Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Hillsborough doesn't need taxi agency

Keep independent transit agency | Nov. 23, letter

County doesn't need taxi agency

Once again Victor Crist is spewing fallacies as an excuse to keep the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission a state-sanctioned, independent district accountable to no one. Whenever this corrupt agency comes under fire, the public safety defense is aired as the reason for this agency.

The PTC allows vehicles to be in service up to 10 years, so it is not uncommon to have vehicles with hundreds of thousands of miles ferrying people around. On insurance, the PTC requires only $300,000 liability for cabs and large, 15-passenger "rollover-prone" vans. To raise the anticompete operational cost bar, the PTC does require black car services to carry $1 million liability.

The PTC also sets no maximum hours for drivers similar to those set by the Florida Department of Transportation. Therefore, it is common for taxi and van drivers to work about 16 hours a day in order to make the lease payment to the PTC permit holders, who are not bound by any maximum charges they can levy on the drivers.

Maybe next, Crist will start declaring that drivers being required to wear ties and collared shirts under threat of criminal prosecution is a safety issue that the Legislature should consider when deciding if to continue sanctioning this local taxi regulator.

Walter Kozak, Spring Hill

Let's not make pot legal | Nov. 24, letter

Gateway of the mind

Neither alcohol nor marijuana — nor cocaine for that matter — can force anyone to ingest them and act upon their influence. The real "gateway drug" is plain stupidity. Unfortunately, there is no known cure and its not going away any time soon.

Michael Kreha, St. Petersburg

A better use of jail space

The letter writer states that it would be a waste of time to legalize pot and that it's a gateway drug. What about all the billions of dollars we spend prosecuting people for making a personal choice? Couldn't our jails be better used to confine violent criminals?

The Netherlands legalized pot, and the results are in. The use of hard drugs is down sharply. When you can legally buy pot, you're not exposed to harder drugs. Also, drug dealers don't ask for ID, so underage use is also down compared to the United States.

John Dooley, Hudson

Pot's medical benefits

I support medical marijuana for three reasons.

First, my nonsmoking, nondrinking, law-abiding friend has cancer. She now illegally smokes pot. She says that morphine spaces her out, while pot leaves her mellow and in control of her mind.

Second, Consumer Reports is my bible on consumer matters. It states, "(We) believe that for patients with advanced AIDS and cancer, the apparent benefits some derive from smoking marijuana outweigh any substantiated or even suspected risks."

Third, I will vote for a yellow dog before voting for most Republicans. Hence, I became immediately suspicious when Attorney General Pam Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott opposed medical marijuana. After all, they opposed Obamacare, expanding Medicaid despite 100 percent federal funding, increasing the minimum wage, restoration of rights for ex-felons and job growth though rail expansion.

Howard F. Harris Jr., Tampa

A home, but no help | Nov. 24

Hold someone to account

Your exposé of the plight of public housing for the infirm and poor appears to have received flippant notice from Hillsborough County authorities. It is a deep shame and disgrace upon county government to send "the least of these" to filthy, rodent-infested housing at taxpayers' expense.

The county administrator's staff, though acknowledging the problem, appears to be ineptly concerned about the grotesque housing conditions. Cannot officials who appear to support this injustice, with taxpayer money, be held responsible?

I am flabbergasted that the "powers that be" have not risen up in righteous indignation.

James N. Holmes, Tampa

Iran nuke deal signed | Nov. 24

Appeasement won't work

In a feckless effort to change the narrative on front pages around the country from the disastrous reality of Obamacare, this administration has chosen to throw our closest allies in the Middle East under the bus. Appeasement didn't work when Neville Chamberlain waved the "peace treaty" signed by Hitler and claimed "peace in our time." And it won't work now when the real authority in Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, publicly referred to Israel as the "rabid dog of the region" and promised that the "Zionist regime" was "doomed to collapse."

While Secretary of State John Kerry has hailed this as a great triumph for peace, more sober minds are calling it capitulation. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it "an historical mistake." Leaders in Washington from both sides of the aisle have openly shown dismay at the plan. Other Middle Eastern leaders, including our "allies" in Saudi Arabia, are reportedly fuming.

And no wonder. Followers of the theocratic political system of Islam believe it's okay to lie to advance their religion. That alone would make it a far wiser practice to look at history than listen to the words that come out of their mouths.

And this does nothing to improve our relationship with Iran. Radical Islamists like those leading Iran see President Barack Obama's "leading from behind," drawing "red lines" and not following through, and giving disproportionate concessions as weakness.

And unfortunately, they're not the only ones.

It's not coincidence that on the same day the Obama administration inked this deal, China claimed control over much of the airspace above the East China Sea, which includes several disputed islands controlled by Japan.

Our weakness is not only discouraging our allies in the Middle East. It is encouraging our adversaries everywhere.

Terry Kemple, Valrico


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...
Updated: 2 hours ago

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

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18