Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Three steps to improve U.S. politics

American politics

3 steps toward better government

It doesn't matter what political party you prefer, chances are you're not happy with the current system in Washington. I hear it from both sides: "Why can't they get anything done?" Or, "If they were acting this way at my job, they'd be fired." If people want Washington to change, here are the three amendments that would force positive change.

First, make the presidency one six-year term. This would eliminate the first three years being wasted on getting re-elected and, if re-elected, having the last two years being a lame duck.

Second, term-limit senators. I think everyone agrees career politicians are not healthy for the growth of our union. Two six-year terms sound like enough to me. Get elected, serve your country and get out.

Third, increase the age limit on representation eligibility. The problem with many of today's politicians is they have no real-world experience. I want the people writing our laws and moving this country forward to have more experience before being elected. I want business owners who have failed and then succeeded. I want doctors and lawyers who have built reputable practices. I want educators who have worked with the younger generation and understand the challenges we face.

These three changes would change our country for the better and help rid us of the toxic environment in Washington today.

Lucas Levine, Bradenton

Rockets renew Mideast fighting | Aug. 20

U.S. complicity in deaths

I recently sent these questions to my elected representatives in Washington. I am awaiting their responses.

Did you know that 11 United Nations personnel have been killed in the Gaza Strip in the past few weeks? Did you know that there have been six attacks in Gaza on U.N. facilities that are supposed to be shelters?

Did you know that almost 500 children have been killed in the latest attacks in Gaza by Israel? Did you know that over half of the population of Gaza is children?

What I would like to know is: Why is the United States paying for this?

Melva Underbakke, Temple Terrace

Health rules to address religion | Aug. 23

Chipping away at our rights

The Obama administration is once again set to abuse executive powers. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled against Obamacare on forcing contraceptive coverage on religious groups and companies that ethically disagree, the administration has a new proposal.

For those who are exempt from providing that coverage, the president wishes to force insurance companies to provide contraceptives "at no cost." But there is no such thing as "no cost." Whether you agree with contraceptive use or not is not the issue. If there's "free" stuff, somebody has to pay, and it's not the insurance company. Those assumed additional claims are paid for by rate increases for everyone, in every state.

Finding a way to subversively overturn the decision of the Supreme Court chips away a little more of our rights as Americans.

Denis Rodimer Jr., Dunedin

Candidate pulls back from book's views Aug. 23

Protect innocent life

Candidate Chris Latvala is not "prolife all the way," as he states in this Times article, if he allows rape as a reason for abortion.

Rape is a most grievous crime against a woman, inflicting psychological and physical injury. I have little sympathy for rapists. But should the unborn child resulting from a rape be punished for the crime of his father? This innocent child is facing the death penalty. The criminal is not.

To be "prolife all the way," one has to acknowledge the unborn is a human being, entitled to all the rights as any other person.

Christopher Martinez, St. Petersburg

Free Clinic's shelter faces claims of racism Aug. 23

One size doesn't fit all

I worked at a women's shelter in Pinellas County a number of years ago. Any shelter is a destination of last resort. It's a necessary but difficult environment to navigate, no one wants to be there, and everyone is irritable and frustrated.

Some residents arrive with pronounced problems such as addiction, domestic violence, childhood abuse, mental health issues and a lifelong struggle with poverty. For these residents and those around them, a communal living environment is problematic on a good day.

It's also the reason why action plans, goals and services look different from one resident to the next. For example, someone struggling with addiction may need treatment-focused services before he or she can apply for a job or attend school. Domestic violence victims may have mandatory court hearings. Those with mental health issues may need to stabilize with medication and therapy before seeking employment. And all have different levels of education. Some may be high school or college graduates, while others may be seeking their GED.

Everyone arrives at a shelter with their own unique life story and immediate needs. I'm glad that the St. Petersburg Free Clinic and the NAACP recognize that for each resident to be successful in reaching sustainability, a customized plan of action is necessary, and a one-size-fits-all plan for every shelter resident is an outdated and ineffective method of service delivery.

M.A. Russell, South Pasadena

PSC to summon utility to justify rate charges Aug. 23

Sweetheart deal for utilities

As a former employee of the Missouri Public Service Commission, I was under the impression that a Public Service Commission "regulated" investor-owned utilities.

That's not the case in Florida. By legislative mandate, investor-owned electric utilities are allowed to recover their management mistakes from ratepayers rather than the utility's management having to answer to its board of directors and also its stockholders.

Even though investor-owned electric utilities are monopolies and have protected service territories, in Florida they are also relieved of the "risk" of having to live with and answer for their mistakes. What a sweetheart deal. No wonder Duke Energy bought Progress Energy.

Ronald Shackelford, Sun City Center


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...
Updated: 8 hours ago

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
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18