GOP makes counteroffer to extend payroll tax cuts | Dec. 1
Don't undermine Social Security
I'm having a hard time understanding the logic of this proposal. We've heard nothing but a constant drumbeat for 20 years or so about the impending insolvency of Social Security from Republicans, corporate Democrats, pundits and the corporate media. So why would Washington politicians even consider continuing to underfund this vital social safety net through a payroll tax reduction again in 2012?
Social Security's long-term solvency can be fixed by removing the payroll cap or other simple measures. When the day comes and our Wall Street-funded politicians do cut this program, I hope they make it across-the-board for present enrollees too. Maybe then more people will understand the Occupy Wall Street movement's protest against greed.
Scott Shoup, Tampa
Designs for Pier come into view | Dec. 1
Lacking a local feel
The designs for the new pier fail to integrate the environment. Nor will they complement the existing shoreline.
If nonlocal firms have to be used, they should at least be educated as to what mangroves are. A pier design should take into consideration the local ecosystem.
A ring of red mangroves around the pier (or semicircle) would provide nesting for birds, and the root systems would provide hatcheries for fish. Mangroves would complement, and not clash with, the existing shoreline and parks. The most attractive feature in the bay area will always be nature, not multimillion-dollar man-made structures.
Joe Weinzettle, Tarpon Springs
Where is our Spanish influence in these designs? These things show no connection to our community. And we thought the upside-down pyramid was strange? Please let us have a do-over.
Pat Hagan, St. Petersburg
From another planet
The final designs for the new pier are, to put it mildly, horrible. Evidently, the designers have no idea of what the social and cultural environment of St. Petersburg is all about. They have outdone themselves in weirdness and abysmal taste.
I was born and raised in St. Petersburg and I would be ashamed to know that my hometown displayed any of these three possible monstrosities. Tampa Bay is a beautiful and productive body of water and a focal point of the west coast. It should not be polluted by a pier design that looks like it came from another planet. It's time to go back to the drawing boards to make something simpler that will blend into the bayside, not defile it.
Bill Frankenberger, Gainesville
We can do better
The future of St. Petersburg became a little more grim today with the unveiling of the three final designs to replace our city's Pier. How these three finalists were narrowed down as the best of the best confuses and saddens me.
The entries known as the Wave and the Eye are, frankly, eyesores. The entry known as the Lens is clearly superior to the others, and while that design incorporates some good ideas, it does not fully capture the spirit of the city.
If these three designs are the best that we can do, I would much rather save the money and do without a future pier. Tear down the old one when the time comes and turn the parking lots near Spa Beach into a park. We can do better.
Jason Syth, St. Petersburg
The three finalists look great, but I would eliminate the Wave (or Loop-the-Loop). It would be too tempting for pilots lining up to land at Albert Whitted to try their luck and go through the hole.
Jose L. Coppen, Indian Rocks Beach
Bishop: Health law is wrong | Dec. 1
Law's benefits at stake
Bishop Robert Lynch's Red Mass message about the Affordable Health Care Act makes me see red.
Under the act, pediatricians have already seen a reduction in the number of uninsured children, and young adult patients have been able to continue to get coverage on their parents' policies.
Everyone will benefit from insurance that does not discriminate against prior diagnoses. Pediatricians have always worried about children with chronic diseases as they become adults. Who will insure them?
So, please Bishop Lynch, let's follow the lead of Massachusetts and make this act work for all of your flock, not just those lucky enough to have good insurance.
Mark Morris, M.D., St. Petersburg
Tax time for church
Thank you, Bishop Robert Lynch, for making it clear that religious organizations should lose their tax-exempt status. Preaching politics from the pulpit clearly renders the Catholic Church or any other church a politically active entity that should not have the benefit of tax-exempt status.
Most religious organizations are really just large businesses. Religious organizations that cross the line from religion to government are de facto violating the separation of church and state. It is time to impose income tax on religious organizations that do not limit their influence to that of religious dogma and biblical study.
Thomas Morton, Sun City Center
A matter of conscience
I attended the Red Mass. Your reporter stated that Bishop Robert Lynch promised to thwart the health care law. Bishop Lynch did not say that. Rather, he said that if the regulations do not change, he can no longer offer health insurance to diocesan employees.
The federal government in its regulations is trying to thwart the First Amendment ensuring religious freedom. The church cannot offer to pay for services that are contrary to church teachings.
The bishop is in no way trying to thwart the law; he is saying the diocese may have to eliminate health insurance as an employee benefit if freedom of conscience is not respected.
Barbara Byars, Tampa