A swing and a miss on Rays talks | Feb. 8 editorial
Make a move before the Rays do
The Times editorial board is right in calling for the mayor and council to allow the Rays to explore stadium options in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. The writing is on the wall! Unless we accommodate the Rays' wishes for a new stadium in a location that they like, they will not only break the lease at the Trop and pay the penalty, they will leave Tampa Bay, as Major League Baseball has threatened.
What is going on with our city representatives? Major League Baseball franchises do this all the time, so the message from the Rays is not idle talk. They are serious; they are going to increase attendance. Tampa is the front-runner, as they will probably not put their franchise in the hands of the voters and a referendum for a train to Clearwater. Sorry, this will not keep the Rays in Pinellas because it would take many years to accomplish and the bridges from Hillsborough will still be congested, enough to deter the major source of fans from tackling this mess during the work week.
Council member Charlie Gerdes' proposal to charge a "search fee" is great and should be adopted. We also need to start coming up with ideas for the reuse of the Trop. Some key merchants in town have suggested that a state-of-the-art cyber convention center would actually be better for St. Pete than the stadium. Pinellas County lacks a large convention center, and the time to make it happen is now.
Jeannie Cline, St. Petersburg
Bass Pro foes make big waves | Feb. 7
Build it yourself
The "pro" in Bass Pro doesn't have anything to do with expertise in fishing or hunting — but does when it comes to shaking down local governments for big money — and then they always bag their limit.
For those of us who have our own businesses and started them without one penny of taxpayer assistance and who have paid taxes here for our entire lives, it is galling to see county commissioners let it get this far.
Why should Bass Pro get an advantage over any other retailer or any other business in our community that paid its own way? And why did Bass Pro go to Tallahassee recently without any public money?
Come if you want, but build it yourself, Bass Pro.
Gary Gibbons, Tampa
Mayor delays new cameras | Feb. 8
A corrupt system
I will happily join in on any class-action lawsuit to stop the use of these cameras, bring safety and sanity back to the intersections where they have been installed, and hopefully bring an end to this blatant corruption. I also hope that St. Petersburg voters will have the good sense to vote out every public servant who supported this farce.
Mark E. Beck, Seminole
Insurance shock ahead | Feb. 7
What private market?
I am really curious about this new proposed mandate for Citizens Property Insurance to charge prices that are higher than what's available in the private market. If the private market will not offer you insurance, then what are they comparing it to? As far as I am concerned, there is no private market for homeowners insurance in my neighborhood. I have owned three homes in Florida in 20 years and have never filed an insurance claim. Yet no insurance company will sell me a policy. Where is this private market that they are talking about? Is there anybody in Tallahassee paying attention? Honestly, where do they come up with these sorry mandates just to milk more money from us?
David J. Bieniecki, New Port Richey
Cronies come begging
I am currently with Citizens, after having been ousted by State Farm because they downsized their insured market because Charlie Crist didn't want them to raise rates. That being said, rates are most assuredly being paid at the levels that were rejected and now we have these underfunded companies, cronies of the Legislature, that want business. Remember when Citizens was almost forced into loaning money to these companies so they could get on their feet, so they could gouge us? What on earth is wrong with this Legislature? Leave us property owners alone and tell your friends in the insurance business to find something else to do.
Harriet P. Sherwood, Clearwater
Use of drones
At least it's in writing
I don't understand the big deal that people are making over the Obama administration's issuing a memo that it's okay for our government to kill American citizens without due process. At least it's in writing. That's a lot better than when the Clinton administration killed more than 70 American men, women and children at Waco.
David Brown, Sun City Center
Utterly Catholic — when it's convenient Feb. 6 Frank Bruni column
It's time that all churches are recognized for what they are: big business. As such, they should be paying taxes and their leadership should be subject to the same laws, both civil and criminal, as the rest of us.
Janet Graber, St. Petersburg
Talks, not tantrums
To hear it from some people, gun owners have no business organizing, much less accepting anything but one version of the facts in the gun debate. We could perhaps get somewhere if gun opponents would at least acknowledge one's right to have an opinion on so-called universal gun checks, large magazines and so-called assault weapons.
Throwing a tantrum every time National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre opens his mouth is not a reasonable debate. You need to listen as well as spout unsupported opinions on topics you know little about.
Leonard Martino, Tampa
Follow the logic
NRA leaders oppose President Obama's proposals to reduce gun violence because they say criminals don't obey laws and therefore the rules won't work. Well, armed robbery is against the law and criminals still rob banks. Should we repeal laws banning armed robbery? Embezzlement is illegal, yet criminals still steal money from their employers. Maybe embezzlement should be legal. The fact that criminals will still try to obtain assault weapons is not a compelling reason to continue to allow their purchase to be legal or to allow anyone to buy a gun or ammunition without a background check.
John Krevens, New Port Richey