A focus on the future | Jan. 26
End the wars, stop outsourcing
Despite the beautiful oratory dished out by our president and some members of Congress, only two changes can restore the state of our union, and both are promises President Barack Obama has failed to keep:
1. We must end both wars. The huge amount of money we are spending killing people and trying to acquire oil is what is running up out deficit. Continuing this fiasco while cutting back on education, transportation, Social Security and Medicare is not a solution.
2. We must stop outsourcing jobs. It is distressing to read the unemployment ratios in almost every state and then to call one's bank and get connected to someone in India or Costa Rica. American businesses should be hiring Americans to work where the businesses are located, not thousands of miles away.
If both changes were made tomorrow, our economy would rebound within a month or two.
Adele Ida Walter, Tampa
Dare to dream
Barack Obama's stirring State of the Union address emphasized the economy, defense and something that we haven't heard from in a while that I hold dear: the essence of the American dream. He spoke very passionately about America's drive, about the invention and innovation of the technology that will lead us into tomorrow.
In this new decade, America has forgotten about our ability to create, to stir other regions of the world, to put men into space and to venture farther than others have gone before. Thus Obama has dared us to dream. So I am asking Americans to forgo the boundaries of race and religion, of Republican and Democrat, and forget the differences that have separated us for years. Instead, we Americans must unite, go into the future with a bright mind and enlightened heart, and dare to dream.
Jermaine Evans, Tampa
Half true on deficit spending Jan. 26, PolitiFact.com
Deficit streak was broken
I take issue with the ruling of half true to the president's statement that "We are living with a legacy of deficit spending that began almost a decade ago." First, rating this half true makes the public think the president is half lying. But PolitiFact is saying the situation is worse than he said. This makes his statement more true, not less true.
Second, as PolitiFact states, there were surpluses, not deficits, in the Clinton years. Thus, the streak of deficits was broken, and counting annual deficits starts over from scratch. When the Tampa Bay Rays' losing streak is broken, they start over counting losses
Judy Vogel, Tampa
The pragmatic president | Jan. 26, editorial
Tea party deserves credit
The St. Petersburg Times saw the president as a fiscal conservative Tuesday night and mentioned "inspiring" and pragmatism. However, it saluted the wrong messenger. Inspiring are the tea party activists and pragmatic voters — viewing at home — who stopped a progressive freight train in its tracks. A magnificent consequence of the election last fall is the Times having to interpret President Obama's speech, astoundingly, as Reaganesque.
The president does civility with no equal, but now we will see whether the GOP House and Rep. Paul Ryan's budget mastery can wring sensible spending cuts from a pragmatic president and his chastened party. The clock is running. What a spectacle.
Gary Harrington, St. Petersburg
'Not a Taj Mahal,' official says | Jan. 21
Housing Authority excess
And we wonder why there are problems in government. The St. Petersburg Housing Authority does not receive money directly from the city of St. Petersburg, but it is funded by government money for which we all pay. How could an organization which "serves" the low-income population possibly need 5 acres, a 13,000-square-foot office building (which is over 400 square per employee, well above the average needed for office space), and a private entrance for the executive director? Maybe a crown could be included to make him king! And this doesn't even include the question of overpaying for the piece of property and the fact that it seems to be nowhere close to where its clients are located.
Robert Kinney, New Port Richey
Other property available
Wouldn't it prove beneficial to do an investigation on what properties are available that would be suited for the offices of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority?
One space that comes to mind is the recently vacated Social Security Office on 34th Street S in St. Petersburg. Buses run right past it, and it must be suitable for office operations. The head of the Housing Authority may even be able to have his own private covered entrance. His employees could work out in the parking lot. There are vacant office buildings throughout Pinellas County that could house this operation, and that needs to be explored before more money is wasted.
Jack Reistrom, Tierra Verde
Representing the seller
I am disappointed in your description of my role in the sale of a site on Gandy Boulevard. I clearly defined my role to the reporter that I had an exclusive listing agreement with the owner of the site (a bank that had foreclosed on the property). As a seller's broker, my role was to secure for the seller the best price and terms.
Your writer chose a negative slant. I told him of a similar site in Bradenton on Interstate 75 that I had listed. It also was entitled for up to 60,000 square feet of office space and was filled, paved and improved, and it has been listed with my firm for $3 million last summer by another bank, based on its appraisal.
I did everything that I am required to do under my fiduciary obligation to the seller and did it in an ethical fashion. It seems to me the St. Petersburg Times owes it to readers to get this part of the story written in a correct fashion.
Bill Eshenbaugh, Tampa
Tampa needs to resolve water bill mess Jan. 26 editorial
High water bills in Tampa
Any water department will tell you that its responsibility ends at the meter. But as much of an issue as these huge water bills are, the guy in charge in Tampa should send someone to each of those homes and with the homeowner make sure no water is running inside or outside. Look at the meter to see if the little triangle is moving. That wouldn't show the homeowner where the problem is, just whether it's before or after the meter. By doing this with the homeowner, it would defuse the issue.
Ernest Lane, Trinity
Scott's action may stall ban on gerrymandering | Jan. 26
Our 'representatives' in Tallahassee
In Wednesday's St. Petersburg Times, two articles caught my interest: Our new governor is trying to delay Amendments 5 and 6 (which were passed by an overwhelming majority of voters), and the Florida House has selected its leader for 2017! The latter is especially amazing as the 2011 session hasn't even started. This just demonstrates how entrenched our "representatives" are and how little they care for the views and opinions of the citizens of Florida. And they want to extend their own term limits so they can stay in control even longer. It's truly time to "throw ALL the bums out" and start over.
Ed Ungar, New Port Richey