been able to help tech companies, including Apple, develop text-to-speech technology and other applications that directly benefit individuals with disabilities.

So when I saw Donald Trump make fun of a reporter for his disability and insinuated he may be bad at his job because of it, I was filled with rage. What is even more reprehensible is that Trump has still refused to apologize.

Trump isn't just offensive; his policy proposals concerning people with disabilities are dangerous. I worry that he would roll back much of the legislative progress that has been made over the past 50 years. Without the protection of laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities would be forced into more restrictive environments or, worse, separated from their families and placed in institutions.

As a stark contrast, Hillary Clinton's first job out of law school included gathering evidence that helped build the case for the law that ensures all children with disabilities have access to school. As president, she has vowed to expand support for people with disabilities to live in integrated community settings, which would improve the potential for employment, and provide tax relief to help millions working to provide care for their loved ones.

For me, the choice in this election is clear.

Karen M. Clay, Tampa

End culture of aggression

Over the past week, there has been a national dialogue about offensive language used to degrade and objectify women. This disparaging and dangerous language has been dismissed by many people as "locker room banter." In reality, offensive language that disrespects and objectifies women is the foundation of a culture that minimizes sexual assault and rewards male aggression. In other words, rape culture.

Rape culture is a key enabler of sexual assault in America. It supports violence against women, encourages male sexual aggression, normalizes sexual violence and contributes to victim blaming. Rape culture is harmful to all people, all ages, all races and all socioeconomic groups. Victims are silenced, children are misinformed, and with each generation of men there are those who believe it is acceptable to do what they want to women.

The truth is that a small percentage of men account for a large percentage of sexual assaults. The larger percentage of men understand that rape is perpetrated by those who are empowered by a culture that dismisses abhorrent behavior as harmless, locker room banter. It is a culture that shames and ridicules the victims who actually take steps to seek justice against their assailant.

All leaders — parents, teachers, CEOs and politicians — must be committed to ending rape culture by speaking up and calling out those who perpetuate the insidiousness that creates a culture that celebrates the denigration of women.

Clara Reynolds, Tampa

The writer is president and CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

Dylan's Nobel: a story in his songs | Oct. 14

All the words ring true

USF professor and poet Jay Hopler says Bob Dylan's lyrics crumble without the music. He is wrong. I have a huge book of his lyrics and they still speak truths, paint pictures and tell stories in a way no musician has matched.

Vernon Bryant, Tampa

An American original

USF poet Jay Hopler says the audio component of Bob Dylan's words makes them something less than poetry. He doesn't seem to understand that his spoken words and Dylan's sung words are both poetic. The tradition of sung poetry harks back to Homer and the Psalms, and no one denies both are the wellspring of great literature.

Dylan is an American original who has been a prominent literary influence for more than five decades. As soon as his audience thinks it "gets him," he manages to reinvent himself and take his art to a newer and higher level.

Thomas McGowan, St. Petersburg


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