Re: GOP turnout stayed high letter, Nov. 23
Educated voters picked Obama
This letter by Richard Piper of Largo was baffling, to say the least. If, as the writer claims, the highest voter turnout came in precincts where John McCain won 2-1, how is it that Barack Obama won the county by 30,000-plus votes?
Piper's letter implies that "voters of high education levels and high socioeconomic status" voted for McCain. In fact, the most highly educated Americans, including Floridians, voted for Obama by a margin of better than 3:2, and they have voted Democrat on the presidential level since 1988.
The reasons for this growing tendency are not hard to find.
The GOP has become the victim of its own rigid ideology. On foreign policy, it has been hijacked by neo-cons and has devolved into an interventionist war party that tried to legitimize torture, secret prisons and renditions. On domestic policy, it has stuck its head in the sand on climate change and alternative energy, and has opposed regulation of markets that have now collapsed from the weight of their own greed.
The way it has conducted campaigns is also odious. It has practiced "the politics of personal destruction" in an unbroken line, from Richard Nixon's plumbers through Lee Atwater and the rabid Clinton impeachment to the recent attempts to portray Obama as a dangerous Marxist. The Bush/Rove tactics of "divide and conquer" toward the American people have gone hand-in-hand with a total lack of accountability and failure to solve problems.
For these reasons and many others, intelligent, well-informed people reject the Republican Party. But now the focus is on the Democrats. They need to deliver on the promise of change and reform. If they don't, we may see serious new parties arise.
Bret Raushenbush, Tarpon Springs
Pinellas deputy serves one-day suspension | story, Dec. 3
'Crooked' just one word for sergeant
Let me get this straight. A Pinellas sheriff's sergeant with 30 years' experience on the force clocks two Pasco County sheriff's deputies going 98 mph. When he catches up, he observes the deputy in the passenger seat standing outside the car urinating on the ground. He then gets a confession that the deputies had been drinking.
He does not give a field sobriety test, or a Breathalyzer test. He just lets them go home. Then he fails to let anyone at the Sheriff's Office know about what happened for an hour and a half.
His punishment: a one-day suspension.
Sure sounds like favoritism to me. Some may call it cronyism. Some may call it the good ole boys' club. Some may even call it corrupt. I call it a crooked cop.
John Thurmond, Ozona
Former school might house teachers | story, Nov. 12
Help for teachers already available
I was captivated by this article, which describes the proposal to turn an old and unused school owned by the Pinellas County School Board into a 27-townhome project for deserving teachers in Pinellas County at affordable prices (land-leased). Apparently, and to their credit, two School Board members were skeptical because of the costs involved to serve only a tiny percentage of their total staff.
The purpose — which is to be applauded — is to retain good teachers and attract new ones.
What is even more interesting is that the School Board seems to ignore that such programs already exist and are offered by Pinellas County. The county Community Development Department has affordable homes (at construction costs or below) available for teachers in Pinellas County (and other defined "hometown heroes") looking for a first home with up to $30,000 of down-payment assistance.
Just a simple question comes to mind before we use already very stretched budgets: Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing?
Philippe Beau, Dunedin