Prisons bill brings chaos | Feb. 2
Privatization means cronyism
It is an affront to voters of either party when they witness the corrupt underbelly of U.S. politics. In this instance, Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos booted Sen. Mike Fasano for not supporting the party line and voting for what he believed was right.
Privatization is really a catchword for cronyism and moving state dollars to friends in the private sector. It exaggerates savings and too often creates more cost to the taxpayer. Worse than that, it crushes the careers of state employees who deserve better than to be caught up in partisan politics.
I laud Fasano and others who stand against the privatization of the state prison system. Voters should remember Haridopolos' action in the next election cycle.
Marc Yacht, Hudson
'Mitt' isn't short for middle class Jan. 29, Robyn Blumner column
Jobs, debt are real issues
The defining issues of our time are a failing economy, $16 trillion of debt, record-breaking unemployment, lagging growth, wage stagnation and a collapsed real estate market.
The so-called issue of rich against poor is simply a smokescreen being used by our president to deflect attention from his failed presidency. In his State of the Union speech, he offered no solutions or new ideas to help us deal with the real problems the country faces. Tax reform, Social Security and Medicare were barely touched upon. His speech was the same old rhetoric.
His presidency lacks leadership, something the country badly needs in such difficult times. As to Mitt Romney's tax situation, he had already paid 35 percent tax on his earned income. The 15 percent tax is what he paid on his investments. This is simply a nonissue.
Albert Romano, Tampa
Tampa Bay Times
Pinellas gets neglected
After all of your "happy talk" in the various sections of your New Year's Day edition and thereafter, trumpeting the new name Tampa Bay Times, this matter begs to be looked at from the overall reader's perspective.
The news in the Times has been substantially and systematically diluted from the days when the St. Petersburg Times essentially reported on Pinellas County news. The name change makes the dilution official and complete. We now have essentially the same size newspaper attempting to cover news in four counties. In trying to please everyone, the Times is pleasing few. It is obvious that the real motivation is advertising revenue in four counties with the news pages full of ads and additional inserts. It is a shameless cash grab.
Pinellas County subscribers find themselves reading articles about the Pasco County Commission or the Hernando School Board. While those are important subjects in those counties, they have squeezed out news in which Pinellas readers are interested. The local news is scant, and the following of Pinellas high school teams is almost nonexistent, especially the box scores. Now only parents of athletes and coaches have the incentive to find the online postings of the box scores as opposed to the Pinellas community following its local high school teams and athletes by one's morning scan of the newspaper with breakfast and coffee.
Let the Tampa Tribune serve Hillsborough and please let the Times fully serve its faithful core — Pinellas County.
James M. Hammond, Clearwater
We're not Newt | Jan. 29
I appreciated the article contrasting Newt Gingrich's behavior with the not uncommon (but often hidden) practice of consensual, ethical nonmonogomy.
It's revealing that a researcher showed 41 percent of those surveyed think nonmonogamy might work "if the couple agrees to it beforehand." Most folks don't realize that polyamory is not polygamy.
It took guts for the Times to publish such a timely and insightful piece.
M. Hine, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Who will help the ratepayer? | Feb. 1, commentary
Dirty fuel or clean energy
Thanks for Stephen A. Smith's probing piece on all the wrong ways to spend our money to provide ourselves energy. Seems like the Florida Public Service Commission should be renamed.
Why aren't our elected leaders looking forward to coastal flooding due to climate changes and heading us toward wind and solar now? Too much money in the wrong pockets, I'd say. Dirty fuel or clean energy choices are made every day. I'd have solar panels on my roof if I were subsidized the way Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy are. Wouldn't you?
Gloria Mastell, St. Petersburg
The true cost of high school dropouts Feb. 1, commentary
Connecting with students
This interesting article focused on the cost of high school dropouts, however, it appears there could be a missing element regarding the experience we call learning.
With teachers being forced to teach to the FCAT test, do they now have the time (as teachers did in the past) to really connect with students by relating positive real-life experiences and success stories that can help students become truly excited about learning?
I wonder if, in some cases, "excitement to learn" has been replaced with "pressure to perform." One without the other, for some, could be a losing proposition.
Jean Briscoe, Clearwater
A Romney rout | Feb. 1
Not a majority
The headline shouts "A Romney rout." Really? It seems to me that a majority of Republicans (52 percent) voted for someone other than Mitt Romney. What part of that don't the Times' editors understand?
Romney has yet to win a majority of Republican support anywhere, yet the Times' editors have somehow "anointed" him as the nominee of the Republican Party. Now, as things stand, the majority of Republicans will not have their voices heard at the Republican convention and we will have a nominee who does not even have the support of the majority of Republicans. What's wrong with that picture?
David Zimlin, Dunedin