Governor Gridlock | June 2, editorial
Crist has sold out the state to developers
The pen is truly mightier than the sword. And with a defining stroke of the pen, Charlie Crist eviscerated what little was left of growth "management" for Florida by signing SB 360. The Development of Regional Impact review process and concurrency? Gone. Counties having a real voice in objecting to any large development? Gone. Developers paying for road improvements? Gone.
We get to pay, in more ways than one. Get ready for more "urban sprawl," fewer wetlands and rural areas, and little if any voice in how any of this happens. Gridlock, water pollution, higher taxes, and a pave-it-quick approach will be Florida's motto more than ever, although it doesn't seem possible.
The "checks and balances" of real planning and growth management may be gone, but the checks of special interests helping finance Charlie Crist's hoped-for trip to new living quarters in Washington, D.C., are surely headed his way, courtesy of the lobbyists who own him and our legislators.
Thanks, governor, and don't let the door to what's left of Florida hit you on your way to Washington.
Ron Thuemler, Tampa
Taxpayers will suffer
As a registered Republican, I'm disgusted and disappointed with Gov. Charlie Crist signing the bill allowing contractors and developers to once again destroy our state, with no regard for the taxpayers.
We are overbuilt now. We don't have enough water, there are not enough roads and not enough schools to support this expansion. I voted for him but will not vote for or support him for any further office. He's not looking out for any Florida taxpayers — period. He's a poor example of what we expect of him and his office!
Ronald G. Payne, Safety Harbor
Crist signs growth overhaul for state June 2, story
This is what the voters have wrought
Gov. Charlie Crist's signing of SB 360, the bill that basically guts Florida growth management, reminded me of the old saying: "In democracies people get the government they deserve."
Or maybe more accurately, people get the government that most reflects their prevailing values. Though signing the bill was a lack-of-character moment for Crist, he was after all simply not interfering with the will of our Legislature. If short-term greed and cynicism are the prevailing values of a Legislature dominated by Republicans who dare call themselves "conserve"-atives, but get comfortably re-elected ad infinitum, who is to blame for that?
Let's face it, the attitude of too many residents of Florida, especially the affluent, is to value the state to the extent which they can, at best, ignore it and, at worst, rape it.
The prevailing attitude is: I've paid my dues somewhere else, I'm here to cash in on the weather, cheap real estate, cheap labor, my job, etc., as long as the place doesn't change too much for the five years I'm here, let somebody else care about it and pay for it.
Until a lot more of us begin to treat Florida like home, give it the love and attention (i.e. taxes and politicians) needed to leave it a better place than when we arrived, hacks like Crist and bills like SB 360 are what we can expect. Florida: Love it or kill it.
Robert Clark, Tampa
Governor Gridlock | June 2, editorial
Republican no more
Gov. Charlie Crist has done what no other politician in the last 47 years has been able to do: He has turned me from a registered Republican into a Democrat. By signing SB 360, the soon-to-be former governor of Florida has done more for the cause of lobbyist rule in Tallahassee than any of his predecessors, even Jeb Bush.
I don't mean that I have not voted for a Democrat in the past. I was even registered as an independent voter for several years, but I always considered myself a Republican until Crist sold out completely.
Hereafter, although I will certainly vote for a Republican now and then, I will change my registration to Democrat. Crist's signature on SB 360, I fear, tolls the death knell for our beautiful state's future. It is a blatant attempt to curry favor with a small percentage of the electorate, namely developers, who wield a disproportionate amount of power in our state. What will he, personally, derive from this? He will receive from this small voter group extremely large contributions for his run for the U.S. Senate.
There will always be smiley opportunists like Crist around, willing to sell their vote to the highest bidder, but I'm just starting to notice that most of them, especially in Florida, seem to be Republicans. Better late than never.
Tom Porter, Clearwater
Hold them accountable
By signing SB 360, Gov. Charlie Crist has shown that he will not represent the voters as a senator any better than he has as governor.
I voted for Crist for governor but will not vote for him again. We cannot not continue the insanity of sending people to Washington who have no interest in the welfare of their state, let alone their country.
If we continue to not hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, then our country will never get out of the mess they have created. We have a responsibility to make sure that all those receiving tax money conduct themselves not by what is just legal but by what is ethical. If they choose to not conduct themselves ethically then we must do everything in our power to have them removed from any position of power.
Dan Lemon, St. Petersburg
Unmanageable growth | May 28, letter
New homes could be green
Here's a way for everyone to be happy. Why not make it mandatory in Florida from now on that all newly constructed homes come with some type of solar (or wind) system and a reclaimed water system? I realize this would cut into the millions of dollars of profit for the utility corporations, but if some type of small systems were installed in every home, that could take some of the pressure off utility bills and assist with utility grids being overloaded and the fear of low water again.
We could also allow lawns to be "rock gardens" again as they were many years ago. The costs would be factored into the price of each home. Florida has the ability to be self-sufficient if it chooses. We just have to be willing to do it.
Lynn Friedman, Pinellas Park
Wrong item taxed
How ironic: A story on the front page on May 28 showed Gov. Charlie Crist signing the bill to add a dollar a pack to the price of cigarettes (Crist signs budget, breaks tax pledge) and right below it was a story of a man finally going to court after he killed three people (Day of reckoning comes for driver).
Every day there's someone killed or crippled by alcoholics, either on the road or even the sidewalk. But don't tax alcohol — just those crazy smokers. I think Gov. Crist has his head in the sand.
Hazel Faraone, Hudson
Reward your friends
We call upon our president to make it very clear we are fighting extreme Islamic fundamentalism, known as Wahabism. To date, the president has paid too much deference to questionable Islamic leaders.
The president must establish a policy of "reward your friends; punish your enemies." Israel is a reliable democratic ally that merits our continued support. In contrast, the Saudis and other Islamic states are questionable. Israel is a major deterrent to Iran's nuclear threat. Again, it merits our support.
Norman N. Gross, Ph.D., president, Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting, Palm Harbor
Saluting heroes, so recently lost | May 26
Too often forgotten
I want to thank the St. Petersburg Times for publishing the May 26 picture of Shawn Kelley standing at the grave of his dad, Walter Kelley, who was killed in the Korean War. I am one of those infantry soldiers who was severely wounded in Korea. Most newspapers never mentioned the Korean War.
I thank the doctors and nurses and the many mothers and wives who have been taking care of us these many years. I wish more people would learn that there was a real Korean War, and that many dead are still there; many were taken prisoner by Russia and China, and many of us in our 70s and 80s are still forgotten.
John H. Johnson, St. Petersburg