Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Focus on ideas, not campaign cash

Candidates' coffers swell | July 14

Focus on ideas, not campaign cash

What a disservice the Times does to the public and several candidates with a piece devoted to revealing the results of fundraising efforts of select candidates for public office. I am referring particularly to the Hillsborough County School Board race, which has so many candidates presently that I've lost count. The article suggests that the uptick in fundraising is because of the confluence of circumstances, notably, certain candidates' ties to the community and family bank accounts.

Unfortunately, it reinforces the notion that candidates can buy elections. The article also suggests that the amount of money raised is proportional to the candidates' merit. If Florida learned anything from the 2010 elections, it's that very often the opposite is true. Candidates become beholden to the donors and the notion of public service becomes anything but.

In the case of the Hillsborough County School Board, the public would be better served by revealing candidates' ties to the present administration, which has made disastrous decisions lately, so that voters seeking change could evaluate candidates on their merit without regard to their fundraising ability. The messages candidates put out with the money they raise are always self-serving and frequently misleading. We need the press to cut through the chaff and give us useful information we need to make educated decisions at the polls, not provide free advertising for the haves to the detriment of the have-nots.

Ari FitzGerald, Tampa

Voters must think for themselves July 17, letter

Look to candidates' skills

In John Avalon's book Independent Nation, he states that political parties do more to divide us than to unite us. I believe this is true. In order to have the money and political support to win office, a candidate must adhere to the party platform. I think it is imperative that voters identify the issues that they care about and support the candidate who reflects those concerns.

We should care about actual knowledge and experience more than verbal skills. I would strongly support an open primary for the state of Florida.

Connie Kone, St. Petersburg

For F school, C not enough | July 17

Staff deserves praise

As a retired Pinellas County teacher, I am proud of the achievements and accomplishments of our teachers, staffs and students. However, this article created a different feeling.

The principal and educators did a remarkable job turning the school around. Kathleen Brickley went out of her way to involve the community. Unless you have been in a classroom, you cannot imagine the pressure the educators were under to improve the school's grade. They did a wonderful job, taking a school with a majority of disadvantaged students and working with them to the extent that they jumped two grade levels.

The county should be applauding them and celebrating what they did. Instead, the principal was demoted and teachers are being displaced based on an assumption made even before the school grades were released.

What disturbs me most is the dictatorial attitude of superintendent Mike Grego when he objected to being questioned, saying, "The day I have to justify every blasted move in our district. …" Although he has the authority to make changes in the county, it is a shame he does not have the common decency to commend what Dunedin Elementary has done instead of condemning them.

Marilyn Warner, Clearwater

Challenging profession

You're kidding, right? Principal Kathleen Brickley, obviously a dedicated professional, turns the school around and she gets demoted and receives a pay cut. Was she responsible for the "school's culture, past grades, demographics and behavior issues"? And you wonder why we are losing excellent teachers and administrators to the private sector.

I have been a volunteer for the past five years in two different elementary schools in Pasco County. I can tell you firsthand that most teachers love the children and want them to have the best education possible — why else would they put up with low pay?

Terry Hubbard, Trinity

Punitive treatment

Is anyone going to call for an investigation of the Pinellas school system? If ever there was an example of punitive treatment, the demotion of principal Kathleen Brickley and her obviously dedicated staff would seem to be it. To add to the injustice of the situation, a reporter's inquiry is belittled and ignored. The public owns the school system, pays for it and deserves the answers it needs for open administration and policy decisions.

Lula J. Dovi, Tampa

Redistricting quandary | July 16

More rotten districts

The tragedy of the recent judicial decision over Florida's electoral redistricting is that it didn't go far enough — isolating only two egregious examples, Districts 5 and 10.

Closer to home, successive redistricting of David Jolly's District 13, apparently done to protect the late C.W. Bill Young, makes a joke of the furor over who was the true "Pinellas candidate," as sliver after sliver of downtown St. Petersburg has been electorally floated across the bay to bolster Kathy Castor's District 14 majority, despite the demand of the constitutional amendment that "natural boundaries" — like Tampa Bay — should be respected in redistricting plans.

Even a quick glimpse at Florida's electoral map shows that similar monkeying around may have taken place in Districts 16, 23, 24, and 4, to mention but a few.

What do Florida voters outside Districts 5 and 10 have do to end the theft of their votes?

Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg

Unlikely friends bond like family | July 16

Morning sweetness

Yet another reason to love the Times. The article on the "divas" was so sweet it brought a smile to my face and a little tear to my eye. How fortunate are those two beautiful ladies, not to mention the gallant gentlemen.

I might even be a little envious.

Marjorie Visser, Treasure Island


Thursday’s letters: School safety requires funding

Constitution Revision CommissionSchool safety requires fundingThe Constitution Revision Commission should consider amending a proposal (45, 93 or 72) to allocate the necessary recurring funding for the new school safety mandates, separate from the ba...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: Let the teachers decide on guns

Trump touts arming staff as key in plan for school security | March 12It’s the teacher’s call on weaponsPlease, let’s try an alternate view about guns in the classroom. First, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the preponderance of letters about guns ...
Published: 03/20/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Published: 03/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Published: 03/19/18

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18