Sweetheart deal for utilities | Aug. 27, letter
Monopoly without the oversight
This letter, making the point that Florida's "regulation" of investor-owned public utilities was backwards, was right on.
The granting of monopolies to utility providers is based on the fundamental principle that the monopoly granted is offset by effective regulation to protect both returns to investors and the public users who have nowhere else to go for the service. In Florida, that fundamental formula has been abandoned with undesirable results that were foreseeable and almost guaranteed.
First, customers are being forced to pay for capital costs that should be paid by investors. If customers are forced to pay capital costs, where are their shares of ownership or returns on their investments in the capital assets? The certificated shareholders and management are the real winners here: They get the ultimate benefit of the free investments of capital forced on Duke's customers.
Second, management, with its unending blank checks from captive customers, is not accountable to investors and shareholders, and, apparently in Florida, competent regulation.
Dick German, St. Pete Beach
More kids killed accidentally by guns than in bathtubs | Aug. 26, PolitiFact
Facts and firearms
The NRA has fought for years to suppress all information on gun violence. They do this because they feel that any information gathered would be detrimental to their cause.
As your PolitiFact article shows, they are right. Few, if any, facts that have been collected on guns have shown any positive aspects to gun ownership. You are much safer to have an alarm system or a dog in your house to prevent crime than you are to have a gun.
Christopher Radulich, Apollo Beach
GOP candidates coast to primary victories Aug. 27
Given the chance, voters fail
It seems all you hear is, "I'm going to vote everyone in office out. Vote the bums out." The easiest way to get rid of incumbents is to vote them out in the primary. Once we get to the general election it's almost unheard of. And as usual, only 15-20 percent showed up for the primary in Pinellas County, and all but one incumbent was re-elected. This is sad and inexcusable.
So were going to get the same song and dance from the same politicians that everyone says they don't like, but that's what you get when you sit on your hands. To think people in some countries risk their lives to be able to vote.
Congratulations to the 80 to 85 percent no-shows. Please keep your complaints to yourselves.
As a side issue, there needs to be some type of open primary to allow the large number of nonaffiliated voters to vote on candidates other than for school board and judges, and referendums.
James Molloy, Pinellas Park
With the primary election behind us, I continue to be puzzled why the nonpartisan school board and judicial elections are held during a primary election, when it is guaranteed that the turnout will be low and only the most partisan and motivated registered Republicans and Democrats will vote.
The voter turnout for Pinellas County in the primary was 24 percent, compared to 74 percent for the November 2012 general election. About 41 percent of registered Democrats and 45 percent of registered Republicans voted in the primary; for those not identified as R's or D's the turnout was 14 percent.
Despite being allowed to vote in a primary election for school board and judicial candidates — who are not identified on the ballot by party — independents simply do not turn out in large numbers. Could it be that school board and judicial offices are not considered important enough to be on the ballot when there's sure to be a large turnout, as is the case in a general election?
There must be a good reason why elections for these two particular categories of races are held when fewer voters will vote and those who do will be the most partisan Republicans and Democrats. It must make sense that nonpartisan races are held during the most partisan of elections: the primary. I'm sure there is a good reason for this, but I just don't see it.
Rick Carson, St. Petersburg
Drinker's manifesto | Aug. 28, commentary
In his opinion piece, Mark Bittman failed to add to the list of negatives about drinking too much the following: reckless sex that leads to acquiring HIV/AIDS, domestic violence as a result of out-of-control drinking, and last but not least the most profound reason not to drink — what it does to the family members of those who drink too much. Children of alcoholics have problems that follow them into adulthood.
If Bittman thinks he may drink too much but does not want to "get scolded," I would add that he might want to ask those around him how much his drinking impacts them. If they are honest, he may want to reassess the amount he drinks. By the way, I have never been harmed, either physically or psychologically from someone drinking too much soda.
Ilse C. Yost, Tampa
Narconon licensing issue arises | Aug. 26
Rules are for everyone
This article indicates that the Spring Hill drug program, with ties to Scientology, may have violated state law at all three of its rented locations. But who cares about the law? Scientology has been doing as they have pleased in Clearwater for years now, almost as if saying they are above the law, rules and regulations.
Also, as the article points out, a Florida Department of Children and Families licensure specialist said that in his 21 years at DCF, he had never encountered a center providing services at an unlicensed facility.
Regulations and laws are meant to apply to everyone and should not be cavalierly ignored.
Dale Williams, Clearwater