Trump’s plan: to drill | Jan. 5
Stop attack on the environment
The Trump administration’s attacks on the environment go even beyond the president’s refusal to acknowledge the reality of global warming.
First, President Donald Trump seemed woefully ignorant of the difference between weather and climate when he tweeted about the cold wave that swept much of the country and wondered what had happened to global warming.
When he selected anti-environmentalist Scott Pruitt as Environmental Protection Agency administrator, a man beholden to the oil and gas industry, the die was cast. The agency’s budget was cut, the Clean Water Act was weakened, and standards that reduced toxic emissions from cars and power plants were rolled back.
Moreover, a plan to expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was resurrected. (Remember how well that worked out in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill?)
To top all this off, the EPA wanted to spend six or more years studying standards meant to protect children from lead-based paint. Fortunately, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the agency has 90 days to study those standards.
Finally, in one of his New Year’s Day tweets, Trump cited "opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling" as one of his past year’s accomplishments. Apparently he does not know the meaning of the word "refuge."
Marie Enders, Palm Harbor
Shameful lack of respect
I am a Canadian who has always been fond of my American neighbors. I found them friendly, open, kind and followers of Christian values of love your enemy, forgive people their shortcomings, turn the other cheek, and don’t judge people. What has happened? I am disappointed to see the hate coming out of the hearts of these same people I admired.
There is no allowance in the American code of ethics for the slander, the unabridged hate and the intolerance some are showing toward their president, Donald Trump. I thought defamation of character was a criminal offense, yet it is widespread in this country. The disrespect shown your president is unprecedented and shameful.
I think everyone should give their head a shake, drop the mainstream media and do a Google search on all the good things President Trump has done for your country. Only once you have done your own research will you see how hard this man is working for you and how biased the media is against him.
But maybe you prefer not to be informed and perhaps you rather like living in a hate bubble. If you insist on doing that, you will be part of forming a new America, but not the great one that President Trump envisions for all Americans.
Christine Dorothy, Riverview
Tracking transportation plans | Jan. 2
Recipe for more gridlock
Off we go (again) into the frustrating voids of gridlocked asphalt. There are few (if any) words in your article about public transport in Tampa Bay.
In the 30 years I’ve resided in Tampa Bay, the total lack of viable public transit is indefensible.
Once again, Tampa Bay residents must brace for another 10-15 years of "maybe" and "who knows" from our duck-and-cover politicians and mired-in-the-’50s Department of Transportation.
Ever more roads, ever more gridlock, ever more environmental degradation, even as climate change rearranges Earth’s geography.
Mike MacDonald, Clearwater
Follow the voters’ wishes
In 2014, voters gave 75 percent approval for funding the Florida Forever program. At one time, the program brought in $300 million to purchase and protect land. Since 2014, not one penny has been set aside. The people in Florida wanted to purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee and other sensitive lands to use for water overflow.
So far, the governor and members of the Legislature have used the money to purchase state equipment, government worker salaries and insurance premiums. I also heard that $700,000 went toward the governor’s attorney fees.
It is our job, our responsibility, to protect our environment, and if our elected officials will not do as they are told, it is time to write a letter for them to step down. Enough is enough.
Margaret Hyde, Clearwater
‘Do not call’ list violations top complaints Jan. 2
Putnam not doing his job
We are on the so-called "do not call" list, however — and we recorded all of them — my household received 208 unsolicited calls from Jan. 1, 2017 to Aug. 15, when we stopped recording them due to sheer frustration. That’s about 1.5 calls a day, every day, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, headed by governor-wannabe Adam Putnam, is responsible for the following, per statute:
• Through regulation and mediation, we safeguard consumers from unlawful and deceptive business practices.
• We’re the state’s clearinghouse for consumer concerns. Our call center analysts answer questions, provide information and help resolve complaints.
We complained to the department about the unsolicited calls using an online form. Several days later, we received a reply, which, in effect, stated that they are in favor of "a robust economy" in Florida and that these callers are "just trying to make a living." In other words, Putnam and his staff write generic, meaningless replies to complaints, but otherwise do absolutely nothing to protect consumers.
Miklos Lorand, South Pasadena