What's ailing Florida Dems? | March 4
Democrats act to check excesses
While I'm leaving the actions of my colleagues in the Florida House and the party to speak for themselves, I would like to address the sweeping generalizations made by Adam C. Smith, declaring Democrats as "invisible and irrelevant."
I beg to differ.
In 2011, Senate Democrats blocked attacks on public employee unions and the Florida Supreme Court. Granted, it took a coalition with moderate Republicans to do that, but just as we couldn't have stopped these alone, neither could that group of Republicans. So are those moderate Republicans equally "invisible and irrelevant" as Smith dismissively characterized us?
This year, a similar coalition halted prison privatization.
Smith also wrote that our numbers are "so small … that Democrats can't even use procedural moves to slow the Republican agenda."
Let's check the record.
Last week, Senate Democrats raised the objection to stop the Republican leadership from rushing the controversial "parent trigger" bill — which would pave the way for the corporate takeover of our public schools.
Last weekend, Sen. Arthenia Joyner and I uncovered budget language that would allow prison privatization to proceed. Our objections forced its withdrawal.
This week, we've already used points of order to kill amendments that would undermine environmental protections, to stop the fast-tracking of yet another antichoice bill, and to delay the "parent trigger" bill. Finally, that same "coalition of moderates" teamed up to ensure that Citizens Insurance customers are notified before they're placed with unregulated companies.
Despite these accomplishments, Smith failed to include a single Senate Democratic voice, let alone acknowledge what we have accomplished in bipartisan fashion.
Senate Democrats are visible and relevant, and proud to be part of the voice of moderation the majority of Floridians deserve.
Florida Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, Weston
What's ailing Florida Dems? | March 4
This was an excellent article by Adam C. Smith, asking once again the right questions. The problem with Florida Democrats is a void in leadership. Currently it's a parody of Old South Democrats, with potbellied, old, white men deciding obsolete tactics in cigar-smelling back rooms. And I'm not talking about age or physical appearance but about mentality.
Simon Agmann, St. Petersburg
Small thinking, big insecurity | March 4, Tim Nickens column
An outstanding city
The name of our newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, has been changed to the Tampa Bay Times, which is a body of water. We are dropping our identification with St. Petersburg, a city enjoying a renaissance as one of America's outstanding cities.
Years ago, our citizens went to Tampa for all kinds of activities. Today, St. Petersburg is a vibrant city of activity that draws visitors from all over.
After touring most of Florida, my family picked St. Petersburg to be our home in the early 1950s. We chose it for its outstanding quality of life and opportunity, and we have never been disappointed.
I was elected and honored to serve as St. Petersburg council member and then mayor (1967-69). Those were troubled times in America and St. Petersburg. We got through them by building bridges in our community instead of burning them. We were then, as we are today, a city that has always looked for a better way and found it.
Mayor Bill Foster gets up every day to one of the most difficult jobs in America. He is mayor in one of the most challenging times in American history. It is truly a shame that there are those who feel compelled to throw stones instead of building bridges.
A contract is a contract (Rays). A panhandler is a panhandler. Light rail is a black hole in which to pour public money. Public schools across America are in decline, but the city of St. Petersburg does not run, or operate, the school system.
Foster represents the people of St. Petersburg. He listens to the people who elected him, he regularly meets with them and he works with them. He is good man. He is an outstanding mayor.
Small thinking? Insecure? Never!
Don Jones, St. Petersburg
All for the money
Rush Limbaugh has apologized for his word choices after he called a young lady a "prostitute" and requested that she post film of herself having sex so that taxpayers can get a return on their investment of paying for her birth control.
Those comments, made over the course of a few programs, prompted some of Limbaugh's sponsors to pull their commercials from his show. As a result, Limbaugh has apologized.
A man of integrity would have stood by his words and would not have folded under pressure. However, Limbaugh, because he stood to lose money, buckled under the pressure. Now who's the prostitute?
By the way, I agree that tax money should not be used to pay for personal medical expenses, but I also do not believe that those who practice birth control are promiscuous or prostitutes.
Larry Bush, Lutz
What's wrong with Florida March 4, editorial
Crooks thrive in Florida
This editorial is correct that the political leadership in Florida is corrupt and self-serving.
The Times shows other instances of this problem in the Sunday paper: "Resale Ripoff" and "When it's the Capitol vs. courts." These and other articles (Scientology, drug prescriptions, car crash insurance scams, etc.) show that scams and crooks thrive in Florida.
What makes this so difficult to change is the Florida education system. As pointed out in a number of articles, Florida has a poor education system and no Florida public universities rank in the top 50 nationwide.
The state politicians must love the education system in Florida. An uneducated electorate is easy to fool and lead astray.
Don Johnson, Clearwater
Electorate to blame
Actually, what's wrong with Florida is the apathy and shallow thinking of its electorate. Shallow, knee-jerk thinking brought us "leaders" like state Sen. JD Alexander and Gov. Rick Scott in the first place.
D. Lawton, St. Petersburg