Friday, February 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Vote for February Letter of the Month

Editor's note: 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 at the end of the year. 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 helps.

Help us choose the letter of the month for February 2014 by reading through the three nominated letters and voting on the ballot at the bottom of the web page.

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Two sides to SeaWorld boycott | Dec. 29

Amusement parks and zoos

In her column, Susan Thurston asks, "I wonder if Pat Benatar or the Beach Boys — musical acts that canceled shows at Busch Gardens over the controversy — have ever been to a zoo." Frankly, I would ask her the same thing.

Personally, I've been to many world-class zoos, including San Diego, and none of them do what SeaWorld and their ilk do, which is have their animals perform for the amusement of people. Most zoos actually try to perpetuate endangered/threatened species as well as educate people about the other life forms that also inhabit this planet. Reputable zoos don't make Jumbo do stupid pet tricks to teach people about the horrors of poaching and the ivory trade.

Thurston also states that "the sad reality is that humans have been doing cruel things to animals well before Shamu." Is that supposed to absolve these establishments of their actions? Bread and circuses were the way of the Roman Empire, not modern humankind. No creature should be made to live its life in captivity for the amusement of people.

Cheryl Applebaum, Tampa (Feb. 4)

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No money, no movies | Jan. 31

Stop corporate welfare

Florida taxpayers paid 60 percent of the wages of temporary workers hired to film three movies. This $6 million is a small part of the $296 million we have spent since 2010 to subsidize the entertainment industry. The rationale is that it helps tourism. Well, there is a rationale for every giveaway to business, whether it is sports, conventions, medical, insurance, finance, manufacturing or tourism.

They all need "incentives" to come to Florida. Every smart business is now playing states and cities against each other to obtain the best deal. The practice of giving away tax dollars to businesses is escalating rapidly toward a zero-sum game. New York state recently raised the ante with its TV commercial that offers 10 years of no taxes to businesses relocating to certain areas in the state.

This madness must stop. If taken to its logical conclusion, this practice of corporate welfare will bankrupt states and cities unless individual citizens are taxed more and more. At its very core, this practice is either bribery, extortion or both. It is also unethical and unfair to existing businesses. It should be made illegal nationwide. In a free-market economy, every business must compete on a level playing field and pay for its share of infrastructure, resources and services necessary to maintain a civil and functioning society.

Jon Erion, Oldsmar (Feb. 8)

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'Lobbyist' not a dirty word | Feb. 10, commentary

The problem is money

In his defense of the lobbying profession, Darryl Paulson either overlooked or conveniently avoided the real issue. The problem is not with the those who practice the art, or with the profession itself. Few question their right to exist or their value.

The problem is the undue influence they wield as a result of the vast sums of money at their disposal, money that they pass both over and under the table into the eager hands of those we send to Washington to represent our interests. Worse is the fact that most of their contacts with Congress are cloaked in secrecy. Shut the spigot off, bring the contacts out into the sunshine, and "lobbyist" would no longer be a four-letter word.

Robert A. Shaw, Madeira Beach (Feb. 13)

Comments

Thursday’s letters: Second Amendment is outdated

Second AmendmentCongress can act on firearmsThe Second Amendment is outdated, since it is predicated on the need for a "well regulated militia." Militias are defined as civilian soldiers trained under the command of competent military leadership. The...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/22/18

Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

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