Stalled | July 22, PolitiFact
Put blame on partisan Congress
My feeling as I read the articles on President Barack Obama, and as I've watched the president and Congress over the last six months, is that Obama's current success rating does not reflect on Obama so much as it reflects on congressional Republicans who have determined they will do whatever it takes to insure Obama (as a Democrat) fails, and on congressional Democrats whose primary concern is their future campaign financing.
I am disappointed — no, disgusted — that our country is suffering with concerns that greatly affect the lives of most Americans, and the men and women we have elected and who have the power to effect change, continue to be more concerned with self-serving issues and party lines.
The only way we have a chance to change their behavior is for every person to let their member of Congress know what is important to them, that they expect to be represented, and that they will not hesitate to vote for someone else in the next election. That is the only chance the average American has of beating lobbyists and party lines. And it will only work if many people take action.
As for Obama, I continue to believe he understands what is important to Americans and is doing his best to work toward the changes we need to improve our economy, global reputation, health care, etc. I believe his priorities are right and he is an honorable and ethical man with a tremendously difficult job.
Sheri Glass, St. Petersburg
Tent city is clinging to hope | July 22, story
Aiding the homeless is just attracting trouble
According to your article, Hillsborough County has the largest homeless population in the state. Ever wonder why?
The homeless are lured here. They're treated like first-class citizens, which the majority are not!
Tampa will soon become another city that people won't visit or settle in because of all the so-called "homeless" begging on street corners and urinating where they please. What a great attraction!
I know I will never go back to Philadelphia after visiting there several years ago. Every historic place and city park we visited was loaded with them. It was disgusting!
It's time the county commissioners, mayor and citizens of Florida rebel against these so-called homeless.
G. McWilliams, Valrico
Wise to be wary
The folks in Hillsborough County's East Lake Park are 100 percent correct in believing their neighborhood will be adversely affected by the Diocese of St. Petersburg's plan for a tent city in their neighborhood.
Here in Gibsonton, we learned the hard way what such programs can bring. We initially supported Daystar mission's plan to help poor and homeless veterans in our community. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before the complaints came rolling in. Neighbors observed Daystar's clientele urinating in yards, leaving beer and wine bottles everywhere, harassing kids playing in their own yards, loitering all hours of day and night and much more. The program attracted the homeless from all over, not just from Gibsonton.
It's great that the diocese wants to help the less fortunate, but a huge tent city isn't the way to do it!
Bob Minthorn, Gibsonton
Senate bill expands hate crimes law | July 18
The Senate's passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act is an important step forward in protecting the inherent worth and dignity of every person and affirming justice, equity and compassion. The legislation, backed by President Barack Obama, would extend federal protections granted under the 1968 hate crimes law to cover those physically attacked because of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
However, it is only one part of the solution. Now that we have achieved success in the halls of government, we must turn our focus to the hearts and minds of individuals so that we can stop these tragic acts before they happen.
As a faith leader I, along with my community, have made the commitment to stand on the side of love by challenging exclusion, oppression and violence based on people's identities. This all-inclusive and unconditional love is needed not only in the halls of government, but also at our kitchen tables, coffee shops, community centers and street corners.
We will stand with all who share our belief that no person of any immigrant status, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation, or political view should be dehumanized.
The Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater
Florida's message: Hang up and drive July 22, story
The article about texting or e-mailing while driving fits in well with an extensive New York Times article on the subject in its Sunday edition. One fact asserted there (and in your paper in the past) affirms that studies indicate the awareness of a cell-phone driver may be comparable to that of a person with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or above.
I have been amazed at the real level of this threat through nonscientific observations of my own. In the afternoon I frequently walk along Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. Sometimes, to break the potential boredom, I watch for drivers using their cell phones while traveling toward downtown. I discovered that, on average, for every 10 vehicles there were approximately 2 to 2.5 homeward-bound people on their cell phone (moving at 40 to 50 mph). In stark terms this means 20 to 25 out of every 100 automobiles traveling Bayshore Boulevard at that time of day are being driven by the equivalent of drunken drivers.
Scary? Unfortunately, realities such as this bear no weight when faced down by the telecommunications lobbyists who convince their head-in-the sand-politicians this risk is imagined.
Arthur N. Eggers, Tampa
Florida's message: Hang up and drive July 22, story
Officers often offend
My statement to Cpl. Darrin Barlow of the Hillsborough Couny Sherriff's Office is that he should teach his own people and those in every other police department in the state.
I travel through Pasco County to Hillsborough five days a week, and every day I see officers on their cell phones with one hand on the wheel. I might add they don't like to use their signals no matter how close they need to make their turns with you behind them.
This is an issue that I have witnessed every day with about six different agencies that I encounter.
I am not saying that the general public doesn't do the same thing, because I witness it every day. But law enforcement needs to start with their own officers, which the public is seeing every day do the same offense.
Judy Kimball, Dade City