St. Petersburg police officer killed
Hometown heroes struck down too often
Once again the city of St. Petersburg suffers the tragic loss of a police officer. It saddens me greatly that this happens far too often in cities all across the nation, with six in the Tampa Bay area over the last few years.
Just like the honorable men and women serving in our military to keep our country safe and protect our freedom, the men and women of law enforcement, as well as our firefighters and first responders, are our heroes at home. They dedicate their lives to keeping our citizens safe and out of harm's way. They put on their uniforms each day with no guarantee they will return home to their families at day's end.
It certainly is not the paycheck that lures them into a career as a firefighter or police officer. It is their dedication, courage and willingness to help others and serve and protect the citizens of this country. Let us not forget the valuable men and women who serve this community every day. May God give the families of these fallen officers the strength to endure the loss of these great heroes.
Maryrose Lord Babino, Spring Hill
Gov. Rick Scott
No surprise: He was a CEO
We should not be surprised at the heavy-handed approach of Gov. Rick Scott. His experience has been as corporate chief executive, an authoritarian role, so how is he to know he isn't king?
He has yet to discover that a governor is not a CEO. Elected officials have more to worry about than profitability. They are charged with the complex task of promoting the general welfare of a diverse population, not employees or subjects who can be banished, i.e., fired.
As a customer and investor, I support business except when corporations begin to behave as if they are the fourth branch of government.
James Crane, Treasure Island
You get what you vote for
It is difficult to understand the expressions of outrage in the Times concerning the actions of Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio. Voters were certainly informed before their election that neither had the public's best interest at heart. Yet they were elected. You get what you vote for, Florida.
Rolf Sulzberger, Sun City Center
Facts on project needed
Would it be too much to ask the Times to report on the facts concerning the high-speed rail project as well as the opinions?
It seems clear that Gov. Rick Scott, among others, opposes the project on grounds that it likely will cost the state billions in operating deficits, while Sen. Bill Nelson, among others, disagrees.
What are the facts on the operations of the project, assuming it is built? What does Nelson expect on rider revenues and costs? What about Scott? What are the best-and worst-case scenarios? These facts are needed so readers can reach informed conclusions.
Rob Daisley, Tampa
I recall another rail system that was touted as a great economic booster when it was announced. In the late '70s in Buffalo, N.Y., a city on the decline for decades, there was suddenly hope in the form of federal money to build a light-rail system. It would pour millions into the economy, be a great new public transportation system and conceivably bring new business to a renewed urban environment.
It was built, but many of the contracts went to out-of-area firms that brought in workers to the partial exclusion of locals. It disrupted traffic during construction, and cost overruns were incurred before the project was 60 percent completed.
The novelty brought sizable ridership in the first year or so, but then a slow decline started, and the authority that operates the system must go hat-in-hand to the Legislature every year for subsidies.
It had to be a difficult decision for Gov. Rick Scott to cancel high-speed rail, but I am proud I voted for a man who does not see government spending as a cure for our ills.
Robert B. Ryan, Bayonet Point
Killing hope for jobs
Gov. Rick Scott has killed my hope for a high-speed rail job. I am an unemployed crane operator, age 51, who is slowly dying financially. I learned my trade in the Army and have been working in this "right to work" state for the last 25 years.
Some of you may have seen my crew starting at the crack of dawn. Many times we worked till dark or on weekends and holidays. I have never been paid overtime, nor had a paid holiday or vacation since leaving the Army.
The interstate system united our country and propelled us into an economic powerhouse, but technology has advanced in the last 50 years. It's sad that we have to look to Japan, France and Germany to show us how to build modern rail here.
As I stand at the gas pump spending $60 to fuel my car, I angrily think of our politicians bickering instead of producing results. Work on our national infrastructure is desperately needed.
Gary Mahony, Hudson
The clock is running
Although I agree with most of Howard Troxler's columns, his Sunday column (The boos are loud, but hardly unanimous) took a shortsighted view of the high-speed rail issue.
High-speed rail is about more than whether there will be sufficient ridership in the short term. It is about being prepared for the future. Gas prices will increase as the competition for limited oil becomes more intense. If we do not have an alternative in place, soon it will be too late.
In addition there is the increasing pollution of the environment by carbon. Whether you believe in global warming or not, the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide being emitted into the air cannot be good for our air and water quality.
Taking a shortsighted view means that when we really need alternative transportation, it will not be there and it will cost much more.
Michael Logan, St. Petersburg
Florida State Fair
More than fried food
A letter writer claimed our Florida State Fair is nothing but "a fried food festival with a midway in the middle." I attended this year and saw numerous health food booths.
Yes, there are a lot of fried food items, but teaching kids how to control themselves is just good parenting. Also, who is to say you can't indulge yourself with a treat every once in awhile?
There is more to do at the fair than just pig out on fried foods. The fair gives people work and Florida businesses a chance to showcase their products.
Nathan Huegel, Palm Harbor
I love the Florida State Fair. It is not a fried food festival or only about the rides. It has many great shows. Cracker Country brings back a taste (not fried) of the old times. The exhibits show the talents of many people of all ages.
This was the 30th time I have been to the fair. It's too bad that some people only dwell on the negative. I'm already looking forward to 2012.
Patricia A. Keenan, New Port Richey
Helping needy is costly to cop | Feb. 20
An exemplary officer
Officer Richard Linkiewicz exemplifies the motto "to protect and serve." Have any of his renters complained? Has anyone tried to find a place to rent in Pinellas County at $450 a month? Perhaps if more people like Officer Linkiewicz offered inexpensive places for homeless people, St. Petersburg wouldn't have so many on its streets.
David Cox, Clearwater