Tuesday, April 24, 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

Comments

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18