Beckner adds to transit options | Feb. 25
Build consensus, don't belittle
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, attempting to discredit the many citizens who disagree with him on the Go Hillsborough sales tax proposal, pompously belittles them all as "three tea party bloggers sitting in their underwear in their basements in Ruskin."
First, Ruskin is not an insult — it's a fine community and it's my home. Second, it's creepy that he is imagining citizens in their underwear. And finally, there are no basements in Florida.
This mayor is mad at a county commissioner, Kevin Beckner, for trying to reshape the sales tax proposal in light of concerns raised by people throughout the county — including groups from the Sierra Club to the tea party, Democrats as well as Republicans, and the local multilingual newspaper La Gaceta. Beckner's proposal includes more transit, funded by a 10-year tax. Buckhorn is pushing the Go Hillsborough 30-year tax that would mostly fund roads, with relatively little transit.
So Buckhorn tries to dismiss Beckner's alternate proposal with Donald Trump-like smack talk about bloggers, adding, "That's not leadership."
I'll tell you what is not leadership: vilifying people with alternative views and trying to ram your agenda through despite the concerns of voters. Real leadership is listening to all your constituents, looking for common ground and building consensus among people with different perspectives — like Commissioner Kevin Beckner and Commissioner Sandra Murman are trying to do after the mess you've made of Go Hillsborough.
Eventually, the whole county will have to vote on any new transportation tax. Disparaging the community of Ruskin is no way to gain our support.
Mariella Smith, Ruskin
Trump should be no surprise
No one should be shocked if Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee. If you have even one tea partier in your life who has hung on to every word of the right-wing media, both on TV and talk radio, who has spewed hatefulness and negativity with a rude, condescending tone for the past eight years, you can see how you end up with Trump. He is a direct reflection of the right. The Republicans who are truly shocked are those who tired of the negative tone and changed the channels years ago.
Edie Backman, Tampa
'Great again'? We are now
Donald Trump promises to make America "great again." When did we stop being great? To what chapter in our history do we want to return when things were "great"? Before women could vote? When black people were the property of whites — or were kept in their place by segregation laws? What decade do we want to revive? The '50s, when we thought fossil fuel was infinite? The Vietnam conflict of the '60s and '70s?
Look at what we've come through. America is great now, and will continue to be great — when we look and move forward, not backward.
Jonathan K. Jaberg, Largo
Save us from our stupidity
So I guess the way to be competitive in the race for the GOP nomination is to "outjerk" the "jerk"? Be more obnoxious and outrageous than anybody else on stage and you get to be president? Is nasty the new norm? I've never seen anything like this in my life, and I hope I never see anything like it again. The dumbing down of America is obviously in full swing.
God bless America, and if there's time, please save us from our own stupidity.
Jeff Cutting, Brandon