The future of safe | March 20
Keep energy sources diversified
What can Floridians learn from the recent natural disaster and nuclear crisis? The events are all too tragic, and our thoughts are with all those affected.
Many are running scared from nuclear energy. Should Floridians do the same? The result of the disaster in Japan should not be the removal of nuclear assets from current and future energy portfolios. Energy portfolios should be balanced to ensure longevity and reliability of cost-effective, clean energy.
Florida's energy resources are focused on natural gas. If nuclear were removed from our plan moving forward, our reliance on natural gas would create large risks of cost increases and shortages. Energy security in Florida requires that we continue to diversify our energy portfolio. The Legislature must allow utilities to invest further and add all clean energy sources to the portfolio. Sources such as biomass, solar energy and nuclear energy must be included to maintain a balance.
Florida has the potential for natural disasters as well; it's not a matter of if but when. So let us plan our energy portfolio wisely by asking our legislators to allow for long-term energy security in Florida through the inclusion of clean energy resources as deemed prudent by our regulators.
Yann Brandt, member, Citizens for Clean Energy, Fort Lauderdale
The future of safe | March 20
Turn to clean power
Vincent Dolan, president and CEO of Progress Energy Florida, explained some of the extraordinary steps taken at nuclear power plants to "minimize even the slightest safety risk from natural or man-made events." He describes multiple, redundant layers of safety protections and equipment. The fact that such measures must be taken in order to prevent a nightmare scenario is precisely the argument against nuclear power. No one living near a wind farm or photovoltaic array will ever have to run for the hills if a big storm hits Florida.
Designing a nuclear reactor stretches the limits of engineering to provide us with our daily fix for electricity and perpetuates old thinking. Producing wind turbines, solar cells and tidal generators not only guarantees freedom from man-made disasters, it puts distance between us and unfriendly countries and brings America up to speed with other societies that are turning toward cleaner, safer, infinitely abundant power sources.
Fred Mitchell-Horowitz, Safety Harbor
Unmasking an unseemly carnival of death March 20, Bill Maxwell column
Once again, Bill Maxwell has hit the nail on the head: "The adults in these children's lives must teach, without apology or equivocation, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, what is admirable and what is contemptible." In that simple sentence, Maxwell has given the solution to all the problems that bedevil Midtown.
No amount of politicians, preachers, social workers or judges can solve the lack of responsibility that appears to permeate the children growing up in this crime-ridden area. If we look to those who have successfully overcome these type of handicaps, we will always find adults who have ingrained in them the values that are so sorely missing with many of these lost children.
If more residents took Maxwell's advice to heart, we would be on the road to solving the "Midtown problem."
Robert W. Schultz, St. Petersburg
A must read for parents
Bill Maxwell's columns are always well written and on target. But this piece is stunning in its profundity — a must read for every parent, school board member, teacher, administrator, social worker, judge, county commissioner and anyone who cares about educating our children.
Maxwell has the courage to speak the truth about "saving" black children (actually any children). That truth is that "children will be saved or lost based on the moral and ethical environment in their homes."
Marilyn Renner, Dunedin
Charity merits closer look | March 22, editorial
Army's done nothing wrong
The Salvation Army is a worldwide ministry operating in more than 80 countries. It has never claimed its 20,000 officers are paupers. The organization maintains its officers in a lifestyle appropriate for the educated, middle-class professionals they are. Why should it be otherwise?
The relationship of Jim Norman with the Salvation Army was unfortunate. Human organizations make mistakes; the best that any organization can do is correct its errors. But Norman has a lot of explaining to do that has nothing to do with the Salvation Army.
The probation contracts that the Salvation Army has with many counties might well benefit from a competitive bid process. But that is up to the courts and county commissioners.
Why impugn this religious group? What laws has it violated? What fraud has it committed? What is wrong with being a large, multimillion-dollar agency? Does this mean that the Roman Catholic, United Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist and Greek Orthodox denominations are also suspect?
C.D. Chamberlain, Spring Hill
The GOP claims to be the party of "small, nonintrusive" government and local control.
Yet look at some of their actions or proposals: drug testing welfare residents for no cause; limiting a woman's choice on abortion; taking away educational management from local school boards.
Sounds like the GOP is a very intrusive, Big Brother organization. What's next?
Ross P. Alander, Tampa
Solution to joblessness
State and federal politicians either don't get it or don't care about illegal immigration. The fastest way to put millions of Americans back to work is to end illegal immigration. There are an estimated 8 million illegals working in the United States.
We should use mandatory E-Verify for all people working in the country. The illegals and visa overstays would leave on their own because they would not be able to work, and Americans would be hired to replace them. The unemployment rate would drop.
I would like to see all our state and federal politicians stand in front of the masses of unemployed in this state and tell them why they are opposed to using mandatory E-Verify to determine that each employee has a valid Social Security number that would permit employment.
Rodney T. Rigby, Hudson