Thursday, December 14, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Bill secures a trained workforce

Job training

Bill secures a trained workforce

While job growth has remained lackluster during our economic recovery, the construction industry and other highly skilled trades are facing a shortage of qualified workers that threatens the future of the industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry alone will face a shortage of 1.6 million workers by 2022.

Thankfully, Congress took an important step this month toward building a workforce that will address the needs of our economy. On July 9, the U.S. House passed HR 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which the Senate had passed June 26.

The act represents a significant move forward in streamlining and localizing job training efforts, ensuring that our workforce development system is capable of providing workers with the skills they need, and providing our nation with a workforce that can respond to economic demand. The bill does this by ensuring that the small-business owners who make up our local economy have a role in shaping local workforce development and job training programs that fit the needs of the local economy.

The bill also takes an important step in ensuring that training grants are available to programs regardless of labor affiliation. Previously, funding for certain job training programs was available only to firms associated with labor unions, locking out the 86 percent of employees in the construction industry who choose not to be affiliated with a labor union. By opening up job training money for all industry-recognized job training programs, the act allows more workers to access the training they need to be productive members of our workforce.

The act represents a tremendous step forward in bringing much-needed reform to our country's workforce training system, and we hope the president signs the bill into law.

Steve Cona III, president/CEO, Associated Builders and Contractors, Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, Tampa

Protect Tampa cigars | July 11, editorial

A deadly business

Having been a Florida resident only since December, we are still getting used to the way things are down here. Nevertheless, I am appalled at the Tampa Bay Times editorial advocating protecting the J.C. Newman Cigar Co.'s products.

Have we learned nothing in the 60 years since the first surgeon general's report about smoking? It may be a historical company, but look at what it produces. Tobacco, in any form, when used for its intended purpose will kill you. This is what the Times is promoting?

Wayne H. Smith, St. Petersburg

Leave medicine to doctors | July 12, letter

Insurers call the shots

Most patients are not aware that their physician is really not in charge of what prescriptions they are allowed to have. Insurance companies routinely decide what's best for you.

I work for a physician, and it is routine for pharmacies to contact our office, asking the doctor for an alternative prescription because the patient's plan doesn't cover the doctor's chosen medication.

Too often, a time-consuming game is played between the pharmacy and the doctor. The physician changes from the first-choice medicine to an alternative, only to have that choice rejected; a third-string drug is finally approved. Then the patient returns and reports little or no improvement.

The insurance companies are in charge. Drive through cities and note the names on the biggest buildings. They are mostly insurance companies and banks, not doctors' names. Also, insurance CEOs "earn" millions annually on the backs of patients and the health care professionals who generate the income. Reimbursements to doctors go down, patient premiums go up and most of us have very high deductibles. The system is broken.

Diane Wayne, Tarpon Springs

Border influx triggers blame game | July 14

Reaction unworthy of U.S.

I have been following the stories about children coming across our southern borders — and the hateful in-person and online protests against them. I am appalled. If this were happening in any other country in the world, we would be taking up collections in schools, churches and businesses to help these children. We would be having bake sales and selling plastic bracelets proclaiming that we support these innocents. Churches would be sending missionaries to assist with these refugees from oppressive governments.

I am ashamed of our reaction. Have we lost the "goodness" factor that Americans have been known for throughout the world? I fear we may have.

Yvonne Neff Woods, Tarpon Springs

Welcome to Florida

In 1961, I was one of hundreds of unaccompanied Cuban children who arrived in Miami and were warmly welcomed by the good people of Florida. Thank God we did not try to go to Texas.

Maria Emilia, St. Petersburg

Break the impasse on immigration policy July 14, commentary

Senseless lack of action

If folks as disparate as Bill Gates, Sheldon Adelson and Warren Buffett can collaborate on and agree to solutions for reforming our broken immigration laws, then the House of Representatives surely can do the same. The bottom line is that "a Congress that does nothing about these problems is extending an irrational policy by default."

It is truly senseless and unacceptable — as is the cruel and inhumane decision of the Obama administration to return any of the children recently arrived from Central America to their homeland and the horrors that forced them to flee in the first place.

John Hayner, Clearwater

3-D mammograms can spot cancer more easily | July 8

Better screening tests

Thank you for educating women of the Tampa Bay area about the value of the newest technique in breast imaging. Tomosynthesis has been proven in multi-institution studies to save lives. We are finding smaller cancers earlier and, in women with dense breasts, we are seeing cancers that were previously invisible.

Please seek out dedicated mammographers at American College of Radiology-approved facilities.

Marty Landry, M.D., Largo


Friday’s letters: Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes

GOP plan favors owners | Dec. 11Perils of small business ownersI wonder if the author of this article has even a clue about owning a business. Businessmen — especially small business owners — risk it all. They risk their savings, their car, their...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17