Safety vs. revenue in camera debate | June 8
Police, camera standards vary
St. Petersburg is exploring where to locate red-light cameras. I have heard little or no mention of guidelines for what constitutes generating a ticket. If your rear wheels are in the intersection when the light turns red, are you subject to a fine? I do not believe a police officer would ever ticket for this offense. What if your front wheels are in the intersection when the light turns red? Will you be ticketed?
I can agree that the danger lies with the driver who continues through the intersection well after the light has turned red. Will well-meaning drivers who do not totally exit the intersection before the light changes, and pose no safety threats, be ticketed like the dangerous drivers? I hope not, but if so we will know that the red-light cameras are there for generating revenue, nothing more.
Stephen Micklo, Clearwater
Safety vs. revenue in camera debate | June 8
Just enforce the law
Acting on anecdotes may not lead to wise public policy, but this tale of red-light running may be instructive.
I'm eastbound on First Avenue S in St. Petersburg, stopped for the red light at 16th Street. A police cruiser is ahead of me in the left lane. The light goes green, we start into the intersection, and a Honda Civic with a young lady driving, cell phone to ear, blasts across headed south — easily eight seconds after her light had gone red.
Horns honk, tires chirp from hard braking, angry adrenalin rushes all around. The officer shakes his head and drives on his way, to something apparently more important than the hassle of processing a flagrant violation.
This is not an endorsement of Big Brother "revenue enhancing" red-light cameras. But without enforcement, there is no law. Ask Wall Streeters and tax and marriage cheaters and Taj Mahal "judges" how that works, and how every failure to enforce, and every erosion of the increasingly mythical "rule of law" makes all of us more cynical and selfish and lawless.
Jon McPhee, St. Petersburg
The taxpayers spent $99,000 to an outside consultant to determine the most crash-prone intersections in St. Petersburg? That is outrageous. I bet our Police Department could have easily provided that data.
Len Wilson, St. Petersburg
NATO bombers punish Tripoli | June 8
What about the innocents?
According to the World Atlas, the city of Tripoli has a population of 1,690,000. They can't all be armed troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. With NATO increasing its bombing raids and rocket attacks, I wonder how many innocent men, women and children have been killed to enforce the U.N. mandate to "protect innocent civilians"?
Patrick Seery, Ruskin
On the one hand I hear several national candidates say the government imposes itself too much in our lives. Yet these are the same people who are the first to criticize the president for not doing enough to solve our economic problems. A mixed message?
Phyllis Schuster, St. Petersburg
Job creators at fault
When in the history of human endeavor has any class of citizen ever been granted certainty in the outcome of investments? Yet today, in the United States, self-proclaimed job creators say they are not creating jobs because of uncertainty.
The job creators tell us that they will not create jobs unless their taxes are set lower than they have ever been; not unless workers accept lower wages with no benefits and no safety nets; not unless worker safety and environmental laws are repealed; not unless banking and investment laws are repealed; not unless they can quickly regain their investments plus a profit; and not unless the U.S. government pays down the debt.
If job creators keep waiting for certainty, the only certainty we will get is the certainty of continued suffering at their hands.
Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach
School plan brings unease | June 9
Focus on the school, parents
Why is it that every time a school is failing, it is mentioned that a high percentage of students are eligible for free lunches? What does that have to do with the quality of the school? It is up to the school board, the administrators, the teachers and parents to see that all children have the opportunity to get a good education. Free lunches have nothing to do with it.
If the opportunities are presented and the students do not take advantage of them, then who is failing whom?
Sylvia Fies, St. Petersburg
Officials ponder what-ifs of financing new Rays stadium | June 10
St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster's comments on this issue demonstrate poor leadership. What an arrogant statement: "If you want to keep the Rays in the region, you need to drive over here." Guess what? Most people in Hillsborough County are not driving over there. And Foster digging in his heels with this shortsighted thinking could cause us to lose the team to San Antonio or some other city that will welcome them with open arms.
I live in North Tampa and attend four to five Rays games a year — all on weekends. I'm just not driving over there during the week. If the team were in Tampa, I would attend 20-25 games a season easy.
Why doesn't Foster show some leadership, get out in front of this and work with the leadership of Hillsborough County to narrow the divide? All he is doing is widening the bay.
Greg Lindsey, Tampa
By Scott's count, state's 50,000 jobs closer to goal | June 9
Wrong kind of attention
Gov. Rick Scott says "we are capturing the attention of the business community worldwide." We sure are. The business community is watching him wreck our state. They are watching our unemployment rate, reduced school budgets, high foreclosure rate, refusal of stimulus dollars, and so on.
Carolyn B. Morse, Tampa
Government has a role
Gov. Rick Scott appears to not know the purpose of government. He seems to only understand taxes. Government is to handle the things that are important, for example providing fresh, safe water in tap in my home. Now, I can do that myself with rain barrels and wells, but I am perfectly content to pay the city to handle it.
There are other things that I as a citizen can't do: take care of the justice system; ensure that Florida has affordable housing; ensure that all children get a good education. Here lies the role of government.
We count on the people we elect to make decisions that are not based on taxes or who can make the most money from the choice. I am more than willing to pay taxes. What I want in return is some vision, forethought and a true commitment to protect the resources and assets of this state.
Gail Eggeman, St. Petersburg