Monday, April 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday’s letters: Let’s make America good again

Everyone loves a parade | Feb. 9, editorial

I’ll sit on the sidelines

As a 30-year veteran I was appalled at the president’s plan for a military parade. Having marched in numerous parades in my career I can say without hesitation that members of the services will hate the idea. Having to wear a dress uniform and march miles in formation along a hot street, probably during the summer, is no way to honor their sacrifices.

As an alternative, I suggest that service men and women be given lawn chairs and coolers of beer so they can sit on the sidewalk and watch the president, Congress and their aides walk past, thanking them. That way the people being honored can actually enjoy the event with their families.

Jim Fitton, Coast Guard captain (ret.),
St. Petersburg

HART right to question BRT | Feb. 8, editorial

We need mass transit

I was very disappointed to read that the Tampa Bay Times echoed HART’s reluctance to embrace the bus rapid transit system. Our region’s public transportation system is outdated, fragmented and woefully underfunded. The perfect cannot be the enemy of the good in a region where public transportation has all but become a concept.

The BRT, while not high-speed rail, is a step forward for a region of over 2.8 million people who have limited travel options besides clogging roads with single-occupant vehicles. Public transportation benefits — reduced fuel consumption and traffic congestion, job creation, economic and community growth — clearly outweigh the cost to taxpayers. Ten years ago was the time for action — let’s not delay any longer.

Kyle Simon, Tampa

Red-light camera challenge hits bump | Feb. 8

Just obey the traffic laws

Back in 1961, zipping around town in my first car — a ’56 Plymouth Fury — I was pulled over for blowing a red light. The traffic court judge thoroughly admonished me. I, at the ripe old age of 18, vowed to never run another red light. And I never have. Cameras mounted on the traffic signals bother me not one bit. If you pay attention to your driving, you shouldn’t have a thing to worry about.

John Waitman, Palm Harbor

Zombie campaigns | Feb. 4

A great investigation

Congratulations on expert reporting on sleazy politicians entrusted with our democracy. The investigative work shows that journalists are crucial to our fragile democracy. Regardless of Federal Elections Commission rules, or lack thereof, continuing payments of campaign money to relatives and select others by those now out of office or now dead, are unethical use of campaign funds.

Marilyn Weaver, Bradenton

Rays’ pick likely today | Feb. 9

Ballpark plan strikes out

The Tampa Bay Rays proposal to build a new stadium on the Ybor City site would be a disaster for the team. If they think they have attendance problems now, wait until they’re in their new ballpark. Fans from Pinellas are not going to come to a place that’s hard to get to, and has minimal parking.

Chuck Bayer, Redington Shores

Triumph and peril for Trump | Feb. 4, column

Here’s why I’m angry

Peggy Noonan claims that rage is a poor fuel in politics. Seems odd, since the tea party has brought Congress to its knees and Trump’s campaign was fueled by Red State rage. As a lifelong Democrat, I can trade that "dignity" she claims is in jeopardy for stopping the right and President Donald Trump from destroying our country. Why am I so angry? Well, the threat to democracy posed by Trump disturbs me. The fact that the popular vote doesn’t elect our president and gives outsize power to smaller, taker states angers me. And don’t get me started on the Republican views on reproductive choice and marriage equality — or that their religion outweighs all and must be the only law in our country. As for this Ayn Rand notion that only wealth is a measure of value, it angers me the most. I expect this anger among non-Trump supporters to pay off in the voting booth in the 2018 elections.

Cathy Haggerty, Largo

Who prevails in America | Feb. 3, The Reading File

Making America good again

This piece struck a chord with me. As a minor league historian, I understand republicanism (little "r") and agree that elected leaders, when acting in the best interests of the country, can be an extremely effective way to run a country. I also am keenly attuned to the idea that there is great potential for a tyranny of the majority, so excessive democracy is to be avoided, as well. Generally, I believe that our founding fathers got it right.

As argued in the full Atlantic article, which was excerpted in the Reading File, our modern elected leaders have become entirely beholden to monied interests and have earned the near total level of mistrust that follows them today. There is something foul afoot when basic government makes both the left and right feel that they are disenfranchised.

The authors appropriately admonish against the purely facile answer of returning power to the people. Too much democracy is not a good thing. Simply put, the majority is not always right. However, it is wrong for power to ignore the will of the people, too. The concept of best interests, for the country, is the tempering agent that can strike a balance in this tricky equation.

As well, it is completely necessary to have expertise and elitism within our bureaucratic agencies that rule so much of America. The authors get that right, as tough as that is to hear for some.

What we can agree on, potentially, is that our current system is broken. Full-scale democracy is not the answer. Power can’t rest solely with the people. Pure democracy is a scary thing. Power, however, can and should be influenced by the people and not the monied interests that are entrenched in three branches of government. How we do that is the question of the century. We’d better find an answer, and quick.

Charles Nelson, Apollo Beach

Comments

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18