Schools should punish the bullies
As a school taxpayer, I find it very disturbing that parents must choose their housing location because of bullying and drug abuse at Pinellas County public schools.
If the victim defends himself or herself, he/she is suspended from school and nothing is done to the bully. Schools of particular concern are Largo Middle and Largo High schools as well as Oak Grove Middle School.
When parents try to communicate the problem to school authorities, they are told the situation is being investigated, but nothing is ever done. Our School Board chooses to look the other way while those children who are interested in learning have to worry if they will be accosted in the hallways.
It's time that our school officials take responsibility for these problems. It's bad enough our children now have to worry about snipers, but they shouldn't have to worry about their peers.
Arline Thibodeau, Largo
Lens access issue
I am a power boat owner and have my boat specially designed for my plastic lower limbs to be able to go boating and visit public landing and venues with a specially designed boarding ramp.
The Lens replacement for the pier has rules in place to not allow any power boats to dock there and only nonpowered boats such as sail or rowing to dock there.
I have contacted the Americans With Disabilities Act folks and if the law is not changed to allow disabled boaters access to a publicly funded venue, I will go to my grave taking this fight to the courts. It is shocking in this day and age for such discrimination to go unnoticed by our elected officials.
Jack Bonczyk, Largo
Bring back rangers
Would you expand your coverage of Fort De Soto to include why they trimmed the muscle instead of the fat, even as they now charge a $5 entrance fee?
I contacted the director and he pretty much talked around my concern that there are no rangers available and the park office is locked on the busiest days: Saturday and Sunday.
I needed a permit to use my metal detector, but I am sure there are more serious reasons for the park office and rangers to be available during the busiest times. Why not close Monday and Tuesday or shorten hours during the week, so there would be someone available during the weekend?
There are folks who have to work weekends to best serve the public. Fort De Soto should be one of them.
Rose-Marie Seawall, Gulfport
I am not a fan of the red light cameras. But the cameras do have one function — to reduce accidents. And if you are reviewing that single, solitary function, what would be the one most important measure of its performance, the one measure that far outweighs all other measures? The number of accidents. Seems simple.
So how and why can those reviewing the system omit the single most important measure?
My toaster has one solitary function. If I was judging my toaster, I would look at whether it toasts the bread, not whether it fits well in the cupboard or matches the countertop or produces revenue.
Let's review the "reviewers." Did they review the cameras? Yes they did, and they decided that we would misunderstand the results and hence stop the program, so they intentionally suppressed certain key accident numbers.
The mayor and his staff must realize that such lack of trust has a distinct reciprocal effect.
Harvey Ford, St. Petersburg
Give us the plans
With Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) struggling to connect Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, light rail is coming up again.
I was alarmed that people would vote for something that doesn't even have an outline. Where does it go and who is going to ride it? Does it connect downtown Tampa to downtown St. Pete? Or does it connect the airports to the beaches? Does it go to Orlando? Is it going to need a bridge?
I would guess if you asked the 500 people surveyed, you would get 500 different answers. Maybe if we actually knew what it was and how much it cost, we could make an informed decision.
Hal Batey, St. Petersburg
A Times change?
As 2012 draws to a close, I give thanks for having a terrific hometown newspaper. I have lived around the world and take three dailies now. I attest that the Tampa Bay Times is better than its own sobriquet, "Florida's Best." There is excellence in virtually every section, some of which seem to be staffed by one or two people. There is an uncommon degree of distinction from other media outlets, too.
I believe that such a great paper will have the confidence to resolve for the new year to gather up the interspersed commentary into one section, placed alongside more reader letters, as well as more essays with opposing views.
J.P. Byrne, Largo
Patient says thanks
I am a cancer patient at Florida Cancer Center at St. Anthony's Hospital. Last week as I was receiving treatment, a lovely young woman with a young boy came through the chemo room giving gifts to each of us.
I was unable to get her name or tell her how much I appreciated her thoughtfulness. Please share my gratitude for the most heartwarming gift.
Evanne Rourk, St. Petersburg