We need mass transit upgrades
Now that the New Year is upon us, it is time to address a mass transit system in this area once and for all. The traffic will only get worse, impeding the quality of life and commerce.
A good starting system would link downtown St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater with intermediate stops in areas like the clusters of apartments in Feather Sound and the airports.
To work, mass transit has to be efficient, saving the rider time and money. It has to be convenient to access. Look at the BART transportation system in the other Bay Area (San Francisco) to see how it works. It is time- and cost-efficient.
Mass transit is not and will never be a moneymaker. The taxpayers will have to subsidize it. Just like we subsidize the gridlocked interstates we drive on every day. None of this is free; it is called infrastructure.
Our fathers and grandfathers used their brains and sacrificed tax dollars to build the interstate highway system in the 1950s — and some of them never lived to enjoy the benefits. Where would we be now without a system we take for granted? But the system is outdated.
It is time for this generation to quit being selfish and stop the bickering and build an efficient network of mass transit for future generations who will need it to function in the Tampa Bay region.
Jeff Francis, St. Petersburg
Oh my, what a broadcast talent and special person | Dec. 23
A broadcaster with class
In 1970 I was stationed in Japan and watched boxing from Los Angeles on Armed Forces Television. Dick Enberg was the lead announcer and his colleague commented that Enberg had just been named California Sportscaster of the Year. Enberg replied, "In all honesty, that is the third best thing that’s happened to me today. My 5-year-old learned to tie her shoes and my 2-year-old became potty-trained."
What a classy and down-to-earth human being. RIP Dick.
Terry Romine, Sarasota
Mike Luckovich cartoon | Dec. 23
Cheap shot at Christians
The media’s obsession with President Donald Trump apparently knows no boundaries of vulgarity, even willing to politicize for its own amusement one of Christianity’s most significant and reverent events: the birth of Jesus Christ.
This cartoon, for the sake of a laugh, denigrates the faith of all practicing Christians, including the vice president. No wonder the average person distrusts the media. This cartoon is just another cheap shot at Christians. That it happened during the Advent season makes it all the more cutting, which I suspect was its intended purpose.
Scott Bullerwell, Largo
Lower rates for all | Dec. 23, letter
Cuts will surely follow
At first blush, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis’ letter makes the Donald Trump tax bill sound like a good deal for all taxpayers instead of a scam to further enrich wealthy Republican donors. But a closer look reveals the letter is only more disingenuous drivel from a political pettifogger.
A similar Republican tax cut in Kansas, touted to grow the state’s economy and boost revenue, ended up a complete failure. The promised jobs and revenue never materialized, while public services and infrastructure were decimated. Why should we expect different results at the federal level?
The most galling part of the letter was Bilirakis’ statement couched as a commitment to protect Social Security and Medicare. Obviously the tax bill didn’t touch these popular programs — it would have been DOA. Equally obvious is that Republicans will soon be clutching their pearls at the peril of exploding deficits (thanks to their snake-oil tax cut) and demanding cuts to Social Security and Medicare "entitlements" (that we’ve already paid for).
But don’t worry, seniors. You’re Bilirakis’ key constituency, and you vote. Instead, Bilirakis and his congressional cronies certainly intend to cut these vital services for younger citizens. They’ve already said as much.
P.W. Kevlin, Palm Harbor
Tax bill may do some good | Dec. 24, commentary
Companies are giving back
Thank you, Peggy Noonan. Other than in your column, I couldn’t find information in the Times about the companies that are handing out bonuses this year due to President Donald Trump’s tax plan. All week on TV, Facebook and various other sources I’ve heard about AT&T, Comcast, Wells Fargo, etc., giving bonuses to their employees. Because those news sources are fleeting, I had hoped to at least sit down and read, at my leisure, the facts regarding this boon. After searching all week for some hint at what these companies are doing, I found a slight mention of them in Noonan’s column. But not much, and alongside a snide remark about all the posturing of the crowd around Trump celebrating the passage of the tax reform.
James Hildebrand, Spring Hill
Capitalism’s last chance?
Peggy Noonan perfectly captures the enormous opportunity embodied in the holiday gift dropped at the doorsteps of American businesses. Yes, on the surface the Republican tax bill is a colossal giveaway to corporations at the expense of working folks. However, this gift was given with the hope that corporations will actually do the right thing with it and give back to the economy in ways that benefit all Americans, not just those at the top. Instead of buying back shares and increasing dividends, corporations could invest in growth at home, train and hire more U.S. workers, increase wages and benefits and even offer pensions again.
If corporations squander this opportunity and use this gift to bolster the "greed is good" culture of Wall Street, we should not be surprised by the rise of an angry U.S. socialist labor movement in the coming years as the political pendulum swings hard back to the left.
Doug Robison, St. Petersburg