1. Letters to the Editor

Sunday's letters: Building a better community around USF

Safety still an issue at USF | Oct. 19

Building better communities

The results of a recent survey of USF students about off-campus safety are extremely troubling. Times correspondent Roberto Roldan points out that only 17 percent of USF students responded feeling "very safe" in the surrounding community at day and only 3 percent felt "very safe" in the community at night. The university area has a long history of ups and downs when it comes to public safety, job creation, affordable housing, access to health care facilities and educational programs.

While these issues are still relevant today, the crime rate, poverty and blight in that area were far worse 25 years ago. Communities that have been successful in turning themselves around have not done so overnight; it has taken good planning and consistent, unified efforts over time. We must build on the solid foundation put into place and keep the momentum going for a safer and more prosperous neighborhood around USF. Any future plans for this area must include a continued focus on neighborhood stabilization. Projects and programs administered through the area's nonprofit partners are making a significant difference and should be a valuable part of any future plan.

One of the most important aspects for attracting new businesses is quality of life. Transportation, growth management, education, safety, environmental quality and the economy all play a role in the happiness and well-being of a community. As the newly organized Tampa Innovation Alliance begins its role of attracting new and innovative businesses to the university area, it must also embrace the concept of neighborhood stabilization as a key part of the overall economic redevelopment around the university.

Victor Crist, Hillsborough County commissioner, District 2, Tampa

Bush, Rubio ill will climbs | Oct. 17

Presidency a full-time job

Can we all agree that Marco Rubio is a part-time senator with part-time results? If past performance proves any guide, why would anyone voting for him expect any more of a work ethic and results as president?

In the corporate world, would a part-time employee be considered for CEO to run the company? I think not.

The job description for president should be something like: full-time, requiring full attention and representation all year long.

Darryl David, St. Petersburg

Foes' emails target bear hunters | Oct. 21

Don't fuel the fires

While I abhor the thought of killing our state's bears when there are so many other options to resolving this perceived problem, I question the sanity of making (legally or otherwise) the names of hunting license applicants available. We live in a dangerous, contentious world full of rage and anger over just about every social issue.

Mass shootings, road rage incidents and a willingness to inflict injury on those who disagree with us are examples of why we shouldn't be fueling the fires of contention and hate by publishing the names of those with whom we disagree.

Harvey Smith, Palm Harbor

Fewer mammograms now recommended Oct. 19

Screenings save lives

I am terribly disappointed in the American Cancer Society's recent recommendations for screening mammograms.

Invasive breast cancer is increasing in the United States at a rate of 1 percent a year for a variety of reasons. Younger women tend to get the much more aggressive types of breast cancer. The death rate from breast cancer has plunged by 35 percent since breast cancer screening started, and a recent large study out of Sweden proved a 26 percent reduction in mortality for women in their 40s who obtained annual mammograms.

Screening mammograms absolutely save lives and, when a cancer is found, the extent of surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy/radiation therapy is often significantly reduced. The advent of 3-D tomosynthesis mammograms has made even earlier detection of cancers possible, particularly in dense breasts.

I read 12,000 3-D mammograms per year and, year to date, I have found multiple treatable, biopsy-proven cancers in women between the age of 40 and 45, most recently in a 42-year-old woman who would most likely be dead if she had waited three more years to get her mammogram.

I urge women to follow the recommendations of the American College of Radiology, the Society of Breast Imaging and the rest of the civilized world and get your mammograms annually, starting at age 40. Insist on a 3-D mammogram if at all possible.

Marty Landry, M.D., Largo

U.S. ambassador knew risks of Benghazi visit Oct. 19, commentary

Walking into danger

There is no doubt that the killing of Chris Stevens in the Benghazi attack was sad and terrible. But there are two major questions to consider. If reports are true that the State Department had been made aware that security at the Benghazi location was lacking, then Stevens was also aware of that fact.

Therefore, the first question is: Was Chris Stevens ordered to go there on that date? And if not, why would he risk being there on Sept. 11 instead of remaining in a safer location in Tripoli, on a date when clearly all Americans in that region would be in greater danger?

D. Heintz, Palm Harbor