Charter school's death spiral | May 9, story and Business interests, education collide | May 12, editorial
Imagine Schools have many successes
The St. Petersburg Times' redundant article and editorial this week on Imagine Schools unfairly characterizes an organization with a positive history educating thousands of Florida students.
The unbalanced reporting greatly overstated the challenges at Imagine St. Petersburg as well as diminished its positive progress both in finances and academics. Corrective action will eliminate the debt over the next three years. SAT-10 test results in 2008-2009 showed that students attained the one year of learning gains expected between September and April, and 53 percent of Imagine St. Petersburg students attained more than one year of gains. This accomplishment should not be ignored.
Parents see these academic and character successes, which is why more than 18,000 parents have chosen Imagine schools in Florida, and that number will exceed 21,000 next year. Let's take a look at the record of other Imagine schools. Imagine schools such as the one in Weston has continually earned an "A" rating from the state. This school and others such as Imagine North Port, which has a 94 percent parent recommendation rating, opened full, and high demand brought expansions. Imagine South Lake is adding 20 more classrooms. Imagine Land O'Lakes, which opened in 2008, is expecting 98 percent re-enrollment and has a waiting list with more than 600 students.
As the former superintendent of a large Florida school district, I had schools that did well and schools that had problems, but we never gave up on the students. I'm certain that the Pinellas County School District finds itself in this same position and, like Imagine Schools, will do everything possible to make sure that students in all its schools reach their full potential.
I invite the media to join us as we work to this end and fairly report on our progress across the entire state.
Alan Olkes, executive vice president, Imagine Schools, Miami
Greco may be cure for partisan politics May 12, Sue Carlton column
Dick Greco is a man of charisma and vision
Sue Carlton's column on Tampa Mayor Emeritus, a.k.a. Dick Greco, is right on.
During Greco's tenure as mayor, the city prospered. New businesses were developed, the city moved forward. He had a vision and he saw it through. He was everywhere, attending event after event. And, yes, he hugged everyone and he was revered.
That's what's missing today, the charisma, the vision, the presence. Mayor Pam Iorio does her best, but while filling potholes, building new parks, and caring for the downtrodden are all worthwhile, we need a new vision, a new direction to again become what we once were. And a Greco-run city may not be such a bad idea. Seventy-six years old is the new 46, and if one is ever around Dick Greco one feels he is ageless, he hasn't loss any of his drive, his zest, and certainly not his vision.
Greco is, as Carlton points out, a "nonpartisan" hugger; heck I didn't vote for Barack Obama but I might hug him. We all want our president to succeed, so if he calls me, I might be available.
Thanks, Sue, your column hit the mark!
John Osterweil, Tampa
Republicans pick Tampa
The Republican National Convention? You mean, the people who got together roughly two years ago to chant "Drill, baby, drill" for hours on end? They have a lot of nerve showing their faces around here.
James Michael Shaw Jr., Tampa
To ease your mind | May 12, letter
Focused on real change
The letter writer suggests that those who watch Fox News and listen to talk radio are short-tempered with their wife and children, hating their job and "thinking the whole world sucks."
He must be listening to too many one-sided views from the likes of CBS, ABC, CBS, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, Rachael Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz, and Joy Behar, along with the angry and mean-spirited comments made by the president.
All the folks that I know who listen to talk radio and watch Fox News are well-informed, well-educated, God-loving, positive-minded citizens. Liberals vilify Fox News and talk radio because it angers them not to control the media anymore.
Yes, there is anger out here that the administration has turned a deaf ear to middle Americans, but we are not taking it out on "wives and children." We are focused on making real change at the ballot box, by backing candidates who will put America back to work in the private sector (not more government jobs), make federal government smaller and not bigger, will respect state's rights, put an end to government waste, uphold and support the Constitution, enforce the existing border laws, and stand up to special interests. Maybe that is the real fear of the writer.
S.L. Hutton, Belleair
Illegals in Arizona
So, President Barack Obama and Congress continue to take no action regarding the situation in Arizona, and thousands of Americans are protesting that state's action of trying to do something to protect its citizens.
The Constitution of the United States of America, Article IV, Section 4 reads:
"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence."
Not only Arizona, but all the states of this union that border Mexico have been, and are still being invaded by foreigners, and domestic violence in these states is occurring as a result.
So would someone please tell me why this constitutional guarantee that the federal government will protect each of them against invasion and against domestic violence is not being carried out?
Why are our representatives in Congress not insisting that the federal government stand by its guarantee to the states of this union?
How much longer will those in power in Washington continue to ignore the Constitution when they have all sworn to uphold it?
Perhaps they need reminding of this by their constituents. And perhaps these constituents need to read the Constitution and compare it with what the federal government is doing. After all, this is supposed to be a government by the people.
Sandra Tracey, Tarpon Springs
Doing what's right
Hats off to Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona. Finally, thank God, someone has the guts to come out and do the right thing. She is no wimp.
We need more governors like her in this wonderful country of ours.
Russell Montminy, Spring Hill
More nonstops, but at what cost? | May 8, editorial
The last sentence says it all: "It is not fair to siphon away public funds meant for general aviation to serve the convenience of niche travelers."
How is this any different than Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature passing tax exemptions for corporations for all the money they contribute to private and parochial schools when this is public money that should go into our tax base and provide benefits for all Floridians?
Margaret Hyde, Clearwater
Antigay witness costly | May 12, story
Let's see, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum doesn't think that a good, decent gay person should be able to adopt in the state of Florida. He hires a supposed "expert" for more than $100,000 to testify that gay people are bad. The expert bases testimony, to a large extent, on his personal religious biases. That is what the judge in the case stated.
Said expert then uses some of these "pieces of silver" to rent a male prostitute from a place called "rentboy.com" and runs off to Europe.
Now, isn't Bill McCollum in charge of the Republican legal attack on the new health care law? Gee, I can hardly wait to see who he gets to testify against that!
Peter S. Cohoon, Tampa