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More development means more economic stress for Florida

In crisis, a chance to deal | March 18, story

More development means more stress

Reading this story should shock most of our citizens, but I am afraid it won't. We seem to be on the verge of using the current economic crisis as a chance to reignite the "carpetbagger" mentality that seems to lie just under the surface of our political skin. Before our legislators play games with our environmental laws, they should ask themselves how we get into some of the fixes we are in.

Why are we worried about our water supplies? Why are we worried about "growth" or threats to it? Why are we worried about health care and insurance problems? What about our "double dippers" and threats to our pension funds from AIG's fast and loose investment plans? What really threatens our schools and colleges?

Maybe we should wait to sell the houses we already have built before building any more and putting even more stress on our water supplies and infrastructure.

My Depression-era parents always impressed on me the need to limit debt and live within your means before taking on projects that could cause even more long-term economic stress.

Maybe as a state we need to live within our means for a while before developing any more stress to our system.

David Galaher, St. Pete Beach

In crisis, a chance to deal | March 18, story

Adding to the burden on state taxpayers

In these days when governments at all levels are trying to increase revenue and trim expenses, I can't believe that Republicans in the state Legislature want to eliminate impact fees so that the taxpayers, rather than the developers, will have to pay for the roads, sewers and schools that new developments will require.

James Nelson, Largo

In crisis, a chance to deal | March 18, story

A continuing madness

As a Republican, I would like someone to please explain to me why Sen. Mike Bennett needs political cover and courage to do what he was elected to do. How can anyone in their right mind think that eliminating or lessening the requirements for developing our land will solve our economic problems? We had all the development we could handle under the current rules and look at the mess we are in.

We definitely need smaller government, but I have yet to hear any elected official suggest cutting the size of any government body or taking a pay cut. Our political system is broken and will never be fixed by those who have created this problem.

One definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. By that definition I believe our state and national government is insane, and since we continue to elect the same people we must also be insane.

Dan Lemon, St. Petersburg

Choking on growth

The GOP's effort to stimulate the state economy by "streamlining regulations," i.e., dismantling growth management by eliminating impact fees and dissolving the Department of Community Affairs, is entirely disingenuous. The reason developers are having a rough go of it at the moment is that there is excess capacity in the market driven by the housing bubble, not because developers are hamstrung by unreasonable regulations.

To stimulate its economy Florida needs to harness more sustainable economic engines that have long-term viability. Legislators, talk to your constituents and you will find they are completely fed up with suburban sprawl, choked roadways, water shortages, disappearing green space and wildlife, and higher taxes to pay for infrastructure and services for inadvisable development. The ugly results of unchecked growth are why the Growth Management Act was passed in 1985, and are what is driving the popularity of the Florida Hometown Democracy amendment.

Jan Allyn, Largo

Unkind cutting

After reading an article about possible cuts to state workers' salaries, I feel compelled to write this. I realize that most people are not sympathetic to government employees, thinking that most are overpaid and underworked. But state employees have had no pay raises in the last two years. In actuality, my salary as a state employee has decreased by $1,000 in 2008 because there was a bonus in 2007 that we did not receive in 2008. Before that, the most we got was a 2.5 percent increase in the previous several years.

Having a college degree and more than 35 years of experience, I made just over $34,000 last year. For those of you who may not know, most new college graduates make more than I do. My job is rewarding because of the people I work with, both clients and co-workers. However, state employees have bills to pay, too, and do not deserve this.

To cut our salaries would only perpetuate a feeling that lawmakers do not understand or respect us and add to an already demoralizing and financially critical situation.

Marsha Everton, Tampa

Obama skirts no-lobby promise | March 18, PolitiFact

Unhelpful stone-throwing

At a time when President Barack Obama is trying to lead this country in overcoming the devastating financial, emotional and economic losses that were caused in large measure by the defunding, defanging and dismantling of government regulatory and oversight agencies, the St. Petersburg Times chose to focus in its front-page PolitiFact story on the ticky-tack issue of whether the president is living up to his "no lobbyists" campaign promise.

Not all lobbyists are "evil incarnate," as the story's headline implies. After all, nonpartisan, good-government organizations such as the League of Women Voters employ lobbyists.

In these troubled times, it seems to me we ought to be encouraging Obama to bring aboard every knowledgeable and qualified person he can to help the country weather the economic storms we're facing, rather than hurling journalistic stones at him.

There is no disputing the fact that the Obama administration has established a high ethical standard for itself. Compare that with the previous administration's deceptive and deceitful tactics, and one wonders why the St. Petersburg Times is choosing to attack rather than applaud the powerful and persuasive leadership that Barack Obama is providing this country.

Hal Alterman, Clearwater

Second firm picked to audit election office March 18, story

Tangled up in audits

Now comes more auditing, estimated to cost perhaps as much as $18,000. But wait, there's more. Soon to arrive, more lawsuits; then of course, some auditing of the auditors. Will we citizens be in thrall to auditors, lawyers and elected officials for ever?

Intelligent people ought to be able to find a better way to run a government than this.

Mortimer Brown, Lutz

More development means more economic stress for Florida 03/19/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 19, 2009 7:00pm]
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