Region is big and thriving
Often, the Tampa Bay region is mistakenly referred to as two or four counties, when in fact Tampa Bay encompasses eight counties. The communities of Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota make up the most extraordinary region in the country. It is huge, diverse and thriving:
• With 4.3 million residents, Tampa Bay makes up 22 percent of Florida's population, and nearly half reside outside Hillsborough and Pinellas.
• Contained within 6,515 square miles are international airports in Sarasota-Bradenton, St. Petersburg and Tampa; state-designated seaports in Citrus, Manatee, St. Petersburg and Tampa; 80 institutions of higher learning; hundreds of health care organizations; and thousands of businesses representing the top, most diverse industry segments in the country.
• The region is host to dozens of annual arts, cultural and world-class sporting events such as the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Bradenton.
• Fully one-quarter of Florida's legislative delegation hails from our eight-county region.
No wonder Tampa Bay has been so much stronger as a result of working together collaboratively. Today we must recognize the growing nature of our region, appreciating and applauding successes throughout.
We strongly encourage media to report, comment and celebrate the entire region. In the end, we are all Tampa Bay and deserve nothing less.
Stuart L. Rogel, president, CEO, Tampa Bay Partnership, Tampa
The insurance I wish I had March 30 commentary
People are getting help
I find some of Eric Wee's story sad, since it appears he takes better care of his dog's health than he does his own.
His dog has an established relationship with a vet, so he did not have to "frantically find a medical facility" that would take his pet insurance, the way Wee did when he needed antibiotics and asthma medication for himself. When Wee got insurance through the Affordable Care Act, it became his responsibility to find a new medical facility and arrange for a new doctor.
If you know that catching a cold means that you will need asthma medication, you are not acting in your own best interest if you don't have a doctor.
And while Wee would rather trade away his coverage for substance abuse and mental health care for lower premiums, should he suddenly find himself needing mental health coverage, the costs would skyrocket past his annual premiums in no time. None of us ever knows when mental health coverage may be needed.
The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but it is already helping hundreds of thousands of people — not pets.
Judy Hess, Palm Harbor
Hobby Lobby case a slippery slope March 30, commentary
Coverage and coercion
Once again, the left-leaning Leonard Pitts is adept at presenting only one side of a situation — the side that best suits him.
In commenting on a case before the Supreme Court involving Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, he says, "A woman's contraceptive choices are none or her employer's business."
These companies are not refusing to allow their employees these choices. Nor, I believe, do they want to monitor these activities. They are simply stating they should not be forced to pay for these choices through their insurance provider as it is against their religious beliefs.
The employee has the choice to join an employer willing to offer contraceptive insurance.
While I often disagree with Pitts' observations and comments, I do agree with him that the Hobby Lobby case is a slippery slope. The slippery slope is, "Where does the government stop in controlling people's lives?"
Jim Rechtin, Sun City Center
If it's private, then you pay
Leonard Pitts and millions of others simply don't get it: It can't be a public and private issue at the same time; it's one or the other. If you open a private issue up for public scrutiny, you open a Pandora's box of all that comes with a public forum. If, on the other hand, you want something to remain a private issue, then it stays private. That means you pay for it yourself.
I don't want anybody telling me that something is their private business while they've got their hand extended, expecting me to pay for it. The problem isn't that people need more, it's that they want more and they want somebody else to pay for it.
I side with Hobby Lobby. You can buy your own birth control. It is, after all, a "private choice."
Debra Ford, St. Petersburg
For Rays deal, time nearly up March 31, editorial
Don't denigrate the Trop
Why is the Times so obsessed with the "stadium issue"? How can you make a statement that "the Rays will not be playing in the Trop when its lease expires in 2027"? In fact, a case can be made that, except for the catwalks, Tropicana Field is perfect.
It's on the interstate between Tampa and Sarasota. St. Petersburg has fantastic attractions and amenities to offer baseball fans.
How many times in June, July, August and September would the retractable roof on your new stadium be open?
Scott White, St. Petersburg