Monday, June 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Water users vs. weary warriors

Where's the outrage about Fla.'s springs? | May 28, commentary

Water users and weary warriors

In response to Sonny Vergara's column, I expect that most people fall into one of two categories: users and tired warriors.

The vast majority are in the group using the groundwater pumped from under these springs and most of west-central Florida. They've been told repeatedly that their water bills will increase if alternative water sources have to be developed. And to prove it, the installation of desalination in Tampa was bungled.

Maybe the rest of us already fought the fight and now understand the futility. Our property is next to the Cross Bar Wellfield. We spent most of the '90s "seeking out our elected representatives," water management officials and water authority representatives, and giving them our "disaster tours."

What was the end result? A promise to reduce the pumping, which you can't tell by our land. And we were given a couple of water wells and concrete troughs for our cattle since they have no surface water to drink from. Plus we are "allowed" to augment the Fish Lake, once the centerpiece of the ranch. This barely keeps it alive. It is currently less than 40 acres and has not met its minimum healthy level since shortly after El Nino.

The environment will not win the economic battle in west-central Florida when fighting for its fair share of the water.

Jan Dillard, Barthle Brothers Ranch, Dade City

Punished for her stance | May 28

Short-term thinking

shortchanges environment

I was amazed to read that numerous employees were fired (or, in this case, suspended) from various state environmental agencies for doing their jobs — in other words following laws and regulations to protect our environment — because their supervisors told them to ignore the law. This is another example of short-term thinking to put money in the pockets of those for whom the laws just don't suit their needs.

The Times ran a series of articles in 2006 about these flawed mitigation banks. Perhaps it's time to run another investigative series exposing these unlawful practices by those people we are supposed to trust to follow the law but who, instead, run their agencies as if they are running their own private businesses.

Diane Kornick, Clearwater

Wrong person punished

After reading this article concerning the punishment of Department of Environmental Protection wetlands expert Connie Bersok, it's obvious that the wrong person is being punished. Since DEP Deputy Secretary Jeff Littlejohn stated, "I don't speak wetlands ecologist," what made him believe he had the right to ask Bersok to bend DEP rules? I hope the Times will follow up on the outrageous treatment of Bersok for doing the job "we the people" pay her to do.

Joe Whetstone, Valrico

Vets' disability claims soar | May 28

Costs of rushing to war

I read, with anger, this article about recent war veterans' record disability rates.

It is clear that in light of the consequences we face in treating these veterans — whom we absolutely must take care of — that the United States should be required to have a clear consensus across party lines and among voters before going to war with any country. The nation should also exhaust all possibilities of peaceful resolution before taking military action, and establish that there is an imminent danger to the American public if we don't take action.

At this point, the United States government and citizenry have a moral obligation to pay for any and all disabilities our war veterans have suffered based on the decisions we have allowed our leaders to make.

Let me not read again that we can't keep the promises that we made to them after they have fulfilled their obligations to us.

Beth Crosa, St. Petersburg

Boat slams jetty, tossing 9 out | May 28

Dangerous conditions

Having driven commercial boats through Clearwater Pass and Bayboro Harbor — location of the jetty where the teen was killed several years ago when the boat she was in hit an unlit jetty by the Coast Guard station — I can attest that jetties can be very hazardous at night. The reason is the red and green channel lights in the passes can be seen over the top of the rocks, but contrary to the assertion that the jetties are "lit up like Christmas trees," they are dark.

When the boater sees the channel lights and wants to enter the pass, he or she aims for the lights and runs right in to the rocks.

Boat operators are responsible for being knowledgeable about the area they operate in, but over the years so many boats have hit the jetties, resulting in a number of deaths, that in the name of safety high-intensity flashing yellow caution lights should be installed on top of the rocks.

Jim Heady, South Pasadena

All not equal in face of camera | May 23

Looking out for citizens

I was a police officer a long time ago, and we regularly went past red lights, safely and slowly, not interfering with pedestrians or cross traffic. On the midnight shift, especially, it would be considered unproductive to sit at a light looking straight ahead. Imagine the time lost within eight hours. The idea of a patrol is to keep moving and observing. Even our unmarked units slipped through lights for the same reason. They are not disobeying the law; they are looking out for the citizens.

John Culkin, St. Petersburg

Change for Catholic schools | May 14

Schools of excellence

This article addressed the changes facing the future of Catholic schools within the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Mention was made about the enrollment challenges facing some Catholic schools. As a proud parent of students enrolled in Catholic schools, I feel it is important to clarify that there are several schools within the diocese that are thriving and enrollment in some schools has actually increased over the course of the past few years.

Two of the schools have recently been named "National Blue Ribbon Award Winners." Three schools are adopting the International Baccalaureate Program. The article's underlying tone was negative.

I want to convey that excellence in education is unparalleled in Catholic schools and will remain so in the future.

Carol Purcell, Safety Harbor


Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

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 ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

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...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

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...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

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 ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

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