Re: Sheriff dramatic in fighting cuts, story, May 24
Sheriff must act, think creatively
I read this article last week and I can't seem to let it go and move on. It makes me angry that the very man that is supposed to uphold the law, Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats, is using phrases such as "caught up in the deadly crossfire," "prisoners in their own home," "significant crime increase" and streets "littered with human carnage." This is not a war zone and I believe his statements are overly dramatic.
Does he watch the news or read the paper much? We are all having huge budget issues right now. Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the country, so there will be many who can no longer "become prisoners in their own home" because they can no longer afford their own home.
We face ever-rising property taxes, so we have Amendment 1 to help homeowners. Some of those who bought houses and came out from under the tax cap had their taxes raised over 50 percent, and we are supposed to be satisfied with a break of approximately $290? That's about a 5 percent break for me.
And now I read in the paper that Clearwater is considering raising the tax rate to make up for some of the lost income! So what is the point of Amendment 1?
And they tell us that the value of our houses is falling. Are they going to reassess at the lower value to help us with the higher property taxes?
Then there are the skyrocketing home insurance rates, gas prices rising every day, grocery prices are following, and now they reported on the news last night that the power company is asking to raise our rates to cover its expenses. When is all of this going to end?
We are all being forced to pay higher and higher prices for everything or give up those commodities that we can no longer afford. Companies are not giving out raises to cover the simple cost of living — and that only affects those who still hold jobs, because companies are laying off to cut their costs, too.
Does Sheriff Coats realize that people are making heart breaking decisions every day about their budget? Do I buy groceries or buy gas to get to work? Can I afford my prescriptions this week?
Sheriff Coats needs to find creative ways to accomplish the necessities (uphold the law) and cut expenses that drag you down (take-home cars). This is his chance to be creative and show us why we should re-elect him.
K. Borland, Clearwater
Re: Respect for war dead lacking, letter, May 28
Vietnam vets recognize a lie
As a Vietnam War veteran, I have to respond to this letter by Tim Shepherd.
Mr. Shepherd thinks that Ronald Deaton, also a Vietnam vet, does not have a right to protest the Iraq war on Memorial Day. He calls Mr. Deaton, who as a U.S. Marine served a year in Vietnam, a "leftie pacifist."
Well, let's look at a few "righties."
President George Bush, the commander in chief, who gets to put a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns, had a hard time making it to Air National Guard weekend drill meetings. He could have volunteered to go to Vietnam, but he didn't.
Mr. Deaton served in Vietnam.
Vice President Dick Cheney just addressed the U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduating class and reminded them what it meant to take the oath to serve their country. Funny, Cheney was too busy taking college deferments to take a military service oath.
Mr. Deaton took that oath.
Mr. Shepherd, your final comment was to blast the editors of the St. Petersburg Times for reporting the story about the protest (Boots, shoes to stand for war's fallen, May 25) and for having a lack of respect for our war dead. What better day to try to save lives than on Memorial Day? Who would know a lie better than a Vietnam vet? No one.
Robert Blake, Clearwater