The path to law, order and safety | Feb. 27, Bill Maxwell column
Reducing crime by setting high standards
Thank you, Bill Maxwell, for promoting the "broken window" zero tolerance formula of crime prevention and enforcement as the solution for establishing a standard of order in Midtown. These citizens deserve a better life, and only by raising the bar of public safety will they ever be able to rebuild their community.
While crime is down in the city, it's like trimming overhanging crust on a rotten pie. Everything looks neater and you have a smaller pie, but it still continues its decay.
We've got to follow a new, proven recipe and change our thinking to ever reach children like Nicholas Lindsey long before they choose to commit violent crimes. There are hundreds of children just like him in Midtown who have missed large amounts of school (or already dropped out), romance the gangster lifestyle, and are hanging out on the street exposed to the easy purchases of drugs, guns and other life-crippling vices. We should all be concerned.
Broken window and zero tolerance strategies are not designed to lock up mass amounts of people for misdemeanors. They are about focusing our resources on addressing disorder (noise, parking, littering, truancy, loitering, petty theft, etc.) and related ordinance violations and misdemeanors as they occur, with strong conversation and citations. The purpose is to reduce violent crime by setting a high standard of general order.
Scott Swift, St. Petersburg
Regime change? Sure
President Barack Obama is calling for the leader of Libya to step aside, while pundits on CNN call for a surgical bomb or missile strike designed to assassinate him. It appears the left wing has come to the conclusion that it is okay for the United States to bring about regime change in foreign countries, something it abhorred when President George W. Bush was in office.
Since that's the case, can we please get someone to call for the ouster of Robert Mugabe, the racist president of Zimbabwe, who is doing his best to eradicate all whites from his country?
Rob Hoskins, Safety Harbor
Senator Got $152K to write one book | March 1
Are there more 'authors'?
Thanks for the Associated Press article describing the fascinating, huge $152,000 payment Senate President Mike Haridopolos got for writing a book that few have seen.
The story leaves some questions unanswered. Exactly who at Brevard Community College authorized this payment? What budget item contained it? Were other similar payments made (or proposed), and if so, to whom, for what?
When drastic cuts are being made in education at all levels, it is more than outrageous that these rotten plums are being distributed.
James Townsend, St. Petersburg
Wish I were there
As I sit here, warming up after just having run through snow, ice and the inevitable slush that comes along with such gray, winter weather, I can't help but dream of running through sand, saltwater and the inevitable sunshine that comes with winter weather in St. Petersburg.
In case you haven't guessed it, I don't live in St. Petersburg. In fact, far from it. I live in a climate much closer to St. Petersburg, Russia. I am a Canadian, living north of the border in Toronto.
But I had an urge today to write and express my thanks to your city. I live up here, but I'm pretty sure I left my heart down there, in beautiful St. Petersburg. When the winter months drag on and gloomy skies fill my days, I cheer up instantly simply thinking of the perfect Florida sunsets over the gulf and sipping cool drinks on the beach. I fantasize about your breathtaking waterfront, spring training baseball and clear blue skies.
So thank you, as a city, for bringing a little bit of that Florida sunshine into my living room today as snow falls outside on this chilly winter afternoon.
Julia Filinski, Toronto
Get a grip
The most overused word in American writing these days is "legendary." It's used to describe anyone who has been around a while, whether they know what they're doing or not.
I see it everywhere. It has come to define to me unimaginative hack writing. You guys are plenty guilty of this. You need to get a grip.
Lee Barnes, Tampa
Paramedics revive Gasparilla runner | Feb. 27
Thanks, Wonder Woman
Your writer missed the best part of this story.
I was one of the runners who participated in Saturday's 15K Gasparilla Distance Classic. There were four "superheroes" who wore costumes for the race, including Wonder Woman and Superman. Since I am very slow, they were well ahead of me on the course.
After we passed the halfway point and turned back toward downtown, I noticed a golf cart on the road with several people around it. As I approached, I saw a man lying on his back with an oxygen mask over his face. Leaning over him and doing chest compression was none other than Wonder Woman!
It was so surprising to see her working on reviving the fallen runner. I took it as a good sign, said a prayer and slowed my pace, not wanting to suffer the same fate.
I was happy to read your article and learn that the runner survived. I guess I should not have been worried, since Wonder Woman was there to save the day.
Woody Isom, Tampa
Get freight on board, too
The bullet train is a great idea, especially now that gas prices have hit $3.50 and will continue to rise. However, freight transport is also important. We need trains that take semitrailer trucks from one big city to another.
Putting trucks on trains is a big money saver. It saves money for companies, through less gas used; it saves money for the government by getting trucks off the road, where they degrade highway surfaces; and it reduces air pollution and truck accidents.
Pushing for both truck-freight transport and bullet trains is a win-win scenario.
Diana Milesko, Anna Maria
Proposed cuts disastrous
The House of Representatives is on track to cut $43 million from the National Endowment for the Arts' budget of $167.5 million. That's a 26 percent cut — the deepest in 16 years.
Our senators should prevent these deep cuts from happening when they take up this legislation.
The arts mean jobs. According to Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts industry generates $166 billion annually in economic activity, supports 5.7 million full-time equivalent jobs in the arts and related industries, and returns $12.6 billion in federal income taxes. Measured against direct federal cultural spending of about $1.4 billion, that's a return of nearly nine to one.
Federal funding for the arts leverages private funding. The NEA requires at least a one-to-one match of federal funds from all grant recipients — a match far exceeded by most grantees. On average, each NEA grant dollar leverages at least $7 from other state, local and private sources. Private support cannot match the leveraging role of government cultural funding.
Carol Harlow, Tampa