Trauma care ideas clash | April 17
Protect high-quality trauma care
When I speak about the great things happening at Bayfront Health, I mention our dedicated doctors, nurses and staff — and our high-quality work in many different health care specialties.
Another point of pride is Bayfront Trauma, our award-winning trauma center in St. Petersburg. Bayfront Trauma opened in the mid '80s, quickly earned its Level II trauma designation, and has been serving our community ever since.
But today, Bayfront Trauma is being threatened. Northside Hospital has filed an application with the state to open a trauma center just blocks away from Bayfront. Northside wants the Department of Health to grant it "provisional" status to open, even though that goes against the Florida statutes and department regulations. Make no mistake, this trauma center is unnecessary and could cause great harm to trauma care for Pinellas County residents.
Why? Studies have repeatedly shown that trauma patients get the best care when trauma-related resources are centered in specific locations. Put another way, with the proper volume of patients coming into a trauma center, doctors and staff can keep their skills sharp and provide the highest quality care.
Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature want to allow trauma centers to open whenever someone submits an application. Certain lawmakers believe more trauma centers will drive down prices and improve care. This is just not true.
We believe trauma care in our area is at risk, and we are taking every possible action to protect it.
Michael A. Brown, board chairman, Bayfront Health, St. Petersburg
U.S. diplomacy in peril
American diplomacy is in peril. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is home alone on the seventh floor of the State Department. He has no deputy. Three months into the Trump administration, there are no nominees for the many assistant secretary and deputy positions that direct American diplomatic operations around the world and conduct interagency coordination at home. Tillerson has accepted a 30 percent budget cut, and the federal hiring freeze, lifted for the rest of government, remains in effect at State.
More than 16,000 members of the U.S. Foreign Service are serving our country around the world. America's diplomats and development professionals help prevent the spread of conflict, open markets for U.S. goods, assist Americans abroad, negotiate agreements in line with U.S. goals, report on threats to the U.S. homeland, and work alongside our military colleagues on a range of missions, from stabilizing Iraq to earthquake relief in Haiti.
I proudly served in the Foreign Service for over 25 years conducting public diplomacy. I teach diplomacy now at Eckerd College and have for the last 20 years.
The first Friday in May is designated as American Foreign Service Day. It is on this day that members of the Foreign Service around the world and here at home come together to recognize and celebrate the thousands of people who commit their lives to serving the nation abroad and the impact their work has on us all. This year we will also be grieving our administration's apparent willingness to hollow out American statecraft by neglecting diplomacy.
It is my hope that my fellow Americans take this time to pay attention to American diplomacy and the institutions that give it voice.
Donna Marie Oglesby, St. Pete Beach
Embattled Artiles resigns | April 22
Senators showed integrity
Thank you for the coverage of events that resulted in the resignation of state Sen. Frank Artiles. Now that Sen. Perry Thurston has withdrawn his charges, I think it is time to applaud both him and Sen. Audrey Gibson for the integrity they demonstrated when faced with such outrageous behavior from a Senate colleague.
Gibson and Thurston's response was refreshing and served as a reminder that there are still leaders who will respond to a bully with integrity and grace. I hope other elected officials follow their example.
Debbie Zomermaand, Tampa
Not learning from mistakes
Two recent letters refer to Barack Obama's presidency as a failure. So does Donald Trump, who claims to have inherited "a mess." What might he have said had he followed George W. Bush? By any measurement — jobs, the housing market, the stock market, foreign wars, bin Laden, the automobile industry, etc. — Obama greatly outperformed his predecessor.
The trouble with never admitting when you are wrong is that you are very likely to repeat your mistakes. Conservatives complain about the debt created during Obama's tenure as president. They hope, evidently, that people will forget that Bush inherited a surplus from Bill Clinton and turned it into a colossal deficit. They also ignore the fact that Ronald Reagan created more debt during his tenure than every president from George Washington to Jimmy Carter combined. When conservatives complain about debt, they limit their complaints to Democratic presidents.
Clinton and Obama raised taxes on the wealthiest citizens. Reagan and Bush reduced taxes on the wealthiest. Yet Clinton and Obama created more jobs than Reagan and Bush.
Robert Monroe, Tampa
Senator lets down Marines' values | John Romano column, April 20
Rot in the culture isn't new
Those who believe that the coarseness in our current culture started with President Donald Trump are delusional. Have they not observed the ever-lowered bar or standard for what is (apparently) acceptable in recent years — whether it be language, behavior or appearance?
Much of this is due to our entertainment culture. Whether it be music, movies or TV programs, standards have been lowered to the point where those of us who are "old school" can hardly find a movie to attend due to unacceptable language, explicit sex, and/or violence. Hollywood has foisted upon us this "culture rot." It's up to us to accept or reject it. To blame it on our president is incorrect.
Marilyn Renner, Dunedin