Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Education is more than job training

Plan revamps path for grads | April 13

Education more than job training

Florida legislators, with their initiative for two separate designations for high school diplomas, once again illustrate a distorted focus on what's truly important for educating our young people.

This concept is ill-conceived on so many levels it is hard to understand how educators and more importantly superintendents think the plan has "merit" — merit being the name of one of the designated diplomas.

When did our educators start believing that we should create what basically could be called a caste system in education? The idea of separating students into "scholar" and "merit" is a not-so-subtle methodology of putting students on a track and making decisions on their future before their education even begins. This is a very dangerous road to travel. If we can start tracking them in high school, why not test them in pre-K and elementary and get them headed in the direction the Legislature would like them to go?

What has happened to the basic idea of a sound, well-balanced curriculum that challenges and involves students and prepares them for planning their own futures? Why have we allowed the power of the business community to control and map out the future for our students based only on the principle of preparing them for their first job?

Regardless of the latest idea from the newest consultant, we need teachers who are competent and are offered a wage that will attract the best and the brightest out of college to pursue a career in education.

Tom Flora, Clearwater

Immigration plan sets 2011 as cutoff to qualify | April 13

The honor system?

This article states that a cutoff to qualify for citizenship would be arrival before Dec. 31, 2011. Do we have a sheet at our borders that illegals sign when they cross the border?

How else would we know when they crossed, except for their own testimony? Of course they would never lie to authorities.

Benjamin Vecchio, Largo

As girl heals, experts offer hope | April 13

Check for safety feature

A tragic accident to befall a small child brings to mind the safe operation of a riding mower.

My rider will not operate in reverse with the mowing deck engaged. Many times, I have stalled when reversing without disengaging the deck. An interlock prevents this occurrence. This is probably a required safety feature.

If you own a rider, you should verify that this feature is operable.

Charles Grubbs, Valrico

Long agonizing path to kill a killer April 13, Sue Carlton column

High cost of vengeance

Sue Carlton paints the expensive and tortured pathway to execute Oscar Ray Bolin. This is a classic illustration of the futility and cost society bears for the death penalty. We remain one of the few countries of the world that executes our criminals. Others include China, Iran, North Korea and Yemen.

Project Innocence's research resulted in 18 innocent people recently being released from death row. Since 1930, more than 140 innocent people have been released from America's death rows. Left unstated were the number of innocent people executed. This abundance of caution in the American justice system is a huge cost, yet innocent people are still convicted and executed.

A recent study in California concluded that the cost of the death penalty in that state has totaled over $4 billion since 1978.

If California's governor commuted the sentences of those now on death row to life without parole, this would result in an immediate savings of $170 million per year, with a savings of $5 billion over the next 20 years. Who knows what savings might occur if all states did so.

If we replaced the death penalty with life without parole, the billions of savings could be applied to more socially beneficial projects.

America's insistence on rigid adherence to an ancient biblical injunction, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," is a huge waste of precious resources better used for other things to improve our society, not to extract vengeance.

Jay Hall, Tampa

On budget, breaking through gridlock April 14, Tim Nickens column

For a permanent fix

I agree that both Democrats and Republicans need to back off their dogmatic budget proposals and accept a balanced approach. I was particularly pleased with Tim Nickens' comment on fixing Social Security: He said that President Barack Obama's concession on using a modified cost-of-living adjustment to help control costs needed to be combined with raising the cap on income subject to the payroll tax.

That's a good suggestion, but a better approach would be to eliminate the cap, just as the cap on the Medicare tax was eliminated many years ago. Unfortunately, eliminating that cap then didn't fix Medicare because of the rapid escalation in health care costs. Social Security costs, on the other hand, have a different set of dynamics, and eliminating the cap would permanently fix that part of the budget quagmire.

Jerry Stephens, Riverview

Father of improv | April 13

Laughter and sadness

It's the end of an era. Jonathan Winters, along with Red Skelton, were masters of their art. I grew up loving them for their wit and sincerity.

Red could never tell a joke without laughing himself, or at himself. He was the embodiment of a little red-haired elf, who we all loved for his simplicity and honesty as well as his comedy.

Jonathan, who could never look at an object or hear a word with out finding the hidden, hysterical meanings in them, was never at a loss for giving us a good clean and hearty laugh.

These men inspired many others through the years, who have tried to copy them, their "characters" and their style. Yet who among those followers have kept to the high standards of creativity that Red and Jonathan laid down?

We are saddened, and sadder as an audience, for their passing.

Nancy Frederich, Madeira Beach


Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18