Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Under Bush, U.S. stature sank

Sen. Rubio blasts Clinton | June 11

Under Bush, U.S. stature sank

Sen. Marco Rubio stated that doubts about American world leadership, whatever that vague reference is supposed to mean, have never been higher.

He goes on to speak of the foreign policy of President George W. Bush and how "there was never any question that the U.S. was going to lead the free nations of the world" under that administration.

I'm not sure what bubble Rubio lives in, but perhaps he might be interested in looking back at the Bush administration's approval ratings in France, Canada, Germany, Britain, Spain and most of the rest of the free world at the time. They were about on a par with today's Congress. Does Rubio not recall the millions who marched in protest around the world to oppose Bush's invasion of Iraq? Does he not recall "freedom fries" in the Capitol cafeteria?

The American government was reviled around the world for our smug, deadly and ineffective foreign policy, the price for which we will be paying dearly for decades to come.

Rubio would do well politically to steer clear of comparing the leadership effectiveness of the Bush administration's success stories overseas with those of the last five years, at least with voters who have memories of what the reality abroad was.

Thomas Maciocha, Tampa

Latest Florida rail roils | June 9

Citizens' voices will be heard on All Aboard Florida

As All Aboard Florida becomes a topic of great discussion for families along Florida's east coast, there are three important facts that must be part of this conversation: 1) This is 100 percent a private sector project and no state dollars will go to All Aboard Florida; 2) The Federal Railroad Administration is the lead agency over this project; and 3) We're working hard to ensure Florida families have their voices heard on this important matter.

To help families have their voices heard, last week I asked All Aboard Florida to extend their comment period to 90 days, and we asked the Federal Railroad Administration to extend the comment period for their environmental impact statement to a minimum of 90 days. Families have questions, and All Aboard Florida and federal officials have a responsibility in providing meaningful answers.

We're also addressing concerns laid out by elected officials regarding funding quiet zones for rail lines. While my proposed budget did not include this funding, legislators and local leaders worked to include this in the final state budget. Legislators and local leaders in communities that might be affected by All Aboard Florida and other rail transit systems wanted these state dollars to establish quiet zones in their areas. To better meet communities' needs, I've asked Florida's transportation secretary Ananth Prasad to meet with community leaders to see how this grant funding can best be used. These are not subsidies for All Aboard Florida, and if local leaders indicate they do not need the grant funding, we'll take action to use these dollars for other priorities.

Gov. Rick Scott, Tallahassee

Obama considers options in Iraq | June 13

We shouldn't get involved

The current state of slaughter in Iraq is a direct and natural outgrowth or the folly started by President George W. Bush and his administration. Many of our sons and daughters died or were maimed fighting to "liberate" areas now controlled by terrorists.

Sunnis are only about 15 to 20 percent of the country, and the 60 percent that is Shiite will tolerate this mayhem only so long before they counterattack, inviting in Iran, and going into all-out civil war.

As Bush tried to say: "Fool me once, shame on thee; fool me twice, shame on me." Let's not get fooled again, spending blood and treasure on people who don't want it and don't deserve it.

Bob Tankel, Dunedin

Remember the toll of war

George W. Bush listened to his neocon advisers and started the war in Iraq. It produced a number of embarrassments, such as: no WMD's and "mission accomplished," to name the most obvious. It produced an incredible drain on our treasury that we still feel. It produced thousands of dead Americans and untold numbers of dead Iraqis. It produced tens of thousands of wounded soldiers.

All this being said, the war seems to have produced a level of hatred toward the United States that is deeper and more widespread than ever. We kick over a hornet's nest that releases jihadis whenever we meddle in the Middle East. These are tribal people who don't want democracy. Let them sort it out.

Tom Reid, Seminole

Three questions about ISIS | June 11

New era of religious strife

We need to stop calling every insurgent a terrorist. That's a cop-out so we don't have to understand exactly what is happening in the Islamic world. We are living in a time of religious wars similar to the beginning of the European Thirty Years' War. And if we fail to recognize that fact we will see centuries of continued conflict and horrors.

Al-Qaida and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, are just two instances of religious groups who want to conflate their religion and the state to replace another sect or religion that is entwined in the government of their country. Just like the Lutherans and Catholics in the early 1600s, the Sunnis and Shiites are determined to overthrow the other sect that is using the government to discriminate against them. These conflicts were suppressed when there were military dictatorships or authoritarian regimes running the governments.

Christianity recovered from the extreme religious conflicts after several centuries when those European nations and the United States shifted to a position of separation of church and state. Today, Europe is confronting an influx of religious-minded Islamists that creates those old tensions all over again. Our response should be to promote the complete separation of religion and government with laws that eliminate that discrimination.

Ian MacFarlane, St. Petersburg

Lack of leadership on Pier persists June 11, editorial

Attractive precedent

Have the architects for the Dalí Museum submitted a design for the Pier? They certainly did a good job on the museum, and to tie it in with the Pier would make the waterfront look outstanding.

Audrey Nopper, Clearwater


Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18