Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Pinellas commissioners' bald-faced partisanship

Property taxes may rise | May 9

An act of blatant partisanship

How dare they. The Pinellas commissioners, that is. Ken Welch, Susan Latvala and Norm Roche have all just proposed a property tax increase, and at the same meeting voted to give $600,000 of our money to fund a welcoming party for the Republican National Convention in August. The barefaced partisanship of it stuns me.

It is the Republican-dominated Legislature that passed a change in the way Medicaid is billed that is, at root, responsible for this proposed tax increase, so why should the Republican Party receive any help from us?

Commissioners, we shall remember you in November.

John Starkey, St. Petersburg

Property taxes may rise | May 9

Carving up the tax pie

Our political leaders at all levels just don't get it. Our "state" politicians voted to pass on the cost of Medicaid to the counties. For this, Pinellas County will be on the hook for another $68.9 million over the next six years to pay for this unfunded state mandate. Our "county" politicians described our county budget as already awash in red ink and the general fund in deficit, and they are talking about a property tax increase. Then at the same meeting, our "county" politicians agreed to pay $600,000 for a "private" party at Tropicana Field for a political party that our "federal" politicians are already paying another $100 million to "city" politicians to spend in Tampa! It's not about our taxes; it's about how we spend them.

Charlie Rutz, Clearwater

More punishment for some

So the county wants to raise the property tax rate. This will further punish people who already pay double or triple the amount of their neighbors who live in similar houses. The reason is the "Save Our Homes" property tax cap thought up and championed by the Lee County property appraiser, Ken Wilkinson. It sets some property assessments artificially low, depending on how long the owner has owned and homesteaded the property, instead of the actual value of the property. So if the rate goes up and your assessment is high, your tax goes up more than your neighbor whose assessment is low.

Instead of government doing its job and lowering the rate, when appropriate, we now have a system that punishes people new to Florida who buy into an established neighborhood.

This constitutional amendment needs to be removed and we should return to a system where we all pay our fair share instead of paying both your own and your neighbors' share.

Thomas J. Travis, Dunedin

Dems should party, too

I think the Democratic Party of Pinellas should ask the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners for $600,000 so they too can party down at the Tropicana Stadium.

Walter Gay, Dunedin

Details emerge in new pier contract | May 9

Delay this major outlay

The Vote on the Pier group is making the real progress in regard to the pier's future. While this grass roots group of St. Petersburg citizens is about to reach the required total to consider this issue on the ballot, the City Council continues with its own agenda. The citizens are telling the council and the mayor that they want a say, a vote, on this important matter. Not once has the mayor or council inquired with the petition group to learn of their progress. Why not?

One million dollars spent on the design competition … $138,000 proposed to cover travel expenses … the rest of the $5 million proposed to rush the Lens through, even though the main component of this concept is impossible to achieve. Just ask any local marine biologist: Tampa Bay will not accommodate a water garden.

The council needs to postpone this $5 million expenditure until some fundamental questions are answered.

Jeannie Cline, St. Petersburg

Pier idea's long walk short on pizzazz May 8, John Romano column

Joke will be on taxpayers

Bravo! Somebody not afraid to let St. Petersburg know that it is headed for a big waste of money.

First of all, check the description of what a pier is. It is not a sidewalk or a concrete wall sitting in the water. This design, selected by "experts," is ridiculous and will, if actually constructed, be the white elephant it looks like.

Fifty million for two sidewalks and a concrete white-washed wall is not a prudent expense when St. Petersburg needs a new law enforcement center.

In the end, the joke will be on the residents/taxpayers.

Germaine Bretagne, Clearwater

Pier can be so many things

I'm right on with John Romano.

"It's a sidewalk." Spending $50 million for a long walk!

Lets keep our pier economical, practical and beautiful in these deficit times.

First, yes, we must tear down the existing pyramid. Second, shore up the pilings on the approach and make it pedestrian friendly only. Third, utilize the landscape architects already on the city payroll to plan a parklike pier with jogging and bicycling paths, seating areas, kiosks for refreshments, boat rentals, kayaks, boat trips, etc. Fourth, at the pier's end, put in water fountains for children to frolic in such as Tampa's Riverwalk and Lowry Park Zoo.

At sunset, have dancing water shows that could be viewed from the downtown waterfront. The Bellagio on the Strip in Vegas entertains thousands daily with its show. Water from Tampa Bay could be used. "Eh." I just don't get it either, John.

Elaine Schroeder, St. Petersburg

Gay marriage ban

Ban adultery?

I am led to believe that there has been some serious intellectual disagreement as to whether the Bible actually defines marriage as involving only a man and a woman, but there is no question as to what the Ten Commandments say about the evils of adultery.

Therefore I am thinking about starting a statewide petition drive to add a ban on adultery to the state Constitution. Thereafter we can criminalize it if we wish. I am sure that our conservative male politicians would be supportive of such a move as part of their belief that church and state need not be separated.

Arthur N. Eggers, Tampa


Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18