Nelson hears USF students' loan worries | May 4
Loan rates should vary by school
Student loans are important in building a better country. The rates on the loans affect whether many middle-class students can afford to attend school.
The fiscal problem with student loans is not that the rates are too low — it's that too many students are defaulting on their loans. The high default rates are coming from for-profit schools. The solution is not to raise everyone's rates or burden taxpayers with more debt. The solution is to set the rates by school, with rates based on the school's average default.
For example: The University of Florida's default rates for 2007 to 2009 averages about 1.8 percent. If you add a flat 1 percent for administrative costs, the rate should be set at 2.8 percent. Kaiser University in Fort Lauderdale has a default rate of 11.4 percent. Their rate should be 12.4 percent because of the number of defaults. This is how markets work. Let's let the market decide where students go to school.
Gary Purcell, Tampa
Israeli settlements create new apartheid May 1, commentary
Tutu's assertion outrageous
Desmond Tutu's outrageous assertion that Israel has become an apartheid state bears little resemblance to the reality on the ground. Contrary to his claims, there exists no government-sanctioned racial policy in Israel that remotely resembles what existed in South Africa. The measures that Israel has implemented are security-oriented, and while they may be controversial, they are not racially driven. The building of the security barrier has effectively halted the wave of Palestinian suicide attacks against Israeli civilians that has, since 2000, claimed hundreds of innocent victims.
Furthermore, Tutu's support of resolutions calling for church divestment from companies conducting business with Israel places the entire onus of the decadeslong Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Israel, absolving the Palestinians from having to make any serious peace efforts. By blaming Israel, Tutu willfully disregards the Israeli desire for a negotiated agreement and the repeated, serious peace overtures Israel has made throughout past two decades.
Wisely, members of the United Methodist Church on May 2 rejected the most radical of Tutu's vehemently anti-Israel views by voting down the proposal to divest, demonstrating their desire to work productively toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Andrew Rosenkranz, Florida regional director, Anti-Defamation League, Boca Raton
Official: Trade Rays for cruise business May 4
Swap is a great idea
I say do it! Being frequent cruisers, we have been going to Port Canaveral or Port Everglades and Miami so we can cruise on the bigger ships. Port Canaveral is a two-hour drive, but if we go to the other two we stay there a night so we spend money on hotels and food. Tampa Bay is losing a lot of cruise business to those other ports.
I am sure many cruise passengers would love to take advantage of the beaches on our side of the bay. I do love the Rays, but I love cruising more.
Michele Maro, St. Petersburg
Cruise port needed anyway
Victor Crist's offer to trade the Rays for the cruise ship business rings hollow, given the apparent need to build a new terminal west of the Skyway to accommodate the new mega cruise ships anyway. If a larger, easily accessible cruise terminal would attract more cruise lines, passengers and visitors to Pinellas County, then perhaps the Rays are exactly where they need to be.
Peter Motzenbecker, St. Petersburg
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
Be aware on the roads
With the recent deaths of several motorcyclists, including Pinellas County sheriff's Deputy Jason Shoulta, the public should know that May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
Many accidents involving motorcycles, including the deputy's accident, are caused by cars turning left in front of a motorcycle. Please, folks, look for us. We have a right to be on the road too, and cars turning left in front of us are our biggest fear.
Ramona White, Largo
CEOs rank Florida as No. 2 for business May 3
It makes sense that Florida is ranked No. 2 in the nation by CEOs, since our governor makes sure businesses receive millions of taxpayer dollars to relocate here. The problem is many of these businesses come here, get the millions in incentives, then either leave for even better deals or lay off most of their employees while the business owners reap the rewards.
Tony Mercer, Palm Harbor
Enigma jailed in Navy Vets scam | May 2
Scams haven't ended
I'm gratified that "Bobby Thompson" has been apprehended, but I'm also disappointed that the real "thieves" in this saga are not only free, but still working, still defrauding anyone and everyone they can, and not subject to charges of any sort.
They are called telemarketers. What they are is predators. They prey on any and every vulnerable person, be it for magazine subscriptions, water softeners, solar panels, a "cure cancer" group, credit card "deals" or some "police" association. They benefited from the great majority of the money raised by this phony charity and walk away without a scratch.
William Ott, Largo
Progress lucky it's not a real business May 3, John Romano column
Comedy of errors
Kudos to John Romano. His article tells it as it is. It is time to stop this comedy of errors. As stated, no proper business could survive the multitude of erroneous decisions made by Progress Energy management. They have been allowed to run unrestrained and rampant over their customers. Enough is enough. Who speaks for us, the people?
Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole
Billing for eternity
The current estimated year of completion of the proposed nuclear plant is now 2024 — 12 years from now. I am 65 years old and I'll be 77 by then. A website search for the average life expectancy of a male is listed as 75.6 years. Will I still have to pay from the grave?
Henry Russell, Palm Harbor
Grand gesture | May 3
Inspiration amid adversity
It was a pleasure to see the front-page coverage of the Bucs' signing of Eric LeGrand. This is not just another feel-good story; it speaks volumes about the Bucs' new coach and what he brings to the team and, by extension, to the Tampa Bay area.
The story also introduces many of us for the first time to a young man who should be an inspiration to all who are confronted by adversity.
Tom Gagnon, Sun City Center