Busing cuts painful, but necessary | May 25, editorial
Don't hurt teachers even more
It is time for our Pinellas County School Board and our leaders to make some difficult decisions. I hope by now every employee, program and department has been analyzed and evaluated by Superintendent Julie Janssen.
I spent 35 years working with kids every day, and I can say with knowledge that no employee contributes more to the success or failure of our children than our classroom teachers. Any budget item needs to be considered for elimination that takes away from the money needed for our teachers. Computers, iPads, coaches are nice if you have extra money to spend. All unnecessary and unfunded busing needs to be eliminated, and students need to be returned to their zoned schools with the promise that the district will work with parents. Consider an in-school fundamental program for students. Middle school sports should be considered for elimination.
Teachers have already bore the brunt of the changes.
William Cooper, Dunedin
School district clings to land | May 23
District needs to let go
When people are in economic strife, they sell their vacation home, retirement property, boat, their second car, their personal belongings and whatever they must to survive — often at a loss to stop further "bleeding and spending." The Pinellas County School District, on the other hand, asks taxpayers to continue funding operations and "fallow" and unusable property through tax referendums. For seven years, enrollment has declined; there is no credible prediction that there will be an influx of students requiring future use of these fallow properties. It is time the district put the properties up for auction. Education trends for the future indicate partnership trends, Internet, and less need for such "locations." The district already knows this.
Steve J. Sarang, Clearwater
Agency fails another child | May 21
DCF not to blame
Regarding little Ezekiel Mathis' death, allegedly at the hands of his mother's boyfriend, it appears the Department of Children and Families and the courts did their job, but the state Attorney General's Office did not do enough to prevent this death.
Ultimate responsibility falls squarely on Ezekiel's mother. She is only 21, has two children, one of which was taken away from her, and now the other one is dead. She was under state order to keep the boyfriend away from the child and not only did she not comply with that order, she left the child alone with him. She does not deserve to have children, but she will probably have more.
While I do not excuse the state's failure in this case, the DCF would not be needed if it were not for all these "mothers" having kids that they obviously are not responsible enough to care for. The mother should go to jail along with the boyfriend, at least until she is no longer of child bearing age.
Sharon Lam, Hudson
Superficial politics | May 23, editorial
Proposal won't pass
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has a bill that would allow states to refuse the federal money directed toward various projects and reallocate them toward lowering the national debt. This proposal gives states the right to veto specific money included in the government's budget as proposed by and approved by Congress, and the right to tell the government where to spend the money.
Rubio's proposal will never pass Congress and is a grandstanding effort for his base. Isn't it rich that Rubio is proposing something that an earlier Republican president (Abraham Lincoln) fought a costly war for — states rights vs. federal rights.
Why is Rubio wasting his time on such a nonstarter?
Vera Chapman, Sun City Center
The day Rapture didn't come | May 22
A waste of newsprint
Since the world didn't end Saturday, I thought that the St. Petersburg Times might re-examine its policy of what to print and what to ignore. Do these religious crackpots really deserve space in your fine newspaper? Aren't we inundated enough with religious nonsense?
Must the Times add to our pain? When you print such trash, you insult our intelligence and debase your integrity. We deserve better, and you should do better.
William James said that, "The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook." The Times should act in a wise manner and develop the art of overlooking the vacuous rantings of religious fanatics.
Mike Hayney, Treasure Island
Lack of insurers is real crisis | May 23, letter
USAA still here
I want to correct a misstatement that I suspect was unintentional. Chris Johnson of Clearwater said USAA "left the state." While we agree with the statements in the letter about the importance of a competitive insurance market, the fact is USAA did not leave the state. Given Florida's exposure to catastrophic losses, USAA manages our business carefully on behalf of our entire membership. But we are here and committed to continuing to serve our thousands of members in Florida.
Robert Hoyland, vice president and general manager, USAA Tampa
Law gives voters even more options May 23, column
What a loophole
I was very interested in the piece by Secretary of State Kurt Browning regarding our new voting law. It was well written and informed us quite well.
In fact the fourth paragraph did get my attention. The sentence that states, "And, if an election supervisor finds it's not absolutely necessary to keep all of his or her polling places open a full 12 hours a day, which isn't unusual for rural areas, he or she has the flexibility to save taxpayer money by not employing poll workers that aren't needed."
My mind is running amok. I can see all kinds of scenarios for that loophole. I'm sure others get my drift.
Joan Raynor, Summerfield
Missouri tornado coverage | May 24
Obama's beer ill-timed
I was consumed by rage when I saw the front page of the Times on Tuesday morning. The horrible damage done and the lives lost when that F4 tornado whipped through Joplin, Mo., was heartbreaking. But then I saw the picture of "our fearless leader" guzzling down a beer in Ireland. What is wrong with this picture? The media had a field day with President George W. Bush after Katrina. I will be willing to bet that President Barack Obama's drink will be glossed over and hidden from sight.
His place is in Missouri, not some Irish pub. It really was an eye opener and shows how little he really cares about this country. He should be ashamed of himself.
Mary Baker, St. Petersburg