Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Renovation obscured Pier's beauty

Requiem for an icon | May 26

Renovation marred Pier's beauty

This article captured Bill Harvard's vision for the Pier succinctly, as I remember him telling it to me as City Hall reporter for the Times back in 1981. The original design was one of my favorite things about St. Petersburg when I moved to the city in 1978. Sometimes, at night, friends and I would sit across the water near the Vinoy just to admire the geometric elegance of it. The cantilevered beams had a rhythm, in harmony with the pilings beneath. To learn that this simple form was a perfect answer for the building's expected function only increased my appreciation.

In my view, Harvard's concept and design were ruined in the 1986 renovation. The clutter of new retail buildings at pavement level obscured the beauty of the original structure. These new additions also failed, in the end, to solve the Pier's perennial financial issues.

I find it interesting that the new Lens design, stressing as it does open spaces and opportunities for passive recreation, has some kinship with Bill Harvard's original vision. People can shop anywhere. But given the opportunity to walk, bike, fish and otherwise enjoy a promenade over open water, they will flock to it. The lately lamented Friendship Trail over the old Gandy Bridge proved the appeal.

I don't know enough to judge either the city's claims that repair and renovation are not feasible or the opponents' claims that the Lens materials won't be up to the job. I just know that the jewel that Bill Harvard designed is already gone.

Jim Harper, Tampa

In push for college, rural youth neglected May 26, Bill Maxwell column

The rural perspective

Bill Maxwell was struck by evidence that all aspects of education in rural America have been neglected and deserve more attention, more creative problem-solving, and more funding in order for rural students to attain their dream of a college education.

There is a striking connection between Maxwell's column and the brilliant 2010 book by Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Alexander points out that Martin Luther King believed back in 1968 that the civil rights focus should shift to a human rights paradigm, embracing poor and working class people of all colors.

It's not just about meeting postsecondary goals for rural America. The fact is, we need the unique experiences and perspectives of rural America to be brought to bear on our current challenges through greater participation in all levels of professional life.

Diane Williams, Gulfport

Haves and have-nots

The tragic reality in Bill Maxwell's education concern is that it is not isolated to this segment alone. As a member of the Florida Rural Health Association, I see the ongoing disparity of access to health care, and related facilities, in our rural communities.

What we have is two Americas, the "haves" and the "have-nots" in health care, education and all else. While these residents are the hardworking individuals in our groves, farms, ranches and other rural endeavors, they are woefully neglected in many of the benefits of our American way. They deserve better.

Austin R. Curry, Tampa

Teaching deserves more respect May 26, Perspective

Working daily miracles

I would like to second Sharon Liao's commentary and humbly offer a bit of my own.

I am honored to say that this is my 25th year teaching elementary-aged children in Pinellas County. I can unequivocally say that now, more than ever, we need to respect and value those who give so much to ensure the success of their students and selflessly make that goal the priority of their life's work. Each day I watch, in amazement, as the teachers in my school and other schools in our district work hundreds of daily miracles to serve their students. I am honored to work beside such dedicated educators.

I must, however, offer some advice to those who are considering entrance to this noble and most necessary of professions. You must be brave. You must be dedicated. You must be able to climb over mounting and often unnecessary obstacles that are put in your path, that seem to deliberately impede progress. If you honestly have the courage to face these challenges head-on, you may have what it takes to come and work beside us. We need you.

Ann Gerakios Arfaras, Clearwater

Politics blocking help to hungry May 28, editorial

Doing more with less

Where is the common sense and compassion? If we are spending $1.4 billion on food aid, why are we wasting any of these funds on shipping expenses when direct funding assistance will buy 30 percent more food to feed more hungry people?

We urge domestic consumers to buy locally to obtain fresher food, save on shipping costs, and reduce our carbon footprint. The same should apply to our foreign food aid. Locally grown food is fresher and more nutritious than the food we send from the United States that takes up to 14 weeks to be delivered.

In advance of the G-8 summit, the British and Brazilian governments will host the first global Nutrition for Growth pledging event on June 8 to mobilize new policy and financial commitments to fight malnutrition. This is our opportunity to increase our food assistance without increasing our costs. With direct funding assistance we can provide more food to more hungry people, faster and more cheaply than our current practice of shipping domestic product overseas.

Hunger is still a death sentence for 2.5 million kids a year. Some 165 million children survive hunger but are developmentally challenged due to the lack of proper nutrition. This is preventable with simple, proven nutrition programs that yield the highest return on investment.

So it is time to set politics aside and reform our food aid programs. We can feed more people and save more children from the stunting effects of malnutrition by directing our food aid dollars to purchase more food supplies in and around the crisis areas. This will also boost the economy in these areas and help make their agricultural endeavors be more self-reliant.

Gene Pizzo, Tampa


Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18