Web's filth sloshes into the real world | June 1, Daniel Ruth column
Chance to teach child a life lesson
I could not agree with Daniel Ruth more. Some people are forgetting that emotions play a big part in our actions. Debbie Piscitella knows it's wrong to choke a 14-year-old, but she did what she did to protect her own child. There are few mothers who would not do the same; that's the way we are wired.
I also understand the other mother's view. However, now she has had more time to think about it. If she wants to protect and nurture her child, she will turn this into a teachable moment. Yes, what Piscitella did was wrong, but what he did was worse. He was the cause of her reaction, and if we want to live in a civil society, we just can't say whatever we want without regard for others. What a great opportunity to teach him to live among society.
Mary Sheppard, Riverview
Jobless claims system swamped | May 25
Key to growing economy
is jobs, not writing checks
As we approach midyear, the watchword for Florida's retail owners and managers is "growth." One of the reasons why our economy is again growing is that Florida took some important steps to reform a badly broken unemployment compensation system.
It's been disappointing to see some attacking these changes, especially considering recent progress in job creation. Consider the dilemma of employers, who are solely responsible for funding unemployment compensation benefits.
If someone told you to address historic unemployment by raising a tax that makes you pay more when you hire, you'd call them crazy. But that is just what happened. In 2009, the state tax for unemployment compensation was a minimum $8.40 per employee. In 2012, the state tax is a minimum $120.80, about 14 times higher.
The tax would have been even higher if not for recent reforms, which resulted in an overall reduction in state unemployment compensation taxes of about $550 million through 2013.
Other changes were designed to help job-seekers make the most of their temporary benefits. By providing skills assessment and training, we are helping people find a productive place in the workforce. That's just common sense, and it should be seen for what it is: a valuable benefit for job-seekers looking to land a paying job. After all, our unemployment centers should be helping people find jobs, not just processing checks.
Retailers have been able to employ more people because of the proactive work by state leaders to repair the system and provide re-employment assistance.
Rick McAllister, president/CEO, Florida Retail Federation, Tallahassee
State ordered to halt voter purge | June 1
Require photo ID
Attorney General Eric Holder recently told a group of clergymen that the right to vote was being threatened by people who are seeking to block access to the ballot box by blacks and other minorities.
What Holder has been complaining loudly about, and launching federal lawsuits about, are states that require photo identification to vote. Holder calls this blocking minority "access" to the voting booths.
Since millions of black Americans — like millions of white Americans — are confronted with demands for photo identification at airports, banks and innumerable other institutions, it is a little much to claim that requiring the same thing to vote is denying the right to vote.
John M. Whelan, Dunedin
I want to applaud the Justice Department for ordering a halt to the voter purge. It has been obvious from the start what the intent was: to suppress voters who lean Democrat. Not since Jim Crow has there been such an egregious attempt to stop people from voting.
Statistics show that the rate of voter fraud is so low that one is more likely to get bitten by a shark and struck by lightning in the same day. The part about fining groups who do not turn in their registrations within 48 hours is particularly disturbing.
And why now? I find the timing to be suspicious. The whole thing smacks of an attempt to rig an election.
Yvonne M. Osmond, Clearwater
Quick flips profit a few | May 27
I want to commend Mark Puente and Darla Cameron for this investigative article. I hope this is only the beginning of their investigation.
Hate those ratty, hand-written signs on every other corner advertising foreclosed homes? Thank a flipper. Want to buy a house, fix it up and live in it yourself? Forget it. The bankers are in cahoots with the Realtors who are in bed with the flippers to shut you out.
I was offended by the letter published June 2 defending this scheme. The bankers, "investors" and Realtors are the ones who got us into this mess in the first place. We taxpayers bailed them out. They have a legal responsibility to make sure these homes get back on the market without any fraud involved. Bring on the investigations — there's loads to find.
Elizabeth M. Connor, St. Petersburg
Pier course is set, so stop wobbling June 3, editorial
City's only landmark
If St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster is getting "wobbly" on his position regarding the future of the Pier, it is rightly so. That inverted pyramid is the closest thing St. Petersburg has to an actual landmark.
What would St. Louis build in exchange for the Gateway Arch? Has Los Angeles ever seriously entertained replacing its hillside Hollywood sign? What about the Space Needle in Seattle or the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco? Do those city leaders think they have any better ideas?
The Pier shape is the only memorable sight on the waterfront's otherwise unremarkable skyline. Love it or loathe it, it's become the most famous profile in St. Petersburg.
David Fraser, Clearwater
Voters' voice is welcome
This editorial is founded on the argument that our City Council has completed due diligence in choosing a course for the municipal pier, so there is no basis for mayoral wobbling as we move forward, and certainly no merit in soliciting the opinion of the city's citizens.
Some of us remember Bay Plaza and the Florida Suncoast Dome, both of which were subjects of contention in their formative days and which looked quite different seen in the rear-view mirror. I see no reason to not hear the voice of the community on the future of the Pier. There should be nothing in a referendum for a good idea to fear.
G.T. Kaszer, St. Petersburg