Selig losing patience over stadium impasse | July 17
Hey, Bud, Rays are doing all right
Bud Selig, the Major League Baseball commissioner, works for the owners of the teams. So we're not going to get an objective analysis of baseball in Tampa Bay from him.
While attendance at Rays games is low, it has doubled since their losing years. So as a relatively new franchise in a smaller market, the Rays are moving in the right direction.
The Rays' low attendance is a result of poor public transit and high parking fees for those who have cars. The attendance should improve substantially if the transit referendum passes next year. The light rail and increased bus service will take fans to and from Rays games from Clearwater to St. Petersburg with more than a dozen stops in between.
The outdated stadium is another matter. The Rays are only one of two teams out of 30 that still play on an artificial surface. The most cost-effective location for a new stadium is the parking lot of Tropicana Field because the county already owns the property. The old stadium could be razed for a new parking lot. The Mets, Yankees and Pirates have done this.
Finally, although attendance isn't higher, according to Forbes magazine, the Rays are one of the most profitable franchises in Major League Baseball. With improved public transit, the Rays' profits should go through the roof — which will be retractable on the new stadium.
Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg
St. Pete utilities online convenience fees
A $2 cheap shot
I would like to chide the city of St. Petersburg utilities for its decision to charge a $2 convenience fee to pay my bill online. I have decided to go back to using the mail service and pay the 46 cents for a postage stamp instead.
It is a slight inconvenience to me, but I revel in knowing that now the inconvenience will be moved to the city's end. Now, instead of receiving an automatic payment moved electronically, the city will receive a stamped envelope with a physical check that it will have to pay someone to open and process.
Side note to postal employees: I apologize for straying. For your sake, I hope more of this continues. And I hope this letter changes the minds of anyone who does pay the extra fee to go and invest in a book of forever stamps instead!
Don Jones, St. Petersburg
Another Dozier indignity | July 17, editorial
Let the healing begin
This editorial is on the dot as to the shameful way our state has handled the allegations at the Dozier School for Boys. God help all those involved on both sides to come to terms with this and let the healing begin. Those who were a party to this injustice need to be dealt with lawfully.
The longer this goes on the worse it smells, and Secretary of State Ken Detzner should let justice be done for these families and the survivors of this hideous school. If it were his loved ones, he would be pushing for justice. God bless those who were hurt and their family and friends, and I pray they can bring their loved ones home to their family plots.
Crystal Mackey, Dade City
Keep the inverted pyramid closed July 18, editorial
If Lens is rejected
I have observed both of the 828 Alliance task force meetings, start to finish. As I heard it, they were looking down the road at how St. Petersburg should proceed if the proposed ordinance to terminate the Maltzan contract to design the Lens gets a "yes" from voters. To have a recommendation on Aug. 28, they would need information now.
The problem the Lens proponents have is that their recent argument for the Lens — that it's better than nothing and that the city will suffer great economic harm with nothing where the Pier has stood — is easily dealt with. When faced with great economic harm, the logical response is to spend a reasonable amount to avoid that great harm. In this case that would be reopening all of the pierhead, proudly flying our American flag, and possibly opening up the roof and parts of the air-conditioned interior. It makes sense to keep the Pier open for residents and visitors to enjoy to the maximum extent possible.
William C. Ballard, president of Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg
Government can't do all | July 18, letter to editor
Have-nots need support
No one is expecting the government to do it all. But if we want to keep our No. 1 status in the world we should provide the basics — food, shelter, education and health care.
The letter writer did not mention the wealthy tax cheats or the rich who hide their money in offshore accounts to keep from paying their fair share of taxes. He did not mention that the Walton siblings have a combined worth of $115.7 billion while paying the people who work for them less than $10 an hour. Also, Wal-Mart says it will force the workers to go part time if the Affordable Care Act goes into effect. How can they sleep at night?
This path is going to destroy us. Rebellions take place when the haves take most of the pie, leaving the have-nots with nothing. And the gap is widening each day.
Mary Sheppard, Riverview
School grades padded | July 17
Too many compromises
How can we know how well our children are taught, and how well they have learned, if our education system is based on false accomplishment for the sake of looking more successful than it really is?
The success of our education system should be based on real accomplishments, based on grading students without a curve, showing that they actually listened in class, studied their subjects and honestly passed their tests.
If students don't earn a passing grade, they shouldn't be allowed to move on to the next grade. The school should not be blamed unless the teachers are incompetent.
Too many compromises have been made for the sake of appearance at the expense of our children's education. For that, the school system is to blame.
Richard Valentine, Palm Harbor