Fiddling while Rome burns | Sept. 19 editorial
Government by some, for some
The flag-waving, hand-over-heart Senate Republicans last week refused to put the veterans jobs bill through on a technicality of needing 60 votes. This is a bill that would help veterans with employment opportunities. You know, the sons and daughters of the 47 percent.
The House adjourned early and refused to act on the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, a farm bill that would help drought-stricken farmers and pay all the people who inspect our food, among other things, and of course a jobs bill to put more people to work that they have held up for a year. The House did have time to try to repeal Obamacare 38 times, all in an attempt to pay homage to their constituent, Grover Norquist.
In 1980 the richest 1 percent owned 8 percent of the income earned in this country. Now it's 16 percent. The six Walmart heirs have as much wealth as the bottom 40 percent of the population. These are the people who Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to give a tax break to.
There is class warfare, and the middle class is losing.
David Sullivan, Tampa
On the list and in the law's sights | Sept. 16
Law makes sense
This piece slants toward unfairness by law enforcement to prepare lists of people thought to be gang members. It makes complete sense to me that while some who are not members may make these lists and be watched more closely, if they chose gang members and jailbirds as friends or associates, then they deserve the extra scrutiny. Most responsible parents discourage their kids from hanging with undesirables, and let's admit it, the practice of hobnobbing with ex-criminals is just not smart. Law enforcement should be proactive in this area and not wait until a crime is committed to get involved.
Edwin Ashurst, St. Petersburg
Have lists reduced crime?
This article provided an interesting look at how gang lists are used in Largo and an even more personal look at how it has affected one young man's life. But there was a conspicuously missing part to this story. What are the results of maintaining gang lists? Has crime been reduced? How many convictions resulted from compiling gang lists? Has the number of gang members been reduced?
Without any proof of efficacy, gang lists appear to be another tool for profiling and one more form of modern-day discrimination.
M.A. Russell, South Pasadena
Paul Ryan's big plan: freedom from help Sept. 16 Robyn Blumner column
Board has total control
Robyn Blumner totally missed the mark when reporting on the Independent Payment Advisory Board. She states that 15 experts are appointed to this board by the president. The key word here is "appointed." They are not elected by the citizens. When these unelected officials on this board submit a proposal to Congress, it automatically will become law. This totally circumvents our U.S. Constitution. Stopping any proposal would require the House, the Senate and the president to agree to a substitute proposal, which we know would never materialize. So this board has total control to make laws for our health care and finances.
Blumner also states that the board cannot ration care. Indirectly, it can. Proposals (laws) will decide how much will be paid for certain medical procedures and payments to insurance providers as well as what will be reimbursed to hospitals and doctors.
Also, Paul Ryan will not change Medicare for those 55 and older. The program remains the same. For those 55 and younger, they can choose the existing plan or shop around for other insurance plans. We need competition in health insurance. One way would be the ability to shop insurance plans outside the state.
Barbara Burgess, Clearwater
Walk-in wonderland | Sept. 16
Real dud of a story
The dumbing down of America comes in all fashions.
It baffles me that the Tampa Bay Times would think that any of its readers would be interested in what someone's closet looks like.
Surely you can come up with more intellectually stimulating subjects.
Barbara Cabrera, Beverly Hills
In stepping back, Stavros leaves a void | Sept. 16 Robert Trigaux column
A couple to admire
Robert Trigaux wrote a splendid column on businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist Gus Stavros, whose humanity is statewide as well as local. Mr. and Mrs. Stavros are a team who humanize business charity at its best. Their focus on education and young people as vital parts of the future and on ethical and successful business restore faith in business leaders.
James Gillespie, St. Petersburg
Leadership in St. Petersburg
Young people, wake up
Where are the voices of youth in St. Petersburg? As I read the Tampa Bay Times and watch the local news on TV, I see our city officials and countless citizen groups receiving publicity on the budget, property tax increases versus fire fees, the Pier, the Rays, etc. The one alarming similarity among all of this community input is that there are very few, if any, young people involved, yet they and their families will likely be primarily affected by the outcomes of these decisions.
I believe the apathy of many young people is, in part, caused by a disconnect over how information is transmitted. Facebook and Twitter are more effective means for information to be disseminated to young adults, yet these are underused by city officials and citizen groups.
To my fellow St. Petersburg residents under 40, I implore you to become aware of the issues. The city continues to operate without some of its most powerful, influential and energetic voices.
Sean McQuaid, St. Petersburg
On television, Netanyahu makes a case against Iran | Sept. 17
Fight your own battles
It is bad enough that we are not through fighting the two wars the last Republican president took us into; now we have a Republican presidential hopeful teamed up with the Israeli prime minister trying to take us into yet a third. I suggest Benjamin Netanyahu get out of our politics and go home. If he wants a war with Iran, go have one or find someone else to fight it for him.
Donald E. Totman, U.S. Army, retired, Palm Harbor