Sunday, February 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Needle program deserves support

Syringe exchange bill

Needle program deserves support

Senate Bill 808 is a sensible piece of legislation that would authorize a pilot syringe exchange program in Miami in order to reduce the spread of infectious diseases and to link injection drug users with addiction treatment services.

Research shows that syringe exchange programs effectively reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis C by reducing the sharing, reuse and circulation of syringes and injecting equipment. The lifetime cost of treating an HIV-positive person runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars. With a sterile needle costing less than 50 cents, it is far cheaper to prevent a new case of HIV than it is to incur the lifelong treatment costs.

Additionally, by drastically reducing the improper disposal of used syringes in the community, these programs minimize the risk of accidental needlestick injuries among law enforcement officers, firefighters and members of the general public.

No state funds will be used to operate the program. Syringe exchange programs are commonly funded by nonprofit organizations and private charities.

Members of the House Health Quality Subcommittee voted last month in unanimous support of this measure. Sen. Aaron Bean needs to authorize a hearing, collect all the facts, and trust the Health Policy Committee to make an informed decision on SB 808. The people of Florida deserve to know where their senators stand on this issue.

Jon Bowes, Tallahassee

Prescribed burn gets out of hand | March 30

Combustible decision

A prescribed burn on a windy day in the middle of the dry season? What was the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission thinking when they made that decision?

Alfred Barnard, Beverly Hills

Off path of righteousness | March 30, letter

The issue is freedom

This letter represents the typical argument spewed over and over by the antigay movement. It is nonsense because the issue is not one of morality, sin or religion; it is one of freedom. Our Founding Fathers did not come here to establish a religion-based country and laws; they left to escape such oppression.

If one were to sum up the idea behind the conception of the United States into one slogan, it would be "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." It is time to allow all citizens to have that unalienable right.

Jeremy Beau, Sarasota

Respect for others

The letter writer states that the "existence of the Creator and his dealings with men were self-evident" in the society in which our Founding Fathers lived. There's the rub: the society in which our Founding Fathers lived also allowed the enslavement of men (which the Bible sanctions) and did not allow women to vote or participate in government.

As brilliant as our forefathers were, they also had little knowledge of the other faiths that existed at that time and that now are practiced — and respected — within our own borders.

Some call modern technology progress. What I call progress is the opening of minds to other ways of living. What I call progress is the realization that those who don't follow my chosen beliefs might still be ethical, moral, valuable people.

Eileen Flaxman, Wimauma

Chef cannot work in Pinellas | March 30

Contract leaves a bad taste

There is no place in our business for this type of contract. The people who have committed themselves to working in the bar and restaurant business have already taken the career path of relatively low wages, long and late hours, no IRAs and no health insurance. It is a high-pressure, thankless industry, where employees deal with irregular schedules, screaming managers and owners who too often spend too much time at their own bars.

On the rare occasion that one of us gains recognition, there should be no such restriction on the ability to change jobs. Contracts are supposed to protect both parties. Unless there was a huge signing bonus, this contract should never have come into play.

Bruce Caplan, Redington Beach

Rein in legalized loan sharking March 23, editorial

Using credit responsibly

This editorial presents an unbalanced portrayal of the cash advance and the important role it plays in the lives of many hardworking families.

My company, Advance America, provides consumers with an affordable tool for overcoming short-term challenges, especially when compared with more expensive options such as overdraft fees, unregulated Internet loans or missing a bill payment.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no compounding interest on a cash advance. We charge a one-time, flat fee — in Florida, $15 to borrow the first $100, declining incrementally up to a maximum fee of $55 on a $500 loan. While we disclose this fee as a dollar amount and as an implied annual percentage rate to help consumers compare credit options, APR alone is not an appropriate measure for a two-week loan, as it describes the cost of taking out 26 consecutive cash advances.

While any form of credit can be abused or misused, our experience shows that most customers use payday advances responsibly: 97 percent of our customers repay their loans on time. We work with all customers to help them be successful borrowers, including those unable to repay by their due date, and offer an extended payment plan at no additional charge.

State and federal regulators should be concerned about the real "sharks" circling — unlicensed lenders that consumers will have little choice but to turn to if the cash advance is eliminated. Wherever lending restrictions have been passed, researchers and state regulators report increases in abusive lending and collections practices by unregulated lenders.

Consumers benefit from having a wide variety of financial choices when they need credit.

Jamie Fulmer, senior vice president, Advance America, Spartanburg, S.C.


Sunday’s letters: Slogans won’t ensure safety

LegislatureSafety requires more than slogansOn Wednesday, our Florida House passed House Bill 839 requiring all public schools to post the state motto, "In God We Trust," in a "conspicuous place." The day before, the same Florida House declined to ev...
Published: 02/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Preserve home rule in Florida

LegislaturePreserve home rule in FloridaOn behalf of the members of Business Watch, a trade association for government contractors, I would like to voice our dismay over the Legislature’s wholesale attack on home rule. As local government contractors...
Published: 02/23/18

Thursday’s letters: Second Amendment is outdated

Second AmendmentCongress can act on firearmsThe Second Amendment is outdated, since it is predicated on the need for a "well regulated militia." Militias are defined as civilian soldiers trained under the command of competent military leadership. The...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/22/18

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...
Published: 02/20/18

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