Tampa's tax fraud 'queen' | April 24
What an insult to honest people
With tax fraud still rampant in the bay area and the country, your story on imprisoned and self-described tax fraud queen Rashia Wilson was painful to read. Wilson has more money in her prison bank account than most honest, hard-working citizens do in theirs.
The sheer fact that she is still scamming the government by not paying her token $50 restitution is an insult to the judicial system and everyone that was financially injured by her greed.
The fact remains that she and an accomplice still owe the IRS $3.1 million, and it would be ludicrous to believe even a small dent will ever be made to pay it off.
Mike Merino, Tampa
Justices uphold ban | April 23
What about test scores?
If affirmative action programs are banned by a state and, therefore, its public colleges and universities, those institutions should also discontinue use of standardized test results, for which extensive preparation is available for a (usually hefty) fee, to evaluate applicants for admission.
If the application process no longer considers the applicants' lack of opportunity, which significantly affects minority students, then the ability of the more affluent to have their children tutored into college should also be eliminated. A number of highly regarded colleges have already indicated that these tests are not a good predictor of subsequent performance in college. They have come to be valued by those who can afford to pay to play, and on an un-level playing field at that!
Susan Nigro, St. Petersburg
John Paul II canonization | April 17
A saint, he ain't, indeed
This time I wholeheartedly agree with Maureen Dowd. John Paul II was far from perfect! I found the nonchalance with which he commented on the martyrdom of Bishop Oscar Romero as hurtful and offensive as his failure to acknowledge the pedophilia crises. As a modern Thomas Beckett, Romero was murdered while he celebrated mass in the San Salvador Cathedral His crime? He had threatened the power and the wealth of El Salvador landlords by supporting the rights and the human dignity of the farmers slaving in the fields. But I believe that Dowd is wrong in expecting perfection from any human being, including a proclaimed saint. The New Testament goes a long way in describing the defects of the people who surrounded Jesus.
If modern social media had been available centuries past I believe we would have discovered numerous flaws even in the most beloved saints such as Francis of Assisi. In acknowledging sainthood, the Catholic church provides mentors rather than role models. These mentors enable each person to discover her/his personal way to sanctity using his or her personal talents.
By witnessing the joy of faith even in face of persecution and suffering, and by proclaiming that the sacredness of the human condition can never be violated, John Paul II inspired millions of people to find in Christianity the final and lasting response to their human angst.
Lodovico Balducci, Tampa
Drop Maureen Dowd
I demand that you drop Maureen Dowd as a columnist in your paper. Her comment that Pope John Paul II "ain't no saint" is insulting to Catholics everywhere.
No one is perfect. We all make mistakes; we all commit sins. Saints are human beings, just like the rest of us. They too make mistakes and commit sins. Even the great Saint Peter betrayed Jesus 3 times. St. Augustine was a real rabble rouser in his youth.
How many times does the Pope and the Church have to apologize and make amends for the few priests who have committed horrible crimes?
Why do liberal columnists continue to criticize the church? It is a matter of discrediting the church's teachings so they will not have to take a close look at their own values.
The "if it feels good, do it" philosophy of the modern world is not compatible with church teaching. By continually pointing out the sins of a few priests, the liberal columnists can discredit the teachings and beliefs of a religion that teaches good moral "politically incorrect" values.
Instead of tackling the moral issues of modern life, it is much easier to take pot shots at the church and make fun of a holy man.
Lhoda Jacoby, St. Pete Beach
Crime rate in Florida | April 23
Burying good news
Nice to see some good news for once but you buried it on the back page of the Local section. I try to read your paper back to back and I'm glad I do. News that the crime rate in Florida once again dropped should be front page news, but no one was shot or killed so once again the good new is regulated to the back page. It is heart-warming to read that we now have the lowest crime rate in 43 years but it was attributed to "better sharing of information between law enforcement." It couldn't be because since 1985 carry permits have increased to over one million responsible citizens expressing their second Amendment rights? If a criminal knows that he will be faced with a citizen with a firearm, he might think twice before committing that crime? I think that is the real reason the crime rate is down and falling.
James Hildebrand, Spring Hill
U.S. middle class in decline | April 23
Pot pie economics
As incomes have continued to flatline for the middle class since 2000, I was surprised when I took out two pot pies for dinner and noticed that one was much smaller than the other. I looked at the packages and they were almost identical in size and then I looked at the ounces: one of the pot pies was 10 ounces and the other was 16 ounces (I paid the same for both).
I then began to look at other packaging sizes for other food products and discovered that many of the packaged foods we buy have shrunken in size even though we are paying the same.
All of this might be okay if our middle class incomes had been able to catch up for the increased prices for everything we consume, from electricity to insurance to food to gasoline to property insurance, health care, etc.
It's not likely that anyone in Congress or the Florida "Bought and Paid For" legislature will address this problem.
Patricia Chevalier, St. Petersburg