Buying the election? | Oct. 10, commentary
Cash is corroding democracy
I am upset about the obscene amounts of money that are being spent to win an election. Most people running for local offices have to gather large amounts of money to even have a chance to win. Members of the House of Representatives never quit running. They are forced to continue collections after one race because the campaign is never really over.
In the presidential election, the candidates have outrageous war chests of hundreds of millions of dollars. As I taxpayer and property owner, I resent this waste of money. Wouldn't it be better spent helping the homeless and fighting hunger? Just think what good that money could do if it was not spent on TV ads, the ads that come in the mail and the personal phone calls.
What if the campaign time was cut down to, say, three or four months? With television, newspapers and the Internet, there is no need for spending so much money running two or even three years before the actual election.
Dianne Madinger, Tampa
Charges expected in I-75 pileup | Oct. 7
Driver education needed
Isn't it time for a campaign to encourage commonsense driving? Pileups like the one that happened last week are almost inexcusable. It seems that so many people have the need to get someplace before someone else does. In addition to the distracted and rude drivers, people don't pay attention to the conditions and circumstances.
On highways with speeds of 50 mph or above, there is almost no reason to use your brakes unless you are following too close. If you leave a safe distance between you and the car ahead, all you have to do is take your foot off the gas pedal. A safe distance allows you to see possible problems ahead and slow down.
Marilyn Schroeder, Clearwater
Mitt Romney states unequivocally that he will not cut defense spending and, in fact, will increase it to 4 percent of GDP. This is an astonishing move from a politician who calls himself a fiscal conservative. A true fiscal conservative would analyze needs and set spending priorities accordingly.
Either Romney is uninformed, or he chooses to ignore that military spending is already out of hand. We have more than adequate military muscle to take out any foreseeable foe.
John Darovec, Bradenton
Civilian Conservation Corps
Renew jobs program
From 1933 to 1942, the Civilian Conservation Corps demonstrated that there was no conflict between preserving the environment and creating jobs. It generated 3.5 million jobs.
There is now a bill in Congress, HR 494, to re-establish the CCC. This job-creation program re-establishes CCC to put to work unemployed and underemployed civilians and military veterans on useful public works projects aimed at safeguarding natural resources and developing new transportation and infrastructure.
Only two Florida members of Congress, Reps. Kathy Castor and Alcee Hastings, have co-sponsored this bill. Contact your member of Congress to get him or her on the ball or vote for a candidate who will co-sponsor HR 494. The bill will be renumbered early in the next session in January.
Jay Alexander, St. Petersburg
Who will stop nuclear plant? | Sept. 16, editorial
The Times opposes the current system for financing new clean nuclear energy. Interestingly, it also opposes every constitutional amendment on the ballot that would reduce taxes.
The common thread in these positions is that we consumers would pay more under the Times' views. It's easy to rail against any costs for power plants when the target is a utility. But the Times has no problem defending government and the higher taxes that facilitate its bloat.
We need clean, emission-free nuclear energy as much as we need government services. The air breathed by our children is worth the cost. The current system for financing nuclear energy allows the costs to be paid as they are incurred so we don't have to pay unnecessary interest on debt.
Jerry Paul, Venice
Tampa Tribune sells for $9.5M | Oct. 9
Garage sale price
What does it say about the importance of journalism and factual information in our society when a newspaper with a storied history dating back to 1895 is jettisoned by one corporate owner to improve its balance sheet and then snapped up by another looking to turn a quick buck?
Since our country's founding, newspapers have acted as watchdogs on government and others in our society. But it seems that in these days of "the facts don't matter" and of severe apathy and indifference as to what is happening in Tallahassee and Washington, this garage sale of the Tribune is a statement that, at least in the "free market," newspapers have no value.
When the newspapers disappear, you'll see what kind of a rotten, corrupt world we end up with.
Gary Gibbons, Tampa
State seeks new plate | Oct. 9
We're tapped out
Our state wants to collect and spend $31 million more of the taxpayers' money to change our state license plates so they can collect more money from the taxpayers from tolls and red-light cameras. And this is being done to stop the taxpayers from "losing" $7 million a year.
When are you guys going to get the message: We don't have any more money to give you.
Chet Meisner, Lutz
Participation problem | Oct. 11, letter
The high voter turnout in Venezuela is due to the country holding its election on the weekend. Many countries around the world hold their elections on weekends, and similarly have higher turnouts than the United States.
Chris Landrum, Brandon