I voted for Rick Scott because he hadn't been a politician; he had been a smart businessman. I liked his views, ideas, thinking and plans. I figured his spending $73 million of his own money to get elected showed his intent to not get wrapped up with lobbyists. Now he may have stabbed me in the back.
If he had spent $3 million of his own money to throw this bash and not taken it from lobbyists, I would have felt better. Now, if Gov. Scott does one obvious favor for medical, real estate or casino interests, the media should tear him apart like they do other criminals.
In other democratic countries, both the giver and receiver of funds to do a "favor" using public dollars are guilty of bribery. I'll be watching the news for the first favor. I bet I won't have long to wait.
Bob Wolfe, Sun City Center
Actions speak loudly
Did Gov. Rick Scott not get the memo that this state is in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression? I know that our state's work force got the memo that he intends to eliminate 5 percent of them. How many of those jobs could have been saved by simply refraining from the inaugural celebration?
And who is bankrolling this elected official's enjoyment? I get upset when I hear about congressmen getting huge contributions from lobbyists. How is this different?
Scott should take a long look at his constituents and ask what his actions are saying to them. So far, I'm hearing Scott say he's going to help us save money and find employment for Floridians, and what I see is money wasted on a weeklong celebration. Life is about choices. Please make better ones, and fast.
Rhiannon Funke, St. Petersburg
Clock is ticking
Rick Scott promised 700,000 jobs in seven years. That is roughly 274 jobs every day. The clock is ticking. And that figure doesn't take into account all the jobs being eliminated by down-sizing our state government. Good luck; we're watching. You will be held accountable.
Greg Walleigh, Palm Harbor
Abolish DROP program
If Rick Scott is concerned about the future of the Florida retirement system, I suggest he abolish the DROP program.
This program encourages long-term employees to stay on the job while collecting retirement payments into a high-interest account. This is wrong on many levels.
This program stifles employment opportunities for Floridians and keeps wage costs high. Contributions to the retirement system stop when employees enter into DROP.
The governor will need to stand up to the insiders who benefit from this program if he wants to make a difference.
Ken Paine, Homosassa
Axis of Arrogance
The governor's inauguration speech reveals a desire to have his revenge against those who regulated his activities in his former life as an entrepreneur.
He identifies taxation, regulation and litigation as forces that stand in the way of financial success. He does not see these as controls on what otherwise would be a free-for-all, devil-take-the-hindmost environment. Without controls, the citizen is left without recourse against the excesses of rampant, cut-throat capitalism.
Gov. Rick Scott also calls for accountability. He says, "I expect to be held accountable." That is laughable. He is already on record, time after time, refusing to be accountable by refusing to answer questions.
He offers a new turn of a phrase — a three-pole "Axis of Unemployment." But all I see is a standard axis with two poles. Call it an "Axis of Arrogance." It begins with a dogmatic assertion that allows no discussion based on reason and logic, and goes directly to a foregone conclusion.
If Scott has his way, Floridians are in for a rough ride.
Mortimer Brown, Lutz
Pricey job hunt
Florida's new governor said in his inaugural address Tuesday that "the only path to better days is paved with new private sector jobs." I do not know how many new private sector jobs Rick Scott could have created with $73 million. But I do know how many Florida government jobs $73 million will buy you: one.
Thomas Metcalfe, Lutz
Given Gov. Rick Scott's feeling that programs should not be "top down" and not treat individuals as "interchangeable parts on an assembly line," it will be fascinating to watch his education policy evolve.
The recent waves of conservative educational thought — witness New York City — evaluate students and teachers by mass-produced, standardized tests designed by private business, not teachers; and use uniform curricula, the epitome of top-down, assembly-line processes.
It sounds to me like the governor is facing a dilemma.
Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg
What about fraud?
In his speech Gov. Scott included a list of all the things that his administration will not tolerate. Included among them is anything that would be a barrier to job creation. He also said he would not tolerate unscrupulous lawsuits against the state.
He did not mention anything about his administration going after people who commit fraud against the state or federal government. Does this mean that his administration will tolerate unscrupulous fraud if it will lead to job creation? Just a reminder to all those who voted for him: Our new governor oversaw a company that went on to pay record fines for Medicare fraud.
Arnulfo Silva, Palm Harbor
Citizens at risk
After 12 years of Republican governors and a Republican-controlled Legislature, do we really believe that removing the remaining regulations will turn this state around? When corporations cannot be sued or regulated, the individual citizen will regret the foolish choice of a governor whose company was caught by regulations in a massive fraud against the taxpayers.
