Chief leaves big impact on Tampa | July 7, editorial
Hold next mayor to high standard
This editorial compliments Tampa's police Chief Eric Ward for his efforts in addressing the perceptions of "racial profiling and harassment" that existed under his predecessor. The irony is that his predecessor was Jane Castor, who is now reported to be a leading contender for Tampa's next mayor. The negative perceptions occurred due to the police practice of ticketing black bicyclists, which is evidence Castor is ill-equipped to become mayor.
In addition to advocating for a progressive and community-focused police chief, the Times should do likewise for Tampa's next mayor.
Barbara Orban, Tampa
Pruitt quickly changing how EPA operates July 2
Pollution hurts everyone
This headline should have read, "Pruitt quickly dismantling the EPA."
What is happening is so outrageous, yet not surprising, as Donald Trump has put foxes in all the henhouses. What is mind-boggling is that Scott Pruitt and those who support what he is doing have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, wives and husbands. Don't they also need clean air and clean water? Allowing pesticides that cause neurological damage in children should alarm everyone.
Do they think they can contain these things so they only affect the poor? Pesticides run off into the aquifers that supply everyone water. Rivers and air flow toward the rich and poor alike. Is their greed so blinding that they just don't care?
Yvonne M. Osmond, Clearwater
Protect coverage for women
In the Senate's latest health care bill, one feature remains unchanged: Private insurance plans are prohibited from offering abortion coverage. This will not only make it more difficult for many to access an abortion, it will also reinforce the idea that abortion is not simply a safe and legal medical procedure, part of a full spectrum of reproductive health care, but instead a shameful and immoral act.
What is truly shameful and immoral is denying this access to women who need it. Congressional leaders should focus on improving affordability and quality of care instead of denying women the ability to make determinations for themselves and their futures.
Laurence W. Key, Stuart
All are created equally | July 8, letter
A matter of conscience
The letter writer makes this recommendation for florists, bakers, etc., with deep religious beliefs: "Post a sign on your business, and your ads and business cards, that you are opposed to gay marriage." When I read that, a picture popped into my mind of another group of religious people — Jews required to wear a Star of David under the Nazis.
For some people, their religious beliefs are deeply personal and not something they wear on their sleeves. Why should they have to publicly proclaim it? Why is it not sufficient to explain to a potential client that they while they don't mind providing services to any individual, they can't in good conscience contribute to a ceremony that goes against their religion?
Nancy Foster, Clearwater
Blanket restoration is a bad idea | July 7, letter
Works fine in other states
Blanket voter restoration is not a bad idea. It is a step in the right direction. We would join 14 states and the District of Colombia in which voter rights are lost only while incarcerated and automatically restored after release. The sky has not fallen in these states. Our present system serves only one purpose: to disenfranchise the poor and powerless. The right to vote has nothing whatsoever to do with public safety or the criminal justice system.
The best and simplest solution would be to join Maine and Vermont, where no one loses the right to vote. Even prisoners can vote and maybe even acquire a little sense of community. Then we could scrap Florida's tawdry system of poor ex-felons groveling and begging a panel of much richer legislators for restoration of their voter rights.
Pete Wilford, Holiday
Taking sides on statue | July 7
I'm curious what prompted the question. Does your readership gain anything by finding out what a sports franchise "thinks"? I suspect you'd have gotten a more provocative headline if you'd inquired of NASCAR. I don't subscribe to the Times for celebrity gossip, which this clearly is.
T.J. Gill, St. Petersburg
Rising costs hit breaking point | July 5, letter
Care for those in need
This letter writer said Medicaid expansion added more "free riders to the unaffordable (Medicaid) plan." Note that Florida did not expand Medicaid eligibility. The writer appears to think that anyone receiving Medicaid is an able-bodied person who should be paying for his or her coverage.
Data from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration presents a different picture. In 2016, Medicaid covered about 53 percent of aged people receiving long-term care in nursing homes, which Medicare does not cover and which costs about $7,500 per month. Twenty-one percent of the Medicaid budget went for aged residents who have used up their private resources. Disabled people are 14 percent of Medicaid enrollees but account for 40 percent of the budget. These recipients have severe conditions, many from birth, and would die without Medicaid services. A recent study showed that if AHCA paid commercial insurance rates for this care, the total cost would be 25 percent higher. Children in very low-income families represent 43 percent of enrollees but use only 19 percent of the budget.
Medicaid costs more than necessary because health care provider services, drug manufacturer products and insurance company administration and profits are too costly. Neither Obamacare nor Republican-proposed legislation addresses this. An army of lobbyists have made sure of that.
Robert H. More, Riverview