Red-light cameras opposed | Oct. 28
Poll question shaped responses
Your conclusion on red-light cameras, as represented in your article and poll results, is weak. Posing the question in a negative light as you have done — should cameras be used to issue tickets and fines? — will elicit negative responses. I suspect if you had asked if people favored red-light cameras to reduce life-threatening accidents, the results would have been different.
Considering the biased questioning, and accounting for the 3.4 percent margin of error, your claim of 54 percent (a majority) being opposed to the cameras is not very convincing.
Bob Hopewell, St. Petersburg
Poll: Let Rays look in Tampa | Oct. 29
Take bay ferry to the game
Since the residents of Pinellas County cannot or will not support Major League Baseball, the mayor and City Council of St. Petersburg should consider "selling" the Rays to Tampa with the Channelside location in mind. They need to allow the Rays to buy their way out of the lease in a reasonable manner without adding too much of a financial burden to the team. This could be something along the lines of a $25 million relocation fee payable in 2014-15 and $10 million a year spread over 10 years once the new stadium is built in 2017.
Then send out bids to renovate the pier to allow the larger, Seattle-style ferry boats to access it. Use the pier as a launch point to Channelside for St. Petersburg residents who do not want to drive to the new stadium. Imagine a ferry system leaving every half hour to ride across the bay. Think of the jobs and tax revenue that creates. And it can be used year-round.
Doug Glessner, Largo
Earned or unearned | Oct. 29
Living beyond our means
This letter writer argues for the sanctity of Social Security payments over other government expenditures because "each worker paid into it along with his employer in every pay period."
This argument is weakened if one considers that in virtually each one of these pay periods, we of retirement age today knew that the government we had elected was running at such a deficit that it could not cover current expenses even by "borrowing" most of those retirement funds.
During all of those years, we consciously chose to live higher off the hog than would otherwise have been possible by paying much less in taxes than the government services we demanded actually cost. And all along we benefited handsomely one way or another from the increased opportunities presented by this unpaid-for, artificial stimulation of the economy.
Unwilling to pay directly for our extravagant lifestyle, we drained our own retirement fund. Now we demand that fund be restored in full and paid as priority. Whatever justice there is in this demand should be tempered by consideration of the debts we're leaving to our kids and the benefits we derived by running up those debts.
Robert Silverman, Wimauma
Sink to seek Young's seat | Oct. 30
The Republican accusation that Alex Sink is "carpetbagger" because she does not currently live in U.S. House District 13 has no basis in fact.
According to Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the only eligibility requirements for seeking a House of Representatives position are:
1. The office seeker must be at least 25 years old.
2. The person must be a U.S. citizen for at least seven years.
3. The person must be an inhabitant of the state.
This means that anyone who meets the first two requirements and resides in Florida may run for any congressional seat in the state, regardless of where he or she lives in Florida.
Terrence Gourdine, Clearwater
Top U.S. earners pay a big share | Oct. 30
Productivity gains are lost
The writer cherry-picks a few numbers, but then veers off track to a simplistic and unsupported conclusion.
The issue of inequality is more helpfully set in perspective by John E. Schwarz in his column in the Tampa Bay Times on Monday: "With the average worker's productivity up by 80 percent since the 1970s but pay essentially flat, the broad American middle class can no longer buy what it produces, unless it borrows heavily."
In other words, workers have not shared in the fruits of their increased productivity. Instead, most of the gains in national income have accrued in the coffers of the top 1 percent, whose incomes have increased by nearly 300 percent over the last four decades.
Among the several causes of this unsustainable increase in inequality are government fiscal and economic policies that have enabled the redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to the top 1 percent, while cutting top tax rates to historic lows.
The bottom 50 percent can barely afford life's necessities and have very little discretionary income. So they can neither pay federal income taxes nor any longer sustain our consumer economy. The richest income groups should pay the greatest share of taxes, since they have gained more than the lion's share of income.
Robert White, Valrico
Light rail getting support, poll shows | Oct. 30
System should serve all
I am all for spending money to improve Pinellas County and make this area more civilized when it comes to light rail. I come from a city that was served by an extensive network of public transport and wonder why Tampa Bay is so shortsighted about the benefits of such a system.
What I will not support is some half-hearted attempt to link Clearwater and St. Petersburg and leave the rest to fend for ourselves with an inadequate bus system. So get the powers that be to think comprehensively, or you know how this will turn out in the end.
Rene Torres, Tarpon Springs