Public salaries, benefits too high
Why are more people not outraged over the "double dipping" article that appeared Oct. 22?
Not so much about the double dipping itself — after all, if someone retires after 30 years and has marketable skill, he or she should be able to sell it to whomever has a need for that skill.
My outrage stems from the inflated salaries public employees are receiving in recent years, the unbelievably generous retirement benefits and, most of all, the antiquated practice of accumulating "sick leave" and "vacation pay" that provides huge lump-sum payouts.
There may have been a time when public employees sacrificed some current income for stability and security, but that time has long since passed. Public employees now enjoy hefty salaries, generous retirement benefits and outrageous lump-sum payouts.
It appears that young people could do no better than to get themselves a job at the public trough.
Bob Medley, Sun City Center
If I, as a private citizen, divert funds entrusted to me by friends, family or employer, I am a thief. If I misrepresent time worked or falsify records to enable me to receive a larger paycheck, I am a thief. If a person running for public office commits the same acts, he is endorsed by the conservative movement.
There is no shortage of documentation that both Rick Scott and Marco Rubio have violated the public trust, and yet they continue to treat the people of the state of Florida with contempt with their supposed justifications.
These are not people who work for the common good, but for their own power and enrichment. Before you vote, look at the facts and ignore wishful thinking, theatrics and snake oil rhetoric.
Mary Butler, St. Petersburg
Don't passively submit
For independent voters, it is easy to become jaded by the political debate, making it hard to find something to vote "for." But remember what happens when good people remain silent. Find your motivation in something to vote "against" — the use of fear, racism and hatred and the promotion of arrogant, self-assured ignorance.
Please vote — force this cycle to go beyond the selfish "Don't tread on me" to insist that none of us be tread upon. Silence and apathy represent nothing but passive compliance or tacit agreement.
Jack Darkes, Temple Terrace
Greed and deceit
You really have to question the integrity of our legislators, as not one single individual has protested the likely seating of Jim Norman in the state Senate. On the contrary, incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos said Norman "won fair and square," disregarding the deception Norman committed in his financial disclosure statement. But it seems Haridopolos has values similar to Norman's, as he himself may face an ethics investigation.
Florida has not even started a new legislative year and the prospects for effective leadership are already clouded by greed and deceit.
Jim Haynes, Tampa
Good ol' boy system
I'm not surprised that the good ol' boy system is still alive and well in Florida. The appeals court overturning a judge's decision to remove Jim Norman from the ballot shows that it's business as usual.
Of course the courts must protect Norman's rights, even though he was found guilty of trying to deceive the public in his financial statements. I'd like to ask the appeals court who's going to look after the rights of the citizens of Florida when Norman gets into office.
Incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos stated that the judicial process has run its course. It now appears that Haridopolos' own ethics are being investigated. When asked about his financial disclosure forms, he said, "I didn't read the directions … and I just kept doing the same things, year in, year out." It amazes me that these learned men all of a sudden have amnesia when approached about their actions.
These two will fit right in with Rick Scott if he is elected. One of Scott's volunteers from Pasco County stated, "He came out and admitted his shortcomings." I wish I could make those types of shortcomings and wind up with millions in Medicare money and still walk away.
D. Trump, Tarpon Springs
Remember women's issues
As a woman and a health care provider, I would like to emphasize the importance of Nov. 2. We seek the right to have access to reproductive health care services, including birth control and help in preventing unplanned pregnancies. Women are daughters, mothers, friends and colleagues who deserve the respect to make personal medical decisions without government interference.
We will not tolerate a ban on access to reproductive health care or its insurance coverage. It's time that we support candidates who understand that in these harsh economic times, women must have access to reproductive health services.
Charurut Somboonwit, M.D., Tampa
Stop the boondoggle
Once again, we see that the "planners" have misled the voters about the cost of light rail. Sold to us at the already astronomical cost of $70 million per mile, we now find out it is more likely to cost $120 million per mile.
This astounding $50 million per mile cost overrun means the project will cost, at a minimum, $1 billion dollars more than "anticipated." And all this for something that cannot be supported by the projected ridership.
Stop this boondoggle now before the first inch of track is laid.
Bob Laubach, St. Petersburg
A revolting 'holiday'
Except for little kids dressing up and collecting treats, whoever heard of a more obscene and revolting so-called "holiday" as Halloween?
For this is what it has become, with violent, macabre and overtly twisted sexual expressions. Imagine you are from another culture which knows nothing of this. Would it not strike you as degrading, if not insane, to see a nation observing the ghoulish with such obvious enthusiasm, and to see that enthusiasm pushed further year after year?
Why do we bemoan the sexual precocity, the insensitivity and disrespect, the bullying, the lack of gravitas in our children, when we tolerate such nastiness? Friedrich Nietszche warned, "If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
Guess what? We're there.
Nancy E. Moore, Riverview