Progress Energy ups cost of plant | May 2
Energy competition is the answer
I am tired of reading about Progress Energy's attempts to pass on the construction costs of generating power to its current customers. In Illinois, Commonwealth Edison is charged with maintaining the power grid, but communities are permitted to purchase their energy from a variety of companies that compete on a free-market basis.
In my community, Grayslake, Ill., we purchase power from a company that uses natural gas as its primary energy source and we save over 20 percent from the rates previously charged by Commonwealth Edison.
Florida could easily adopt the same system and Progress Energy would have to compete with companies that have an interest in maintaining a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, as long as our Legislature and governor are for sale to the highest bidder, Progress Energy will continue to operate as a poorly regulated, poorly managed monopoly.
John Mason, Clearwater
Sheriff fires 4, suspends 2 for 'loafing' on the job | May 2
It happens all the time
So often news is reported as if it is the only time such an occurrence has taken place. Please.
During the early 1980s I wrote a weekly column for the sheriff's department in Austin, Texas. While writing about such subjects as search and seizure, I was often asked to go along with a deputy during the midnight shift to gather material for the column.
To say that I was shocked at the behavior of some of the deputies during their shifts is an understatement. The most routine of their acts included local police and state troopers meeting at a favorite coffee-doughnut shop. A jovial time was had by all for long periods unless a radio call required that they break up their party.
Even more of a shocker was what they did to liven their long and dull shifts: They had a "picnic." This meant going to a bar where they knew that their presence would stir up trouble. It did, and arrests were made.
I finally could not hold this in any longer and was told by a superior that the deputies had to "blow off steam" and that I was to look the other way. I quit.
Dona Crump, Largo
Scholarships beat tanks in Middle East May 3, commentary
Lessons from Muslim world
Thomas Friedman lacks perspective about spending other people's money to educate young Arabs. He should think outside the box.
For every tax dollar going to the Middle East, another should targeted to give American students degrees in Arabic and Persian history and languages. Such an "investment" would reveal the origins of conflict between Western enlightenment and the death-loving ideas of a mutating, franchising totalitarian minority. The insights would cause inconvenient questions about reform and modernity. Students would ask why there are no Million Muslim Men Marches for plurality, inclusion, tolerance, good-faith negotiations and gender rights. It would become clear that our Muslim friends must lead the delegitimization of medieval ideas behind global chaos. It was always about their courage and will — not our foreign adventures or aid.
Gary Harrington, St. Petersburg
Don't let us get Borked April 29, Robyn Blumner column
Taking an important stand
While you may not agree with Robyn Blumner's politics, you have to admit she has guts. Every week she puts a target on her back knowing that most conservatives will shoot at it, yet she continues to make what I believe to be a very important stand: to continuously call out and inform the public on the many, often complex, factors that make up the extremely conservative Republican agenda. Considering she has only so many words, Blumner does a darn good job at thoroughly covering all the angles, albeit from a non-Republican perspective. I applaud her for taking the time and making the effort to educate the public.
Larry Richards, Trinity
Gun sense and nonsense | May 3, editorial
The law and lawbreakers
One fact on which we can all agree is that "bad guys" are always going to have guns. Regardless of laws, rules, politics, the NRA or the FDLE, those who would seek to break the law or harm us will be armed and dangerous. They will not take an approved firearm course, or get fingerprinted, or have their picture taken, or have a background check as is required for a concealed carry permit.
And that is exactly why a significant number of Florida citizens do go to the trouble to obtain a concealed-carry permit. When confronted by an armed criminal, the permit holders know if they are not armed they will likely be killed.
Florida citizens who carry a concealed weapon or firearm license are not the bad guys, and I imagine most of them will avoid the downtown Tampa area like the plague during the GOP convention.
John Kauzlarich, Largo
Tampa Bay Rays
Step up and support team
I moved to the area six months ago and consider myself a baseball fan. I rooted for the Red Sox for 40 years. I am now a season ticket holder for the Rays. It is unbelievable how they have no fan support at such a fan-friendly stadium.
I never would have been able to afford season tickets in Boston or even the $50 you have to pay to park anywhere near the stadium. This is a good team with the best record in baseball. I travel 40 minutes each way to the game. Come on, Tampa-St. Petersburg, be part of the magic.
Joanne Chernock, Apollo Beach
Grand gesture | May 3
I had a hard time trying to explain to my wife why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would sign a football player who is paralyzed and most likely will never play a down for them. After telling her what coach Greg Schiano did for this young man was not about playing football but about caring, compassion and unselfishness, I think she finally understood.
I was never a big Bucs fan since the days of Tony Dungy, but what coach Greg Schiano and the team's management did for Eric LeGrand shows me that sometimes professional football isn't all about just winning.
I wish the Bucs well in the upcoming season and I believe their new coach will be the man to turn them around.
Jack Burlakos, Kenneth City