Writing on wall for rower tags | Aug. 5
Character vital for thriving city
Floridians are in love with building developments full of sameness. Look at what's happening right now at the old Carrollwood Bearrs Groves: razed, renamed an artificial-sounding "Retreat at Carrollwood," and packed tight with 19 formulaic monstrosities that feed Florida's love affair with faux. Thriving cities recognize the most important element in creating a livable metropolis: the injection of fun and character. Character is authentic, it's sincere, it's genuine.
Sandblasting away the rowing teams' spunky graffiti wipes away just a little bit more of Tampa's spirited personality, and clears the way for more and more sameness. Let's stop this craziness and start inviting the rowers to pick up the paint and color us mad. No light bulbs needed.
Stacy Kratz, Tampa
Loosen up, Buckhorn
Let's appeal to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's sense of fun. Also his talent for marketing.
Tampa may have the only river in the United States that turns bright emerald green on St. Patrick's Day. So far, so good.
But is there any city in the country — in the world! — that is better known for its perfect environment to host collegiate rowing teams in the early spring?
Marketing is all about establishing an identity. The secret to identity is to emphasize what is unique. Who cares about things that are airbrushed? Let the evidence of the rowers remain. Every tourist to downtown Tampa will notice and remark on it.
Jim Harper, Tampa
A plan more about politics than transit Aug. 5, editorial
Good plan for Hillsborough
I take issue with your editorial regarding the proposed transportation package in Hillsborough County. Transportation planning is more complicated in Hillsborough, requiring a much more multimodal proposal.
The proposal is an intelligent attempt to implement projects that have been studied in the past, with a focus on job-growth areas. Hillsborough still has significant roadway needs. Unincorporated Hillsborough County contains 65 percent of the total population of the county; therefore, a different kind of plan is going to be in order.
The Hillsborough MPO did extensive market research and other methods to understand what the citizens want. Of course, rail is an important goal in our most dense, urbanized areas, but other parts of the community need a more mixed plan with roads, sidewalks and buses. A plan that makes sense in Pinellas might not work in Hillsborough.
This proposal is important because for the first time, elected leaders from all jurisdictions have had a serious discussion of transportation issues and moved forward with a proposal for the community to comment on. This is a proposal for the beginning of a community discussion; it is not a final plan. By working together on transit in Hillsborough County, we can come up with a final plan for transportation that will meet the needs of our diverse community.
Ramond A. Chiaramonte, executive director, Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization, Tampa
Not quite a pure Parisian delight | Aug. 6
Restaurant noise a problem
The restaurant review by Laura Reiley about the new bistro in Tampa was very interesting. Reiley described the restaurant's problems and suggested possible solutions, which were very good.
One serious problem she addressed was the acoustics. These challenges are often met by restaurateurs with a "whaddayagonnado" shrug.
But this is a serious problem that I have experienced in many large rooms and restaurants I have been in. The noise sometimes becomes very distracting and uncomfortably takes away the joys of a nice night out.
I suggest that the noise problem should be addressed by some of our bright young engineers and scientists, who can devise possibly an electronic noise suppressor to bring quiet and make life better for us all to enjoy our dining out.
Joseph Cortellini, Clearwater
Work a hobby for D.C. politicos | Aug. 5, oped
Legislative limbo not so bad
I must take exception to the writer's conclusion that the passing of "only" 108 substantive pieces of legislation by the current Congress is simply atrocious.
Congress has a history of doing not only the wrong thing the majority of the time, but also the opposite of the right thing.
With that history in mind, I suggest that they passed at least 107 pieces of legislation too many.
Bill Barlow, New Port Richey
Session to rework map | Aug. 4
We know how this will end
Anyone with even a modicum of intelligence knows how this issue is going to end.
The Republicans will redraw their flawed districts, as ordered by Leon Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, by the Aug. 15 deadline. But Lewis will decide against holding special elections in those districts affected by the new boundaries, thus depriving the plaintiffs (League of Women Voters, etc.) of a victory for the 2014 elections.
The Republicans will have succeeded in kicking the can down the road by maintaining their illicit boundaries for Districts 5 and 10 until the 2016 voting cycle. So they will have "lost the battle but won the war!"
Bob Lindskog, Palm Harbor
Among Duke Energy Florida's goals, better service is nowhere to be found | July 25
We need more choice
Electricity, water and phones are basic necessities of life. Why, then, aren't these services provided by nonprofit organizations? Why do the firms that provide these services have investors? Duke Energy bought a pig in a poke from "Florida Power." Now, we're the ones paying for it! The Public Service Commission should shut them down. I have $1,297 in Social Security coming in, and my last electric bill was $180: two people in the house, 1,200 square feet. And there's nothing I can do about it!
Margaret Follett, Palm Harbor