Monday, June 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: U.S. role key in Syrian crisis

Report: Iranians taken in Syria | Aug. 5

U.S. aid can help Syrian outcome

With the recent resignation of U.N. special envoy for Syria Kofi Annan, there are new doubts that a diplomatic solution is possible in Syria. Unlike similar conflicts in the Middle East that arose from the Arab Spring, this conflict impacts several aspects of U.S. foreign policy in the region, including al-Qaida, chemical weapons, Iran's nuclear program and human rights.

Yet just as there are doubts, there are also numerous opportunities for diplomatic success. By increasing political and economic pressure on the Bashar Assad regime, working with Syrian political stakeholders from across factions, and encouraging all parties to form a representative government, the United States can help create a post-Assad peace.

Voters must encourage leaders in Washington to provide rebels with antitank weapons, and most importantly, the United States should be prepared to intervene to secure Syrian chemical weapons. The Assad regime is reportedly in possession of one of the world's largest stockpiles of chemical weapons, and pinpointing the locations of those stockpiles — and preventing them from being used — must be a U.S. priority.

There are commonsense approaches to Syria that don't involve U.S. boots on the ground. Our leaders in Washington should listen to them.

Justin Day, Tampa

Gunman kills six at temple | Aug. 6

A lack of prominence

I have always felt lucky and proud to have the Tampa Bay Times be my local paper, until Monday when I saw a mass shooting of people worshiping in Wisconsin relegated to page 2.

Why would mostly white people shot at a Batman movie in Colorado be on your front page for days, and the mass murder of Sikhs peacefully practicing their religion in Wisconsin be put on page 2 with the lottery results? Could it be because of the shade of their skin is a little darker than the average Coloradan, or that some of the congregants, wearing turbans and saris, don't look like your average American?

At best, you missed an opportunity to show that you care about all of America's people. At worst, this smacks of racism and xenophobia.

Sara F. Jeffries, Tampa

For many, Social Security to pay out less than paid in | Aug. 6

No individual accounts

The Tampa Bay Times should be ashamed of itself and embarrassed by its poor journalism. The headlines and articles measuring "paid in Social Security tax versus paid out Social Security benefits" only perpetuate the myth that there are some types of Social Security accounts. That is pure rubbish. Whenever you receive a paycheck you pay Social Security tax. It is not a contribution to any account. Those tax dollars are spent by the government and are gone forever.

You do not have any "balance" with the government and you do not get any guarantee that you will get any money. If any private individual tried to set up a similar plan, he would be prosecuted for having an illegal Ponzi scheme.

Politicians want to perpetuate this myth, as it gives them cover for the reality, which is that today's workers are being forced to support the various Social Security entitlement giveaways that politicians use to gain political favor with blocks of voters.

When people pay property taxes, or income tax or even sales tax, do they ask if they are getting back more than they contributed for that? Of course not, because it is a tax, not an investment. Social Security is no different. It is a tax, not an investment. The Times does a disservice to its readers suggesting or implying anything else.

Kevin Hubbart, Clearwater

Tasty fish makes comeback | Aug. 6, letter

Left out of the bounty

The letter written by a board member of the Florida Wildlife Federation concerning red snapper should infuriate most recreational fisherman. The rules that govern me and the thousands of recreational fisherman do not apply to the commercial industry.

Red snapper is a tasty and fun fish to catch. But you need to travel to depths of 100 feet or more to get to where they live, which equates to hundreds of dollars in gas. The bag limit for the recreational angler is two per person, the fish has to be 16 inches or greater, and we have a 46-day season. On the other hand, the size limit for commercial fisherman is 13 inches, there is no bag limit and the season is not closed. There is a quota limiting them to 3.66 million pounds.

The rules are so lopsided toward the commercial industry it makes you wonder how this is possible until you understand that the board members of the governing agency are heavily influenced by the commercial fishing interests. Florida's recreational boat industry used to be a $6 billion a year business. Between the economy, gas prices and harsh regulations, the recreational angler has little reason to fish for red snapper.

While I agree that conserving the stock is essential, I am outraged that the commercial interest has hijacked the system in their favor.

Kelly McClung, Oldsmar

352M-mile journey over for Mars rover Aug. 6

Wonders of science

Starting Monday, a car-sized, 1-ton engineering marvel will enable us to explore Mars in ways that were never before possible. We will learn more about the composition of the Red Planet in the next two years than in all previous human history combined. All of which is the result of astounding scientific ingenuity and engineering genius.

The Curiosity rover required 10 years of direct work and 3.4 million years of accumulated scientific knowledge to become reality. Today I find myself filled with absolute wonder about the world and universe — I want to know what we will learn tomorrow and to see humans push even further past our current limits of understanding.

John Hoover, Riverview

Campaign 2012

Voting and values

I'd like to encourage all eligible voters to vote in the important presidential election on Nov. 6.

In the words of Father John Harden, S.J., "May we choose a president of the United States and other government officials" who will "respect the sanctity of unborn human life, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of the family, and the sanctity of the aging."

Then "we are confident" God will "give us an abundance of blessings." May God bless America.

Mary Lou Kavallierakis, Largo


Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Updated: 12 hours ago

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18