I read your editorial endorsement of Alex Sink for governor in the context of the following:
• Pew Research reported in September 2009 that 18 percent of us believe that the press "deals fairly with all sides."
• Rasmussen, tracking the gulf between ordinary voters and the "political class," found that 70 percent of the political class supports more services and higher taxes, while 78 percent of mainstream voters prefer fewer services and lower taxes.
• When Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gave her inaugural address as speaker of the House in 2007, she vowed there would be "no new deficit spending." Since that day, the national debt has increased by $5 trillion, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
There is no hope for strength in Florida when our country is mired in escalating deficits of money and trust. It is not credible that a Democrat who backs the policies of the current administration is the better fiscal choice for Florida.
Dan Verreault, Parrish
Policies too vague
In the PolitiFact item Scott stretches Sink's plans into $12.5B fiction, most of your argument is based on word usage because Alex Sink uses vague terms to describe her plan. What she is doing is called equivocation.
To be fair, you should expose her vague answers. She is a smart woman with a lot of experience and knows better than to purposely use ambiguous statements to sway voters. You portray Rick Scott's statement as false but barely note that it is because Sink's statements are vague.
If you do not have all the facts, state that you do not have them. That is what both candidates should have done on the minimum wage question in the debate. I did not expect either to know the answer because it is not immediately relevant to the race and the information is readily available. There is no need to have it memorized. They both should have said, "I don't know that but I know where to get it."
Bill White, Tampa
Sink's text message
Just a distraction
Does Sink's text message really merit half of the front page above the fold? Alex Sink mopped the floor with Rick Scott in the debate, and all the media can seem to do is focus on one misplaced text message. Can we have some actual journalism here? Can we please have some discussion of the issues?
Alan S. Petrillo, St. Petersburg
Rubio's rigid ideology | Oct. 25
On the wrong track
Of course you are sprinting hard every day to sell your political agenda. But there are serious logic limps in your stride. First, to say that Marco Rubio and Kendrick Meeks "leave no opening for building consensus to move the nation forward" is an implicit admission that the nation is not moving forward.
Second, since when was consensus even a consideration with a Democratic-controlled House and Senate to ramrod the Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bills? I believe the panic button is stuck in the "on" position, and rightly so: crushing debt for posterity, unemployment that continues to increase, a heath care reform bill that most Americans disapprove.
Consensus is important, but it's the American public's consensus that matters and is being ignored and even belittled as Air Force One races around desperately trying to save Democrats' seats.
You criticize Rubio on the grounds that maintaining tax rates for the so-called wealthy would add $700 billion to the deficit. But spending money we don't have — not tax breaks — adds to the deficit. As Winston Churchill said, "A nation trying to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket trying to lift himself up."
We are on the wrong track. Making it longer won't make it right.
Jim Dentinger, St. Petersburg
Florida Senate race
Thank you for this look at the three Senate candidates and their ideology. I have always admired a person who can look at an issue and, when given all the facts, change his or her mind. Since when has the ability to make wise decisions become an issue?
The problem in Washington and among voters is dogma. We have a difficult time altering our opinion. Instead of gathering good evidence, we listen to only those with whom we agree. I would rather see a senator from Florida who is not constrained by party ideology.
D. Coffield, Tampa
Too much money
A report released recently says spending on House and Senate races this year is expected to approach $2 billion.
We know Rick Scott has spent millions of his own money to obtain a job which only pays around $140,000.
This is one area where we must demand change. But lately the situation is getting worse, with corporations able to donate to campaigns without disclosure. Unlimited spending for campaigns shows the rich have way too much money to spend. Meanwhile seniors in their 70s and 80s won't see any increase in Social Security this year and probably for years to come with the government's pseudo-scientific inflation index.
No wonder the rich are worried about the redistribution of wealth and having to pay their fair share of income taxes — who would finance all the thieves who are running for office?
Jim Demmy, Kenneth City
Cap the spending
I am exhausted and fed up with the midterm political campaign process. The relentless negative ads are now coming back to back. TV wasn't very good before with all the commercials; now it's unwatchable.
Shadowy groups with vaguely patriotic-sounding names are spending tons of cash to say whatever they want about opposing candidates. It's disgusting.
We, the American people, need to find a way to force reform. There should be a spending cap. You shouldn't be able to buy political office. Groups advertising for or against a candidate should be forced to identify themselves and their affiliations. They should be subject to the laws governing libel if they're caught lying about a candidate, their background or record. Campaigning should only be allowed to start three months before the primary or election.
