Sansom resigns | Feb. 22
A too-easy escape from scrutiny
How utterly convenient for the Florida House that Rep. Ray Sansom has resigned. To quote the chairman of the House disciplinary panel, "This is a resolution that's in the best interest of everyone involved. He is no longer a member of the Florida House."
Of course, since he is no longer a House member there is no longer a need by that panel to investigate. The result is that we will never know who else might be involved. By persuading Sansom to resign, members once again have gamed the process and escaped scrutiny.
I agree with Democratic activist Susan T. Smith that another equally important fallout of this resignation is that the state budget process, which permits the allocation of public money to whatever projects suit the fancy of select members, will continue without the proper scrutiny that such a process should have received from the investigation.
Yes, in addition to escaping scrutiny, our public servants have escaped accountability. When will the voting public wise up and let their votes count for real change in Tallahassee?
Ronald Matte, Land O'Lakes
The game needs exposing
So Rep. J.C. Planas, R-Miami, says you have to question the wisdom of spending money to investigate Ray Sansom, "a guy who's basically going to be gone in six months."
What Rep. Planas obviously doesn't get is the public wants to have the Tallahassee game exposed so other members of the Legislature can't work from the same playbook.
Using your time in the Legislature, at the public's expense, to set yourself up and cash in your "service" needs to be investigated and prosecuted.
I also want to know more about those Republican Party-issued American Express cards and lawmakers' expenses.
Don Evans, Clearwater
Oil drilling off our coast
Spill damage to our state
would be too deadly
With the legislative session starting up, Floridians must again make it clear to our elected officials that we do not want oil drilling off our beaches.
I have been building and studying artificial reefs off our coast for 50 years and there is no doubt that oil drilling is fraught with many dangers to our coastal waters. In the past five years we have had damaging fish kills off our coast from the Red Tide and from the cold spell in January. Most of the damage from the 2005 Red Tide outbreak is already gone, and within a few years the cold water kills will be history. However, the damage done to our offshore waters by a single oil spill would last for decades or longer.
While the oil under our waters would be exhausted in our lifetime, these marine resources, if not destroyed, will go on producing food and recreation forever. Once the oil is pumped up from the ground and burned, it is gone forever.
Floridians, make it very plain to your elected officials that the price of gasoline is no excuse to foul our waters with oil!
Dr. Heyward Mathews, oceanographer, Clearwater
A higher path for higher education Feb. 21, editorial
Even with a "politically savvy Republican," chancellor Frank Brogan, and the Council of 100 business group making a compelling case to double the university system budget to roughly $4 billion by 2015, it is unlikely that the Republican-controlled Legislature will give the proposal a fair hearing. Facing a $3 billion deficit and determined to spurn any help from the federal government to appease the Tea Partiers, lawmakers will do what they always do: punt.
Since this is an election year, we can expect very little in the way of progressive thinking from our elected representatives who are more interested in being re-elected than anything else.
Jay D. Jennings, Brooksville
What gets you fired? Voting for consumers Feb. 14, Howard Troxler column
Senate double standard
Howard Troxler posits that the Florida Legislature will attempt to "replace the members of the Public Service Commission who sided with consumers" by insinuating incompetence on the part of one new commissioner and denigrating another's profession.
In both cases, they got it wrong! Troxler spotlighted the real professions of David Klement (editorial page editor of the Bradenton Herald for 30 years and director of the Institute for Public Policy and Leadership at USF), and Ben Stevens (former president of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and former finance director of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office). Bravo, Howard!
The Legislature is now moving to require a college degree for public service commissioners, a move aimed squarely at the new, no-nonsense chair, Nancy Argenziano.
It seems that the Florida senators say performance and ethics in the service of one's constituency is not good enough. To be properly "qualified" to serve the citizens of Florida, a commissioner must possess a college degree. Ironically, five current Republican state senators are not degreed, and that includes the party's top leadership: Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, the majority leader; Sen. Nancy C. Detert, majority whip; and Sen. Mike Fasano, president pro tempore.
Interesting double standard, eh?
Theodora C. Rusnak, Hernando
Rubio's AMEX: food, flights | Feb. 25, story
Sense is lacking
In this story, U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio said: "I was as diligent as possible to ensure the party did not pay for items that were unrelated to party business. There was no formal process provided by the party regarding personal charges."
Gee, no "formal process." How about common sense? How about the election law that states party credit cards should cover only expenses aimed at influencing elections — fundraising, voter registration and candidate recruitment?
The scary part is I am sure he is not alone.
Mike Carter, Tampa
Rubio credit flap grows | Feb. 26, story
Not a conservative cut
Is it necessary to pay $134 for a haircut? Marco Rubio who has portrayed himself as a conservative man of the people, can pay whatever he wants for a haircut, but don't tell me that you have anything in common with real Floridians when you pay such a ridiculous amount of money for a haircut.
I pay $10 for a haircut at my barber, and I have always received compliments from friends. Unless Rubio got a full body massage, he got suckered because his hair doesn't look that great to me.
Carlos Milan, Gulfport