Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Mideast borders at root of unrest

Middle East

National borders at root of unrest

Most of the Middle East national boundaries were not established by its inhabitants. Britain and France secretly decided how the Middle East was to be divided up as spoils of war and to secure oil reserves. This was approved by the League of Nations as a mandate in 1920. France got Syria and placed a minority Alawite Islamic sect in power over a Sunni Islamic majority and another minority group of Kurds. King Faisal I, a Sunni, was exiled.

Britain then placed King Faisal I on the throne in Iraq as well as placing Sunnis in key government positions to rule over a Shiite majority and a Kurdish minority group.

Establishing minority rule is a recipe for disaster. To expect otherwise was foolish. Insisting on maintaining these boundaries that were established without consideration of the prevailing demographic is only asking for continued violence.

Jordan is 90 percent-plus Sunni Islamic and stable. Syria and Iraq need to be allowed to subdivide into four demographic, autonomous areas.

George Ellsworth, Dade City

Duke is caught in TV ad crossfire | Aug. 26

A choice of scoundrels

Who is the bigger scoundrel when it comes to Duke Energy's fleecing of its customers, Charlie Crist or Rick Scott? I am not sure. They are probably both equally guilty, but that being said, the fleecing is happening on Scott's watch. He and his administration had a chance to stop this and didn't, so my vote for most reprehensible scoundrel goes to him.

Nancy Parker, St. Petersburg

Blame the Legislature

I agree with recent letter writers bemoaning Duke Energy's latest incident of increasing revenues on the backs of its consumers. But Duke is only doing what is legal. Our Legislature is the real culprit. At some point they said, "Sure, you can charge your customers for a power plant that will never be built" and allowed other financial shenanigans to benefit these monopolies.

So if you go to the polls and vote the "same old, same old," that's what you'll get. In addition to increasing your insulation and planting trees, you have the power to right these wrongs and be charged a fair price for the power you use — but only if you pay close attention to whom you vote for.

Janet Bibber, Seminole

Duke gets the cash, you get the shaft Aug. 24, John Romano column

For publicly owned power

In reference to John Romano's challenge on what we are going to do about Duke Energy playing its customers for chumps, he has pointed out in past columns that many of our politicians run unopposed, and when they do run against a candidate, that person is often another politician who has pledged "loyalty to corporate bigwigs and out-of-state interests instead of the folks back home."

Although thankfully I am not a current Duke Energy customer, I want to make a bolder, more radical and perhaps utopian suggestion than merely demanding answers: Let us start a movement to find a way to boot Duke Energy out of Florida and start a publicly owned utility in its place.

Dan Corson, Riverview

Judge upholds map revisions | Aug. 23

Draw impartial lines

Judge Terry Lewis is wrong. Those slight tweaks to our congressional districts are no more constitutional than the original. Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford's delight confirms that fact.

Fortunately, the Florida Supreme Court can overrule Lewis and can find this charade unconstitutional. It can also find that the Legislature is incapable by its very structure of creating impartial districts. By its nature it's a political body. You can't expect it to act nonpolitically. It never has.

But who can do an unbiased job? The court can direct the Legislature to delegate three impartial circuit judges to design unbiased districts. Choose them from around the state. Make the new districts effective 10 months before the 2016 election.

Bill Cooper, St. Petersburg

Tampa bracing for boom of bikes | Aug. 24

Traffic and bicycles

Tampa's Channelside shopping center has a new, successful owner; the majestic River Walk is almost complete; and young people are rapidly moving into the downtown business district. And now there will be more than 300 bikes available to downtowners to rent and navigate through the bustling, chaotic traffic.

This concept works in bustling Manhattan, where vehicular mayhem is a 24-hour-a-day occurrence. And perhaps it's also doing well in the other 35 cities offering rental bikes by the hour. However, I don't believe it's a concept that is ready to be widely accepted. I wish the promoters luck, and as a supporter of downtown growth, I hope it doesn't become another failed albatross like the trolley.

Mike Merino, Tampa

Bank of America let off too easily Aug. 25, editorial

Government is culpable

In the spirit of going after every financial institution that contributed to the mortgage crisis, the next target of the U.S. Justice Department should be the federal government.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two private companies at the time, pushed banks hard to underwrite mortgages for people who could not afford them. They then wrapped up these mortgages for willing Wall Street firms.

Today, both Fannie and Freddie are owned by the federal government and turn over almost $100 billion per year in profits to the U.S. Treasury.

Perhaps the first person who could be "punished individually," as the Times suggests, is former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, who before the financial crisis resisted further regulation of Fannie and Freddie.

Scott Stolz, Tarpon Springs


Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18