Monday, June 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Shinseki served nation honorably

'We need to fix the problem' | May 31

Shinseki served nation honorably

What a disgrace. For political expediency, the president, under pressure from self-serving, spineless congressmen, weak-kneed advisers and bloodthirsty elements in the press, accepted Eric Shinseki's forced resignation — notwithstanding that, as a true patriot, Shinseki was more than willing to carry on, bust some heads and take names. He dedicated his entire adult life, with impeccable character, to serving his country. Now what is he guilty of? Believing what his subordinates told him.

The Washington establishment is a lot like the Pony Express — with one major difference. Instead of the horses being changed or reconditioned every four or eight years, it's the riders (the politicians) who are changed. All the while, the American people end up suckered, with a less than competent and often deceitful performance.

John Demas, Odessa

Twist in vote maps trial | May 30

Florida's electoral injustice

The trial over Florida's legislative redistricting is one huge exercise in ignoring the core issue at stake: equal protection under the law.

The GOP has no problem working up a froth about mythical "voter fraud" — its excuse for nationwide voter-suppression campaigns. Yet it seems blind to its own equally broad efforts to rig elections through the gerrymander. This campaign has a single, simple mission: to make the votes of likely GOP voters worth more than those of likely Democratic voters. It's not about crazy-quilt legislative districts. It's all about diluting the power of one group of voters ("theirs") while enhancing the power of another ("ours").

This clearly and unambiguously violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If our courts had the courage and integrity we expect of them, it wouldn't be allowed. In the 2012 congressional elections in Florida, Republicans won 51.7 percent of the votes and Democrats won 46.7 percent. By rights, this should have sent 15 Republicans and 12 Democrats to the House. The actual split was 17 to 10.

This kind of injustice was repeated around the country. As we all know, it is even more unfair at the state level in Florida.

Buck Beasom, Tampa

Defending the law, or not

I've wondered where Pam Bondi has been during the redistricting lawsuit. Why should private groups go to court to enforce the Florida Constitution when the her office proclaims, "It is the attorney general's duty to defend Florida law"? Oops, that statement was issued concerning her objection to same-sex marriage.

Apparently she believes it is her duty to defend Florida law when it conflicts with the laws of other states and federal court rulings, but not when Florida law conflicts with state Republican Party objectives.

John Chamless, Pinellas Park

Venezuela

More meddling abroad

The U.S. House has passed by voice vote HR 4587, the Venezuelan Human Rights and Democracy Protection Act. It authorizes President Barack Obama to choose whom to apply sanctions against and whom to support. If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the president could interfere, at his discretion, in the internal affairs of another sovereign nation. It appears Congress has learned nothing from our actions in Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, etc.

It also states that the United States can offer refugee status or political asylum to dissidents in Venezuela or assist in their relocation to other countries. We cannot secure our borders, but we will provide a base for dissidents to agitate against another nation?

This legislation also "authorizes appropriations for assistance to civil society in Venezuela." It doesn't specify how much will be spent or where the money will come from. I suspect the Treasury's printing press will be working overtime.

William Rueck, New Port Richey

Land of the grieved, home of the depraved June 1, Daniel Ruth column

A change will come

I feel a bit more optimistic than Daniel Ruth does, not because there is any accelerated progress toward gun control, but because change happens when you least expect it.

Who would have predicted a decade ago that we would be witnessing the epic shift in views on gay marriage? A February poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 53 percent of Americans support gay marriage and 41 percent oppose it. That is nearly a reverse of the same poll 10 years ago.

And who would have guessed 10 years ago that we would have an African-American president? Change seems to have accelerated faster in the past decade than it did in the previous decade. Perhaps it is our quickly changing demographic makeup that is driving our attitudes.

Whatever it is, one cannot discount the rapidity of change. So perhaps in another decade, or sooner, when we least expect it, gun control may take an unexpected turn. After all, the only thing inevitable about life is change.

George Chase, St. Pete Beach

Lobbyist nation

Even though Daniel Ruth's column covers the truth about how our Congress is bought and paid for by the NRA in all aspects of gun control, it also is a good example of how all government agencies are being run. Not for the people, but by lobbyists, with our elected officials reaping the harvest.

Mary Jane Callihan, St. Petersburg

Obama to force carbon cuts | June 1

Damaging regulations

It seems America has been rendered powerless by a slew of regulations that have stymied growth. Our infrastructure is in a sorry state — an ignored area for realistic job production. Instead, the president has plans for the demise of hundreds of existing coal-fired power plants while preventing new plants from coming on line.

He will force this scenario by introducing still more regulations, which he argues are for the benefit of a planet undergoing climate change. Forget about the thousands of jobs lost and the impact on our already-hurting economy. His use of executive order is a slap in the face to our Congress. We deserve better.

Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole

Comments

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: 6 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