Time to move past party power
The primary election just completed should be a wake-up call to both parties that politics as usual is not in anyone's best interest.
For Rick Scott to be able to buy the election and end Bill McCollum's political career is a good thing. Hopefully, it will make the Republican Party of Florida rethink its position on support of career politicians.
For Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White to be ousted for his ethical lapses is also good news for our community. Politicians like White benefit no one except themselves.
Politicians will now have to pay more attention to the citizens and candidates instead of politics as usual.
It doesn't matter if the right person won or lost, only that the party did not dictate the outcome.
This is a good day for Florida politics.
Robert Weisman, Tampa
Don't add to animosity
The political climate is contentious enough without this paper unnecessarily fanning the flames with its captions. On the front page with the Aug. 26 article For Scott, GOP it's not easy making up, the caption beside Alex Sink's picture says: "Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, is an enemy to both Scott and Florida Republicans."
"Enemy" is such a strong word, implying the need for forceful retaliation, and is overkill for this rhetoric. She is their opponent in the true sense of the word, not enemy. "Enemy" is repeated in the headline on Page 8A — again unnecessarily. Nowhere in the article is the word "enemy" used. We don't need the animosity between the political parties ramped up with unthinking statements like this!
Bill Balmer, Seminole
Light rail/bullet train
Plan for the future
I am visiting friends and family in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The city proper has an estimated 11 million people, and greater Sao Paulo has up to 20 million inhabitants. That is a lot of people and cars.
Sao Paulo failed miserably to create an underground rail system as it grew. Now cars are choking the life out of Sao Paulo. Pollution makes the eyes sting and the lungs lurch for clean air. To get anywhere can take hours of creeping along and having to almost fist-fight for ownership of your auto lane.
This experience made me think of the rail project from Tampa to Orlando along with commuter rail around Hillsborough and Pinellas. For those who say it is not needed due to expense and lack of riders, I would like you to come to Sao Paulo and see a city that did not plan.
We need to act now before it is too late. Sao Paulo officials are now trying to expand the tiny underground they do have to repair traffic problems. They are finding it very expensive and dangerous to expand in the already existing developed city. We need to keep Tampa Bay beautiful by reducing car pollution and traffic before it happens to us. Before we know it, Tampa Bay and Orlando will have merged. The drive now on I-4 is a terrible experience. We ain't seen nothing yet! Act now for our future and our children's future.
Todd Holliday, Largo
Letters in response to Fire most teachers — really? | Aug. 22
Delving more deeply
One almost has to laugh at the readers who fell for the hook in professor Ray Fisman's reprinted Slate article. They went totally overboard as soon as they read the conclusion and forgot to read the details.
Down in the meat of the commentary, Fisman mentions several apparently successful school improvement projects which don't fire 80 percent of the teachers. What these and other similar projects seem to have in common is that they intensively (and expensively) coach promising teachers for as much as two years in how to get improved student learning results.
Are superior student learning results possible? Absolutely yes!
The Bronx in New York City has junior high level public charter schools admitting students by lottery that transform previously failing students into Ivy League prospects. Yes, family commitment is required; yes, these schools cost the city more; and yes, they require quite a bit more of students.
The job, however, can be done and without firing 80 percent of prospective new teachers.
Rolf H. Parta, Bradenton
Rays' title chase: tale of good, bad | Aug. 24, story
Don't reward mistakes
While the leak of the Rays' financial documents may cause one to believe that the team is struggling, so are we all.
It was either a bad investment on the part of team owner Stuart Sternberg and his colleagues, or we are not a major league baseball town. If it is the former, rewarding the team, and coincidentally Major League Baseball, would seem to be the type of corporate welfare the fiscally conservative voters have been railing about. Do we add baseball to banks, the auto industry, AIG, etc.?
On the other hand, if we are not a major league market in the first place, what evidence is there that a new stadium would suddenly make us one?
Shouldn't we determine if we are the right market before making an investment of any taxpayer dollars? Shouldn't Major League Baseball and Rays management have done the same before they came here in the first place? Should we continue paying for their mistakes?
Willi Rudowsky, St. Petersburg
Beck offers timely warning | Aug. 24, letter
Fattening their accounts
Glenn Beck made $23 million last year. Sarah Palin made $12 million. God bless all you middle-class "Restoring Honor" attendees for opening your wallets to them. It is much appreciated!
Anna Johnson, Palm Harbor
Trying to save America | Aug. 24, letter
Past was not so moral
The letter writer refers to a "restoration of the moral and ethical standards of our forefathers."
Was it moral or ethical what our forefathers did to the Native Americans? To the African-Americans? Has he ever even opened a history book?
Al Childers, Seminole
On the edge of Grand | Aug. 22
The shoes don't fit
I've thoroughly enjoyed your series on our National Parks. However, I felt compelled to write when I saw the cover photo with the Aug. 22 article on the Grand Canyon.
When we visited there two years ago, we were repeatedly told that the primary cause of injuries was improper footwear. Your photo of Daniel Lim, standing backward on a precipice in flip-flops, was a perfect example of what not to wear.
Rita Dennis, Clearwater