Florida lags in race for clean energy | July 5, editorial
Consumers need energy choices
We as consumers are held hostage by a regulated monopoly where decisionmaking is limited to just a few major utility corporations. They do things the way they have always done them. Lacking any competition, these entities may not make decisions for the benefit of the environment or the consumer.
There are alternative models. Before moving to Florida our most recent home was Maryland, where utilities are partially deregulated, allowing consumers to choose among energy providers. We had a choice of three providers. The competition generated cheaper alternatives than the traditional provider and also provided us with the option to receive some or all of our electricity from alternative energy sources, such as wind. Our payments were adjusted based upon our choice of energy source.
We need not continue in the same dysfunctional, archaic fashion. There are solutions. We as consumers need choices.
Lynn Bosco, Clearwater
For almost nothing, an immense reward July 5, commentary
Donors make the difference
I read Peter Garrison's article about his donation of blood platelets.
Last week my granddaughter had an emergency C-section because, among other things, her platelet count was very low, and after delivery, dropped even lower. She was given a transfusion of blood platelets.
Six days later she and her son will be going home — thanks to a stranger who "went the extra mile" to donate platelets.
Without the transfusion, there may have been a different ending.
Josephine Pasby, Floral City
Lawsuit targets Internet cafe ban | July 4
Harmless fun for seniors
The consensus of my fellow senior citizens who frequented the various Internet cafes is that they are delighted that lawsuits are being filed to challenge the ban on these cafes. We senior citizens feel that the law putting the Internet cafes out of business is a violation of our rights.
To assume that these cafes were taking advantage of seniors is not only insulting to our intellects but a gross misrepresentation. We are not all suffering from dementia and have every right to spend our money as we see fit. Some of us have raised families and most of us have held very responsible jobs and know how to manage our money.
Why is it that Florida allows the lottery, gambling casinos, horse racing, etc., but puts thumbs down on Internet cafes? These cafes were a meeting place for us and a chance to have a couple of hours of harmless fun.
We are not against having the cafes regulated. In fact, it would be a good thing to have the cafes pay taxes, which would help put revenue into the state.
Judith Barrett, Bayonet Point
Reaction to delay in health care act | July 7
Thousands left out
House Speaker Will Weatherford thinks Florida can do a better job than the federal government of achieving health care for all. Really? Is the plan for hurricane insurance a good example of how the Florida government works? There, it's good for the insurance companies and lousy for homeowners.
Weatherford favors a "market-based solution," but the Florida House plan does nothing to bring down the cost of the expensive way we deliver care. In fact, you can't even get a menu of costs so you can actually determine what provider to use. How is this a market-based solution?
Florida's "solution" to providing affordable health care is to leave out thousands of needy people, most of whom are working poor toiling with substandard wages, and to have insurance premiums that are twice as high as the average cost of most industrial nations.
Bill Brasfield, St. Petersburg
I agree that employers shouldn't be mandated to provide health insurance to workers, any more than they should be required to pay for their groceries, rent or utility bills. But what alternatives are opponents of the Affordable Care Act offering?
Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford says the Obama administration should "go back to the drawing board." I agree. My suggestion: Medicare for all, a system that covers everyone and doesn't tie health insurance to jobs.
Mention a "universal" system of health care and conservatives scream about rationing, limiting choices and "socialized medicine." Well, private insurers are already doing that, paying for some drugs, doctors and services but not others.
I've never heard anyone I know who receives Medicare wish they could return to a private insurer. Extending the same type of coverage to every American is the simplest "cure" to what ails Obamacare.
Joseph H. Brown, Tampa
Health coverage debate continues | July 7
I was dismayed to read the article concerning state Rep. Ed Hooper's comments on the refusal to expand Medicaid. This from a man who got his start fighting for the rights and benefits of Clearwater firefighters. In those days he was concerned about working people.
To base his opposition to the expansion on the fact that the federal government has a deficit is nonsensical. The Medicaid program has been very effective in providing medical coverage to the most needy. These are not freeloaders. They include the working poor of which there are many in Florida.
Jeffrey Harper, St. Petersburg
Top 5 falsehoods recapped in immigration debate | July 8
Put focus on jobs
PolitiFact, once again, is myopic and politically narrow. The piece on immigration "myths" focuses on shiny secondary objects and studiously ignores the most consequential and alarming aspect of the Gang of 8 bill: the huge economic and greed incentives built into the bill to hire illegals first over U.S. citizens — including legal immigrants.
Sen. Ted Cruz, in his "Joe's Hamburger" speech on the Senate floor, gave an incisive, math-simplified, 27-minute tutorial on the seductive tax/fines arithmetic that would incentivize businesses to hire illegals first. One can view Cruz's clear and powerfully persuasive video on the Internet.
A bipartisan sham, the Senate Gang of 8 bill reeks of a musty smell of corporate welfare to the continued misery of the working poor of these United States.
Gary Harrington, St. Petersburg