Scott re-election gets better odds | June 29
Lessons from presidential race
The political landscape around Florida's 2014 gubernatorial election is beginning to exhibit an interesting similarity to the recent presidential election victory by Barack Obama — only this time it may become a reversal of political parties.
It's no secret Gov. Rick Scott's popularity ratings plummeted rapidly after his election. But as Mitt Romney discovered with his inability to construct a personal connection with the voters, the Democratic Party is also tumbling into its own political abyss with a complex field of potential campaigners.
The question of which Democrat — Charlie Crist, Alex Sink, Nan Rich, Sen. Bill Nelson, or even Tampa's own Pam Iorio — will take on Scott (who could be wielding an $80 million to $100 million war chest) is yet to be known.
However, as a lifelong voting Floridian, I find it rather disappointing that neither party can muster a fresh, intelligent and inspiring individual who can unite the entire state and lead it to a prominence we so abundantly deserve.
In this coming election, let's just hope we don't hear the belabored and overused word "change" — to voters it has become literally meaningless.
Mike Merino, Tampa
Where does this leave gay couples in Florida? | June 28, commentary
Opponents, not enemies
In her opinion piece, Catherine E. Blackburn quotes from the Supreme Court's recent decision regarding the Defense of Marriage Act. According to that opinion, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, DOMA was motivated "to harm a politically unpopular group." This prompts Blackburn to write, "Why people wish to harm same-sex couples or gay individuals is a real — not a rhetorical — question."
This statement is wrong. People such as myself, who oppose the idea of legalizing homosexual marriage, do so not because we wish to harm anyone but because we recognize the reality that a marriage, in the legitimate sense of the term, only applies to two people of the opposite sex. To redefine the term to allow two people of the same sex to get married would constitute a perversion of the term and would only have the effect of undermining the institution of marriage in general. None of this involves harming people; it's simply stating that the so-called "right" of same-sex marriage does not exist.
Blackburn quotes approvingly from Kennedy's ruling in the DOMA case. I will quote from Justice Antonin Scalia's eloquent and impassioned dissent: "In the majority's judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. … It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostis humani generis, enemies of the human race."
Advocates of same-sex marriage are going to have to learn to stop vilifying their opponents. As the saying goes, "Reasonable people can differ." Blackburn and others who think like her must be made to understand that people like me, who disagree with them, are not their evil enemies. Our future as a democracy depends on this.
Gary Bachner, Tampa
For a cleaner, safer world | June 30, commentary
Mammoth carbon footprint
President Barack Obama tells the American people about the danger we are all in from global warming, and not 24 hours later he jets off to Africa, adding to his already exorbitant carbon footprint.
It seems like those who run around shouting "fire" are always the ones hiding matches and lighter fluid in their very deep pockets. If the president and Al Gore truly believed the Earth was in peril, just the thought of stepping on a jet would make them uncomfortable — but no, these two have no problem traveling the globe.
Elisabeth Dasilva, Largo
Jim Morin editorial cartoon | June 30
I could appreciate this political cartoon as I have felt all along if the roles were reversed this story would not have been front-page news.
Douglas Palys, St. Petersburg
New energy standards may be hard on Florida | June 30
Leaderless on energy
Your headline should have read: "New energy standards could be huge opportunity for Florida." Clean energy and electric mobility will be to the next decade what mobile computing and social networks were to the previous one.
The Sunshine State could be a leader in these fields, which offer high-quality manufacturing jobs. However, this will require new leadership at the Public Service Commission. Commercial rooftop solar is the way to go, but rainy New Jersey is way ahead of us because of our ban on "third-party sales" among other backward-looking policies.
Charlie Morris, Treasure Island
Role model on, off ice | June 29, editorial
He will be missed
Vinny Lecavalier is not a Lightning hockey player anymore, at least not on paper. But in the minds of thousands of Lightning fans he will forever be connected to the Tampa Bay area, both for his achievements on the ice, as well, if not more, for his personal commitment to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, which he hopefully will continue.
His departure was actually a wise business decision for the team in order to build for the future, but not a favorable one in the eyes of its fans. That said, the announcement was handled in a most professional manner by Vinny and management. We'll eventually get over it, and a run for the Stanley Cup would certainly help. But just like the stars in the past who left teams — Esposito, Gretzky, Jagr, etc. — Vinny will do fine. We all wish him the best.
David Lubin, Tampa
A grim landmark of the slave trade | June 28
Still not there
I was moved by the picture of our president standing in the stone doorway at Goree Island in Senegal, and I thought how far we have come. But then I remembered the trial taking place in Sanford and Paula Deen. We are not there yet.
Geanne Marks, St. Petersburg