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Government can't seem to get enough of our money

Get ready for more fees | July 7, story

Government always wants more

Lorraine Margeson hit the nail on the head when she was quoted as saying, "If you're going to charge entry into any of the parks, they're going to have to maintain the level of service there now in order to justify it."

The proposal of raising fees to parks and eliminating service such as the night shift rangers at Fort De Soto campgrounds and beach just blatantly shows the hypocrisy of our commissioners and their desperation for funds to continue their mismanagement. Every year it is higher and higher fees for services provided and lower and lower service provided.

Just how much money is enough for our local, state and federal governments in order for them to control their budgets without constantly attacking the average and low-income people? God knows these people are continually struggling enough just to meet their cost of living in this country for everyday needs.

We've had enough of making the little people pay and pay to balance shortfalls in budgets. It's high time for other alternatives to be explored such as the waste all government representatives are guilty of, the management in government receiving hefty paychecks and the need for them to do what they are elected to do, which is to serve all their constituents equally.

What will be in store next year for the people who already cannot afford their cost of living? It's not only an issue with parks, recreation or the environment. It affects people much further than that in their everyday needs and obligations.

Jack Burlakos, Kenneth City

Get ready for more fees July 7, story

Fees instead of taxes is an old scam

For years now the same politicians who yelp "tax cut" and the "it's your money" lines have had no problem with raising fees or rates.

Based on our elected politicians, especially this decade, it seems that some of them may actually believe that a dollar coming out of your pocket in fee or rate increases is somehow better for you than the dollar coming out of your pocket called a tax. That these politicians want to increase these fees while eliminating the security provided by night-shift rangers at Fort De Soto's campgrounds and beach, certainly indicates this lack of intelligence. On the other hand, some politicians still continue to use the "tax cut" line just to fool those who aren't paying attention.

The fact is, though, that the "raise fees or rates while holding or cutting taxes" scam has been used to fool some taxpayers for years. The difference is that in these poor economic times, the fee and rate increases are more obvious.

Dan Favero, St. Petersburg

Get ready for more fees July 7, story

Aim at the waste

The Pinellas County administration and commission's consideration of tax increases (fees: a rose by any other name) is as shortsighted and irresponsible as their inattentive leadership that allowed it to reach this point in the first place. There are many, many ways to cover the $85-million shortfall. In fact, the $85-million equates to just over 4 percent of last year's budget.

Waste and unnecessary spending dominate our county government, and that's where fiscal responsibility and accountability need to be applied. Increasing taxes and ignoring the waste is not the answer.

Moreover, increasing taxes on Pinellas residents who elect to enjoy the very services our tax dollars built and fund in the first place, simply follows a pattern of irrational redundancy that already plagues county budget and operations.

On the other hand, requiring fees and/or increasing fees to nonresidents who come into Pinellas to take advantage of our wonderful parks, beaches, services, etc., is pragmatic, and frankly overdue.

However, as a longtime Pinellas resident and taxpayer, I would be amenable to an annual $10 charge to obtain and maintain a "Resident Card" that includes pertinent resident information on one side, and on the other: "I'm a Pinellas Resident and Taxpayer; I've paid My Fee."

Norm Roche, Clearwater

Architect of a war he later questioned | July 7, story

A flawed strategy

The article says that in Vietnam the peasants won, but that was not so. The North Vietnamese army, backed by Russia and China, won when they overran South Vietnam after we had picked up our marbles and gone home, thereby shamefully abandoning the South Vietnamese people to the communists.

We went into South Vietnam for the same reason that we went into South Korea: to protect them from the communist North at a time when communism was a threat to the world. The only difference was that North Korea invaded in force by air, land and sea, and was met with force by this country and many others, whereas North Vietnam merely supplied the Viet Cong guerrillas in South Vietnam in what was at first a guerrilla war.

As Max Boot, at the Council on Foreign Relations, has written, we fought the Viet Cong the same way that we fought the Wehrmacht in World War II, with massive force even when tact, restraint, respect and professionalism are sufficient. This was evidenced by the British defeat of the Russia/China-backed communist guerrillas in neighboring Malaya from 1948-1960 with only a few thousand troops as opposed to the half-million that we had in South Vietnam.

The South Vietnamese people were worthy of our support. The only thing wrong with the war was the way we fought it.

R.G. Wheeler, St. Petersburg

Architect of a war he later questioned | July 7, story

Few will mourn

Robert McNamara died July 6 at age 93. Many of us will not shed a tear.

There were 58,000-plus fine American military men and women killed, and many thousands now living with pain and suffering, both physical and mental, from the Vietnam War. And of course many have since passed on.

The toll of lost lives for the allies that fought along with our country, and of course the people of Vietnam, may be too numerous to calculate.

If one wants to get a sobering perspective of part of the lives wasted on this "conflict," I suggest they view Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

The war tore at the heart and soul of our country and divided us like never before — and never since. The person responsible for the tragic loss of lives, the enormous cost financially, and the damage to the reputation of our great country was Robert S. McNamara.

He lied to the President Lyndon Johnson about an incident that was supposed to have taken place in the Gulf of Tonkin between a Vietnamese and an American vessel, starting a war that should not have happened. As stated in the article, in 1967, McNamara had misgivings about the war. It was just a little late.

One can only hope that somehow he will get to visit with the 58,000-plus poor souls whose lives he wasted.

Robert E. Guthrie, Seminole

Perils of Palin soap opera gets more ludicrous | July 7

Columnist confusion

Ruth Marcus wrote: "I am confused; is she planning to stay in the spotlight or get out of it?" "Palin's move (resignation) is no advancement for her or for any other woman." "I think my hostility has to do with our shared gender."

Marcus then suggests that Palin's faltering since being picked as John McCain's running mate has served to set back success for all women.

Marcus should for one moment forget the political aspects or sexist overtones. She should think about what she wrote about another human being. Even though Marcus has no clue what Palin is doing, Palin will be a failure for herself and have a negative effect on all women?

How does Marcus' confusion, hostility, vision of failure for Sarah Palin, and the acknowledgment of the setback in the advance of all women help?

Keith Dudley, St. Petersburg

Governor is not a viable voice July 7, letter

Spinning words

The letter writer asks for something intelligent Sarah Palin has said that would make him consider her a viable voice for this country. Nice "gotcha" question. No matter what she says, it would never fit in his agenda.

He also says most conservative churches in America would not allow profanity such as "hell, yeah" to be spoken at the pulpit.

"You betcha" I would listen to Sarah Palin say "hell, yeah" in my church. Sure beats hearing "not God bless America, but God damn America."

David Donnelly, Tampa

Government can't seem to get enough of our money 07/08/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 7:35pm]
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