Let's hear from Florida, not Iowa | Jan. 5, editorial
Florida hardly worth imitating
The Times says it will be "up to Florida Republicans to bring some clarity to this primary season."
I suspect voters in other states would be amused. Florida recently elected a (Republican) governor whose company was fined for defrauding Medicare. It elected a (mostly Republican) state Legislature that, from the Times' own reportage, is among the most ethically challenged in the nation. In 2000, the (Republican) governor presided over a system whereby tens of thousands of eligible voters were denied registration, which enabled the governor's own brother to win the presidency inside a courtroom.
I doubt Florida can be relied on to bring clarity to anything, at least where elections are concerned.
Robert Lockwood Mills, Sun City Center
Let's hear from Florida, not Iowa Jan. 5, editorial
Record of abuses
As a Republican transplanted from Iowa to Florida, I find the Times argument that Florida should move to the front of the pack in selecting our next nominee because of its greater political diversity to be amusing.
One area the Florida GOP certainly exceeds Iowa is in the diversity of outright corruption by party leaders.
Here in Florida we have:
• Sen. Jim Norman and his $500,000 Arkansas vacation home ("That was a loan." Wink-wink).
• Senate President Mike Haridopolos and his $150,000 book deal. I'm sure that was one of the most significant political tomes of our era.
• GOP ex-chair Jim Greer, who is accused of funneling GOP funds to his own accounts.
• Paul Hawkes, the GOP judge in charge of one of the most bloated and outrageous state projects ever: the Taj Majal courthouse.
Given what I have seen of the Florida GOP, I am tickled pink that Iowa has a greater say in our next nominee and I hope it stays that way until both parties in Florida clean up their act.
Steve Feigenbaum, Tampa
County offered bargain building | Jan. 5
Make use of Tampa site
I've been on the Kearney's site, which is being offered to Hillsborough County at a bargain-basement price, and remember its greatness.
Recently the county was replatted to include areas that have never flooded before, and now that is rearing its ugly head. My home was built in 1957 and has never flooded, but now I pay $1,000 a year in case it does.
Let's face it: All of Florida is really a flood zone.
I say buy the site. Challenge the new zoning to get it back to where it was and let's move forward to get out of this terrible recession.
Daniel Orsello, Tampa
Cameras roll and so do the fines | Jan. 5
Focus on safety, not money
I wish you would stop emphasizing the revenue collected and focus more on the value of red light cameras in improving traffic safety.
No wonder much of the public believes the installations were strictly a way to collect more money.
Bob Wright, Clearwater
After Iowa, the race gets tougher | Jan. 5
Do your homework
As a Floridian by birth and now a resident of New Hampshire, I was delighted to see the tough-looking women on the front page. These two women from Pittsfield truly captured the "dyed in the wool" toughness of folks up here. I have lived in the North Country, as it is called, for nearly 20 years and have learned to respect this characteristic that defines our "Live Free or Die" state slogan.
After a lot of research on the experience and backgrounds of the candidates, I know who I am voting for Tuesday. I just hope Floridians will take as hard a look at all the candidates and be as dedicated to ferreting out the truths, falsehoods and weaknesses before casting their vote.
Karen Eitel, Randolph, N.H.
Ads will tell the tale
With the Supreme Court allowing special interests to pour as much money into the presidental elections as they want, our president will be decided by the most attack ads — not the most votes. So if you care, donate as much money as you can to your choice. You can't afford not to.
James W. Cone, Thonotosassa
Auxiliary bishop a father, resigns | Jan. 5
Rethink celibacy policy
The resignation of Roman Catholic Bishop Gabino Zavala, a prominent figure in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, because of fathering two children is a sad commentary on the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. It is another instance of the problems the church faces with regard to the sexual behavior of its supposed celibate clergy.
Maybe if the hierarchy would consider making clergy celibacy optional, the sexual behavior of priests would not be a scandal to the public. In addition, it might increase the number of vocations to the priesthood at a time when the church is facing a crisis in the lack of men willing to become Catholic priests.
Gerard Vernot, Land O'Lakes
In test of old and new violins, an unconventional result | Jan. 3
For me, this article was a case of deja vu. Similar articles appear every few years, all with the "astonishing" result that modern (i.e., less expensive) violins sound as good or better than older, more valuable instruments.
As someone who has dealt with fine string instruments for 60 years and has had the pleasure of examining and playing on dozens of old Italian violins, I can assure your readers that the best of these cannot be equaled, for solo work, by a modern instrument. There are few respected contemporary makers who would disagree with that claim, and even fewer violinists.
The French scientist Claudia Fritz, assisted by the truly gifted American maker Joseph Curtin, conducted a test that they mistakenly stated to be unique. Surely they knew that similar evaluations take place weekly in violin shops around the world, with accomplished players testing several violins to decide on a favorite.
Place a fine Cremonese instrument in the mix and the result is predictable. Just as there are unsurpassable wines and paintings, there are also legendary violins of the great Italian makers, the crowning jewels of which were made over 250 years ago by Stradivari and his neighbor, Joseph Guarneri, in the small Lombardy town of Cremona.
Anthony Skey, St. Petersburg