Yes to tech; no to telecom giveaway | March 31, commentary
Bills promote a tech revolution
We agree Florida needs an improved wireless infrastructure to drive the economy forward; however, we disagree with this recent column that 5G would negatively affect Tampa.
Senate Bill 596, by Sen. Travis Hutson, and House Bill 687, by Rep. Mike La Rosa, allow cities and counties across Florida to be a part of the smart cities revolution. This legislation brings Florida into the next generation of wireless technology — 5G — to support communities of the future.
This good public policy spurs increased investments, attracting innovative and technologically advanced companies to Florida. It gives Florida families and businesses the wireless bandwidth needed as their data demands rise.
Most of us want to have the technology of the future, like smart cities, autonomous vehicles and instantaneous speeds, but for these innovative ideas to become a reality within cities like Tampa, our state needs to embrace the uniform deployment of small cell technology.
The column implies this deployment would clutter public spaces; however, small cells are compact and unobtrusive, attaching to existing utility/light poles and buildings. Further, this technology enhances the ability for law enforcement to act in a crisis. With small cell technology deployment, law enforcement will have increased bandwidth needed for communication, as well as the tool to pinpoint an emergency at a given location.
Associated Industries of Florida urges lawmakers to support SB 596 and HB 687, allowing Florida to prepare now for the future of technology in the Sunshine State.
Brewster B. Bevis, Tallahassee
The writer is senior vice president of state and federal affairs for Associated Industries of Florida.
County considers tax to cover Trump costs April 11
Not the whole story
Your article on costs for President Donald Trump doesn't tell the whole story. FDR had three residences; Harry Truman had the Key West White House; and as a resident of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach I would see Jack and Jackie Kennedy fly in on weekends to Palm Beach. At no time did any paper make mention of this.
Eventually the costs will be worked out with the feds, but it is unfair of your paper to tell us that Trump is getting anything free. The Associated Press and your paper should start giving us correct news. Stop faking it. Thank you.
Frederick Edwards, St. Pete Beach
To get big things done, let's meet in the middle | April 5, commentary
The missing middle
This column imagines "America's team, devout centrists who lean conservative on economics, express tolerance on social issues and are unapologetic about balancing principles and perspective." Should a centrist like this run in a safely Republican district — which, thanks to partisan gerrymandering, means most congressional and legislative districts in our state and others — he or she is guaranteed a well-funded primary attack from the right, largely thanks to Citizens United.
Even the wackiest science-denying, government-drowning Freedom Caucus member can be elected in such districts, because the right knows a Democratic candidate simply has no chance.
The centrists are already there, and they're Democrats like our own U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor. Perhaps Florida can consider the model of California, which has open primaries with the top two vote-getters facing off in the general election. That has produced a dramatic shift to the center and far greater growth than, say, Kansas, which went for tea party policies.
Joseph Discenza, Tampa
Medicaid may require fees | April 8
Look into Medicaid claims
I would like the Times to check claims by Rep. Travis Cummings on Medicaid. First, we should know how many recipients are capable of working before making it a requirement that they work.
He says health providers "complain of patients missing appointments or avoiding preventive care entirely." Is this problem more common among Medicaid recipients than the general public? If Medicaid recipients are working in low-paying jobs, are they able to take time off for preventive services?
His suggestion for them to have "more skin in the game" might be well-intended, but is there any research that this idea would really help?
If we are worried about health care costs, why didn't Florida sign on to Medicaid expansion, which could have brought in billions of dollars? Instead, we are using assumptions rather than research to put more burdens onto the poor.
Cecilia Yocum, Tampa
Mar-a-Lago situation room photo | April 8
Photo shows the problem
What's wrong with this picture? There are 14 people in the room. All are white men except for Dina Powell. The decisionmakers in this room clearly do not represent the real America. What's wrong with this picture? Pretty much everything.
Margaret O'Connell, St. Petersburg
What's become of the American dream? April 9, commentary
America's caste system
Given Peggy Noonan's bona fides as a Republican pundit, her tortuous twisting of the American dream is not surprising. It is precisely the same spin that Donald Trump and Paul Ryan put on health care: "Access" is all that matters, even if millions who have "access" can't afford to use it. Noonan misses the fact that America's gulf in wealth and wages has created a caste system, traceable to Republican transfers of wealth, beginning with Ronald Reagan's tax "reforms."
Thanks to conservatives over the past 40 years, the notion that "I can do better" has frayed, as both economics and politics increasingly reward those whom Alexander Hamilton called "the wealthy, well-born, and wise." One need look no further than the make-up of Trump's Cabinet for validation: We have a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.
Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg