Kick 'em right out of the "Taj Mahal" | Sept. 5, Howard Troxler column
Pathetic leadership on display
We can relate to Howard Troxler's outrage at the Legislature's, $48 million "Taj Mahal" courthouse and the manner in which it was "sneaked" into the 2007 state budget.
Who is in charge in Tallahassee? The governor? Senate leadership? House Leadership?
In 2007, who was the budget chief? Ray Sansom, now under indictment for grand theft in connection with other budget issues. Who was the House speaker? Marco Rubio, who says "Hey, don't blame me." Who was the Senate president? Ken Pruitt, who can't say he didn't know because Sen. Victor Crist says Pruitt told him to put the amendment into the transportation bill on the last day of the session. Who was the governor? Charlie Crist. He was asked to veto the bill but didn't.
What about the Transportation Committee? Were they aware that an amendment to build a $48 million courthouse was "sneaked" into their transportation appropriation at the final hour of the session? And did they cast their vote to allow the amendment?
Elected representatives of the people of Florida voted and/or approved the budget containing the "Taj Mahal," but when asked how it got into the budget they say "I don't know."
"I don't know" or "Hey, don't blame me" is not the answer. It is a pathetic response to avoid having to face facts and do something about allowing the "sneaking" of appropriations into the budget and facing the public to account for lack of oversight and cronyism.
Who will provide the leadership to find the answer and close the loophole in the system?
Kudos to Alex Sink for ordering an audit of the "Taj Majal" courthouse and kudos to the Times, Lucy Morgan and Howard Troxler for speaking out on this issue.
Virginia Krysher, Port Richey
Right on target
This was a wonderful column. Howard Troxler is right on the money as usual! Does anyone listen to him? I surely hope so. He hits the target nearly every time! Keep it up, Mr. Troxler!
G. G. Williams, St. Petersburg
Heads Israelis win, tails Palestinians lose Sept. 3, commentary
Authors of their own plight
It takes careful reading to penetrate the argument made by Hussein Agha and Robert Malley. What they are saying is that in Israel, there is a consensus on all sides of the political spectrum, right to left, for a two-state solution, and a real peace between Israel and a new Palestinian neighbor. Among Palestinians, on the other hand, they point out that international pressures to seek a negotiated peace are "against the leadership's instinctive desires and in clear opposition to popular aspirations."
Why? Clearly, it is because for over 60 years the goals of that "leadership" and the "popular aspirations" of their followers have been to confound the decision of the world community in 1947 that there should be a Jewish State and a Palestinian State living side by side in the Middle East — and to drive the Jews into the sea, and claim for themselves all of the land that the U.N. ordered partitioned in 1948.
For over 60 years, that has been the goal that the Palestinian leadership has proclaimed to its people — even when the speeches given to Western audiences pretended otherwise. And so — as Agha and Malley argue — for the Palestinians these negotiations are truly a Catch-22. If they succeed in reaching a peaceful resolution, they put an end to Arab irredentism and the goal they have tried to realize since 1948: the destruction of Israel. And if the negotiations fail, they will be left with the same chaos that they have lived with for over 60 years.
While we can certainly understand the quandary in which the Palestinians now find themselves, we should be equally clear as to why they find themselves there.
Barry Augenbraun, St. Petersburg
What could you buy with $70M? | Aug. 30
Money well spent
The cartoon characters of Rick Scott and Bill McCollum were great, but I wish the comments on all the campaign money spent would have listed the actual businesses that received the $70 million — the jobs it did create, the advertisers it supported, the sign printers it gave work to, etc.
I am not so sure the alternate listed uses for the money would be any improvement over the actual use of the money.
I had to watch the demolition of the Million Dollar Pier and I am certainly in no hurry to see a repeat performance.
Becky Pouliot, Zephyrhills
Don Wright's cartoon | Sept. 7
Don Wright's editorial cartoon in the Tuesday paper could not be more correct and to the point! I cannot understand the thought processes of those voters who would return to power those who put us in this mess in the first place.
They are deluding themselves if they think that the current administration is responsible. The current administration has been stalled on many fronts by the intractability of the significant minority and a nonsensical Senate rule that requires 60 votes to bring a bill to a vote on the floor of the Senate.
Remember the do-nothing effect of the GOP (Great Obstructionist Party) when you vote.
Bill Balmer, Seminole
Ill-advised chase, and an innocent man dies Sept. 8, editorial
Driver deserves the blame
Why does it seem that everyone is blaming the Manatee County deputy? Was he not doing his job? Why is no one blaming the driver of the stolen car? Isn't he the one who was breaking the law? Isn't he the one who caused the chase?
We are taught from a young age that when you see flashing lights you pull over. This young man apparently missed these lessons in life. Why is no one questioning the parents' role in this? Why was he in the position to be out stealing cars on a school night? Is he even registered in school?
Another part people seem to forget is that the deputy ended the chase. The driver kept speeding. The fault of this crash lies only with the driver of the stolen car and his family. Yes, the family is responsible. They raised him and they should have taught him right and wrong.
Yes, it is a shame that a good man (by all accounts) lost his life and his family lost a member and the community lost a good man. But the anger should not be pointed at law enforcement. It should be pointed squarely at the man who killed him.
Tony Miller, Tampa
Screen older drivers | Sept, 4, letter
Lend a hand
Pre-dead? What an awful way to think! I guess I should consider myself "pre-dead" since I am 92.5 years old.
One needs to think rationally when there is an eye condition that requires the need to stop driving. I stopped driving when I was diagnosed with macro degeneration, although I could see clearly enough to keep pedaling. But I am far from being pre-dead.
With no help to get to doctor or dental appointments, I can understand why people still drive. Perhaps the letter writer will think twice about calling an elderly person pre-dead and lend that person a helping hand.
Judith M. Stevens, Clearwater
Crist wants review of railway | Sept. 4, story
Keep it in America
I find it hard to understand how the state Transportation Department can allow a foreign company to be bidding on this billion dollar high-speed rail program.
With our unemployment problems, any contracts should be made to U.S. companies.
Donald Calderwood, New Port Richey