Sunday, April 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Political telemarketing disguised as poll

Transit tax finds new foe | July 26

Telemarketing disguised as a poll

Last week I responded to the automated telephone survey conducted for Doug Guetzloe by St. Pete Polls. I hung up in disgust before completing the "survey" when it became glaringly obvious it was a push poll.

The American Association for Public Opinion Research defines a push poll as "a form of negative campaigning that is disguised as a political poll. Push polls are actually political telemarketing — telephone calls disguised as research that aim to persuade large numbers of voters and affect election outcomes, rather than measure opinions."

As voters, we are responsible for doing our homework before elections. It is the duty of our newspapers to provide us with factual information from which we can make informed decisions. Not all telephone surveys are push polls; when we have the facts, we know when they are. Thanks to the Times for giving us the facts so we can tell the difference.

Cindy Deadman Maxwell, Clearwater

Plan to recycle gets no bidders | July 20

Shared risk and reward

In the recycling business, it's important that everyone's interests are aligned. We believe the company that processes material and the city that arranges collection should share in the risk and reward of recycling. While there may be other factors in this case — contract length, for example — if interests had been aligned, the city may have received some bids.

An April poll done by the National Waste & Recycling Association, which represents private waste and recycling companies, found that 20 percent of Americans admit they will place items into a recycling bin even if they are not sure it is recyclable.

Given that reality and the fact that recycling contamination rates can change over time, the association believes that contracts like St. Petersburg's should include periodic material audits. If a city conducts a recycling education program and the contamination rate decreases, it should be able to reap the benefits. Conversely, if the contamination rate increases, the city should be financially motivated to take action to decrease it. The only way to know the rate is to measure it over time — not define it before the program even starts.

Recycling association members have developed a set of contract terms that could be used by municipalities as they navigate recycling partnerships.

Sharon Kneiss, National Waste & Recycling Association, Washington, D.C.

Hunting answers | July 27

Behavior insults voters

This article made me more angry by the paragraph — angry because these "top" Republicans think that the voters of Florida are sheep not capable of reading between the lines. They insult our intelligence and turn any question about their conduct into an Abbott and Costello routine of "Who's on first?" until they hope we as voters will throw up our hands.

My take is that if you don't want to or can't explain your conduct as an elected official, I am free to draw my own conclusions — and they are that you have been caught with your hand in the sugar jar. Our sitting governor recently made himself a laughingstock on national television for his ability to never answer a question addressed to him. It was embarrassing and, quite honestly, he looked stupid.

Adding to the mockery and farce, GOP spokeswoman Susan Hepworth refused to discuss the issue and told a reporter, "Do your own job." The press has done its job matching travel records, dates and expenses. Our political leaders — I use that term loosely — keep talking about transparency, but that always applies to the "other guy." Both of the major parties in the state are guilty of this.

John Robbins, Tampa

Busy, busy, busy

The article on King Ranch is a reminder to us ordinary Floridians of how busy our state leaders are. When they've finished doing the people's work in Tallahassee, they have to do fundraising. When asked why they went, all said the Republican Party of Florida made them do it.

They must be so heartless at the RPOF — demanding that our leaders spend time fundraising, hunting and studying agriculture techniques at places like King Ranch. So I have an idea how we can help them: Let's vote to send someone else to Tallahassee so our overworked leaders can stay home and get some much-deserved rest.

Richard Magda, New Port Richey

Call in the law

I can't believe these politicians are getting away with accepting gifts from corporations. In any universe, an all-expense-paid vacation to a privately owned hunting lodge (including out-of-state hunting license) is considered a gift. Florida law forbids these guys, all of whom could afford to pay, from taking a gift of any substantial amount. Where is the "law and order" attorney general, Pam Bondi?

Not only should they be required to disclose what was discussed, but criminal charges should be brought. It is evident U.S. Sugar is getting special treatment from these people and is willing to pay for it.

Edward Emens, Wesley Chapel

What Duke has to offer: high prices, bad service | July 27, Robert Trigaux column

Rates and reality

Robert Trigaux's article about Duke Energy's rates being 20 percent higher than Florida Power & Light is correct if you tabulate the stated kilowatt rates. That is not the number ratepayers write on their checks. For end users, the math is simple: Take the bill total and divide by the number of kilowatts hours. When you use this real-world formula, the difference between Duke and FPL is far greater.

My father lives in Parrish and has Florida Power & Light provide his electricity. He was charged $45.91 for using 455 kilowatts hours of electricity. That is about 10 cents per kilowatt hour. I live in St. Petersburg and have Duke as my energy provider, and for 453 kilowatts I was charged $70.54. That's 16 cents a kilowatt hour, or 60 percent more than my father. This total includes all taxes and fees, including the nuclear recovery fee.

A free-market economy is touted as better for customers because it keeps companies competitive and self-correcting. If a company has poor service and high rates, it will fail and be replaced by a better company. Energy companies fall outside this model, and I am stuck with Duke, a company I would never do business with if I had a choice.

Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg


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

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

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18

Saturday’s letters: Health Department should butt out

Judge: Grow pot, Mr. Redner | April 12Health officials should butt outThe Times reports that the Florida Department of Health filed an appeal to the decision allowing a man who is a Stage 4 lung cancer survivor to grow pot in his backyard for his ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18