Florida better off because of Scott | Sept. 2, letter
Pay and job security have fallen
Having just read the article showing that Floridians' real wages and job security have declined in the last decade under majority Republican rule, I can't help feeling that they are some of the most delusional people on the planet. It seems that they dwell in a bubble, unable to see the plight of the people of their state.
We have seen real wages decline as the cost of living has soared. Most of the jobs that have returned are low-wage, due to the fact that large sums of federal money have been rejected by Gov. Rick Scott for things like high-speed rail and the expansion of Medicaid. This would have brought high-paying construction jobs and many new jobs in the medical field.
Instead, millions of working families are left out in the cold, only to take low-wage service jobs without the benefit of health care. This leaves them vulnerable to bankruptcy should they become ill.
Scott did restore some of the money that was slashed from the education budget, but I would hardly consider this a great accomplishment. Scott has been terrible for hard-working families, and don't even get me started on environmental protection, of which there is none.
Yvonne M. Osmond, Clearwater
Florida better off because of Scott Sept. 2, letter
Facts and fictions
I had just finished reading the deplorable state of Florida's work force as researched by FIU's Research Institute: lower wages, fewer hours, higher prices, more people without health insurance, etc. (Yet the high rollers have done much better.)
Then I turn to letters to the editor, where Lenny Curry, chairman of the Republican Party, boasts about how Florida is better off because of Gov. Rick Scott. This is proof positive that the Republican Party lives in its own alternate universe, void of facts and reality.
Alan Raun, Largo
To save the planet, I quit jetting around Sept. 1
High-speed rail creates jobs
This opinion piece inadvertently provides a compelling rationale for the United States to develop a high-speed rail system comparable to the bullet trains of Europe and Asia.
A recent study from the University of Massachusetts provides yet another reason. That study shows that for every $1 million in government subsidies to mass transit, the United States creates 22 jobs. For natural gas, the figure is five jobs. For coal, it's seven jobs.
Yet our self-styled "jobs" governor refused to accept federal money for high-speed rail in Florida.
Thomas Eppes, Thonotosassa
Planes vs. trains
Christie Aschwanden is right on target with respect to the inordinate negative effect of air travel on our environment. However, her solution of "just stay home" is, for many, not realistic. There is, however, a very viable alternative that she fails to mention: trains.
Just as air travel is the least efficient form of transportation (in passenger miles per gallon of fuel and carbon emissions per passenger mile), rail is the most efficient. The advertisement that claims trains can move a ton of freight over 450 miles on one gallon of fuel are essentially correct. Passenger trains are equally efficient.
Even without high-speed rail, the time requirement to travel by Amtrak trains for trips of under 200 miles is comparable to flying, the hassles are less, the comfort and convenience are greater and, not infrequently, the cost is less. The train may not move as fast, but taking the train from one city center to another eliminates the time commuting to and from the airport, eliminates ticketing and security line time, and eliminates the wait for your plane take off and the wait to get off the plane at your destination. To travel from an office in Manhattan to an office in downtown Washington, D.C., takes about three hours, whether by train or by plane.
If we could develop the national will to develop high-speed rail, the time factor would make trips of up to 500 miles comparable whether by train or plane.
William Janssen, Lutz
Catholics back immigrants | Aug. 26
All people deserve dignity
I am proud that my Catholic Church is supporting immigrants as we have for centuries. We continue to follow the Gospel message: "For I was a stranger and you welcomed me."
We are taught to treat all people with kindness and dignity and to help our brothers and sisters in many ways. The people who speak out against immigrants and immigration reform seem to fear that something will be taken away from them, but studies show that immigrants actually contribute to our economy.
I wonder if the anti-immigration people realize that immigrants do the work that most citizens do not want to do. Hard-working farmworkers, mostly immigrants, pick the fruits and vegetables that we eat every day. I would bet you do not know one person who wants to do that type of hard work. They clean our workplaces and homes and care for our children. Some day, as citizens, this generation of immigrants will contribute to our Social Security.
I hope the voices of those who agree that immigration reform is needed will take the time to contact their member of Congress.
Maria McCourt, Tampa
Syria plan gains backing | Sept. 4
Threat of blowback
The United States cannot — must not — get involved in any military action against Syria. This is a civil war. It is not our responsibility to police the world.
The moment any U.S. weapon strikes Syria, every U.S. Embassy and consulate in the Middle East, and beyond, will be under attack.
Lt. Col. Dick Koch, USAF (Ret.), St. Petersburg
No benefit to U.S.
Republican or Democrat, the first question that should be asked is: "Will a strike against Syria have any benefit for the United States?" If the answer is "no," then let them fight it out among themselves.
If one or the other faction attacks our ally, Israel, then an armed U.S. response would be justified, and then only if Israel requests our help.
Kenneth R. Gilder, St. Petersburg