Monday, March 19, 2018

Saturday's letters: Why hinder health care?

Health care centers put up barrier | Sept. 12

Why hinder health care?

As a taxpayer, I have to question the decision by the Florida Department of Health to construct barriers to the Affordable Health Care Act. In addition to the fact that previous health care representatives have called the tactic "cruel and irresponsible," it has also been noted that this action would "significantly compromise a multitude of needy Floridians from getting critical health care."

What is going on in Tallahassee and in the Republican Party of Florida, for that matter? The GOP seems bound and determined to shrink the size of government by shrinking the number of Floridians able to cast a vote. Die quietly, and please do so before the next election cycle, is a disturbing political model. It remains to be seen what effect this will have. But it is not the compassionate conservatism of the past. This is a new game and the stakes are life and death.

Christopher Jonathan Gerber, St. Petersburg

Health care centers put up barrier | Sept. 12 Obamacare not perfect

Well, I see the Times is again banging the drum for Obamacare. But I wonder whether the Times would mind explaining why, if Obamacare is such a good thing, Congress has exempted itself, its family members, and staff from it?

Perhaps we should also be informed as to why there have been so many waivers granted, and thousands more applications for waivers? Even the unions want out, and that does not bode well for Obama, nor for the Democrats.

One of the cornerstones of our republic is inscribed over the U.S. Supreme Court building: "Equal Justice Under Law."

If the Obamacare law is not applied equally, we do not have equal justice under law. What we would have is something right out of George Orwell's Animal Farm, where "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."

Kenneth R. Gilder, St. Petersburg

Will cash tempt teachers? | Sept. 8

Well-deserved pay raise

Congratulations to the Pinellas schools superintendent and the School Board for recognizing the importance of raising the base salary for beginning teachers to $40,000. By attracting and retaining the best and brightest talent, we will help more students succeed. It is also important to note that this was accomplished in a most effective way, by reallocating funds from within the district's budget.

The community has overwhelmingly supported paying teachers more, as evidenced by the tax referendum passed in previous years. Previously it took an alarming 10 years for any teacher to progress from a starting salary of $37,000 to $40,000. In fact, according to the current teacher pay scale, the largest raises don't occur until teachers enter their 25th year of teaching.

Adding to the base salary at the beginning of a teacher's career and using the referendum dollars to further enhance those salaries will go a long way to ensure that the talent we want to attract will stay for the long term.

Jim Myers, St. Petersburg

County okays charging stormwater fee Sept. 11

Thanks for nothing

Pinellas County charging a fee for stormwater is a travesty.

I have lived in my home for the past 37 years along with my neighbors, and in the beginning never had flooding on my property. I have never increased the size of my foundation. But I have watched the county allow the leveling of trees and free-standing properties to build offices, factories, etc., without giving a thought to me or my neighbors.

All the building in our area has caused flooding on our street every time it rains. For 20-plus years we have asked the county to make changes so the stormwater has an outlet off our street and off our properties. The county has responded to our requests with disdain.

Now the county is telling us we need to pay a stormwater fee. Is this right? I think not, but apparently this is not a democracy. They, the county, can dictate what will be done to us, like it or not.

Marge Maciha, Largo

Keep the pressure on charter schools Sept. 13

It's all about money

Charter schools receive a fraction of the funding that traditional public schools do, so where is the rest of the money going to come from?

Does the Times believe it is actually possible to provide an education for less money than a public school receives? If so, maybe we should all be paying less taxes.

The Times is right about one thing: the controversy of charter schools vs. public schools certainly is about money. It's about the money traditional public schools are losing each time a student opts for a charter school. It's about competition. When my neighborhood public school is not going to educate or provide a safe environment to my standards then I have the choice, provided to me by the state of Florida, to choose another school.

No parent is forced to send their child to a charter school and pay its fees. It is about choice — a choice the Hillsborough County School Board would love to see go away, effectively ending the need for them to compete for anything.

C. Abbate, Brandon

A nameless desire for solidarity | Sept. 9

A beacon for downtown

I read with interest the article about the desire to unify the downtown area that is home to All Children's Hospital, USF, the Poynter Institute, marine research and other facilities.

I had the opportunity to be on the committee that submitted the name for Jannus Landing many years ago, and thought I might make a suggestion for this effort.

With the geographical location bordering on Tampa Bay and considering the educational, marine and hospital facilities, I would like to submit Beacon's Point as a possible name.

There could be a Beacon's Park or Beacon's Field and signage with a lighthouse-inspired design or mile markers to help people navigate the area. A Lighthouse Beacon, strategically located, could light the way to health care, higher learning, marine research, and all things that enhance and enlighten this area of St. Petersburg.

Mavis Wallace, St. Petersburg

Editorial: Congress must stand up to Trump’s attacks on special counsel

Editorial: Congress must stand up to Trump’s attacks on special counsel

President Donald Trump resumed his attack Monday on the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, calling it a ‘‘total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest!’’ That is another one of his tall tales, but t...
Updated: 14 minutes ago

Another voice: A longshot bid on banning assault rifles

Since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the most extraordinary things keep happening.A surge of protests forces Florida’s first small steps on gun control in 22 years. Students by the thousands stage walkouts at h...
Updated: 26 minutes ago

Ruth: Trump isn’t man enough to confront Mueller himself

There is one surefire, absolutely guaranteed way to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s job.If the White House is so insistent about bouncing Mueller from investigating possible collusion between Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and those meddlesome...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Hiaasen: Nobody ever said that saving the Everglades would be easy or quick

MIAMIIf you care about what’s left of the Everglades, here’s what passes for a victory these days:Florida is moving ahead with plans for a reservoir and a cleansing marsh to handle some of the fertilizer-tainted, algae-spawning deluge that gets dumpe...
Updated: 3 hours ago
PolitiFact Florida: Do 1 percent of gun sellers supply more than half of all the guns used in crimes?

PolitiFact Florida: Do 1 percent of gun sellers supply more than half of all the guns used in crimes?

As tens of thousands of students across the country walked out of their schools to protest gun violence, members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee examined school safety procedures and gun policies ahead of the Parkland school shooting. During ...
Published: 03/19/18
Column: Facebook, elections and you

Column: Facebook, elections and you

The Cambridge Analytica scandal is what Facebook-powered election cheating looks like.In a detailed blog post this weekend, Facebook explained how the Trump campaign’s data firm could have inappropriately gotten its hands on users’ information. It st...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Romano: The day the Muzak died at Toys ‘R’ Us

Romano: The day the Muzak died at Toys ‘R’ Us

She walks with purpose, all 35 pounds of her. Ignoring everyone and everything else, she zeroes in on a shelf slightly above her reach. Discovery is followed by an audible gasp, and several bouncing leaps."They have it! They have it! They have it!"Th...
Published: 03/17/18
Editorial cartoons for March 20

Editorial cartoons for March 20

These cartoons are from various Times wire services.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Hits, errors and misses by the Florida Legislature

Editorial: Hits, errors and misses by the Florida Legislature

They named roads, replaced a state statue in the U.S. Capitol and demanded every school display "In God We Trust.’’ They embraced daylight saving time year-round and considered creating license plates for schools in Georgia and Alabama. They crafted ...
Published: 03/16/18
Column: Turning back time in Florida

Column: Turning back time in Florida

"Time and tide wait for no man," not even for King Canute or the Florida Legislature, which has approved legislation that would require the state to observe daylight saving time year-round.Humans have lived on the Florida peninsula for thousands of y...
Updated: 2 hours ago