Trouble bubbling | Nov. 25
Take action on Florida's waters
Craig Pittman did an excellent job investigating the heartbreaking pollution of Florida's amazing springs. This is the kind of journalism that benefits all of us in Florida, and it serves as a call to action. We don't have to sit back and watch this happen — we can act.
As Pittman noted, "The pollution fuels the growth of toxic algae blooms, which are taking over springs and the rivers they feed and putting human health at risk."
One of the chief culprits behind the gross algae outbreaks, he pointed out, is too much nitrogen. It comes from fertilizer, inadequately treated sewage, and manure.
Right now, the White House is deciding whether to impose effective standards to control this pollution in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott wants to substitute ineffective state rules which were basically written by Tallahassee corporate lobbyists. These are filled with loopholes and would not protect our springs, rivers, lakes and beaches from pollution.
We need the strong rules developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, because they set enforceable numeric limits on the amount of pollution allowed in our waters. The EPA's rules are easy-to-read speed limit signs. The rules Scott is proposing would only require pollution control after waters have been already slimed — that means the damage is done and taxpayers will be forced to pay for expensive cleanups.
Now it's up to President Barack Obama: Will he back Scott's proposal or support the EPA's?
So far, citizens have sent more than 40,000 letters to the White House, urging Obama to enforce the EPA's standards. We have to keep the pressure up.
David Guest, Earthjustice, Tallahassee
United customers facing key choices Nov. 27
I support the providers of health care, i.e., BayCare. As a medical biller and coder, on a daily basis I see how hard it is for a physician to get payment from the health insurance companies. In my opinion, UnitedHealthcare is one of the worst offenders. They consistently deny clean claims and force practices to use up time, money and resources to appeal for the money owed to them.
Sarah Spivey, St. Petersburg
Earlier birth control access urged | Nov. 27
As a physician and a health educator, I find two major flaws in the recommendations of the Academy of Pediatrics.
First, they fail to warn young people that the major risk of recreational sex is sexually transmitted diseases rather than an unwanted pregnancy. In addition to incurable infectious diseases such as AIDS and herpes, recreational sex is responsible worldwide for as many cancers as tobacco smoking, including cancer of the uterine cervix, penis, anus and mouth.
Second, they endorse a nearsighted and demeaning view of sex. Those of us who embrace the Judeo-Christian faith have learned that sex is a unique form of communication through which two individuals make a unique gift of each other to each other. We also learned that the ability to generate and support new life is a unique privilege that makes us God's partners in an ongoing creation.
I deeply resent and deplore that the teachings of the Academy of Pediatrics disregard the sacredness of sex and make science an accomplice of an egregious lie, that sex may be used as a recreational drug or as a form of contact sport.
Lodovico Balducci, Tampa
Too soon to reinstate the 100 Nov. 25, Bill Maxwell column
Start with new faces
When fraternities are suspended by a university for a serious infraction, it is often for at least four years or until the last student has graduated or left the school. I suggest that the FAMU marching band be disbanded until the last member has graduated or left the university. If FAMU still wants a marching band, it can start anew with new members under a no-hazing, no-bullying philosophy.
There needs to be a change of culture at FAMU. Time and new faces can help that happen.
James W. Shiffer, Clearwater
Support, not stunts, for colleges Nov. 27, editorial
Distance learning a bargain
It sounds like a novel thing for Gov. Rick Scott to call for $10,000 bachelor's degrees, but for decades students have actually been able to earn a bachelor's for approximately half that through accelerated distance learning.
Top students can and do self-study and test their way to large portions of a degree, filling out the rest with inexpensive online and community college classes. Accelerated distance learning is absurdly cheap. In a culture where the resume stamp "BA" means little, why not?
I have read of and spoken with young people who have or are doing this very thing, and are extremely satisfied. Scott and Florida colleges and universities should take a look.
Joy Pullmann, Heartland Institute, Chicago
Payday | Nov. 27
Pay to play
If the Rays can pay one player (Evan Longoria) $100 million, then they can pay $500 million for their own stadium.
State, county and city taxpayers' dollars should not be subsidizing private sports corporations.
Walter Gay, Dunedin
Nuclear plans, fees get an okay | Nov. 27
Not serving the public
It is clear whom the Public Service Commission represents. It's certainly not John Q. Public. Again, they have approved millions of dollars the public has to pay toward a proposed nuclear facility that may or may not be built.
I'm tired of the PCS imposing taxes with little or no concern about the financial burden placed on the public. Whom are they working for — the public or big business?
Edward Russell, Clearwater
Go for solar
Rather than sticking us ratepayers with an additional $143 million to go toward an unlikely to ever be built nuclear plant, how about PSC directing Progress Energy to actually be progressive?
Let them throw their weight and money behind rooftop solar voltaic projects that will go online right now, creating local jobs and building an industry of the present and future that is sustainable.
Mike Judd, Dunedin