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Florida's House speaker deserves to be ousted

Deceit further shreds Sansom's credibility | Dec. 24, editorial

House speaker should be ousted

House Speaker Ray Sansom is a Florida disgrace. At a time when the Legislature is working to burden local and county government with further unfunded mandates, evidence surfaces that the speaker cooked up a $122.5-million spending spree for his hometown community college.

Then we hear that on the very day Sansom takes the speaker's gavel, he's shoehorned into a six-figure-a-year job at the same college that benefits from his largesse.

Florida voters statewide are seeing locally provided services like libraries, streets and sewers, public safety and education being gutted thanks to the self-serving crowd in the Legislature. Florida voters aren't happy that we tighten our belts locally while the fiscal burlesque show in Tallahassee goes on without end.

Ray Sansom's antics are an outrage and he should step down as speaker and resign his seat in the Legislature. Let's see how long his new job with the college lasts when the big checkbook in Tallahassee slams shut.

I am a lifelong Republican. It gives me no pleasure to say that if Republican members of the Legislature aren't outraged, then they are as politically tone deaf as the speaker.

If Sansom won't go immediately, the Republican members of the house should replace him. If they don't, Republican voters like me will cross the aisle and join our Democrat friends to replace them.

Tim Shepherd, Palm Harbor

A job for voters

If the Legislature's ethical compass refuses to point the way to the exit for Speaker Ray Sansom, there's always the ultimate ethical guide: the voting booth.

Apparently that's the only choice Florida voters have, since the Legislature won't clean its own house.

Of course that depends upon Florida voters moving off the sidelines and doing their civic duty. Don't hold your breath.

Mike MacDonald, Clearwater

House Speaker Ray Sansom

Crist should call for

an investigation

Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio recently stated that perception is an issue politicians should worry about: "In politics, the standard has to be higher than something being legal."

Transparency, accountability, and most importantly, real leadership in the allegations against House Speaker Ray Sansom starts with Gov. Charlie Crist. In the matter of public interest, why hasn't the governor directed a formal investigation into the reported claims of wrongdoings against the Florida House speaker, the president of Northwest Florida State College, and the governor's appointed Board of Trustees and the $6-million appropriation to a real estate developer's initiative?

The recent St. Petersburg Times editorial, Deceit further shreds Sansom's credibility, and other news media have presented compelling arguments, but only Gov. Crist can maintain or restore public trust by directing a formal investigation into these recurring allegations.

So the question is: What is Gov. Crist waiting for?

Michael J. Barnes, Fort Walton Beach

Costly care | Dec. 21, Perspective

Make reform a priority

It's no surprise that people prefer to age with dignity and independence in their homes for as long as possible.

Studies show — as reporter Steve Nohlgren and the research wizards at the University of South Florida point out — that home-based public fee-for-service programs not only help people stay at home where they are most comfortable, but they also are much cheaper than private managed-care programs.

Why then is Florida's Legislature continuing to pump money into private managed-care programs but neglecting to adequately fund public fee-for-service programs that can help more vulnerable Floridians for less money?

This is an especially important issue for Florida, which is home to a greater percentage of residents age 65 or older than any other state.

Nohlgren and the Times deserve our thanks for having the courage not only to examine the issues carefully but also to propose needed reforms. We need to ensure that we are getting the maximum bang for our bucks. That means the Florida Legislature should make long-term care reform a priority in 2009.

Michelle Cyr, St. Petersburg

Banks' hands out, lips sealed Dec. 24, editorial

Expanding bailout

Thanks for the comments on banks' silence about use of bailout funds. In fairness to the banks, all are reputable firms. They will probably realize that the public is not likely to assent to further bailouts unless the banks are more forthcoming.

A related item (Page 6B) is much more upsetting. It states that American Express, which is basically a credit card company, got preliminary approval to receive $3.39-billion from the Treasury.

At no time during debates on bailouts was there any indication that credit card companies would be involved. Why is this being allowed? How does it even begin to benefit the public, and what are our lawmakers doing to prevent this?

Robert Anderson, Largo

Time to buy American | Dec. 24, letter

Quality concerns

The letter writer suggests that we all start to buy American-made cars to help bail out Ford, GM and Chrysler.

My response is that when they make a product worth investing my hard-earned money in, then I might revert to purchasing their vehicles again.

I bought a brand new Reliant K wagon that should have been named the "Unreliant K" due to the constant breakdowns and problems with the car. Our Dodge Caravan transmission basically ate itself at 65,000 miles, costing more than $2,500 to repair. My husband's 2007 Chevy Silverado truck had the rear taillights falling out while he was driving down the road within two months.

On the other hand, we had a Mazda that we sold with more than 180,000 miles on it. The last we had heard, it was still going strong at 240,000 miles and still hadn't been in the shop. My 2003 Toyota Corolla has almost 90,000 miles on it, just getting new brakes.

I just purchased a new car this fall, a 2009 Toyota Corolla LE. I did my research and for the value and reliability of the car compared to any of the American models in the same price range, I would be crazy to invest my hard-earned paycheck in today's economy in an American-made vehicle.

Joni Chew, Largo

Time to buy American | Dec. 24, letter

Let's stand together

Finally, a letter writer hit on the real problem: We have stopped buying American.

My New Year's resolution is to buy only American where possible, not to take calls from any outsourced call center, and to let the companies I do business with know that I will no longer do business as long as they have outsourced jobs.

If we, the citizens of this nation, don't take our country back by our actions and deeds, no government will be able to help us recover our standing in the world. We must stand as one and demand corporations based in America, hire Americans, pay their fair share of taxes, and pay workers for their productivity. Wake up, folks, and understand the real issue. And it sure isn't unions, it's corporations run amok.

Kay Kelly, Clearwater

Be wary of cell towers at schools Dec. 18, letter

Belief alters research

The letter writer suggested we Google "cell tower safety." I'd respond that on any subject, if you Google it, you will find evidence to support your already held views. If you believe cell phone towers are harmful, that is what you will find and read.

As a skeptic on numerous health scares, I took the advice and did a search. My search returned a result for the American Cancer Society page on this issue. Their well-documented conclusion is that there is no evidence that the towers are unsafe.

Tony Semik, Tampa

Pat Oliphant cartoon | Dec. 25

Inappropriate image

On the most beautiful, love-filled day of the year the St. Petersburg Times chose to run Pat Oliphant's hate-filled cartoon.

Is it your intention to inject this rot on the one day we should experience love and peace? Shame!

Cecelia LeClair, St. Petersburg

A brother's bond | Dec. 25, story

An uplifting story

What a well-written article and exactly what the meaning of Christmas should be all about. Anthony has a love for his twin brother Ryan that is not seen in many people in this world of ours.

This was a totally uplifting story. Glad to see it on the front page Christmas morning.

Patricia and Austin Sterling, St. Petersburg

Florida's House speaker deserves to be ousted 12/27/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 2:30pm]
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