Mail-in votes open to fraud | March 11, editorial
Mail-in ballots produce problems
I worked as a poll worker in the last primary election and I was amazed at how many people came in with mail-in ballots addressed to either a relative who does not and has not lived at the address for a year or two, or with ballots meant for people who have moved.
With just a small number of people bringing in ballots to turn them in, imagine how many just get thrown away (I hope). The problem is that mail-in ballots should have to be requested at least once a year, not just mailed like you're on a magazine mailing list receiving them year after year. It doesn't matter if you ever used one or not; all you have to do is request one and it starts.
Mail-in ballots should be used only if the voter is not able to get to the polling place or is out of the area during the election.
Don Reich, Largo
Government in the Sunshine
Do your part for democracy
As we celebrate Sunshine Week, I encourage readers to get involved in their local communities and promote the importance of open government and access to information.
Anyone can play an active role in government and help keep public officials honest, make government more efficient and act as a check against waste, fraud and abuse of power.
Freedom of information isn't just an issue for the press; it's a cornerstone of our democracy. Join us and help make a difference in the battle against unnecessary government secrecy and waste. You can find out more at SunshineWeek.org.
Jason Stverak, president, Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
Bush answers criticism on immigration stance | March 11
Troubling record no secret
Former Gov. Jeb Bush has come out of the shadows with his book and his flip-flopping on immigration. People may seem surprised that the well-regarded former governor has shown a dubious side to his character. They should not be.
Think of his plans to weaken public education under the guise of caring about children, plans that have mostly benefited private interests. The short list: charter schools, vouchers and FCAT.
Charter schools give public money to private interests. You want better schools? Invest in public schools. You want change? Change the public schools that need change. The solution is not to divert monies to private enterprises.
Vouchers have been ruled unconstitutional for infringing on the separation of church and state according to our state constitution. This was known from the beginning. More money wasted.
FCAT emphasizes testing over the learning process. The creation and implementation of the FCAT has cost millions of dollars that have gone primarily to private companies that create, score and evaluate the results of those tests.
What Bush has done publicly and privately on education is emblematic of the dark side of this seemingly approachable man. His flip-flopping on immigration is just a minor revelation of the more nefarious side of his character.
Flora A. Napoli, Riverview
Let us now praise quiet March 11, commentary
Leonard Pitts is right on the money. The problem with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "collaborative synergy" approach is that it worked well until it ran into today's political correctness, where everyone and every idea is wonderful and worthy of praise, lest someone's self-esteem be damaged. That approach doesn't optimize results.
A creative career, like Pitts', thrives without distraction and shouldn't be shoehorned into a cubbyhole.
Peter Ford, St. Petersburg
Spending our way into debt | March 11, letter
A duty to 'general welfare'
The letter writer says there is nothing in the Constitution saying there is a duty to spend in a time of stress. He is wrong. The preamble states, "We the people … in order to form a more perfect union ... promote the general welfare ... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Getting people employed is certainly covered under promoting the general welfare.
He also states that the stimulus didn't work. He is wrong again. The stimulus saved many jobs and created 3.3 million others. It would have done a lot more if it was bigger and was used for public works instead of tax cuts.
Tax cuts are in fact one of the worst ways to apply a stimulus program as not all that money is spent and not all the spent money is put to productive use.
It is prudent to remember that after President Bill Clinton raised taxes (Republicans said it was the largest tax increase in history), the economy took off and our debt was being repaid.
Christopher Radulich, Apollo Beach
Crack down on corporate welfare March 11, editorial
The business of sports
This is an excellent commentary on why we should end the financing of places of business for corporations. It would seem that we should also end corporate welfare for professional sports teams of all varieties.
It is one thing to publicly finance infrastructure such as roads, mass transit and enhanced utility services. But to finance fields, stadiums or other places where the teams do the business of sports is to give them the same sort of corporate welfare you decry in your editorial.
It is disingenuous to suggest that it is good to publicly fund professional sports because they put locals to work and/or bring heads to beds, fans to restaurants and bars, and cars to parking lots and service stations. Those corporations you want to take off welfare do the same thing.
In all fairness to the taxpayers whose money provides that welfare, both groups should be forced to go it alone with their own money.
Willi Rudowsky, St. Petersburg