Monday, November 20, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Bill helps keep small businesses thriving


Tourism industry

Bill helps small businesses thrive

From the charming downtown of Tarpon Springs to the award-winning beaches of St. Pete Beach, it's no surprise that Pinellas County is one of the top tourist destinations along the Gulf Coast. With more than 15 million visitors each year that create more than $10 billion in economic impact, the tourism industry is the backbone of the region's economy.

However, a 2015 decision by the National Labor Relations Board that expanded what it means to be a "joint employer" has these businesses in a state of confusion.

Part of what makes our tourism industry so successful is the ability of business owners to contract with companies outside their areas of expertise. For instance, if a restaurant's dishwasher breaks, the owner will bring in a mechanic to ensure a speedy fix. Or a resort owner might hire a laundry service to wash all of its napkins, tablecloths, towels and sheets.

Previously, businesses were only joint employers if they exercised "direct" or "immediate" control over another company's employees. But with the NLRB's new standard, even "potential" or "indirect" control of an employee could entangle an owner in a labor-related complaint. Now, these mutually beneficial relationships could put a business owner at risk of a hefty lawsuit.

Luckily, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have banded together to provide clarity to our small businesses by introducing the Save Local Business Act (HR 3441). Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, has always been a friend to the travel and tourism community in Pinellas County and throughout the state of Florida. Hopefully, he will add his name to this commonsense legislation and help our community continue to thrive.

Keith Overton, president, TradeWinds Island Resorts, St. Pete Beach

Hurricane Irma

Power preparations

With Hurricane Irma approaching, Florida Power & Light Co. has activated its emergency response plan, and we urge our customers to finalize their plans. Despite the fact that last year FPL customers in Central and North Florida were significantly impacted by Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, we estimate that approximately half of the nearly 10 million people we serve have yet to experience a Florida hurricane.

Here's what we're doing to prepare:

• As of Wednesday, we have several thousand workers dedicated to planning and preparing to respond to Irma, and this number will continue to grow.

• We are working actively with other utilities across the country to secure and preposition additional resources for Irma's projected landfall in our service area.

• We have activated backup suppliers and equipment vendors, as well as more than 20 staging sites where restoration crews, trucks and equipment are stationed.

Since 2006, we have invested more than $3 billion to build a stronger, smarter electric grid, and we continue to leverage new technology to enhance our storm response. The investments we've made in recent years have placed FPL in the best possible position to restore power to our customers faster following a storm.

Even so, hurricanes are devastating forces of nature, and the winds, torrential rain and storm surge that Irma is forecast to bring are likely to cause widespread and prolonged outages. Additionally, should Irma's worst fears be realized, our crews will likely have to completely rebuild parts of our electric system. Restoring power through repairs is measured in days; rebuilding the electric system could be measured in weeks.

With Irma close to our doorstep, I want to emphasize keeping safety top-of-mind before, during and after the storm. We can help with safety and preparation tips at Stay safe, heed the warnings of local, state and federal elected officials, and know that all of us at FPL won't stop working until everyone's power is up and running again.

Eric Silagy, president and CEO, Florida Power & Light Co., Juno Beach

DACA's end confirmed | Sept. 6

Congress makes the laws

In this country, the legislative branch makes the laws and it is the duty of the executive branch to enforce them. Even though President Barack Obama said several times that "I'm not a king," his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order did change current law after he failed to get immigration reform passed in Congress.

President Donald Trump has simply rescinded this unconstitutional act and has given Congress six months to create legislation that properly defines the status of "Dreamers." At least this will finally give voters clarity on where D.C. politicians stand before the midterm elections.

Lou Christodoulou, Lutz

Silencer bill undermines safety | Sept. 5, letter

Rules would still apply

Several misrepresentations were made in this letter. First, they are not "silencers" but sound suppressors, which only reduce the noise of the shot below the pain level to help prevent deafness. Second, all suppressor sales would still be conducted through federally licensed firearms dealers and treated the same as a gun purchase — requiring filling out Form 4473 and submitting to a background check. No felons, domestic abusers or those committed for mental treatment would be allowed to purchase them.

Gerald Keller, Dunedin

University overreacts | Sept. 2, editorial

Higher authority

Until Pat Robertson weighs in on the real causes of the damage of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, no one can be sure that Kenneth Storey's "instant karma" explanation is incorrect.

Larry R. Bush, Tampa


Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers

Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14Stop laying blame on teachersI am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. Sh...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Nov. 17

Questioning fees draws snarky responseYou are probably aware of the new Pasco utility fees that became effective last month.Under the dubious title of "convenience fee" for making utility payments by credit card or e-check, Pasco Utilities adds $2.75...
Published: 11/15/17

Dollars need to stay at home if south Brooksville is to survive

As a member of the Moton High School Class of 1967, I grew up a poor but very happy child because of the love given to me by all. So all I had to do was be a child and not rush to be an adult.There were many black businesses along a four-block area o...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/18/17

Wednesday’s letters: Generosity makes all the difference

National Adoption MonthThe difference generosity makesAs a football coach, I always had to be ready to overcome unexpected challenges. With injuries, crowd noise and especially weather, the game plan is always adjusting to overcome adversity.Our stat...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17

Monday’s letters: Moore is not fit for public office

Woman: Candidate pursued her as a teen | Nov. 10Moore is not fit for public officeIt is sad that Roy Moore, a self-professed religious man, is running for a Senate seat when he is clearly unfit for any job involving the public for so many reasons...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/13/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t fall for the tax cut ruse

Tax billDon’t take your eye off the ballThe rush is on. The Republican Congress is rushing to pass a modest tax cut for the middle class while giving corporations a massive tax cut. While taking away some of the tax deductions from ordinary taxpayers...
Published: 11/10/17

Sunday’s letters: End greyhound racing in Florida

Tom Lee wants to phase out greyhound racing | Nov. 8Put a stop to this cruel industryKudos to Sen. Tom Lee for shepherding a constitutional amendment to end greyhound racing in Florida. Greyhounds forced to race live in misery and frequently die ...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/10/17