A better way to regulate county's cabs | Nov. 16, editorial
PTC puts safety, fair pricing first
In this editorial the Times endorsed legislation that would abolish the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission and remove taxicab and limousine regulation. Many Florida counties have no regulations to protect consumers from unscrupulous and unregulated drivers. These counties also have no way to protect the disadvantaged from high prices or to help small, independent taxi owners make a decent living.
County-run regulation would be a mistake because it would lead to higher costs and greater bureaucracy. The PTC is currently funded with fees paid by the industry. It also enables uniform regulation across the county and its cities. Most importantly, the PTC is run by a board made up of elected officials instead of appointees or civil servants. Elected officials are accountable directly to the people they serve — the voters in the community.
The truth is that proposals to do away with regulation are happening in every major city in the country. The reason is that a few application service providers are funding lobbyists and public relations people in those cities to push to remove regulation. The controversy is being funded by companies that are not in favor of being required to have licensed drivers, insurance, safety inspections and fair pricing.
Instead of harming the consumer and the independent taxi owners who are struggling in this economy to make ends meet, the Times should be asking why these new entrants don't want to play by the rules. Why do these companies want to put the public at risk just to increase their market share or stock value? Isn't the safety and security of the public more important?
Fassil Gabremariam, chairman, Tampa Bay Taxicab & Limousine Coalition, Tampa
Retail project facing a fight Nov. 21
Fighting the developers
What does it say about the Hillsborough County commissioners that yet another group of east Hillsborough taxpayers has to resort to filing a lawsuit to protect our neighborhoods?
Is this government of, for and by the people or government of, for and by the developers?
Theresa Cecchini, Valrico
Parks are a pleasure
I frequent two Tampa city parks on an almost daily basis: Gadsden Park near MacDill Air Force Base and Picnic Island Park. I walk my dog and get to see almost all of the parks when I am there.
I want to commend the hard work of Tampa parks and recreation employees and the contractors the city uses to keep these parks in such great condition. The grass is mowed, sidewalks edged, the trash is picked up, the restrooms and the pavilions are always clean.
Each park has a dog park, and these too are always clean; even the dispensers for picking up after your dogs are always filled. Keep up the great work.
David Riling, Tampa
Keep airplanes a phone-free zone Nov. 30, editorial
Just hang up and fly
Cellphones on planes is a recipe for disaster.
A few days ago I had to switch seats three times to avoid people screaming into their cellphones — and that was just in the lounge waiting to board the plane.
Douglas Lonnstrom, Palm Harbor
A shift in attitudes on marijuana Nov. 26, letter
Make your voice heard
This letter invites the question: What will it take to formalize the shift? Justice Louis Brandeis spoke approvingly of the "laboratory of the states" as the test bed for proposed changes in social policy. Florida has a chance to become one of those states, and Florida voters need not wait for their Legislature to wake up.
Florida's Constitution provides that Florida voters can make law themselves by citizens' initiative. The first step to do that is the petition, now on the street, to put the question of medical marijuana on the November ballot. The petition needs over 300,000 more Florida voters to sign it in the next few weeks just to put the question on the ballot. If it reaches the ballot, it likely will pass, given the recent shift in attitudes.
John G. Chase, Palm Harbor
Tighter ballot rules ordered | Nov. 26
Switch to mail ballots
Florida voting can be made more accommodating to the public by going entirely to mail-in ballots. Election supervisors can mail ballots according to the requirements of each election to their registered voters. This will eliminate the necessity of hiring election workers for each precinct and renting the space.
With the money saved, the return ballots can be sent in a prepaid envelope. This convenience will encourage more voting participation at less expense.
Dennis McDaniel, St. Petersburg
Solution seeking a problem
The proposed restriction on ballot dropoff sites operated by county elections offices is not necessary and will create a hardship for voters. The proposed limitation does not solve a problem, because there is no problem. All it does is to create an inconvenience for those of us who want to vote.
Roger Wilson, Seminole
Emotions swirl at FSU | Nov. 25
The wrong message
I was deeply disappointed by one segment of this article. The core issue is how law enforcement and the FSU administration responded to the alleged rape of a college student by a football player. Despite best efforts, sexual assault on campus is a troubling issue that persists.
What is never appropriate is the suggestion that a woman's attire can ever be used as an excuse that somehow she "asked for it."
Does this article's description — "milling by sororities, female students wore skirts, knee-high or ankle-length, Saran Wrap snug and slit down the sides, their belly buttons like peeking beacons" — contribute to a rational discussion of sexual assault, or does it serve to perpetuate the harmful stereotype that provocative female attire can provide a justification for sexual assault?
Stephen Thompson, Hernando Beach