As casket arrives, strength fails them | April 21, story
Young should do more to bring troops home
I felt sick after reading the article about another fallen soldier, Arturo Huerta-Cruz. I cannot begin to imagine the grief his family must be feeling.
But as I studied the photo I began to feel anger. It was very difficult to look at the pain on the faces of his family and see Rep. C.W. Bill Young standing behind them.
I wondered how the congressman reconciles the fact that his son is safe from war's ugliness, safe at work for SAIC, a government contractor that took in $8-billion last year, safe at work for a company that would probably be out of business if war ended.
The article reported that the congressman said he would be very happy when all our troops come home. If this is true, why does the congressman continue to vote for the war? Where are his plans to untangle the country from this debacle? And why does it not sit ill with him that his son profits from his job and ultimately profits from this war? It sits ill with me.
Come on, congressman, it's time to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
Joyce Wylie, St. Petersburg
Power without vision
It was exasperating to read congressman C.W. Bill Young's comment, "I'll be extremely happy when they're all home," alongside the heartbreaking photos of Arturo Huerta-Cruz's family as his casket arrived home from Iraq.
Rep. Young has more power to stop this senseless war than nearly anyone. His compassion is admirable. His and Beverly's regular visits to wounded soldiers are legendary. What this country desperately needs, however, is vision and leadership, and Bill Young just can't seem to see a way out of this mess. It's time for him to step aside for those who do.
Young's defenders point to the bucket loads of money he brings to this area. How many more photos of grieving families will it take to convince us the price is too high?
Bonnie Agan, St. Petersburg
New Rays stadium
Get behind this idea
St. Petersburg can become a great city if special interest groups would get out of its way.
It's interesting to read how many citizens have something negative to say about the Rays' idea to build a new stadium and in particular those who take exception to putting it on the waterfront.
We support the arts as much or more than anyone since my wife volunteers with several local arts organizations. But when the Dali Museum wanted a prime location next to the Mahaffey Theater, who questioned that move? Which facility will bring more people to the waterfront and the surrounding establishments, the Dali or a ballpark? Which facility might get more people to the pier to shore up its failing status? Which facility will generate more revenue for St. Petersburg? My guess is a new ballpark.
For those who think the Rays don't need a new stadium, have they seen numerous balls bounce off the catwalks? Have they tried to watch a game from seats on the outfield baselines where you can't see a fly ball as it is lost against the white roof?
Let's get behind the stadium initiative and bring another world-class facility to St. Petersburg. It's about time.
Wayne Szczepanski, St. Pete Beach
Just say no to Rays
No. No public funding for the Rays. St. Petersburg officials and the Pinellas County commissioners need to learn to say no. Major League baseball is a business that should pay its own way.
If a new stadium is really such a great idea and so good for fans and local businesses, then the fans and local businesses should be willing to pay for it, not the taxpaying public.
The Rays act as if they are entitled to public funding. They don't own the current property, so why should they benefit at all from its redevelopment? Why should they expect to benefit from the hotel tax? Any taxes or other source of public funding could be better spent on city and county services, especially in times of cutbacks like these, rather than a single-use facility that only benefits the Rays, and maybe their fans. But did anyone bother to ask the fans if they wanted to be outdoors in our hot, humid summers?
I haven't heard a single good idea related to the possibility of this new stadium except that it looks pretty, and yet the commissioners seem ready, willing and able to listen to all the ways they can help the Rays by paying for the majority of a new stadium. Commissioners, just say no.
William Nye, Clearwater
Rays need a new stadium
Too many people are automatically shooting down this idea for a new Rays stadium before it even gets a chance to work.
Baseball is meant to be outside. Something just doesn't feel right playing inside, let alone in a warehouse. The Rays need this stadium if we ever hope to get any national attention! But all I hear are critics and protesters.
I only hope the supporters are just quieter than the protesters or hiding or something, because otherwise I don't see enough support for this thing.
Chris Raleigh, Largo
County may work with Rays | April 22, story
A plan to raise funds
First the city of St. Petersburg, and now Pinellas County government. I say, no, a thousand times no. No more tax money to support the Rays.
Now I have an "out of the box" idea for the owners. Sell 12,000 Lifetime Season Tickets at $50,000 each. These seats would be transferable within a family, but not resellable. This would give the team $600-million in cash. They add this to their $150-million and they should have enough money to build the stadium, satisfy all the environmental issues, and purchase property to build the parking they need so that no one has to walk any further than a half-mile to get to the game.
These new owners are all millionaires in their own right. Let them use their business acumen to get their new, modernistic stadium built without tax dollars.
Dave Cordes, Clearwater
Tap the players
I suggest that the way to pay for a new ballpark would be to take 10 to 20 percent of the salaries paid to the players.
Look at Saturday's front page. In the left hand column it talks about a player getting $44-million and in the center of the same page is a story about paying for the proposed stadium and its cost of $450-million.
Paul Miller, St. Petersburg
A state of hostility toward new voters | April 21, editorial
Voting calls for security
I did not see any mention in this editorial that new voters should have to prove they are legal citizens of the United States. The point of election law is not to be convenient; it is to assure that elections are fair and that only citizens vote so that the will of the people of this country are carried out.
Election officers will not challenge anyone under the motor-voter sign ups, and in some places you can sign up to vote with a utility bill! That is insanity.
Names have to match at an airport, which I recently found out, and that should apply at the voting booth. The state needs leadership on stronger laws such as a thumbprint match or national ID cards. Otherwise we will find that our elections are being decided in Guadalajara.
Lynn O'Keefe, Largo
Benedict's mission of healing | April 19, editorial
"The church has yet to come to terms with its legal and moral culpability. It has paid out $2-billion since the scandal broke six years ago." Benedict's "message should be seen as a monumental start for a church that never seemed to get it."
This scandal has been discussed and discussed for six years. The church has given apology after apology and pastoral healing and support to all victims, not to mention the $2-billion. What more do you want?
One also wonders about the motives of the four victims who were front and center the other day for photo-ops. They had been counseled and sympathized with by the church and given financial aid. Could it be for publicity and martyrdom?
Any Catholic who has read the St. Petersburg Times for years knows how delighted you are to report any negative comment about the church.
An Episcopalian professor of religious studies at Pennsylvania State, P. Jenkins, has said, "The Catholic Church is held to a different standard for political reasons because there are just as many abusers in other faiths that you never hear about."
Jean Clark, Oldsmar