FCC chief unveils Web speed plan | April 25
Keep Internet open, accessible
Net neutrality is the concept that all Web content should be equally available to all users. No entity should have the power to give preference to certain Web content, or to restrict access for certain users. Unfortunately, thanks to corporation-government collusion, this is what we are facing.
The Federal Communication Commission has proposed rules that would allow Internet service providers to create a "fast lane" for the Web. This would give ISPs such as Comcast the authority to artificially slow down Internet speeds for sites that aren't part of their "fast lane." Content owners (websites) would be charged excessive fees to be able to have their material reach the ISP's customers in an efficient manner.
This is especially damaging for the smaller websites and Internet startups that rely on a fair, open Internet to gain exposure for their ideas. This plan would most certainly stifle technological innovation in exchange for corporate profits.
The Internet is arguably the greatest achievement of modern mankind. It was created to be an open source of information, available to the public. It was never meant to end up in the hands of an extortionate company.
I urge readers to contact their representatives in Washington and the FCC. Don't allow corporate lobbyist to take control of a basic human right to information.
Andrew Long, Tampa
Retirement realities | April 28, commentary
It's income, not assets
Robert Samuelson claims that most baby boomers are prepared for retirement because the median home equity balance for this group is $120,000 and the median retirement plan balance is $100,000. He makes the common mistake of making this about assets rather than income.
In reality, retirement planning is all about how much income one can generate each year. Few financial planners would ever recommend that a retiree withdraw more than 4 percent of their total asset base annually. Therefore, even if we include the home equity (which many would be reluctant to do) as an available asset, these median asset numbers would generate only $8,800 in annual income. Throw in the average Social Security benefit of $1,300 per month and Samuelson is expecting retirees to live off $24,400 per year. And keep in mind that the balances he gives are the median numbers. That means half of the baby boomers would have less than $220,000 in available assets.
He is correct that one possible solution is to work longer. In fact, for many that will be the only solution. Unfortunately, the last I checked there weren't many organizations looking to hire 70-year-olds.
The fact is that we are facing a very real and unfortunately inevitable retirement crisis over the next 30 years. That is the true retirement reality.
Scott Stolz, Tarpon Springs
Springs bill lacks funding and Legislators scramble to fund pet projects | April 30
Sad statement on springs
I could hardly believe what I was reading. How in the world can these idiots think that a dog park and a city fountain outweigh the cleanup of our irreplaceable springs? I have come to the sad conclusion that we no longer live in a democracy. Those in power have been bought and paid for, and the rest of us pay the price for their greed and irresponsibility.
Julia Larson, St. Petersburg
Better off without them
I grow more disgusted and depressed each day reading about the incredible antics of the Florida Legislature. Their decisions seem counter to conventional wisdom, lack common sense, and have little bearing on improving this state.
How about you just pick up your check, and go home and relax. You will do less damage there, and we will not have to pay your expenses.
Jim Blair, Largo
Fetus viability bill gets to Scott | April 26
Constituents left out
I get a bit nostalgic after reading about the actions, inactions and real concerns of our governor and a majority of the legislators. I pine for the time that these lawmakers actually cared for my well-being and future ability to lead a full, beneficial life. Apparently, that time was when I was a fetus.
These elected officials refuse to address Floridians' concern over rising power bills. They refuse to support solar energy. They will not implement, or even propose, a plan for Medicaid for the disadvantaged. They make it more difficult for the aged, infirm and poor to vote.
Yet they have plenty of legislative time to put politics between a woman and her doctor. Perhaps someday these legislators will take up the needs of their breathing, working constituents rather than pursuing wedge issues for their own political gain.
John Henninger, Clearwater
National Juror Appreciation Week
Thanks to jurors
The week of May 5-11 is National Juror Appreciation Week. The office of the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller will be marking the occasion to show jurors how much they are appreciated for taking part in such a fundamental component of our justice system.
The clerk's office summons about 74,000 jurors a year, which highlights the need to publicly thank all those citizens for their time and dedication toward an important responsibility. Having citizens who truly understand and embrace their civic duty enhances the services rendered to the judicial system.
Thomas Jefferson once said, "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."
This powerful statement expressed by our third president still stands true today as our citizens continue to fill what is not only their responsibility, but a cherished right.
This commendable and crucial role will be well recognized as we celebrate our jurors during Juror Appreciation Week and every day thereafter as their participation is always greatly appreciated.
Ken Burke, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Clearwater
Vote for April's Letter of the Month at www.tampabay.com/opinion.