Expert: Pot can be harmful | June 6
Legal medicines also carry risks
This is a risk vs. reward debate. It is a fact that prescription and nonprescription drugs pose a risk of harm whether used as directed or misused. These risks are often identified in the drugs' disclaimers. Who can argue that oxycodone and Xanax cannot cause harm? What about the risks of steroid usage, even when taken as prescribed? But of course, FDA-approved drugs have demonstrated benefits as well.
Marijuana also has medical benefits. The fact that there may be risks makes it little different from legal drugs widely in use today, except that the risks associated with marijuana may in fact be less.
The vast risks of using alcohol and tobacco are well known. Why are these products not illegal?
There are zero "use as directed" regulations for either alcohol or tobacco, and they are frequently abused.
I submit that the benefits of medical marijuana are well known and documented, against very limited known and documented risks. Many drugs used legally every day, to include alcohol and tobacco, are joined by products like sugar in posing widespread and lethal risks that our laws do not protect us from.
Why has medical marijuana (and recreational marijuana) been singled out as being so sinister?
Thomas Morton, Sun City Center
It's time to change mind-set on transit June 7, Sue Carlton column
Go for flexible bus service
This column by Sue Carlton hit a home run. Why invest in a light rail system that is expensive to build and maintain when basic transportation needs can be met with trolleys, shuttles and buses to special events? Downtown areas can be easier served by those modes of flexible transportation. Buses between downtown Clearwater and downtown St. Petersburg would serve the public much better than a nonflexible train.
The mind-set of our lawmakers needs to change for us to provide a 21st century transportation system for our region. People need downtown shuttles in St. Petersburg and Tampa, shuttles to airports, shuttles to beaches, shuttles to entertainment venues and shuttles to hotels. All of this can be accomplished quicker and cheaper without trains.
Ken Gagliano, Clearwater
Mean streets take deadly toll on bay area and Pedestrians on wild side of statistic June 2, May 30
Make crossings safer
You recently published an editorial and a column by Daniel Ruth, both addressing pedestrian safety (or lack thereof) in the Tampa Bay area. One factor I haven't seen addressed is the spacing of traffic lights, often a mile or more apart, relative to the number of bus stops on major arteries.
I work on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa and live off Fourth Street N in St. Petersburg. Every day I see people, many with children and strollers, crossing five lanes of moving traffic. I counted nine bus stops on Hillsborough Avenue between the traffic light at Habana Avenue and the next one at Himes Avenue, and 11 bus stops on Fourth Street N between the traffic light at Ninth Avenue and the next one at 22nd Avenue.
Fortunately, St. Petersburg recently completed a series of attractively landscaped islands in the median along Fourth Street that not only add visual appeal but also enhance safety. Perhaps Tampa could design something similar.
Judy Cole, St. Petersburg
Get on the bus
Once again Daniel Ruth proves to be a hypocrite.
In his Friday column, he expresses how long he sits in traffic and how great it would be to have more public transportation.
But he's part of the problem. Why isn't he riding the bus and taking his car off the road?
James Molloy, Pinellas Park
NRA backtracks from rare instance of lucidity | June 8, commentary
Society's fright meter
The sight of average Americans of any race carrying firearms that can clearly be seen is much less disconcerting than not-so-average Americans of any race with their pants halfway down their backside and otherwise putting forth a thuggy vibe with no firearm visible.
That being the case, perhaps if liberals are so concerned about appearances, they should focus more on the latter than the former when attempting to adjust the national societal fright meter.
We all know gun control of any kind is aimed only at those likely to obey the law and therefore only really intended to disarm certain Americans — again, the former aforementioned group rather than the latter.
The Second Amendment isn't going anywhere without turning our country into a Fallujah on steroids, so the leftist quixotic quest to disarm those segments of the population least likely to support them is foolhardy.
Dwayne Keith, Valrico
Bergdahl is focus of debates | June 9
PunditFact's rating of Stephen Hayes' contention as "half true" renders its investigation of the statement meaningless.
"Yes, the Obama administration went to court," the ruling says, "but not for the reason Hayes said" (that the man was dangerous). That isn't half true. The point of Hayes' statement — that they went to court because this man was a danger — is false. By PunditFact's logic, this statement is worthy of being deemed half true: The Titanic hit an iceberg and then was transported to the planet Zod by aliens. According to PunditFact, that rates as half true because indeed the Titanic did hit an iceberg.
Philip Ryan, Land O'Lakes
The facts are not in
What happened to the presumption of innocence and the benefit of the doubt ? We are not yet in possession of all the necessary information regarding Bowe Bergdahl, but some politicians are screaming "treason." Are they vexed about the soldier or are they pouting because they have not been consulted?
Had Bergdahl died in captivity, the same yellers would accuse the president of inaction. And I wonder if all these political loudmouths would behave that way if Bergdahl was their own son.
Patrick Bauer, Wesley Chapel