Saving water could cost us | Feb. 23, story
Grateful for wise water management
Congratulations are due to Tampa Bay Water for the excellent job in water management for the bay area. Through a successful conservation program, capture of surface water and desalination, the utility has greatly decreased the need to pump water from the aquifer.
This is of special interest to residents of the northern Central Florida communities. When Tampa pumps ground water, it affects the Green Swamp. This swamp is the primary source of water for the beautiful Withlacoochee River that borders Citrus County to the east and north.
This effort further gives people up here some hope that the major metropolitan center to our south may not be seeking water from our area. Although some call us "water rich," the truth is we are suffering from salt water intrusion into our coastal springs. Any large water transfer from our area would negatively affect our most precious resource and our ecotourism industry.
So how ironic is it that the authority is going to raise rates on water since it is not selling enough of it? Perhaps Tampa Bay should consider a steep sliding scale for usage. This would reward the people who try to conserve by using less and punish the water hogs who use thousands of gallons for large lush lawns and non-native flora. Perhaps the profits from the people who use such large amounts could go to environmental projects such as helping to clean up Tampa Bay and recreate your ecotourism industry.
K.C. Nayfield, Crystal River
Driving people away
This is absolutely ridiculous. We conserve on water and now may be charged more for it as Tampa Bay Water is not making enough money!
Then when everything goes back to normal would rates go back to normal? Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala said, "Probably not."
Absolutely insane! More people will just have to leave.
Elayne VanWormer, St. Petersburg
New blueprint; same bad odds | Feb. 23
Public option is still needed in health care
The only way our health care system can truly be reformed is through a strong public option.
By contributing heavily to our representatives, both Democrat and Republican, the private health insurance lobbyists have created a health care system that is purely profit-driven, denying coverage to customers at a time when it's most needed.
President Barack Obama dropped the public option as a concession to try to gain bipartisan support for the bill. But the Republicans refused to yield, claiming a "massive government takeover."
By having a public option, private health insurers would have to change the way they conduct business in order to compete with a new insurance company that was created to help the sick, an insurance company that didn't have to award obscene bonuses, or golden parachutes, that could keep prices realistic.
That's the "change" I was hoping for.
Steve Solitaire, St. Petersburg
How the GOP says it can fix health care Feb. 23, commentary
Material for a compromise
In his prescription for health care reform, Newt Gingrich makes the following statement: "Doctors who incorporate best medical practices should be protected from lawsuits altogether."
In that statement lies the basis for a grand compromise on health care. Reformers want to see standardized diagnosis and treatment protocols based on proven outcomes. Conservatives and doctors want immunity. Why not combine the two?
Specify protocols based on outcomes and give doctors immunity if they follow those protocols. According to Gingrich, simply giving doctors immunity would save $600 billion. Combining both ideas might save twice as much. Saving $1.2 trillion would go a long way toward paying to insure the nearly 50 million uninsured and toward taming the deficit.
Ed Bradley, Lithia
Brutal death for baby, then mom | Feb. 18 and Errors made, McCabe says | Feb. 19
Sense and training
The depiction of Craig Alan Wall Sr. and the lurid crimes he is accused of has truly horrified me. How frightening it should be to all of us that such hideous consequences can come out of a legal system populated by the "best minds" we have to offer!
In Bernie McCabe's response, he puts forth some interesting statements such as: "One of the hardest things to train is common sense." And he goes on to decry the lack of this attribute in the actions of his staff.
No, this is not something that is the happy response of "training." If the individual has not this quality of character when entering the field, it is not likely to develop.
McCabe goes on to say he will strongly address with his staff "these fundamental issues in court hearings."
Perhaps he should also address the possibility of eliminating some of those professionals whom God has not graced with this "common-sense" factor.
In the last year I have taken on the volunteer responsibilities of a guardian ad litem and, as such, have been exposed to a number of court hearings and proceedings. To my somewhat tortured dismay, I found myself at times thinking that the judge or attorneys did not have important facts that might have swayed decisions.
Protocol is very important, I suppose, and I have had very limited court experience. What I do claim to have is "common sense."
Elise Olson, Palm Harbor
Letters responding to Robyn Blumner's column on Sarah Palin | Feb. 21
We need smart leaders
I am sick to death of being thought of as "elitist" because I think the president of the United States should be smarter than I am — as well as more articulate and thoughtful than Sarah Palin.
I don't understand folks who equate the "common people" with poor grammar, sarcasm and shallow thinking. One can't help but wonder about the self-esteem and confidence of people who are so threatened by obviously intelligent leaders that they actually champion voting against "deep thinkers."
It's almost more embarrassing (and certainly sadder) than Sarah Palin herself.
Bonnie Navin, Gulfport
A boon for Democrats
After listening to Sarah Palin's speeches, reading opinions on her, seeing cartoons depicting her as a no-brainer, watching David Letterman making fun of her, I think the best bet for the Democratic Party to win the next presidential election is for them to support her.
If she wins the Republican nomination, it will be a sure win for the Democrats and they will not have to work so hard to raise funds for their candidate.
Morris Grossman, Sun City Center
Deadly mission | Feb. 20, story
Service and sacrifice
I wish to thank Edwin Shapiro for sharing his memories of the terrible fighting on Iwo Jima. Thanks to all veterans for their service and sacrifice.
World War II ended so many years ago, but I have not forgotten those who gave so much to keep America free.
Daniel Genereux, St. Petersburg