Jeff Cutting, Brandon
A poor education
Message to the youth in preschool, elementary, middle and high school: Please do not watch any of the political ads on television as sadly they will teach you how to be a bully.
Linda Reed, Tampa
Amendments 5 and 6
End the dirty tricks
I am generally not in favor of government by constitutional amendment, but the Fair Districts proposed Amendments 5 and 6 on our ballot represent a necessity for the people of Florida if we are to ensure that political districts are not configured to favor a particular candidate or party.
Unfortunately, Florida is nationally known not only for hanging chads and uncounted votes but also for having some of the most outrageously drawn legislative and congressional districts in the country. This year "we the people" have a chance to end this election dirty trick that happens every 10 years after the U.S. Census when our Legislature redistricts.
Lee Essrig, Tampa
Voters will need to do homework Oct. 27, letter
Control special interests
In response to this letter on Amendment 4, I can only say: "Isn't that the case with all issues?"
Supporters of Amendment 4, and that should include all who love Florida and desire that it be managed sustainably, suffer no illusions that the measure will stop development. That's not the point. Instead, it will require that development follow the comprehensive plan that has been devised by consensus, with input from developers, environmentalists, residents, politicians, etc. This is how the process should work, and this is the epitome of representative government.
What is not representative is to then disregard that consensus-based plan and instead build whatever, wherever despite the plan. Amendment 4 will stop that, by forcing such deviations from plan to be considered and approved by the voters. The voters won't have to understand every detail of every development initiative, just those that attempt to deviate from the plan.
Amendment 4 is a response to special interest influence, and given the present state of development in Florida those special interests could hardly have more influence.
Bill Arnold, St. Petersburg
Put people back to work
On Aug. 3, the West Central Florida Federation of Labor, Central Labor Council voted to support the 1 cent sales tax referendum. We are strongly encouraging our 43,779 members and their family members to approve this investment in the future of Hillsborough County.
Approving this referendum would create:
• A 21st century transportation system, which is greatly needed in Tampa.
• Thousands of construction jobs, which would put our neighbors, friends and families back to work.
• New business investments in our greater communities, which spawns more construction jobs while creating thousands of new jobs in these business ventures.
• Jobs outside our community through the purchase of new buses for the expanded bus routes and the needed construction materials.
• Safer bicycle lanes.
• Safer pedestrian sidewalks.
Approving this referendum will simply put our fellow citizens back to work and attract new businesses, conventions and tourists to the Tampa Bay area.
Robert Ray, president, West Central Florida Federation of Labor, Central Labor Council, Tampa
We've already been taxed
In 1996, Hillsborough residents were asked to pass a 1 cent sales tax hike called the Community Investment Tax. Funds raised from this tax were to address education, public safety, transportation, utilities, community stadiums, parks, libraries, museums and government facilities.
The Glazer family that owns the Bucs funded the PR campaign for the tax because the measure included funding for a new stadium. We, the citizens, funded facilities for a private company that gets all the benefits and the vast majority of the revenue from the stadium now called Raymond James Stadium, but the big PR push was focused on "community investment" that included transportation.
We have already funded transportation improvements. Our local government has failed to foresee the need for mass transit solutions and now wants you to pay additional funds because they failed to plan. If light rail is the priority, reallocate the taxes from the tax vehicle that is already in place.
David L. Morris, Riverview
A poor street choice
Trying to be a "bicycle-friendly city" where there have been a number of fatal accidents recently is not going to happen overnight. But I really have to question the city of Tampa's decision to select Euclid Avenue, in South Tampa, as one of the roadways to allow a bicycle to have full lane access.
Euclid is one of three major east-west roads in South Tampa. Gandy Boulevard is the busiest and would not be a candidate for a bicycle lane. Euclid has just been repaved and is a two-lane road, a direct route to the Crosstown Expressway, a bus route and sees a great deal of traffic.
Just two blocks north is El Prado, a quiet, four-lane residential boulevard with far less traffic, more suitable to the slower ambience of bikes. El Prado was not selected for this purpose but should have been.
Traffic on Euclid will have no choice but to follow behind a bike, slowly — a good recipe for road rage. Had the city chosen El Prado Boulevard for a bike-sharing roadway, drivers could easily pass them in the existing second lane.
It would be interesting to know who signed off on this dangerous and accident-prone idea.
Judith Batson, Tampa