Help choose Letter of the Month
Letters to the editor offer a significant contribution to the discussion of public policy and life in Tampa Bay. To recognize some of that work by our most engaged readers, the Times will select a letter of the month and the writers will be recognized at the end of the year.
Help us choose from the nominations for letter of the month for September by visiting the website listed below by Saturday. Read through the three letters and vote on the ballot at the bottom of the Web page. We will choose the finalists each month based on relevance on topical issues, persuasiveness and writing style. The writer's opinion does not need to match the editorial board's opinion on the issue to be nominated. But clarity of thinking, brevity and a sense of humor certainly help.
To see the three September nominees and vote, go to www.tampabay.com/opinion.
Charlotte's Web not enough
Many opponents of Amendment 2 are quick to mention the so-called Charlotte's Web law, passed as the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014. As comprehensive as this may sound, approximately 98 percent of patients who could benefit from therapeutic marijuana use are left without compassion and the legal right to ease their pain and suffering.
Charlotte's Web is a specific strain of marijuana that was developed to treat seizures and muscle spasms. It contains 0.8 percent (or less) tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and more than 10 percent cannabidiol. THC is one of 85 cannabinoids found in marijuana, and like all cannabinoids, has many useful medicinal properties. THC has been shown in studies to help with nausea associated with chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients and drug therapies among AIDS patients; nerve pain associated with amputations and with diseases such as fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis; and posttraumatic stress disorder among veterans. THC is responsible for marijuana's psychoactive properties; however, patients seeking relief for these debilitating diseases are not after a "high" and often don't consume enough marijuana to "get high."
Much like antibiotics, different strains of marijuana contain properties that have been found to treat specific ailments. Opponents of Amendment 2 want to scare voters by saying these "other conditions" leave the door open for rampant marijuana abuse, but the science behind this term simply means that marijuana is the most effective treatment for a wide variety of diseases. A yes vote on Amendment 2 would protect doctors and patients in ways that the Charlotte's Web law currently falls short, as the language in that law does not protect against federal prosecution.
Vanessa Buck, Tampa
Eckerd ELS men sent off campus | Sept. 27
Hold abusers responsible
As an Eckerd College alumnus, I'm not surprised that Eckerd is taking a zero-tolerance approach to keeping its students safe from the potential of sexual assault. But I'm disappointed at how the Times chose to headline this story. Eckerd didn't kick the male ELS Language Center students off campus. The students' inappropriate behaviors led to their removal from campus. The only role Eckerd played in this sad story is to hold abusers responsible for their own actions and choices.
The key to changing public awareness of the dynamics of sexual assault is highlighting where the fault belongs: the perpetrator. It would be wonderful if the Times, as a major media outlet of the Tampa Bay area, would adopt this approach when reporting on sexual assault and domestic violence crimes. It could have a dramatically positive effect on the lives of victims right here in our own neighborhoods.
M.A. Russell, South Pasadena
Airstrikes hit ISIS at key city | Sept. 28
Not our battle to fight
Once again, as we head into midterm elections, the dogs of war are leaping out of their cages. The crisis in the Middle East with the advancement of ISIS has once again allowed conservatives to bellow for blood. Forgotten is the 10-year war in Iraq with 3,500 troops killed and 10 times that number maimed and injured. They call for more ground troops in Iraq — after we finally got everyone out.
This militant faction of our society thinks that you can fight a war on foreign soil and win. It didn't work for England in India or the colonies; it didn't work for Russia in Afghanistan or in the long run in Eastern Europe; it didn't work for Japan in World War II or for the United States at any time in our history.
There is no doubt that we could insert enough men, weapons and materiel into the Middle East to completely destroy the perceived enemy and win the battle. But it is impossible to fight and hold ground in territory where the population hates you and does not watch your back.
This is a battle the people in the Middle East need to fight. You cannot have democracy handed to you. You have to earn it. I do not want to see any more American lives lost in countries where politicians seek office for the sake of power and not for the benefit of their people.
Michael Jenness, Palm Harbor
Climate action plan can aid economy, too Sept. 29, commentary
Electric bill increases
Heather McTeer Toney has a bachelor's degree in sociology and a law degree. She is a lawyer, a small-town mayor and a political activist. Her qualifications for being named administrator of the EPA Southeast office appear to be purely political. Her biography indicates no background in environmental sciences, business or industry. Her editorial makes claims that she makes no attempt to substantiate.
Please pardon me for not being impressed with her enthusiastic support of President Barack Obama's climate action plan for penalizing existing, proven power sources while subsidizing unproven alternative energy sources. I do know that it will cause my electric bill to increase.
Jack C. Bolen, Brandon
Holder's record, bad and good Sept. 26, editorial
I am one of those rare birds who likes Eric Holder. He has been thrown in the middle of countless issues, many not of his making, and has conducted himself with intelligence and dignity. Holder brought expertise to the job, as did former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, who was there before the current administration.
Harriet P. Sherwood, Clearwater