Special session on drilling ban
Legislature sides with Big Oil
The polluting sludge of the gulf oil spill has not only reached the beaches of the Panhandle, it has also gotten as far as Tallahassee. The Republicans who control the Florida Legislature are dripping with oil.
Republican hubris in denying the people of Florida a vote on banning offshore drilling is born of their arrogant control of Tallahassee. Attempting to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to torpedo the effort to curtail the gerrymandering of legislative districts was fine with the GOP. Clearly maintaining their stranglehold on power is paramount. Placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot to prohibit offshore drilling, and thus protect Florida, is "unnecessary!" After all, the GOP points out, there is already a law against offshore drilling — a law that incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon unsuccessfully tried to eradicate barely one year ago!
The simple truth is that Floridians should have the opportunity to vote a ban into the state Constitution — a ban that Cannon and his cronies cannot vote out of existence with a mere majority, a majority virtually guaranteed to the GOP via the gerrymandering they love so much. Florida's Republican Party has shown how corrupt it is in so many ways.
Now while the delicate environment of Florida's coast hangs in the balance, Florida's GOP is more than content to sit in the back pocket of Big Oil.
As the axiom goes, power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Isn't it time that the citizens of Florida stopped the GOP beast?
Robin George Yates, Hudson
Let's keep our options open
Let the people vote on offshore drilling? I question the wisdom of that.
First, as I am sure the Times' editorial board knows, the people can be easily stampeded into voting for someone or something that turns out to be less than expected, or has unintended consequences. All it takes is a slick ad campaign and a front man with soaring oratory and a glib tongue. Having the media on your side is a big plus, and one need look no further than the current occupant of the White House for proof.
Second, the price of gasoline is stable at the moment, but would there be such a clamor to ban offshore drilling if gas prices were headed north of $5 a gallon and there was an increase in our dependence on nations that are less than friendly to us (Venezuela, Saudi Arabia)?
Better to keep our options open than to put idealism ahead of reality and do something foolish, something that would be detrimental to the financial health of both individuals and the nation.
Kenneth R. Gilder, St. Petersburg
Petty politics trumps duty | July 21, editorial
Crist is the opportunist
According to your editorial, the state Legislature placed petty politics above the purported public interest in declining to vote on a constitutional amendment on offshore drilling. As a factual matter such a ban is already a matter of current state law.
Additionally, as I recall, it was Gov. Charlie Crist who placed opportunistic politics at the forefront when he called the special session on the topic.
Charles G. Beauchamp, St. Petersburg
Let's see … a couple of years ago this "conservative" Legislature was banging the drum about the needed to amend the Constitution to prevent future legislatures from changing the laws which already defined marriage and denied marriages other than between a man and a woman.
Now they are playing political games by saying that it's not necessary to allow us to vote to prohibit drilling in state waters as it's already illegal by law, and not to worry, they won't change the laws. Weren't more than a few of them at the Republican convention shouting "Drill, baby, drill"?
Throw the bums out! This is not Democrat, Republican, tea party or independent. It's what the people want and will get!
House Speaker Larry Cretul and Senate President Jeff Atwater and their minions need to be tossed. What a slap in the face, but kudos to Tampa's Rep. Kevin Ambler, who voted to do the right thing.
Bob Tankel, Dunedin
Not for the people
I don't think it is right to say that the reason the Republican legislators wouldn't allow a vote on an oil drilling amendment is that they only listen to Big Oil. They listen just as much to the power companies and the developers. In other words, they always vote for the big guys against the people.
Roger W. Gambert, Palm Harbor
An angry voter
As an independent voter, I am outraged at the inaction of the Legislature at the recent special session called by Gov. Charlie Crist. Instead of taking the opportunity to discuss and debate the oil drilling issue in a responsible manner, the Republicans have held the whole state hostage.
I have been waiting to cast my votes by absentee ballot until the outcome of this special session. I can't wait until November, at which time I will be sending my message to every Republican on the ballot!
David Cox, Clearwater
Time for a change
It has become fashionable these days to rail against the "out of control" politicians in Washington who are trying to dig us out of various disasters and meltdowns. Many activists have even taken to waving signs and jumping up and down.
But is anyone looking a little closer to home, in Tallahassee? The craziness up there is almost mind-boggling. In the first place, the politically tilted House and Senate have pursued a clearly right-wing agenda over the past few years, from attacking the school system to putting more handguns on the street to diminishing people's most personal freedoms and privacy.
And now they have spit in the voters' faces by denying us a chance to vote on a ban on offshore drilling. Have they not been watching what is going on just a few hundred miles from here? The GOP politicians claim that current statutes protect us from drilling, but these are the very laws that they have been trying to weaken and overturn.
The Republicans have maintained a stranglehold on power in this state for so long that they have grown arrogant. It looks to me like many of them are asking for your vote again this November. This will be the voters' only chance to be heard.
Scott Cochran, Tampa
Does this portend an end for books? July 21, story
A little old fashioned
So Amazon is selling more e-books than hard covers, and this means books are dead? What happens when you don't have a fresh battery and/or you forgot to plug in your charger? Answer: You have a flat paperweight, while I just turn the paper page!
By the way, I have this gadget with a twisty cord on my wall, with which I can communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world, and (holy cow) it doesn't have any apps!
Sometimes it's good to hang on to the past.
Bernard Finlay, Trinity