Tea partiers skew history | March 27, Robyn Blumner column
Public, private bargaining differ
Collective bargaining between labor and industry is quite different than between government workers and "we the people" via representatives who profit nicely from a share of every government salary, kicked back from mandatory union dues in the form of contributions and political activism. Such an arrangement in the private sector would be criminal, and people would go to jail. To expect empowered Republicans victimized in this scenario to continue to just go along with it is ludicrous.
I've got news for all the progressives: The jig is up. No more government processing of union dues earmarked for the permanent Democratic slush fund.
We taxpayers are well aware that we are on the precipice of becoming little more than sharecroppers to the "super state," and it isn't going to happen without extreme aggression from the left forcing such an outcome. So, to quote our president, you'd better "bring that gun to the knife fight," because the blade is out for public budgets.
Dwayne Keith, Valrico
Use two fuel sources
A realistic answer to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is available. The General Motors Zafira SUV uses both gasoline and natural gas. Both fuels are available in most service stations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
We just came back from Rio, where our tour guide's vehicle was a Zafira. While driving around the city he uses natural gas, which provides much better mileage than gasoline. However, natural gas does not provide the power needed to drive up the mountains, so for that he switches to gasoline.
Why can't we offer this type of vehicle using two sources of fuel? It would help reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
George Zeller, Clearwater
Schools chief defends the indefensible March 30, editorial
Union just doing its job
A union's job is to "go to bat" for its members and protect their rights. Is there proof of a "conspiracy" between the union and the school district? This implies that the union was taking part in some wrongdoing when all it was really doing was living up to the agreement it has with all of its members.
If the district had a case against this teacher, why didn't they take care of business and get a dismissal? Procedures are in place to remove teachers who violate school board policy or the law.
It looks to me like the union just did what any dues-paying member would expect them to do. The burden of proof fell to the district and they blew it.
Bruce Brill, Lutz
Let's say it yet again: They. Are. For. Sale. March 29, Howard Troxler column
If only you had a dozen more Howard Troxlers covering politics for the Times. They still wouldn't be able to cause a feeling of shame in these hacks in Tallahassee (or Washington), but they might make the electorate stop and wonder why we vote, too often, against our own interests.
Joseph Sullivan, Largo
Patients need help
For many types of cancer, the best way to fight the disease is to prevent it in the first place. But for cancers where there is no prevention or early detection methods — such as blood cancers — patients need other ways to have a fighting chance.
For those diseases, patients may need specialized treatments, entry in a clinical trial, or psychological help. Over the last eight years, a program funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allowed a variety of nonprofits to extend those services to these patients. Unfortunately, in the rush to slash budgets, this program — the Geraldine Ferraro Blood Cancer Education Program — is on the chopping block.
Funding from the CDC has allowed organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to assist underserved populations including minority and rural patients. While this program might be an easy target for budgeters, there is still time for our representatives to speak up for patients.
Jennifer Solano, Seffner
Universities seek bigger hikes | March 30
Tax fairly to fund education
Gov. Rick Scott, when told about the increasing number of applicants for state university admission, responded: "In business, you would raise prices."
His response shows his tendency to think only about maximizing efficiency and profits. Good governors, on the other hand, might be concerned about all citizens having an opportunity for higher education.
There is no disputing that the state university system needs more funding. We can follow Scott's ideas, and then only the richest citizens will be able to afford higher education; or we could ask difficult questions about fair taxation.
Perhaps we could agree that it isn't fair that yachts over $300,000 are exempt from sales tax. Perhaps we might want to pay a nickel more tax on alcoholic beverages. These might not be the best solutions, but at least they support our democratic ideals of equal opportunity. Must we always follow Scott's business approach, which only protects the assets of those who already have the most?
Mark Gibson, St. Petersburg
Seated in safety | March 31
Booster seats save lives
Thank you so much for this article. As a certified child passenger safety instructor and a child advocate at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, I am well acquainted with the importance of all forms of child passenger safety, including booster seats.
It has been proven: Booster seats save lives and reduce serious injuries to children. Children ages 4-7 who use booster seats are 59 percent less likely to suffer severe injuries during a crash. It is alarming that Florida is one of only three states that do not have a booster seat law.
Some may see the proposed booster seat bill as "an intrusion in family affairs," but we strongly believe that children's safety should be a priority.
Thousands of Florida residents die in traffic accidents on our roadways, and several thousand more are hospitalized with severe injuries that could have been prevented. Regardless of whether the law is successfully brought to committee, education about choosing the safest seat for your child is of utmost importance.
Tamyne W. Maxson, Tampa
House panel okays Citizens rate hikes March 31
What private market?
I wonder if Florida legislators live on the same planet as the rest of us. They are pushing for a 25 percent rate hike to drive us back to the private market. Do they forget that the private market drove most of us to Citizens by dropping our policies?
My company dropped me after 25 years of no claims. What private market are they talking about?
John G. Wilson, Belleair Bluffs
Tollbooth getting a little too personal March 30, Sue Carlton column
An easier way
When I present a $20, $50 or $100 bill to a retail cashier, he or she merely strokes it with a felt-tip pen to check if it's counterfeit.
David Lubin, Tampa