Taxpayer giveaway to Amazon | June 15, editorial
Attract business to Hillsborough
Without fail, the Tampa Bay Times is critical of Hillsborough County's attempts to lure Amazon to the bay area. Whenever Tampa and Hillsborough County make efforts to lure business to the area, the Times editorial board sees fit to criticize our leaders. They did it with the Bass Pro Shops development and now with Amazon.
Yet when Pinellas County wants to pour taxpayer money down a never-ending drain, like for the Lens or whatever atrocity St. Petersburg decides to replace the Pier with, or with an ill-conceived new Clearwater Aquarium, the Times sits by silently. Why is that? Could it be jealousy of Tampa? It is certainly not because of concern over using taxpayers' money — unless the Times editorial board cares more about the taxes of Hillsborough County than those of Pinellas residents.
Try to be consistent.
Robert P. Kelly, Tampa
Savings, not lost revenue
In this editorial you state that "e-commerce sales have cost the state $450 million annually in lost revenue." You failed to note that the $450 million would have been paid by the taxpayers, so the state's losses were the taxpayers' savings.
An additional tax will be at the expense of the taxpaying consumer, not the corporations.
Richard Dornblaser, Clearwater
Balancing security, privacy June 14, editorial
Technology trumps privacy
"Security and privacy" as used in this editorial is an oxymoron. You simply can't have both. Technology won't permit it.
If you think the National Security Agency has both the manpower and/or our money to listen to all of our phone calls, you are misguided. I want my government constantly searching any audio, video and telecommunications data, anywhere in the world at any given time, to keep Americans and their military safe.
Raymond Niski, Dunedin
Keep America safe
If we accept the fact that corporate America and the social media have access to our private information and what we do in our everyday lives, why not the National Security Agency?
Would any of the anti-NSA people feel that way if the NSA stopped 9/11 or other acts of terror? Foreign terrorists are recruiting people to commit acts of terror on American soil. If this is what it takes to keep America safe, then so be it.
Freedom isn't free and there's nothing to fear but fear itself — two things we should remember. Terrorists rely on weakness; let's show strength. There are enemies among us. Let's not give them a place to hide.
Richard Gentile, Tampa
Scott speeds executions | June 15
With Gov. Rick Scott's signing of the ill-named Timely Justice Act, Florida now has three distinctions: the state with the highest exoneration rate in the country; the state determined to kill people— guilty or not — more quickly; and the state that now overrides its longstanding "sunshine provisions" by allowing the destruction of potentially incriminating records.
Any charade of decency, humanity and civility in our Republican-dominated government is just that — a charade.
Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg
Go for a new image
They say you can't unring a bell. It is equally hard to un-imagine a picture once described. Pointing out the similarity of the Lens and a toilet is forever engraved in my mind. We need a new image. We need a pier that is also a boardwalk.
I am familiar with numerous boardwalks, such as Coney Island, Asbury Park, Daytona Beach, Santa Monica and San Francisco, among others. They are all very wide with various types of businesses and concessions along the way. There is something for everyone. There is limited or no auto traffic. There are numerous benches. There are rides and children's activities. There are reasons to return often.
Take a look at the rebuilt Seaside Park, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy.
Gloria Julius, St. Petersburg
Regarding St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, there's no way I'm going to vote to re-elect the mayor responsible for the wanton destruction of the city's world-renowned inverted pyramid Pier. I'd sooner vote for Donald Duck.
David Lester Hornberger, St. Petersburg
New chief steers race relations in Sanford June 17
As Ronald Reagan once said, "There you go again." Your paper, in typical liberal fashion, found it necessary to identify the new police chief of Sanford as having a white wife and a lesbian goddaughter. This profiling by race and sexual orientation of the family of Cecil Smith is not the least bit newsworthy. The hypocrisy of the left-wing press that claims to decry stereotyping is on full display in this article.
Pat Jennings, Dunedin
Turkish clash expands | June 17
Slide toward dictatorship
For many years we lived in the illusion that Turkey managed to combine successfully Islam and Western culture. We saw Turkey as a beacon of progressive democracy and as an example for the Muslim world.
Now we know better. At the first test of democracy, the Turkish government replied with the old tools of intimidation, riot police first and then threats to bring in the army. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan shed his sheepskin coat and showed us the fur of a wolf.
The big question will be whether the army, which has always been the supreme guardian of secularism and democracy since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, will go along with Erdogan or draw the line in the sand. If the army goes along with Erdogan, then Turkey would be nothing else than an Islamic military dictatorship.
We can only hope that the line in the sand will be drawn.
Patrick Bauer, Wesley Chapel