Oil drilling ban in eastern gulf is shot down | May 23
Florida, oil drilling don’t pair well
As a Gulf Coast businessman, I am firmly opposed to the shortsighted and dangerous push to open the eastern Gulf of Mexico for offshore oil drilling.
The threat of this activity coming even closer to our shorelines recently became more likely. Florida’s members of Congress are being pressured to engage in behind-the-scenes negotiations to allow the eastern Gulf to be drilled for oil and gas. This pressure is coming from congressional leaders who have no real connection to our important coastline and beautiful beaches.
Florida’s Gulf Coast tourism, recreation and fishing industries support 304,556 jobs and generate $17.5 billion annually in GDP. This economic strength would plummet in the event of an oil spill. When people think of Florida, they think of beaches, seafood and boating. I’d prefer we keep it that way.
When the BP Deepwater Horizon exploded and spilled millions of gallons of oil into the ocean, tourism plunged even in places where oil never reached the beaches.
It is up to us to tell our representatives in Congress to oppose any offshore drilling activities in the currently protected areas off Florida’s Gulf Coast. Our voices matter and we don’t want loopholes that will allow industry to come in and drill. We don’t want it now and we don’t want it ever.
Joseph Dise, Treasure Island
The writer is chairman of the Treasure Island & Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce.
County coffers to swell | June 6
Windfall should lower taxes
In reading this news of bringing about a property tax windfall to local governments because of a hot real estate market, does that not beg the question to area taxpayers: Will our city and county governments (a.k.a. the taxing authorities) lower the rates on our property taxes? If not, why not?
N. Lupo, Clearwater
King has bold planto curb gun violence | June 2
New tax won’t stop shootings
Candidate for Governor Chris King says the way to curb gun violence is to tax ammunition. King just proved that liberals have never found a tax they didn’t like.
It is insanity to believe that anyone who wishes to commit mass murder will stop because he has to pay a little more for ammunition. One could drive to a neighboring state and buy ammunition. Such a law could actually create a sort of black market. Buy somewhere else and re-sell it in Florida, minus the tax, and still make a profit.
New laws will not stop violence created by a mentally disturbed person. Only two things will really work. Early detection and a person with a weapon that knows how to use it.
Wayne Parlow, Ridge Manor
Traffic calming measures debatedin the wake of fatalities | June 3
A solution: speed bumps
I have not seen any suggestions to lower the speed on Bayshore Boulevard by providing speed bumps at regular intervals.
Bumps can be engineered to any height and width, either slowing traffic to a crawl, as in a parking lot, or to 15-to-20 mph on narrow residential streets. Certainly, with enough thought, a speed bump that would keep traffic at 35-40 mph without damaging vehicles or leading to accidents can be achieved.
Let’s face it, anything short of physical barriers won’t work long term and I certainly don’t want to see Bayshore Blvd partially removed, throwing massive traffic onto already overcrowded residential streets.
Richard Goldberger, Tampa
U.N. calls for end to separation of families | June 6
Pro-life should apply to all
Separating immigrant children from their parents continues the hypocrisy of the Trump administration and his conservative right supporters. All the rights the "pro-lifers" say the unborn child has always seem to vanish after the child is born. Does "life" stop at birth?
Michael Lang, Seminole
Bilirakis plan to help womencalled a stunt | June 2
Will there be sewing tips?
When I read that my congressional representative, Gus Bilirakis, would be holding a Women’s Summit pitched as "an opportunity for women to learn about relevant topics that have a direct impact on their lives," I was pleased. I figured he might discuss gun violence, reproductive rights, tariffs on imported goods, nuclear issues with both Iran and North Korea, meaningful health care reform, the exploding national debt, the cost of our endless wars, the #MeToo movement, among the many issues that would have a direct impact on my life.
But gardening? Weight loss? A woman’s guide to financial planning (as if that were different from a men’s guide)? Really?
Once again a Republican who doesn’t get it.
Diana Reif, Palm Harbor
GOP lawmakers get poor grades from union | May 31
Union money flows to Dems
When considering the teachers’ union’s ratings of lawmakers, let us not overlook the financial support that Democrats get from these unions.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in the 2015-2016 election cycle, the American Federation of Teachers spent $33,580,880 to elect Democrats, while giving $10,700 to Republicans. The National Education Association contributed $29,427,730 to Democrats and $347,306 to Republicans. The Florida Education Association is a merged affiliate of the AFT and NEA.
That 17 of 20 Republican House members received Fs and three Ds is no more surprising than that four of five Democratic senators received As and one B. Unions and Democrats have been in lockstep for decades and that old saying still holds true: Follow the money!
Judith Allen, Sun City Center