More madness in gun-happy Florida | Jan. 21, Daniel Ruth column
More guns mean less crime
Daniel Ruth's basic premise that expanded firearm rights have had a negative effect on Florida is false.
It began in 1987 when Republican Gov. Bob Martinez signed Florida's concealed-carry bill, repeatedly passed by the Legislature but vetoed time and again by Democratic Gov. Bob Graham. Since then, Florida's murder and violent crime rates have plummeted, according to statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Since 1987, the number of licensed concealed-carry citizens has mushroomed to more than 780,000.
These facts support the concept of "more guns, less crime," in direct opposition to Ruth's rhetorical and emotional "common sense" approach of more and more gun control laws.
Each of the proposed new firearm-related laws is based in reality and protects gun owners from local government intrusion on their constitutional rights, including protection from unwarranted medical-related intrusion on their privacy, allowing concealed weapon license holders to move their pistols from inside their shirts to the outside of their clothing, and to allow on-campus carry to give all licensed law-abiding students, faculty and staff more equal footing in the event of criminal campus attacks.
The right to self-defense and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms are the central issues here. The NRA has got it right, Marion Hammer has got it right and, hopefully, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott will also get it right. Right on target. Sorry, Daniel, you missed the target altogether.
Lee Hanson, Hudson
Times Forum may get makeover | Jan. 27
We can't afford renovations
Why is it that Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan always claims he is against raising taxes, but is always the first one in line to spend the limited tax dollars that do come to the county?
Just how much was that "meaningful commitment" given to Hagan by the Tampa Bay Lightning team to improve the arena? They are asking $40 million from the county for renovations. Oh, we want the GOP conventioneers to love the new seats when they come to town? Let's hope they are color-blind, as all the new seats will be Democrat blue.
Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach
For true fans, he's the man | Jan. 22
Daly nasty on Manilow
I must take exception to Sean Daly's review of the Barry Manilow concert Jan. 21 at the St. Pete Times Forum. Cheesy? Smarm? Groany spots? Discofied clunkers? Mr. Manilow writes music, writes lyrics, performs around the world and publicizes his causes (arts in schools). And what does Mr. Daly create? Nothing, except criticism of other people's work. Does he get paid to be nasty and sarcastic? What a way to make a living.
If Mr. Daly doesn't like Mr. Manilow's music, so be it. He could have written about how much the audience loved it. People of all ages — at least four generations' worth — sang along, clapped, shouted and brought Mr. Manilow back for two curtain calls. But to mock a person's physical appearance or the "sappy" songs or the behavior of the audience shows a limited appreciation of entertainment and is disrespectful to the entertainer and the audience. Was Mr. Daly even at the same concert I was?
Dianne Forster, Clearwater
Objectivity lost in review
As a reader of Sean Daly's blog about Barry Manilow, I'd encourage him to offer more quantitative reviews for your readers vs. the qualitative approach he's taken to the review of American music icon Barry Manilow.
Manilow has earned a place in our culture for over 40-some years by combining crowd-pleasing excellence with a gift for arranging and staging musical shows. He also has a band and cast of talented musicians who've played, sung and arranged with the likes of McCoy Tyner; Earth, Wind, and Fire; Sammy Davis Jr.; Michael Jackson; David Foster and Bob Dylan.
Mr. Daly obviously carried his preconceived impressions into the venue, as illustrated in his blog post a couple of days prior to the show. As a reader, I enjoy reviews where the critic has researched the artists beforehand (or at least read a program) and takes an objective approach to the performance and audience reaction.
Melissa Levitt, Lakeland
Raising region's bar on jobs | Jan. 23
Make firms accountable
The idea of bringing new industry into the area with the promises of direct financial support is wasteful at best. I reference the St. Petersburg Times' article of Aug. 8 on PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The company outsourced 500 high-paying jobs to India after having receiving at least $255,000 in tax rebates from city, county and state governments for the creation of 320 high-paying jobs in the Tampa Bay area. How often do we read that a company moved into the area, received incentives for jobs created and then moved the operation offshore, leaving behind a skeleton operation to manage the business and the taxpayers holding a half-empty bag?
Progress Energy's Vinny Dolan, who has been tasked with making the "blueprint for regional economic development" happen, is absolutely right when he says you need accountability. I say, not one dime of taxpayer money should be paid out for this type of activity until it is in writing that the companies that receive assistance will pay it back, with interest, if they or the jobs they create go away.
Russell J. Watrous, Land O'Lakes
The end of an era | Jan. 24
In defense of baby boomers
I couldn't resist responding to the letter writer's opinion regarding "the end of an era" for baby boomers and her statement that our great achievements were bringing us hippies, pot and "telling off the man." Sure, our generation has more than its share of flaws but we brought a few more things to the table than this writer suggests. For starters, our era has witnessed desegregation, civil rights legislation, equal pay for equal work, stopping an unjustified and divisive war in Vietnam, and the unmaking of a paranoid, bigoted president, Richard Nixon.
We enjoyed the advent of MRI and CT scans, heart bypass surgery, joint prosthetics and too many other medical devices to mention. We can view and record hundreds of TV channels, listen to satellite radio and communicate with mobile phone and computer devices. Maybe that's what the writer meant by, "Thanks for the Internet."
Since around 2000 we have become a little cranky and loud. After eight years with George Bush, another useless war in Iraq, no standard-of-living pay increases for 10 years and the near collapse of our economy, we're a little irritated. Not to mention the loss of 30 to 50 percent value of our retirement investments and the real estate and employment busts.
Perhaps the writer would prefer to live in a time where her only viable options were housewife, secretary or bookkeeper at a salary of 50 percent of a man's. Then she could enjoy her three TV stations or listen to AM radio. Boy, those were the good old days.
P.S. Curry, Seminole