Monday, June 18, 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


Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18

Tuesday’s letters: Fewer guns would reduce suicides

U.S. under suicide watch | June 8Fewer guns mean fewer suicidesIt is a fact that deserves more attention, but got only one sentence in the article about the U.S. "suicide watch:" "The most common method used across all groups was firearms." I spe...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for June 15

New group to address real women’s issuesLast Saturday our Congressman Gus Bilirakis sponsored a "Woman’s Summit" at East Lake High School that was supposed to deal with women’s issues. Some topics covered were gardening, weight loss and quilting.Mayb...
Published: 06/11/18

Monday’s letters: Bring back the ferry, kick-start transit

Cross bay, but who’ll pay? | June 8Ferry could be a gateway to transitIt’s great news that St. Petersburg is committed to bringing back the world class cross bay ferry service. What a common-sense and practical thing to do in order to ease us int...
Published: 06/08/18
Updated: 06/11/18