Don't let developer gut Hillsborough land-use planning | May 13, editorial
Challenging a flawed plan
From the start, the Keystone Community Plan has been anything but a rational planning document for guiding the future growth and development of this beautiful part of Hillsborough County. Any attempt to establish homogenous rules for an area with such disparate development forms as Keystone was always going to be folly. But rationality was never the motivation.
The removal of blinders easily reveals the financial and political motivations that underscore the entire "planning" effort. Enacting development standards for newcomers that many of the plan's biggest proponents do not come close to complying with is elitism at its worst. That governmental agencies were complicit in these planning efforts should be the real story here.
Since when is embracing congestion on a major roadway an example of legitimate urban planning? How is it reasonable to deny a property owner the ability to connect to adjacent public utilities at his own expense? How can select properties restricted to development forms at one-tenth the density and intensity of adjoining parcels be considered a valid planning tenet, when the overall county plan calls for gradual transitions in density and intensity?
The familiar complaint about the timing of Stephen Dibbs' land purchase is a red herring. If existing rules lack any basis in sound planning, it is incumbent on a property owner to seek change. His efforts to do so through normal regulatory channels were never given an objective analysis. Hence, legal redress is his next option, and his current lawsuit has revealed the vastly flawed data and analysis upon which the Keystone Plan is based.
As a planner who represented the Carrollwood neighborhood in its recent battle with a proposed Walmart grocery and Wawa convenience store, I can hardly be branded as blindly pro-development. But when flawed public policy or the erroneous interpretation thereof becomes the basis for either the approval or denial of development options, I am not hesitant to enter the fray.
Steve Allison, Temple Terrace
Abortion doctor guilty in murder of 3 babies May 14
Shining a light on abortion
The murder conviction of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist who exacted his atrocities upon the unborn and the born alike, should raise the curtain of obscurity on these slaughter mills of America.
Cloaked under the clever and seemingly benign phrase of "women's rights," this industry has hoodwinked our civil society into believing that a mass of tissue removed from the host mother was merely an inconvenient intruder in her womb. Those of us unscathed by the scalpel, the suction tubes and the scissored spinal cord, who attained life, should ensure that every fetus deserves the same.
Possibly the gruesome atrocities perpetrated by this "doctor" will enlighten us all about the horrors and evil of abortion.
Gene Seabolt, Palm Harbor
IRS management blamed | May 15
Follow the law, or else
What's the big deal about the IRS making sure that politically oriented organizations do not get tax-exempt status? The law is that any group whose main mission is to get certain people elected does not deserve a tax exemption. Is there anyone out there who doesn't believe that the tea party's major objective was to get conservatives elected to Congress? The only mistake the IRS made was to not also target liberal groups.
I wish the IRS was more selective about granting tax exemptions. There are many cases here in Florida where they were given without proper investigation.
Roger Gambert, Palm Harbor
'Social welfare' dodge
The attention that the IRS focused on tea party groups was well deserved. The tax exemption they claim is for groups specifically dedicated to "social welfare." It has long been obvious that tea party organizations using this exemption have as their only function the promotion of a political agenda and support of political candidates. To use the claim of "social welfare" is absolute fraud, and IRS should revoke their exemption.
Lewis Lederer, Clearwater
For mom, a perfect boy | May 12
What a wonderful, life-giving mother is Karen Heaton, who displays never-ending love for her son. Most of us can't compare to her as moms and what we've done for our families. Yet we know how much love a mom's heart can hold, and I salute her with admiration and recognition.
Alice Mueller, Weeki Wachee
It's a dog's world | May 13, commentary
Keep them at home
This was a great article. This is the reason I quit going to the Saturday market downtown.
There are dogs on leashes everywhere, walking up and sticking their nose in your crotch and wrapping leashes around your legs.
All dog owners think their dog is the cutest, smartest dog of them all and that everyone should be thankful to bask in all their dog's awesomeness.
Leave him at home.
Steve Walsingham, St. Petersburg
It's a deal | May 14
The smiling villains
Brilliant! Your newspaper has found an excellent way to show the voting public who the smiling villains are in Florida politics. A picture of those responsible for voting down responsible measures to reduce health care costs, plus a graphic comparison of why they do not care, should be enough for the masses to see clearly how to vote during the next elections.
Glen Coleman, Tampa
They get it; we don't
The message from the Florida House of Representatives is loud and clear: We deserve it, they don't. We work hard, they don't. We (who can afford to pay full price) get cheap, subsidized health insurance instead. Those poor working stiffs who can't afford any insurance get no Medicaid expansion.
But, hey, legislating is a much harder job than being a nurse or a roofer or an auto mechanic. Legislators need their insurance — with all the backslapping, handshaking, cesspool wading, and all of that filthy money they have to collect and count, you'd better have a Cadillac insurance plan.
Gary Gibbons, Tampa