10 years of war | Oct. 3
Proud to serve; time to end wars
Many thanks to the Times for publishing Sunday's Perspective article. It reconfirmed my belief that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have, in fact, contributed to our nation's economic troubles.
I served in Iraq in 2004 for seven months when my Reserve unit was called up. I am proud of my service, but now it's time to immediately end both wars and bring our young men and women home.
We cannot, as a country, sustain these military operations any longer without raising taxes. The rich have been getting tax breaks for the past 10 years and have not been asked to sacrifice anything for their country. Taxes should be raised on the wealthy to fund veterans' programs — whether they be medical or educational — as well as to fund jobs programs for infrastructure, health care and education for the general American population. The free ride for the wealthy "job creators" is over.
John Vitali, Largo
Health care reforms are working Oct. 3, editorial
Help for students
As a student, I can tell you that the Affordable Care Act has a direct impact on 1.2 million people under age 26 like me by providing access to adequate health care coverage.
Although I have been lucky enough not to have a serious health concern, accident or trip to the emergency room, a major health concern would set me back financially through lost time at work and school and with medical bills.
By expanding access to preventive care and emergency care coverage, students like myself can take the necessary measures to get better and stay on track for success. Since young adults are struggling in the economy with lower salaries and a tough job market, this access allows us the chance to build a successful career without worrying about being one step away from a major financial setback.
We need to keep this law and not lose the benefits we have already gained.
Shannon Love, St. Petersburg
Missed populist moment Oct. 4, commentary
Cain the job creator
I have grown weary of the attempts to besmirch Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. Ross Douthat's column described him as a "pizza mogul." This term, although not inaccurate, is commonly used to denigrate Cain. Why not refer to Cain as an entrepreneur or successful businessman or, perhaps, "former Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank chairman"?
Then again, I would prefer to have a "pizza mogul" in the White House in lieu of a "community organizer." At least Cain has actually created jobs and not just talked about it.
James M. Sharp, Alachua
Cain stops by to sell some books | Oct. 6
Keeping voters informed
Many thanks to the Times for the in-depth coverage of presidential candidate Herman Cain's book signing in Florida. It is important for the voters to be engaged and well-informed about the issues and candidates. I was pleased to see Cain come out to greet the voters and to release a book laying out his plans for 2012.
Tom Chastain, Tampa
St. Petersburg raises hourly parking rates Oct. 1
A tax by another name
This is another example of the Republican "tax cut" scams. They know how easy it is to fool some by yelping "tax cut" over and over but then taking money out of the same taxpayers' pockets in other ways — usually by increasing fees or rates.
Here the city is increasing its parking rates. As the article states, "The parking rate increase is necessary in part because Mayor Bill Foster and the City Council approved another year of decreases in property taxes."
Of course, it makes no difference if money taken out of your pocket is called a tax or a fee or a rate. But as long as the Republican politicians know they can fool their followers with "tax cut" lines, they will continue this scam.
Dan Favero, St. Petersburg
The young gun | Oct. 1, photo
Florida's true heroes
As a 14-year subscriber to the Times, I was disappointed to see a large photo of a baseball pitcher on the front page of the Saturday edition rather than in the Sports section where it belonged. Sports news was also featured in the "In the Know" section on the edge of the page.
One of our officers had been shot and another young Florida soldier killed overseas, but they rated only a small slice of the front page. They are my heroes, not sports players.
Pete Sutton, Dunedin
Health debate pits liberty versus costs Oct. 5, commentary
I suggest that the writers' comparison of mandated health insurance to automobile or home fire insurance is flawed. If people do not choose to have these coverages, they can avoid owning a home or an automobile. If they do not want to pay Social Security tax, they need not work. However, the only way to avoid the mandated health insurance is suicide.
A more important issue, however, is that in today's medical environment, the possession of medical insurance does not guarantee access to medical care by one's physician of record. To verify this, one needs only to call a physician's office and listen to the recording, "If this is an emergency or if you need immediate care, please call 911 or go to an emergency room."
A.H. Felman, M.D., Tampa
TIA chief Lopano turns down a raise | Oct. 6
What a class act. Finally, someone takes a position that puts the work force and health of the business before personal compensation. It's nice to be impressed with upper management in this day and age.
By taking this position on a pay raise, Joe Lopano has gained respect from his staff, which will work even harder under his guidance to make TIA the destination point it has the potential to be. Keep up the good work.
Ann Locke, Clearwater