Snarky posts are by official | Nov. 17
In reality, posts not palatable
I see why Commissioner Norm Roche hides behind fake names online. His bigotry against gays, his dislike for St. Petersburg and his inhumane views on crime probably would have cost him his seat on the Pinellas County Commission had voters known of his Reality views.
Edward Hotchkiss, St. Petersburg
At least Roche tells truth
Norm Roche is a commissioner for the people. He is not a politician but a fellow American. He is not like U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, who cuts down the tea party people, yet says the Occupy Wall Street people are poor, abused Americans who just want their fair share. Really! Commissioner Roche tells the truth, even if it is on a special website.
Attilio Corbo, Palm Harbor
A fine line between White and Norman Nov. 11, Sue Carlton column
Norman and Salvation Army
Thank you, Sue Carlton, for bringing us back to the present. We are no longer interested in the $500,000 payoff to then-Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman by Ralph Hughes because the investigators said "no wrong done." However, we are interested in exactly what Norman, now a state senator, did for the Salvation Army to earn $90,000 a year while he was being paid $85,000 per year by the citizens of Hillsborough County to render unbiased regulatory judgments concerning real estate issues and related zoning issues, including charity campaigns (bell ringers).
The Salvation Army owns approximately $30 million worth of real estate in Hillsborough and Pinellas, conducts massive charity campaigns, and accepts favorable county assignments such as collecting county parole money and providing paid counseling services for law-breakers, just to name a few. Norman may have exposed us and himself to serious conflict-of-interest issues. Did this little discussion end with the Salvation Army's sudden firing of Norman due to unwanted press, or should it be reopened?
Byron Dean, Brandon
Vouchers for veterans an exercise in ideology | Nov. 15, Paul Krugman column
Privatization not answer
I am extremely grateful for the government-provided health care I receive as a result of my military service. I was, however, quite shocked to see the substantial increase in my prescription charges this past month. My family would have suffered catastrophic financial losses were it not for the TRICARE supplemental insurance we are privileged to have. I am concerned with the announcement on Veterans Day that Mitt Romney plans to partially privatize the Veterans Health Administration. The VHA has achieved a remarkable combination of rising quality and successful cost control. Romney believes that giving veterans vouchers to spend on private insurance would somehow yield better results. I am not an expert, but I respectfully disagree. There is lots of evidence about how private-sector competition in health care works, and it is not favorable.
Retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Victor F. Bartholomew, Tarpon Springs
Husband: Giffords 'brave, tough' | Nov. 15
We should all get such care
I wish U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and her husband, Mark Kelly, all the best and would like to see her fully restored and wish no ill will against anyone in government. However, I noticed that the media coverage of her recovery has overtly overshadowed something very wrong with our health care system. Both Giffords and Kelly, a NASA astronaut, have government insurance paid for by the American people. The level of care that Gabby has and is receiving should be available to ALL American citizens, not to just those whom we, the American people, employ.
In early industrial America, employee unions formed to fight for better health care, better wages, profit sharing, etc., against their czarist employers. It's time for my fellow employers to unionize against our czarist Congress.
I don't begrudge Giffords getting the health care she is receiving, but I find it utterly disgusting that the normal American citizen/employer can't get it without being wiped out and being left on subsistence income with no chance of climbing out of the hole they got pushed into.
Maybe if Congress was forced to either put its employers into its health care plan or have its health care plan switched to ours … that might do the trick.
BuBu Spidecjy, Hudson
Regional transit is key to growth Nov. 5, editorial
TBARTA looks to future
Over the past few weeks there has been much commentary on the state of transportation affairs in the Tampa Bay community. Many have pointed out the disjointed nature of our system and planning and are calling for leadership to emerge. The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority continues to accept that challenge.
While quietly pushing ahead, TBARTA continues to make progress through various activities. The Pinellas County Alternatives Analysis study, which is an integral piece to the regional plan, is almost complete. It will provide a workable and cost-effective framework for Pinellas County transportation needs for the next generation. Additionally, connectivity remains a focus through opportunities to utilize managed lanes, which will improve capacity through the use of tolled and HOV shoulder lanes and assisting connectivity for regional freight transports, which reduces the number of trucks on our roads and bridges.
During these challenging economic times we must continue to move forward by planning for the future. We must not shy away from the difficult conversations that will arise when disagreements occur. Instead, we must have the courage to take control of our transportation future and get things done. My commitment to the community as the chair of TBARTA is to lead, to assimilate ideas, be the research and policy clearinghouse, and to develop and implement transportation initiatives. TBARTA is accepting the challenge and daring to be bold for our future.
Ronnie Duncan, chairman, Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority