Monday, July 16, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Spread benefits, don't take them away

Taxpayers foot bill for big salaries | Dec. 8, letter

Answer isn't to add to the misery

The letter writer is "astounded" that a police department employee was making $90,000 and feels that our taxes are too high because municipal salaries are too high. The average salary for municipal workers in the bay area is probably half that figure, so it's misleading to use one senior employee's salary to complain about high taxes.

The letter goes on to point out that "government employees also enjoy the luxury of health insurance and a pension. This is something many of us can only dream about." True, but which way should we go?

Cutting municipal salaries would make it even harder to recruit good teachers and police officers, making the social problems fiscal conservatives love to complain about even worse. And yes, many private sector workers do not have subsidized health care and pensions through their jobs. This means their quality of life and life expectancy will suffer. But it's folly to want to add municipal workers to this unfortunate group. We should have more people who can afford health care and retirement, not less.

Tom Prendergast, St. Petersburg

Redevelopment plan

Focus on the schools

The city of St. Petersburg's economic development staff recently presented a draft of a community redevelopment plan for the area of south St. Petersburg designated as a community redevelopment area, or CRA. This process, which called for citizen input, is winding down after a series of meetings that will ultimately culminate with yet another plan aimed at helping the "poor and the downtrodden," mostly African-Americans, and addressing blight. Having participated in these processes many times I can predict the outcome, but I always participate with every new mayor and his administration in hopes things will be different.

Once again, I am disappointed.

In March, I and other early childhood education stakeholders in the community redevelopment area began attending budget meetings, CRA meetings and meeting with city officials for three reasons:

• To remind them that three elementary schools that primarily serve African-American children — Campbell Park, Melrose and Fairmont Park — have been C, D or F schools since 2010.

• To accept responsibility for this situation.

• To seek the city's support in a solution grounded in research and evidence-based practices.

The city's response to the citizens who live, work and own businesses in the CRA: We can't put everything into the plan. Their solution: Offer St. Petersburg College scholarship money and call it a partnership and pay academically strong students $10 per hour to read to children attending preschools within the CRA. This while most preschool teachers' starting pay is $11 per hour, and academically strong students must participate in community service projects to qualify for most scholarships.

Maria L. Scruggs, St. Petersburg

Renewable energy

Deadly toll of dirty fuel

The New York Times and other reliable sources recently reported that the cost of providing electricity from wind and solar power has been reduced over the past five years. These clean, renewable energy sources now cost less than finite fossil coal.

A product of the Appalachian coalfields, I have firsthand knowledge of the deadly toll of extracting coal. It includes death, injury and lung disease from breathing coal dust. If the Florida Clean Power Coalition is accurate, air pollution from coal-fired steam plants in the United States silently kills more than 40,000 people each year. Another study puts the deaths at 24,000.

Pollution from burning coal costs Americans an estimated $160 billion annually for medical care: 38,000 heart attacks, 16,000 cases of chronic bronchitis, 550,000 asthma attacks and others. Each year in the United States, coal burned to generate electricity spews 96,000 pounds of mercury into the air, threatening the development of more than 600,000 fetuses.

The deadly human toll is one thing, but the environmental devastation is yet another tragic story. One example: Appalachian forests larger than the state of Delaware were destroyed in a recent 12-year period, along with burying or polluting 1,200 miles of streams to extract coal by brutally efficient mountaintop-removal mining. A "horrific process," the New York Times editorialized in "Decapitating Appalachia" — or inhumane greed bludgeoning God's creations, with the approval of our country's leaders.

Contrary to some reports, Europe is making progress to reduce or eliminate fossil fuel for electricity. Denmark now generates 20 percent of its electricity from wind turbines; in the United States it's a measly 1 percent. In the past 20 years, Germany has reduced coal burn by 48 percent. Denmark and Germany produce 75 percent of the world's wind-generating electricity. France produces 75 percent of its electricity using nuclear power.

Without dramatic change, the future looks grave. It's time for spirited action to exploit infinite solar power, take advantage of wind energy and aggressively develop hydro-generated power.

Arnold Fultz, Tampa

Tampa park options for Rays | Dec. 7

Think outside the box

I would suggest the Rays and our Tampa Bay area leaders give serious consideration to a stadium complex built on a man-made island constructed in the middle of Old Tampa Bay either between the Gandy and Howard Frankland bridges or between the Courtney Campbell Causeway and Howard Frankland Bridge. Both these areas are free of any major commercial boat traffic but easily accessible by private boat or water taxi/ferry. Vehicular traffic would be available by access ramps from the east and west off the respective causeways on each side of the site, thus expanding convenient access to a large population/fan base.

Such a site would, indeed, be an expensive project funded by both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties in collaboration with the Rays and other potential investors. Accrued revenue would likewise be shared.

Mathis L. Becker, Tampa

Comments

Monday’s letters: Make investment in the Rays an actual investment with an actual return

Paying for ballpark will take teamwork | Editorial, July 12An actual return on investmentMuch attention has been given to the cost of the proposed Rays stadium in Ybor City and who will foot the bill. The three-legged stool of the Rays, the busin...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Sunday’s letters: Stop burning of sugar cane near the Everglades

Florida’s land of black snow | Bill Maxwell column, July 1Don’t burn sugar cane, periodIn this column, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King got a lot of things right about how sugarcane burning negatively impacts the Glades communities w...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Saturday’s letters: The dangerous days before Roe vs. Wade

The reality of back-alley abortions | Column, July 11The dangerous days before RoeI am a 71-year-old retired nurse. I still remember when abortion was illegal and birth control was restricted to married women in the United States. In 1983, I set ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/14/18

Thursday’s letters: The Rays’ Ybor City stadium will be magnificent

Rays’ big dream is small ballpark | July 11The new stadium will be gorgeousI had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of the Tampa Bay Rays "next-generation, neighborhood ballpark." I was blown away. As an 18-year resident of Tampa Bay, and ma...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/12/18

Wednesday’s letters: Let’s prepare Florida’s next generation for the jobs that have been created yet

Make Florida’s workforce globally competitivePrepare for jobs not yet createdIf you aren’t amazed by the speed at which technology is changing our world, just think back 20 years. Would you have imagined cellphones with the capabilities of a laptop c...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/11/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for July 13

Re: School meals for all students | July 6 storyParents should pay for their ownThat article really got me to thinking ... why can’t parents feed and care for their own children? When did it become others’ responsibility to do this? No one fed our th...
Published: 07/09/18

Tuesday’s letters: It’s great that Tampa’s Democratic mayor works with a Republican governor

Dems wary of Scott, Buckhorn bromance | July 8It’s not partisan to look out for TampaThe focus of a mayor should be on success in his jurisdiction, no matter the partner, for the citizens who live in his area of responsibility. Mayor Bob Buckhorn...
Published: 07/06/18
Updated: 07/10/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for July 13

Scaring birds with fireworks is a problemThe justification of buying fireworks to scare birds is the biggest problem with fireworks. My wife and I retired to a small pond across from a nature preserve. On a recent holiday, we were enjoying watching b...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/09/18

Monday’s letters: Let’s keep plastics out of the ocean now

Is a ban on plastic straws a step too far? | July 4 Plastic in oceanis not fantastic As a Tampa Bay native, I am thrilled to see a concerted effort to eliminate plastics pollution in the area, and encouraged to see small business and restaurant ow...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/09/18

Sunday’s letters: Keep the Rays in Tampa Bay

Ballpark site catches break | July 5Keep the Rays in Tampa BayLast month, the Tampa Bay Partnership led a delegation of nearly 20 Tampa Bay business leaders on a benchmarking trip to Houston, to explore the nationally recognized workforce develop...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/06/18