Family First fuels church-state debate | May 9, story
Don't hinder state help for families
I presume the American Civil Liberties Union does not object to saving the manatee and turtles, but when it comes to a fund to help families and children, they object. We should be helping families, especially now that the state and county budgets are being cut to the bone.
God tells us to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. He gives animals the intelligence to care for themselves. How can helping families and children violate the separation of church and state? Let's get real and pray that our governor cares more for children and families than the request of the ACLU.
Fran Glaros-Sharp, Clearwater
I'm glad your story made clear that Sen. Mike Fasano was the power behind the bill opening the way to state-sanctioned donations to Family First. Now I know I can't ever support him.
I feel profoundly disrespected by all these efforts to impose a specific "Christian" religious viewpoint on the body politic, where I should have equal-citizen standing even though I reject the Bible with its support of warfare, slavery and treatment of women as property.
But if raise my voice, I'm told I have to "understand" because "the majority" supports public use of that book. Apparently their perspective is that because of their volume, they can do anything they like to me (or whoever they go after next). Is that scary, or what? Not to mention, un-American.
Eileen O'Sullivan, St. Petersburg
World's population must be controlled
May 7, letter
Religious leaders add to
the problems of our planet
Isn't it about time that writers and "experts" stop wringing their hands over the horrors of overpopulation? Isn't it about time that everyone stopped being tactful and faced the grim and ghastly truth: that powerful religious leaders who control the thoughts and emotions of millions upon millions of people (especially those in underdeveloped countries) bear much responsibility for the trouble we are in?
They inveigh against organizations such as Planned Parenthood that are desperately trying to stem the rising tide of populations. They forbid their followers to use contraception, and teach that condoms are useless. They imply that God loves a fertilized egg more than a hungry child. They urge the biblical command to "be fruitful and multiply" — a command made to a small, terrified tribe in a desert thousands of years ago.
Isn't it about time that we faced those facts and showed that they cause the nightmare of countless children starved and stunted?
Isn't it about time that the powerful ones of the Earth came to their senses and took action? How much time is left?
Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon
Judge gives Bollea 8-month sentence | May 10, story
Reality and responsibility
Could the Bollea family get any more dysfunctional? Even as Nick Bollea pleaded no contest to reckless driving with serious bodily injury, the Bollea family is still denying Nick's responsibility for his actions.
Witness father Hulk Hogan saying that his son "has been unfairly attacked by the media simply because of his on-air personality." Or Nick's sister Brooke and her incoherent rant about others not always being faithful to John Graziano, her hatred of celebrity (she was one?) and money being the root of all evil as the reason Nick was in court Friday.
The reality — not MTV's or the Bolleas' version — is that Nick was in court for his reckless driving and that his reckless driving resulted in devastating injuries to John Graziano.
Don Creley, Tampa
Judge gives Bollea 8-month sentence | May 10, story
Nobody really cares about Nick Bollea except his parents. The country has insurmountable problems: tornados in the West, serious flooding in Africa, starvation in Darfur, a political system in chaos to name a few.
And what do we see on the front page two mornings — a story of a spoiled kid who endangered somebody else's life. Young men who are about his age are fighting for our country in an indescribably violent war with seemingly no end.
Your front-page choices leave a lot to be desired.
Jane Corrigan, Belleair Beach
Good for Florida
The recent farm bill agreement is good for Florida farmers, and federal lawmakers from our state would be wise to support it. The bill authorizes almost $1.5-billion in mandatory spending for programs that benefit fruit and vegetable growers. Our state is the second largest U.S. producer of fruits and vegetables and by far the largest producer of citrus, a $9.3-billion industry that creates 76,000 jobs.
Citrus greening, a new disease that kills citrus trees, is spreading throughout our industry. As a result, the No. 1 funding priority for Florida citrus is pest and disease research. The current farm bill agreement addresses the need for investment in research. Also, the bill provides increased funding to purchase fruits and vegetables for schoolchildren.
Keep in mind, the Florida citrus industry will not receive direct payments like the "subsidies" contained in traditional farm programs that go to wheat, soybeans, rice and cotton. These subsidies seem to be the misguided focus of some commentary in Florida over the bill. Instead the discussion in Florida should note that for the first time ever the farm bill recognizes the importance of fruit and vegetables, and that is good policy.
Michael W. Sparks, executive vice president, CEO, Florida Citrus Mutual, Lakeland
Score one for pettiness in spat over paramedics | May 11, editorial
Look for lowest bidder
The dispute between the city of Tampa and Hillsborough County over whose paramedics should have the plum job of earning $35 an hour while on duty at Bucs games should be handled the same way it would be in the open market: Low bid wins.
Whenever you have too many qualified people applying for the same job, lower the compensation. Which agency wants the job for $30 an hour? Do I hear $25 an hour?
Chris Davis, Tampa
Specialty license plates
A mixed message
There is one plate that has a different message for me than it does for Jeb Bush, who promoted it to begin with. That is the "Choose Life" license plate.
I fully agree with the message as I would "choose life." But for me the operative word is "choose." I doubt that those who have this plate on their cars would agree, but that means they do not agree fully with the plate they are using. They are probably not prochoice. This license plate is promoting life, but it is also promoting choice. To read it any other way is hypocritical.
Bill Balmer, Seminole
A boost for U.S. economy
How would it affect our nation's economy if approximately 75 percent of new car purchases were from American manufacturers? Even foreign car assemblers in the United States must remit a substantial percentage of profits back to Japan, South Korea or Germany.
I've read a lot of propaganda pertaining to inferior craftsmanship in this country. I purchased a new vehicle from an American manufacturer in September. I am extremely pleased with its performance, gas mileage and assembly. A plus factor was a lifetime warranty at no extra charge.
At least in this instance, I was given the opportunity of choosing an American manufacturer. Almost anything else I purchase comes from China. I have no option.
Is patriotism antiquated? Perhaps I should ask the mayor of Tampa.
John C. Byard, Clearwater
A prom queen holds court | May 11
This was such a beautiful story! Lately there have been some very sad stories in the news about teenagers doing all the wrong things! It was so awesome to read about these selfless friends and the staff at the hospital for making the prom happen for this beautiful young lady. I am so happy to know that 22 great teenagers are doing the right things with their lives. I'm sure they will inspire others to do the same.
Chrissy Parks, New Port Richey