Pope's unorthodox move raises many questions | Feb. 18
Papal succession not complicated
I am only a lay Catholic, but I feel compelled to comment on this New York Times article.
There is no orthodox teaching in the church that a pope must die in office. As the article states, resignations have been done before and the church has survived to this day.
I doubt that the hierarchy is in a tizzy. They understand that the office of pope carries with it infallibility when the occupant of that office claims it by speaking "ex cathedra" about faith or morals, and only then. Joseph Ratzinger is not infallible unless he happens to occupy the office of pope. When he resigns, he is no longer pope. I am not confused and I am sure the hierarchy isn't either.
After the resignation, the pope's title will be Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. He will have whatever powers a cardinal has in the church.
Eamon Duffy is wrong in his comments. The papacy cannot be undermined by this resignation. Pope Benedict has not done the unthinkable or the undoable.
Lastly, there will not be two popes alive. Those quoted in the article and others having the same muddled thinking should get it in their heads that there is only one pope.
Alfred Barsocchi, Seminole
A day in the park, with 'spice' | Feb. 17
Good people down on luck
In contrast to Sunday's article about the homeless in Williams Park, I'd like to share my experiences with the homeless that I have come to call my friends.
As a volunteer at the Salvation Army Downtown Cafe, I have met some wonderful, talented, kind, clean and sober men and women. Many have lost jobs and homes and need and want to work again. Some have made poor decisions in life, as I imagine most of us have at one time or another, and need encouragement and a chance to get their lives back. Others are disabled mentally or physically and need love and assistance. All are good people. My homeless friends are careful to tell new people to the cafe to stay away from Williams Park.
If your readers and business people want to help, they should come to the Salvation Army Downtown Cafe and let me introduce them to my friends who are eager to contribute to society. There are carpenters, laborers, housekeepers, restaurant workers, warehouse workers, assemblers, even cartoon artists. They are the good, gracious homeless who just need a chance.
Mary Metzger, St. Petersburg
Seeing red on cameras | Feb. 17
Help enforcing the law
Why would anyone not want red-light cameras?
It is illegal to run a red light. The proof comes from the camera in lieu of an officer. Put the officers where they are most needed, giving out speeding tickets.
The rear-end accidents are from people who tailgate and speed. Ticket these people. Also, controlled intersections should have speed limits under the posted road limit. To approach a busy intersection at 50-55 mph is crazy.
The cameras are not for making money, just as a stop sign or light is not for making money. They are for enforcing the law.
One other thing that is big on my agenda for drivers in Florida: Use the turn signal. Other cities I have lived in cite drivers for not signaling; why not here?
Bob Swinney, Safety Harbor
DEP rejects scenic land for park | Feb. 19
Protect this land
This very week I drove across Horse Creek and marveled at the incredible beauty of this part of wild Florida. For Department of Environmental Protection officials to claim that this area is not of sufficient scenic value to deserve state park status is disingenuous — something else is at play.
Unfortunately, the decision reflects a complete lack of appreciation for Florida's remaining wild lands and the need to put important parcels into public ownership. The Peace River is an important source of water for Florida's growing human population. Safeguarding 5 miles of Horse Creek, the Peace River's major tributary, would be an important step toward conserving Central Florida's water supply, while providing Floridians with an opportunity to enjoy what remains of the state's precious rural lands.
People need to speak up — we need true stewards of the land to represent us and secure the future.
Anne Meylan, St. Petersburg
Fix the voting system
As the Florida Legislature gears up for session, all of our elected officials would do well to remember that it is their responsibility to protect — not limit — our freedom to vote. As president of the League of Women Voters of Hillsborough County, I am encouraged to see that the House and Senate have both declared a commitment to evaluate Florida's elections system and am hopeful that the proper reforms will be made.
The passage of HB 1355 in 2011 severely hindered the elections process, impeding voter registration, creating excessively long lines and creating a scenario in which African-American and Hispanic voters were disproportionately affected by problems with provisional and absentee ballots. This year, the Legislature has a chance to redeem itself and fix our broken elections system. The League of Hillsborough County is working to ensure that the freedom of eligible voters to participate in the democratic process is protected. It's time our elected officials do the same.
Mickey Castor, Tampa
A singer's sad fate | Feb. 19
A callous comment
I was shocked by the callous demeanor of the writer toward the singer Mindy McCready's death. He actually minimizes the fans, friends and family who loved her by saying: "McCready's death is an extra hot topic because we're in a slow news cycle."
Sean Daly deserves some time off to get back in touch with his humanity for others.
Lee DeGeorge, New Port Richey