Reddick blasts black-on-black crime | July 17
Kudos for candor and courage
I applaud Tampa City Council member Frank Reddick for having the courage to speak up about black-on-black crime, a serious but sensitive problem where the messenger is often at risk of being criticized. Reddick said there should be as much outrage about the murder of Family Dollar Store manager Horsley Shorter Jr. as there has been about the Trayvon Martin tragedy and that those shielding the killer should do the right thing and turn him in. Unfortunately, I don't think Reddick will get much help from the news media in addressing this issue. They are much more interested in trying to manufacture a racial incident for exploitation than helping to solve a very deadly problem.
Jerry Stephens, Riverview
Motor City files for bankruptcy | July 19
Big Three don't measure up
Detroit and the American automakers would be doing just fine today if they had done as the Japanese did — concentrate on turning out a better product. While Toyota, Nissan and Honda were improving their cars, GMC, Ford and Chrysler were floundering around with goofy yearly styling and model changes.
The American public took notice. While American cars had to be repeatedly taken back to the dealers with lengthy punch lists of broken and faulty parts, the Toyotas and Datsuns just tooled along with virtually no problems.
Neither the Big Three nor the UAW woke up and gave the public what they wanted. I remember Lee Iacocca vowing some 30 to 40 years ago to make a car as good as a Camry. They still haven't done it.
Pete Wilford, Holiday
TIA lands key Latin route | July 18
Subsidies are folly
The airline subsidies being doled out to foreign air carriers by Tampa International Airport and local governments are pure economic smoke and mirrors. What folly to subsidize these foreign (in some cases already subsidized) airlines to enable them to build large overseas transfer hubs that skim air traffic and domestic jobs from long-term contributing U.S. carriers that currently serve Tampa.
The mayor, the city and airport officials are willing to cough up subsidies and giveaways for the privilege of some international city name-dropping.
Keep wearing the Panama hats and eating the fondue, guys, while the recipients or your giveaways laugh all the way to the bank.
Scott Hostler, Lutz
George Zimmerman trial
All's not fair
American Indians invented lacrosse, not as a pastime but as symbolic warfare to settle disputes without bloodshed. Trials are our version. Both are about winning and losing. Fairness and truth sometimes lose. The Zimmerman trial distorted the authentic casus belli. Where were the adults who should have ensured that a neighborhood watch just watched? Where were the adults who should have counseled that, personal expression aside, dress and deportment are contextual and can be consequential? Perhaps our dissatisfaction with the verdict connotes consciousness of the authentic etiology of this tragedy.
J.P. Byrne, Largo
DCF chief Wilkins steps down as scandal grows | July 19
Finally, hope of change
It has been a deadly time for children under the watch of the Florida Department of Children and Families and the community-based care or "lead" agencies charged with keeping kids safe.
Four children have died from abuse or neglect in the last three months. In the cases of 5-month-old Bryan Osceola, 2-year-old Ezra Raphael, 4-year-old Antwan Hope, and 1-year-old Fernando Barahona, DCF or its contracted agencies knew about threats to health or safety in the children's homes, yet caseworkers and investigators approved visits or the children's continued placement in dangerous settings. Some caseworkers falsified reports; some weren't even certified to work for the agencies.
Now — finally — there's hope that things may change. On Thursday, embattled DCF Secretary David Wilkins resigned. He was replaced by interim Secretary Esther Jacobo, who most recently served as DCF regional managing director for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
With Wilkins' departure, child advocates hope for a return of the transparency, common sense and sense of urgency infused into DCF during four years of significant, positive reforms under DCF Secretaries Bob Butterworth and George Sheldon.
Howard M. Talenfeld, president, Florida's Children First, Fort Lauderdale
It doesn't pay to be jobless July 14, Blumner column
Is the goal perpetual help?
Robyn Blumner raises valid points about the hypocritical propensity of some politicians to decry certain forms of income redistribution while boosting other modes. Assistance to the unemployed resonates with most of us. However, the recession has been over for four years and one month, and Barack Obama has been in office for four years and six months. Is the administration's intention to perpetually and incrementally help people via unemployment, food stamps, disability, health insurance, etc., or is it to fashion a robust economy in which fewer people require less of such help?
Pat Byrne, Largo
Miss Florida pageant
Disappointed in coverage
I cannot express how disappointed I am in the coverage of the Miss Florida Scholarship Pageant at the Mahaffey Theater. The Tampa Bay Times had a picture in the July 14 edition of an aerialist performing, not a picture of Miss Florida 2013. This pageant brings to the area the sponsors, family and friends of the contestants, and these talented young women compete for scholarship money and the opportunity to represent Florida at the Miss America Pageant, to be held in Atlantic City in September. Forty-seven contestants from all over Florida competed for the title. It should be recognized in your newspaper.
Alma Pasquale, Palm Harbor
Note to the ignorant
To all those ignorant people who didn't know: Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth.
Edna Ramirez, Odessa