Paul W. Hitchens, St. Petersburg
Congratulations, Gov. Scott. Just remember, if it doesn't go your way, you can always plead the Fifth.
Arthur Harris, Clearwater
Sign of the times
Wednesday's front-page headline read, "Now the job is his." Pasted just above was a sticker, "Bernie Madoff Auction." Perfect timing, or prophecy of our future?
Margaret Hyde, Clearwater
Uniting Tampa Bay
Instead of looking south, logo should look east, west
A seemingly permanent fixture on the Times editorial page features the words "Uniting Tampa Bay" with an illustration of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and under that, the words "Florida's Best Newspaper." Since it is the Skyway, I'm wondering why there has not been consistent coverage over the years of our neighbors to the south in Manatee and Sarasota counties, except for the occasional traffic accident, crime rampage or miscellaneous feature.
A recent Times article detailed preliminary results from the 2010 census, addressing five or six counties in the Tampa Bay area but not Manatee or Sarasota.
So why not replace the illustration? Arguably, the Times "unites" (or should I say "incites"?) Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, so there are three car-strangled spanners to choose from for an illustration — Courtney Campbell, Howard Frankland and Gandy.
Richard MacAulay, St. Petersburg
It's Tuesday morning, and I just finished Jeff Klinkenberg's story about Slim from Sunday's paper. I also started the Mensa test, put that aside for another day, and read about the beginnings of Ybor City, Charlie Crist's goodbye letter, a story about the new governor and some of the letters to the editor about earlier columns.
It occurred to me that I gained all this exposure to information that I did not have before. I have been reading the Times since I moved here in 1973. I spend time on the Internet, but the newspaper is much more fulfilling and educational. This is the newspaper's role in today's society and why it should never go away. We get great writing from dedicated reporters who entertain us and educate us and make us think about different points of view and, yes, even get us to write heated letters — all for less than 50 cents.
So to the fellow who wrote about maybe ending his subscription: Keep reading, because you don't know what is coming tomorrow, and I for one can hardly wait.
Jerry Tetro, Seminole
Like newbies to the slaughter | Jan. 4, Daniel Ruth column
Limiting the voters
Once again, Daniel Ruth hit the nail on the head — this time regarding the negative effects of term limits. The main problem with term limits is, well, they are limiting. And whom do they limit? The voters. With term limits, voters cannot return to office (after eight years) a very productive politician. Why shouldn't the public be entitled to return to office the best of the best as proven by a pol's record?
Another downside to term limits is that final term produces politicians no longer beholden to their constituents as they are soon to be headed out the door. Special interests, here I come! On the flip side, if a politician doesn't do a good job, we have the "term limit" of voting him out. It is the public's responsibility to get to the voting booths and vote out ineffective politicians. If the public neglects that responsibility, whose fault is that? Certainly not the system's.
It was not a perfect system, but it sure beats the "term-limited" fix we have now, full of holes, floundering newbies and massive turnover. Try running a business with constant change in management.
Dianne Franz, Palm Harbor
Visitors enjoy Pier
As snowbirds from Canada, we were disturbed to read about the potential demolition of the Pier in downtown St. Petersburg. We feel it would be a huge loss to tourists who enjoy spending Sunday afternoons in this beautiful locale listening to first-class bands in a magnificent setting.
We travel each Sunday from Palm Harbor for the entertainment and miss the bar that was on the patio. Obviously, the structural safety must be addressed, however, a coat of paint and proper lighting would greatly enhance the interior. Also, having an international food court as we do in Toronto would be a huge attraction.
It is unfortunate that the lovely shops in the downtown area surrounding the Pier are closed on Sunday — it would surely bring more people to the area if they remained open.
Harborfront in Toronto was also in trouble, but after receiving a grant and holding fundraisers it has become the No. 1 tourist attraction, which locals also patronize.
Noreen Azoulay, Toronto, Ontario
Other people's money
Kottkamp Syndrome, or KS, named for our former lieutenant governor Jeff Kottkamp ("Kottkamp expenses: $1.1M," Jan. 1), is a genetic problem that prevents the basic principles of economics from ever intruding upon the conscious activities of government officials.
The two basic principles that appear to be the easiest for our government officials to ignore are:
1. Respect your currency. Most of us who work for a living have this respect because we know how hard we worked for it. Too often, government officials give no thought to the fact people work to provide the money politicians love to throw around.
2. Spenders should attempt to determine whether or not the money they wish to spend will cause us to receive something of value.
There is a cure for KS: fresh air. Simply fire those with the condition and let them stand outside for a while (in an unemployment line?) where the fresh air will remind them that the privilege of spending money should to restricted to those who understand the value of money.
W.A. Broderick, Tampa