Letters to the Editor

Faith in government is eroded further

Faith in government is eroded further

When considering the matter of faith in government, Gen. Stanley McChrystal wrote about "the crisis of popular confidence that springs from the weakness of government institutions, the unpunished abuse of power by corrupt officials and power brokers, a widespread sense of political disenfranchisement …"

Was he talking about Afghanistan — or Florida?

If former House Speaker Ray Sansom did not commit any "crimes," it is because the laws are too weak or deliberately vague so the well-connected can take advantage of the existing loopholes. This is the type is governance you get when lobbyists and corporate money control the arm of government that creates laws. This is true both at the state and federal levels.

I used to think the people were the government and could control the general direction of the Legislature. That was long ago. Now I realize that the government is controlled by the profits of business, and so meaningful change is impossible.

The charade of the Sansom affair, the blatant excuse that Sansom "didn't break any laws," the no-harm, no-foul attitude of the Florida Legislature proves that Gen. McChrystal's comments about Afghanistan are also true here at home.

If what he did does not violate any existing laws, then one should be written to ensure these types of enterprises can no longer continue. But that won't happen because that's how the government works these days: officials doing the dirty work for corporate profits.

Bill Brasfield, St. Petersburg

Sansom charge dismissed | Oct. 6, story

The real remedy is in the hands of the voters

I trust that Judge Terry Lewis applied the law correctly in the case of former House Speaker Ray Sansom. But I believe we should all heed and follow his admonishment that "the remedy for such conduct must be political."

When will we learn that our duly elected officials have created a state government that is so corrupt as to give our money to themselves, their cronies or any other special interest group or multinational corporation that comes along? We need to speak up. Our shoreline is at stake, homeowners insurance is out of reach, and double-digit unemployment threatens every community.

Let's send our lawmakers a clear message in this election and every one afterward that we elect them to speak for us. Regardless of their political affiliation, it is clearly time to throw these "bums" out of Tallahassee.

Keith Richardson, St. Petersburg

Obama issues pink slips | Oct. 6, commentary

Back the crackdown

Tim Rutten opens his article with: "This week unemployment among American workers climbed to its highest level in a quarter of a century." Then he goes on to say, "Yet the Obama administration has chosen this moment to deprive more than 1,800 Angelenos, nearly all Latino immigrants, of jobs that not only pay a living wage but provide health insurance and other benefits."

He says that the "firings are taking place because the American Apparel workers were found to be using identity documents that federal immigration authorities have deemed illegitimate."

Rutten failed to say these jobs could and should be given to legal American citizens and that these illegal identity documents many times are stolen from American citizens and cause them great harm in many ways.

Rutten asks: "This is Barack Obama's idea of reform?" I feel it is and support it 100 percent. It is time to stop playing the politically correct game, move back to the real world and give back to the American citizens their country and their government and their employment.

Frank Panella Jr., Valrico

Obama issues pink slips | Oct. 6, commentary

Policy doesn't go far enough

Tim Rutten's op-ed decried the Obama administration's enforcement of labor laws which resulted in the firing of 1,800 illegal aliens employed by American Apparel in Los Angeles.

His article indicated that the fired workers had used "identity documents that federal immigration authorities have deemed illegitimate." Why can't he be honest and state the obvious: These workers apparently used stolen identification and stolen Social Security numbers to obtain a job for which they are not authorized to have.

Further, Rutten praises American Apparel and admits that these are "jobs that not only pay a living wage but provide health insurance and other benefits." I am sure that American Apparel should have no problem finding legal employees who can fill these positions instead of resorting to hiring people who have violated U.S. laws.

He mentions criticism of the current administration's pressure to fire the employees instead of the Bush administration's conducting of raids. At least under Bush's policy, the firings were followed up with the possibility of deportation. Obama's administration is satisfied with allowing these individuals to remain in our country illegally and enjoy the benefits of living in the best country in the world.

God help us if we can't enforce simple rules regarding authorization to work here legally.

Michael Sexton, Clearwater

Lots of volume, very little power | Oct. 5, David Brooks column

Give us a balance

David Brooks notes that "there is lots of volume, very little power" in the followers of the conservative talk show hosts. I am a Republican who agrees with his point, that we lack any kind of solid leadership with a plan to move America forward. I am not so sure he is accurate in his assessment of "illusory power" of the talk jocks. Tea parties, town hall meetings, rapid slides in popularity and support for President Barack Obama, and his programs, suggest someone is listening and then taking some kind of action. We really won't know if the talk jocks have persuaded anyone until we see their impact on the 2010 elections.

In the meantime, we need to lower the rhetoric (from all quarters), listen to the overwhelming majority of Americans who want health care reform, a good plan to conclude the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a modified or revamped stimulus program through tax relief that will bring us all together. We need an earnest process on these important items.

I respect David Brooks' right to speak his mind, and he (and others) need to respect my right to be heard as well. It helps the whole process when papers like the St. Petersburg Times give balanced reporting.

Jim Chapman, Palm Harbor

Lots of volume, very little power | Oct. 5, David Brooks column

Powerful hosts

Finally someone lets the Democrats know that they are fighting an invisible enemy. Now maybe the Democrats will stop attacking Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck. Why attack someone who is insignificant? Also, David Brooks proves that the people who listen to those shows are not "mind-numb robots" doing exactly what the host tells them to do.

But, seriously, has he seen the ratings on the books these people have written? I suppose the fact that Glenn Beck has two books in No. 1 spots on the New York Times bestseller lists is just someone's opinion or not reality.

These talk show hosts that he mentions are powerful, but that is only because they all tell their listeners/viewers to research for themselves and make up their own minds. Get educated. Don't settle for people telling you what is what, and then vote the way you feel is best for your country.

Ronald Melone, Clearwater

Faith in government is eroded further 10/06/09 [Last modified: Monday, October 12, 2009 4:03pm]

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