1. Letters to the Editor

Friday's letters: Don't retreat on reproductive rights

House Bill 490

Don't retreat on women's rights

It is appalling that in 2017, 44 years after the Roe vs. Wade decision, we are still fighting for a woman's right to decide when and if she will have children. The latest attack on our rights is House Bill 490. This federal bill makes abortion illegal at six weeks, even before many women know they are pregnant, and calls for up to five years in jail for abortion providers. There is no exception for rape. This bill is the most extreme antiabortion bill ever introduced or heard in Congress and is unconstitutional, as evidenced by similar state bills that have been declared unconstitutional by the courts.

Instead of focusing on jobs, the economy, the opioid crisis, world conflicts or any of the other major challenges our country is facing, these lawmakers are concentrating on rolling back women's rights and banning abortion.

As a 73-year-old who knows what women seeking an abortion before Roe vs. Wade faced, I am worried that we are on the way back to those conditions. It is frightening.

Judy Gallizzi, St. Petersburg

Trump falls short on opioid crisis | Oct. 30, editorial

Greed is driving policy

Regarding the opioid deaths caused by manufactured pills that are legal, it is supremely ironic that a benign natural plant is illegal — marijuana. Ask yourself, how many deaths has it caused?

Common sense would reverse this idea.

However, the legislators who could change this are totally owned by the greedy manufacturers, therefore preventing change.

The only path to sanity nationwide is to vote smart and get some modern ideas into Congress. The incumbents have been blinded by money and will not take meaningful action.

Doug Hicks, Tampa

Fatal fire risk: no sprinklers | Oct. 29

It's all about the money

This article about how condo owners and associations are voting against having sprinklers installed should surprise no one. Money supersedes safety in many businesses.

I remember when the big automakers fought tooth and nail against air bags. Too expensive, they said, even though they save lives. I remember when asbestos was used extensively. When it was found that it causes cancer and needed to be banned, businesses said: too expensive.

There are too many examples to list, but if people think that businesses have their safety in mind when making decisions, they are sadly mistaken. It will always be about the money.

Alan Roberts, Largo

Smoking in public

Extinguish this menace

I would like to see Florida ban smoking in crowded outdoor spaces such as parks, beaches and outdoor eating areas. When people are smoking in close proximity to other people, it doesn't matter whether they are indoors or out. Their smoke is offensive and unhealthy to everyone.

My wife and I recently attended the Clearwater Jazz Holiday at Coachman Park. The row in front of us had three groups of people with a smoker in each group. In the group to our left, a woman held her cigarette behind her chair in between drags, completely oblivious to the people behind her. Closer to us was a man puffing on an e-cigarette. To the right was a man belching cigar smoke.

If Florida will not ban smoking in crowded outdoor spaces, perhaps local municipalities will step up and take action, the way New York City banned smoking in Central Park. Sponsors could also demand smoke-free environments as a contingency for their financial support.

John Orlando, Largo

5 trends driving this economic rebound
Oct. 28

Where airport falls short

Robert Trigaux nails it: "What's TIA's weak link? Lack of mass transportation to get there and back." As someone from snow-bedeviled Boston and its catacombed Logan International, I swooned when I first saw TIA: bright, airy, welcoming.

Then when I stepped out of the terminal and looked around, I saw nothing. No waiting taxis. No buses. No trace of transportation opportunities other than two levels of rental car outlets.

Travelers are not going to be tempted to visit Tampa once they discover that there is no option other than either driving themselves or resigning themselves to the negative-PR-plagued but unsettlingly ubiquitous Uber.

Kirk Hazlett, Riverview

Cars and hurricanes

Look out for storm damage

A reminder on buying used cars: I was driving south on I-75 near Brooksville and passed two semis hauling upscale cars (Cadillac, Lexus, Mercedes) with Texas tags. These cars may have been damaged by floods from Hurricane Harvey. Cars like this could just as easily have Florida tags with damage from Irma. Before you buy a used car, take it to a mechanic and have it inspected for flood damage. Obvious signs can be mud in wheel wells and rust in the floor panels under carpet. If anything looks wrong, move on to a different car.

John Day, Clearwater