1. Letters to the Editor

Saturday's letters: Let the print newspaper live long and proper

I've been a daily reader of the Times, as my primary news source of the world, the country, my state, as well as local and regional news, since moving to Florida in 1978.

Recently I read letters from readers who are concerned about your printed paper's survival in a digital age. I too am concerned, not only for selfish reasons of enjoying its daily home delivery and its reading; but for my grandchildren.

Growing up, every morning my Dad sat at the kitchen table and slurped his coffee, while reading the morning newspaper. Nightly, after dinner, he sipped more java as he read the evening edition of the newspaper. Yes there were two daily editions. (It was the Fort Worth Star Telegram.)

He was my role model on the importance of daily reading the newspaper. I pray that my children, who witnessed me doing the same, will train their children likewise.

How much longer will the paper edition be delivered to us? I don't know. But fearfully, I feel its days are numbered.

Michael Harris, Safety Harbor

Offshore drilling

Seek energy offshore

I'm proud to serve as a national co-chair for Explore Offshore, a coalition uniting more than 200 groups and individuals in support of offshore energy development in the Atlantic and Gulf. We call on the administration to retain both areas in the final program to strengthen America's security and competitiveness around the world.

The federal government estimates billions of untapped barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas lie in the Atlantic and the Gulf — reserves critically important to U.S. global strength and energy security for decades to come.

Today, natural gas and oil provide 67 percent of the energy Americans use, and they're projected to supply nearly 70 percent of our energy in 2040. The administration has an opportunity to strengthen America's energy security while growing its status as a global energy superpower by increasing access to reserves in the Atlantic and the Gulf.

Expanded development also could be an immediate economic benefit to coastal states like Florida and their residents even before the first barrel goes to market. Over the next two decades, safe offshore exploration and development could support over 150,000 new jobs along the Gulf Coast, spur direct local investment by the energy industry, and generate $2.5 billion in state and local tax revenue in Florida that could be used to improve roads, schools and other important infrastructure projects.

Both my co-chairman, Sen. Jim Webb, and I are veterans, and we know that the Department of Defense also supports coordinated offshore exploration because it recognizes the importance of long-term energy supply to our country's security.

The plan the administration put forth in January 2018 that included areas in the Atlantic and the Gulf was a smart program that would open areas critical to our future as an energy and economic leader, while benefiting consumers in Florida and across the country. Now, we need the plan to become a reality.

Jim Nicholson Washington

The writer is former secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Bill aims to boost driving safety | Feb. 25

Provide proof of distraction

Don't let a bill to ban distracted driving become another "stand your ground" law of subjective interpretation. I am all for curtailing this offense, as it now causes as many accidents as impaired driving. The difference is, after a DUI stop there still remains evidence such as breath or blood tests, but inattentiveness leaves no evidence, and is therefore up to the officer's discretion. With modern technology including dash cams, body cams, etc., a video showing reason should be a requirement of the bill in order to pass: no camera, no stop.

Robert Stark, Land O'Lakes

Medicare for all

Of course we can afford it

It seems that the biggest argument against Medicare for all is that we can't afford it. Interestingly, most other countries of the world provide free or universal healthcare to their citizens. Aren't we the richest country in the world? Those claiming that United States cannot provide healthcare here because it costs too much is like saying Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates don't shop at Walmart because it's too expensive. In other words, utterly ridiculous. If the rest of the world can afford health care for all why can't we?

Rick France, Tampa

Rules of the road

Let's all drive safely

I am 15 and recently got my learner's permit. I am going through the course work and hours on the road needed to get my license. It is scary knowing that there are inexperienced drivers like me out there, but it is even scarier that there are older drivers who should not be on the road at all. Older drivers can be a big risk to other people on the road as well as being a risk to themselves. In Florida, people 80 and older must renew their license every six years and pass an eye exam. I think it would be a good idea to also have these elderly drivers take another driving test with a DMV instructor to make sure that they are still capable on the road. If I have to work to get my license as a teen, I should also have to work to keep it when I am old.

Raquel Kight, Dade City

Bill targets 'host bodies' | March 2

Don't go back to back alley

I am so tired of hearing about wanting more restrictions to abortions. I lived through the "back alley" abortion era and hope that America is smart enough not to ever return to women dying from illegal abortions, with desperate women using a wire coat hanger to try to do the job. A friend of mine went through the "back alley" in the 1960s and nearly died from the procedure because she could not afford a hospital.

Terry Duncan, Hudson