Friday, March 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Putin's path to riches

Help choose Letter of the Month

Letters to the editor offer a significant contribution to the discussion of public policy and life in Tampa Bay. To recognize some of that work by our most engaged readers, the Times will select a letter of the month and the writers will be recognized at the end of the year.

Help us choose from the nominations for letter of the month for November by visiting the website listed below by Friday. Read through the three letters and vote on the ballot at the bottom of the web page. We will choose the finalists each month based on relevance on topical issues, persuasiveness and writing style. The writer's opinion does not need to match the editorial board's opinion on the issue to be nominated. But clarity of thinking, brevity and a sense of humor certainly help.

To see the three November nominees and vote, go to

Experts: Russia helped spread false election news | Nov. 26

Putin's path to riches

Buried back on page 5A of Saturday's Tampa Bay Times was a shocking article, "Experts: Russia helped spread false election news," featuring a picture of Russian president and close ally of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin. The closing quote by the executive director of the nonpartisan group called PropOrNot summed up the article's main point: "It was like Russia was running a super PAC for Trump's campaign … it worked."

A 2014 French documentary (subtitled in English), Putin's Hidden Treasure, clearly outlined how Putin has amassed a personal fortune of $40 billion, mostly by skimming Russian public works programs. Trump has clearly shown he greatly respects and admires Putin, and one has to wonder if the incoming president plans to use the Putin Plan to augment his own personal fortune. Only time will tell.

I can't help but be reminded of the 1959 political thriller written by Richard Condon, The Manchurian Candidate, and wonder if, in fact, we have elected the Manhattan Candidate.

Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg

Fidel Castro

Death of a dictator

When I awoke to hear the news that the murdering dictator Fidel Castro had died, I was overwhelmed with tears of joy and happiness. Surely he is now in hell with the likes of Hitler and Stalin. I hope I live long enough to see a communist-free Cuba. The Castro brothers have managed to turn Cuba, which used to be called the "Pearl of the Caribbean," into nothing but a Third World country. Viva a Free Cuba!

Alfred Trujilo, Dover

Build on progress

With the passing of Fidel, Raúl Castro is sole survivor from the 1950s still dancing on the world stage. Now freed from the constraints of his brother, he should hopefully continue his efforts to normalize relations with the United States and the community of nations.

Nicholas E. Karatinos, Tampa

Hope for the future

Cubans around the world are celebrating the death of the man who destroyed families, enslaved a nation, killed their brothers and laughed as he did it.

For 60-plus years he played his cards against the United States by running his communist dictatorship just 90 miles away. Over the years, the world forgot, and refused to condemn, the executions, mass murders, brutal oppression of his people and the forced exile of a nation.

The ones who left became exiles from Cuba, and the ones who remain are exiled from the world. They live not in the present, but are allowed to exist in the pen he created to keep his livestock strong enough to work but weak enough to obey. They live in a past where everyone remembers the Cuba that was, with a future that would never be — as long as he lived. And now he is dead …

Jorge Diaz, Tampa


Danger of privatization

I read with distress that House Speaker Paul Ryan plans to proceed with his agenda to privatize Medicare. Privatization would mean putting Medicare into the hands of private, for-profit insurers. Medicare recipients would receive a voucher allowing us to purchase a plan. It would put us at the mercy of those insurers. I know that without Medicare, I am one serious illness away from the street.

During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump promised to protect Medicare and Social Security in their present form. But we also have a U.S. representative, Gus Bilirakis, who I know will stand up to Washington to protect Medicare as we know it. I plan to call him to let him know how important this issue is to me and my friends.

Fern Williams, Zephyrhills

Neighbors describe man's hours of rage before deputy killed him | Nov. 25

There must be a better way

Am I the only one who finds it disturbing and sadly ironic that if a wild animal, such as a bear or Florida panther, was making a nuisance of itself or presenting a danger to people, it would most likely be tranquilized and relocated. At the same time, people have no problem justifying the taking of the life of a human being who is committing the same "crime" of acting erratically and scaring people.

It seems to be easier for people to be humane to animals than to humans.

Steven Smith, St. Petersburg

Great-aunt's great wisdom | Nov. 24, commentary

Inspirational account

I am pleased that you published this column about Mary Kincaid, a remarkable woman and an example of what an American citizen should be. At the age of 20, she was traveling a great distance to a job. In the face of travel problems, even while hanging on for dear life, she appreciated the beauty of our nation. It was an adventure, and she didn't expect anyone to help her. What a wonderful inspiration.

Nell Thomas, Dunedin


Friday’s letters: Think through assault weapons ban

Gun controlThink through assault rifle banI recently emailed a Florida state representative who had pledged, among other things, to ban assault rifles in the state. I asked him if he would ban the sale and transfer of these guns or ultimately make th...
Published: 03/22/18

Thursday’s letters: School safety requires funding

Constitution Revision CommissionSchool safety requires fundingThe Constitution Revision Commission should consider amending a proposal (45, 93 or 72) to allocate the necessary recurring funding for the new school safety mandates, separate from the ba...
Published: 03/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Let the teachers decide on guns

Trump touts arming staff as key in plan for school security | March 12It’s the teacher’s call on weaponsPlease, let’s try an alternate view about guns in the classroom. First, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the preponderance of letters about guns ...
Published: 03/20/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Published: 03/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Published: 03/19/18

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18