1. Opinion

The Trop? Can’t get there from here.

Here’s what readers had to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
Tropicana Field. [SHADD, DIRK | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Sep. 28

Can’t get there from here

Take me out to ballgame? Nah | Sept. 26

It’s just not true that the Rays lack fan support. Ironically, you report that the TV and radio ratings have spiked. The games have been getting the highest ratings in the market, and the share is among the best for all MLB markets. Not a surprise. Hundreds of thousands of baseball fans live here. The reason for low attendance is obvious and has been written about before. But it bears repeating. The problem lies with you, St. Petersburg, the location of the stadium and the above-ground nuclear fallout shelter you built to house baseball.

Let me explain. I attended the final game against the Yankees. I left my home in Forest Hills, a north central Tampa neighborhood, at 5:45 p.m. to arrive at a 7:10 p.m. game. On a normal traffic day, it’s 30 miles and about 37 minutes. I arrived at the stadium at 7:35 p.m. and got to my seat about 7:45 after a long walk down a concrete corridor that blocked my view of the game, almost exactly two hours after I left home. I missed the first two innings, and Joey Wendle’s home run (an historically rare event in itself). Most of that drive time was spent on I-275 between the Ulmerton Road exit and the 38th Avenue N exit, a distance of just over 6 miles. That drive took just over 40 minutes.

The stadium is inaccessible for most of the fans in the Tampa Bay market. Its location makes it reasonably accessible to South Pinellas and South Tampa. The total population of those areas is a bit over 500,000. From Largo north in Pinellas and from Seminole Heights to the north and east, it’s impossible to get to a game for most working people. The distance and the bottleneck of routes to St. Petersburg has effectively cut the Rays off from the team’s fans. The stadium is reasonably accessible to less than 20 percent of them.

Rex Henderson, Tampa

Laissez-faire not in middle

U.S. largess vs. Canadian cruelty | Column, Sept. 22

Professor Walter Block, in his comparison of flood mediation policies between ourselves and our Canadian neighbors, makes a startling statement. He says the answer between the two countries’ extremes is “… in the middle, laissez-faire capitalism.” Since when was laissez-faire in the middle of anything? If one can get past this logical pretzel, a little thought will show that laissez-faire capitalism, which actually means everyone is on their own, is just as brutal as both the Canadian and American models he condemns. Forced buyouts of flood-prone properties, such as in Canada, seem overly harsh, but in this country, willy-nilly rebuilding in flood-prone areas seems overly foolish. Both nation’s policies have good and bad features. The real answer is a close and thoughtful examination of both, with a strategic combination of the good of each plan, and a tactical focus on eliminating the bad. Those responsible for policy should look for a win-win rather than a laissez-faire lose-lose.

Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport

An illogical argument

A ‘we, the people’ answer to gun violence | Column, Sept. 22

Adam Goodman, national Republican media consultant

According to Adam Goodman’s “logic,” we should ban megaphones because nut jobs might use one to shout “fire” falsely in a crowded theater more loudly, causing more harm and injury. What Goodman was describing was behavior associated with criminal misuse of firearms. No wonder so few of use want to give up our right to own guns. Rights do not come with the notion that if some people can’t handle freedom, nobody should have freedom.

In the District of Columbia vs. Heller case, the U.S. Supreme Court said you cannot ban guns “in common use.” Semiautomatic firearms are owned by literally millions of law-abiding Americans. How about giving up your right to drink alcohol because it might dissuade drunk drivers or others who don’t drink responsibly? I’m not giving up anything in the false hope it might “save just one life.” I’m sorry, but I’m just flabbergasted at how illogical to the point of stupid these antigun arguments are. I’m tired of citing stats (about two-thirds of gun homicides are done with handguns; rifles, including the scary looking ones, are a tiny minority). The government does not even keep stats on “assault weapons;” they are included with all rifles. I don’t expect facts because they obviously don’t advance the anti-gun agenda, funded by super billionaires like Michael Bloomberg or the biased press.

Leonard Martino, Tampa

Worthy of our respect

Michael Jenkins spent seven days at North Tampa Behavioral Health last July. Since then, he says his three children have been afraid he’ll leave and not come home. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times]

You’re trapped. They’re cashing in. | Investigation, Sept. 22

As a now-retired mental health professor and psychologist, I applaud Neil Bedi for his excellent investigative reporting on North Tampa Behavioral Health.

I’ve witnessed hundreds of individuals with mental health challenges enjoy the hug of a friend, the pride of a job well done and the humor of a funny movie line. They are human beings indeed worthy of our respect.

William Emener, St. Pete Beach

First, do no harm

You’re trapped. They’re cashing in. | Investigation, Sept. 22

When I was in nursing school in the late 1950s, an instructor warned of the evils of proprietary (for-profit) medicine. At the time, almost all hospitals were either county-run or religious. Today’s medical “care” vindicates her warning.

You can see it in the huge chains like the one Sen. Rick Scott once headed, which when he oversaw it was involved in what was the largest Medicare fraud at the time. Some companies are set up, not as stable building blocks in the country, but to make money through any loophole they can find. Their main responsibility is profit for the investors.

I believe that the time is long past to change that. Capitalism does not belong in health care. It’s time to follow the examples of all other industrialized nations and commit to universal health care. You don’t see Canadians picketing to return to a private system. There has to be a reason.

Fern Williams, Zephyrhills


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