Millionaires rule in Congress | Jan. 10
Dig deeper into this
Buried deep in the A section was a small brief with a headline that said, "Millionaires rule in Congress". But this topic deserves more space in your newspaper than a small brief. How did our elected representatives attain their riches? Certainly it was not by their "modest" salaries.
The brief did not mention corporations and lobbyists patrolling the halls of Congress offering who knows what to willing politicians for favors. There are very few people in Congress working for the American people, but evidently they do very well for themselves.
How about some investigative reporting on how the rich got so rich?
Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole
State's unemployment system | Jan. 8
Questions for a mother
A front-page story in the Times revealing the state's failure to properly manage the unemployment compensation program was certainly news-worthy and compelling as a human interest story, but it also portrayed an all-too-common tragedy.
The article depicted a 34-year-old mother who is broke and has not received an unemployment payment since October. She was pictured with her 20-month-old daughter and was noticeably pregnant. The story revealed that she also has two older children living with an aunt. She indicated that she is stressed out, has applied for hundreds of jobs, and experienced very bad conditions while growing up. Of course, we all feel sorry for her state of affairs.
But ought not a 34-year-old woman who has three children and a poor financial situation learned enough to not get pregnant again? Why would she want to bring another child into this situation?
Is it believable that she has applied to hundreds of jobs? How can anyone be 34 years old and not realize the primary responsibility for security lies with the individual, and not others?
Robert Alan Zito, New Port Richey
Roses, apology lead to arrest | Jan. 9
The article "Roses, apology lead to arrest" was very disturbing.
The fight against domestic violence has a long way to go, with almost 17,000 domestic violence homicides annually in the United States. Countless men, women and children live in fear every single day, with devastating effects on their lives.
Your article and its headline trivialized the danger of domestic violence. This man is clearly dangerous, with a history of violence against this woman and at least one previous girlfriend. His behavior is classic, using violence to control her and then continuing to manipulate her with his farce "apology."
Instead of trying to elicit sympathy for this "poor guy" trying to apologize, let's congratulate and support this survivor for taking action to protect herself.
Nikki Daniels, Tampa
Parents plead for legal marijuana | Jan. 10
It's drug therapy, not abuse
The story about parents asking for the use of a specific type of marijuana called "Charlotte's Web," because it is their last, best hope to help their child, was informative. The article showed that one child who suffered more than 100 seizures a day was given this drug in liquid form and now suffers only one seizure every other day or two.
This liquid drug contains no THC, which causes the "high" that most people associate with smoking a "joint," and will give these children a chance to live a normal live.
State Rep. Matt Gaetz has agreed to file a bill on medical marijuana, which, I admit, surprised me considering his previous stance on this and other issues. I applaud his stance on this.
What appalled me was the last paragraph in the article stating that Gov. Rick Scott, again, without thinking through the issue, said, "I oppose illegal drug abuse" without considering that this is not drug abuse but "drug use" to help these children.
Scott has, in my opinion, slapped these parents in the face. They face unending days of worry about their children and their life spans.
I think the governor should go and visit one of these children that would be a candidate for using "Charlotte's Web." Then tell us how he feels that this drug would be abused.
Rosanne Paris, Palm Harbor
Socialism: It's been tried and failed | Jan. 8
U.S. taxation 101
Steve Weinman does not seem to have a good grasp of taxation in the United States. He says the "call for progressive taxes" is a move to fund welfare programs.
Actually, the United States has a long history of progressive tax rates. Weinman probably doesn't realize that when the era of income taxes began 101 years ago, only the wealthiest 1 percent paid any taxes.
We have actually gone away from progressive tax rates in recent years. The man who isn't president (Mitt Romney) is a perfect example. When a person can make $22 million a year and pay less than 14 percent income tax, it is safe to say progressive tax rates are all but gone.
We seem to have a very hard time taxing the wealthy. When a middle class family saves up to buy a new car they will pay every penny of sales tax on that vehicle. Ever get a really good coupon? You pay sales tax on the entire price. Ever get "free" cable channels when you switch providers? Yes, you pay taxes on the free channels. In Florida if you buy a private jet for $10 million the sales tax should be $700,000 yet Florida asks for only $19,000. It's the same thing with a big yacht. There are $100 million yachts for sale here in Florida that will pay only $19,000 in sales tax.
Progressive tax rates do not go to just fund welfare programs, they pay for all the government's bills. Paying less than 14 percent on an income of $22 million is the problem here. The wealthy have totally perverted our political system.
F. M. Younglove, Brandon
Trader Joe's | Jan. 10
Poor planning in Pinellas
I'm glad Trader Joe's is getting so much publicity for forcing tenants out in order to build a store of its own. What I'd like to know is why our city leaders did not encourage Trader Joe's to take over the old Winn-Dixie space downtown?
So now we are left with Publix being the lone ranger downtown, while we have three health food stores crammed within a few blocks of each other, and down the street from two other Publix stores.
That doesn't sound like good planning for our "vibrant" downtown. Maybe a chamber ad could read: "Come live and work and play downtown. But you still have to drive for amenities."
Christina Aikman, St. Petersburg