Jolly wins race in national eye | March 12
Election coverage lacked balance
The Times interviewed significantly more Democratic voters as polls opened Tuesday in the Pinellas congressional race, while hardly giving a voice to supporters of eventual winner David Jolly. Four of the first five people the Times interviewed as polls opened said they voted for Alex Sink. Moreover, only three Jolly voters apparently could be found in online updates over the course of an entire election day by Times' journalists, compared to nine Sink voters quoted by the Times.
You do a disservice to your readers — and to your profession — with this unbalanced of voters in such an important race with national implications for the fall elections.
Some might even think the Times was trying to use its online platform to portray Tuesday's race as already won by Sink based on the voters you quoted. Such skeptics might believe that Times reporters — and the editors who let them get away with it — were engaged in a deliberate effort to pad the numbers of Sink supporters to dissuade Jolly supporters from showing up to the polls for a "lost" cause.
The Times published front-page stories about Jolly's recent divorce and a tragic driving accident when he was 16 years old. Yet when an actual campaign issue occurred, such as Sink's shameful, borderline racist statement about Hispanic workers, it seemed too insignificant to merit significant coverage.
As a subscriber and loyal reader, and someone who cares about our election process, I believe that newspapers can still play an important role in our electoral process. All I ask is fairness.
Michael Kersmarki, Tampa
Trauma payday | March 10
Consumers get gouged
If a hurricane sweeps through our state and causes a major power outage, it's illegal for me to load my truck up with generators and sell them to people in need for a couple hundred more than they actually cost. That's considered price-gouging.
However, if I become injured in an accident and have to go to a trauma center, they can charge me 30 or 40 times what the actual cost should be and that's perfectly legal.
I guess this makes perfect sense to our leadership in Tallahassee.
David Bieniecki, New Port Richey
Looking out for the public
You are to be commended for your excellent and timely report on the outrageous fees being charged by some Florida hospitals.
Your continuing exposure of harmful, dangerous and illegal situations in the bay area — the cancellation of water fluoridation, the dangers associated with the Goodwill work release center, and the abuses at unlicensed religious children's homes, to name but three — demonstrate that your many Pulitzer awards are well deserved.
Few realize that if it wasn't for crusading newspapers like the Tampa Bay Times, there would be nobody who would fight the good fight on behalf of ordinary citizens. Please keep up the good work.
Brandon Jones, Clearwater
Talking amid new pier ideas | March 9
I suggest that the city of St. Petersburg simply give the remaining $45 million to Bill Edwards and ask that he build the new pier. Everything he has done for this community has been done with class, and I have no doubt that he would come up with a better plan than has heretofore been suggested by various interest groups or hired experts.
Marvin Honig, St. Petersburg
Go for classic design
It is refreshing to watch St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman in action with the pier process. Let's hope that the transparency and openness continue.
Many of us would like to see the resurrection of the Mediterranean Million Dollar Pier as an option. Virtually every design we have been seeing in the Times is modernist, and one can only think that we may be repeating the mistakes of the past. Trendy designs like the inverted pyramid go woefully out of style. Classic designs like the Million Dollar Pier are timeless and may just be the true compromise choice for our very important public pier.
Jeannie Cline, St. Petersburg
Leave the land alone
The current round of pier proposals are starting to sound similar to the previous failed designs. The designers seem incapable of leaving our green space and the shoreline "unimproved."
Most residents are proud of the wisdom of previous city administrations that had the foresight to create our extraordinary waterfront park system. The pier designers, however, seem to hate all that empty space that we city residents and thousands of visitors love.
Those considering proposing a design for the pier would do well to learn from the past failure and concentrate on building a pier, not land-side restaurants, carnivals and tourist traps.
The city administration would do well to inform the bidders that there is $45 million remaining to build a pier, so please do exactly that. Design an extraordinary pier and leave the land-side parks alone.
Bruce Mattern, St. Petersburg
Math textbook claims don't add up March 10
Publishers to blame
As a recently retired elementary teacher of 29 years who held national board certification and a minor in college math, I find this situation with the state-approved textbook publishers unacceptable. I do not understand how they could have been allowed to sell their series under the premise that it meets the needs of the Common Core when it doesn't.
Is that not a form of fraud? Were they not working off a list of criteria for each grade level to be checked off and verified? Are they not going to be held accountable to now provide materials to those classrooms to correct the shortcomings?
Please stop blaming the teachers for not "filling in the gaps." Teachers are told what to teach and when. They are not allowed to step off the directed curriculum guidelines. Now they will be blamed when their students fall short of expectations. That is unfair and demoralizing.
It is time to place the blame where it belongs, at the feet of the publishers who sold their inferior product.
Joyce Ostrom, Oldsmar