Friday, June 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Florida better off because of Scott

Long, hot summer of wasted chances | Aug. 25, Tim Nickens column

Florida better off because of Scott

Tim Nickens wrote an extremely partisan column that grossly misrepresented Gov. Rick Scott's record. Since taking office, Scott has been laser focused on creating jobs and improving our schools. Floridians care about jobs and education and he has taken them seriously. He has worked every day to ensure job creators have the tools to create more jobs, and that schools have the resources to give our kids a world-class education. For this, our governor should be applauded.

In the four years prior to Scott, Florida lost 832,000 jobs and our unemployment rate had skyrocketed from 3.5 percent to 11.1 percent, the second-largest unemployment jump in the country. The state's debt was out of control and Florida desperately needed leadership.

Because of Scott and our Republican Legislature, in just under three years Florida has added nearly 370,000 private-sector jobs and reduced the unemployment rate to 7.1 percent, surpassing the expectations of many economists. Just last month Florida added 34,000 private sector jobs. He has paid down $3.6 billion in state debt and paid back $3.5 billion that Florida owed the federal government for unemployment insurance. And he's done it all while cutting taxes. You cannot argue with this progress; we are on the right path.

Scott has implemented record state-based funding for K-12 schools, implemented $480 million for teacher pay raises, ended teacher tenure, and held the line of rising tuition. Just because Florida has low tuition is not a reason to increase it.

Nickens was using the Democrats' talking points and we won't stand for it. Florida is better off now than it was three years ago and we have Scott to thank for it. Floridians deserve to know their governor is fighting for them.

Lenny Curry, chairman, Republican Party of Florida, Jacksonville

Voters sink Lens | Aug. 28

For a functional pier

Kudos to the folks who fought so hard getting petitions to force the referendum that got the Lens contract canceled. Shame on the politicians and bureaucrats who tried to ram this project down our throats and did everything possible to make petition-gathering and ballot language difficult. It's now clear that almost two-thirds of the voters in this city did not want this farfetched and out-of-place design. We don't need an art project downtown, but rather a functional pier for all to enjoy that is economically viable.

The city should dust off the plans for the original 1926 Million Dollar Pier. A similar design — fitted with reasonably priced shops, restaurants, arcade games and an array of activities and rentals focused on water sports — that appeals to all, not just the high-enders and the artists, would be a winner.

Jeff Francis, St. Petersburg

Incorporate ferry service

Incorporating a public ferry service from St. Petersburg to Tampa and designing a new Million Dollar Pier could catapult us into the future and put us on the map. The pier building would bustle with activity and commerce from both visitors and residents and could be the starting point for expanding public ferries to serve our whole region.

People keep talking about how the Lens concept was similar to the Sydney Opera House in Australia. What most people don't know is how extensively the Aussies utilize their bay and waterfront with boats as a vital form of transit, not just for pleasure.

A public ferry station would be exciting at our pier, and a diversity of shops and restaurants would emerge. Perhaps resurrecting the Million Dollar Pier is the true compromise choice before us as most could live with it. We do not need to "reinvent the wheel" with the 8/28 Alliance.

Ivylyn Harrell, St. Petersburg

Budget limitations

The thing that bothers me about the 8/28 Alliance and others discussing the future of the pier is the lack of discussion about the budget. This is the elephant in the room. There is nothing that can be built within the existing $50 million budget that is going to satisfy many people.

Obviously the Lens was not the perfect pier replacement, however if it could have been built within budget the voters should have approved it. In Chicago they are looking at a renovation of the Navy Pier that will cost an estimated $165 million. Granted, the St. Petersburg Pier is nowhere near that large, but if you want something decent, a $50 million budget to both tear down the existing pier and build a new one is totally off the wall.

Chuck Bayer, Redington Shores

U.S. builds a case to act | Aug. 27

Killing is killing

I continue to be appalled at the slaughter of innocent people in the Syrian conflict. It seems that something must be done to stop the senseless killing, even though I would be the first to admit that the idea of intervening and entangling the United States in another no-win conflict (like Afghanistan and Iraq) doesn't seem to be the right thing.

However, what I do not understand are the sudden calls to action based on what appears to be the confirmed use of chemical weapons against Syrian people. While this is a particularly heinous way for a government to attack its own citizens, how is it "worse" to murder citizens with chemical weapons vs. guns, rockets, or any other type of weapon? A slaughter of innocent people is a slaughter no matter the weapon used.

Theresa Hoskinson, Tampa

School grading tweaks urged | Aug. 29

Follow up on students

What good are new learning standards, testing, grading schools, teacher evaluations, hiring, firing, raises, bonuses and accountability if there are no followup studies done to see where the students are five years after they leave school?

I have never seen such a study and suggest we have graduate students in education take on such a project. How do we know that the school curriculum has done any good or any harm? How many graduates went on to college and graduated and are working? How many dropouts are back in school or working or in jail?

If we want to listen to students, why don't we also do it five years later when they can tell us what was helpful and what was not? The public school system has not changed very much in the last 50 years. Does it need change? Let's ask the ones who know the answer.

Gloria Julius, St. Petersburg


Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18