Vouchers need accountability | Oct. 16, commentary
Parents are the best guarantee
The "accountability" demand by school voucher foes ought to be called what it really is: a demand for government regulation of private schools. If private schools admitting voucher students must adhere to exactly the same standards and assessments as the public schools, then they will forfeit their independence and parents will lose their chance at exercising a real choice.
Critics like your guest columnists, David R. Colburn and Brian Dassler, fail to give parents credit for being savvy consumers of education.
Parents know when schools are safe or unsafe, when their children are happy or the victims of bullying, and when evidence of sound instruction in subjects like U.S. history is showing up in homework or not.
It is parents to whom private schools must be accountable. If parents are dissatisfied, they can withdraw their children and put them in a different school. That is a more effective form of accountability than extending mindless bureaucratic oversight to the private sector.
Robert Holland, senior fellow, Heartland Institute, Chicago
Obama, Romney in tense clash of ideas Oct. 17
Test their truthfulness
I watched the second presidential debate with great interest. I could not decide which of the candidates scored higher, but the debate left me wondering how both would have scored had they been connected to a polygraph.
Doris Storwick, Clearwater
Focus on the economy
It seems ridiculous that with all the issues facing senior citizens, the next presidential debate is going to be on foreign policy. Can it be changed to the economy? That's where most folks are hurting and where we need more answers. We can't afford four more years like the last four.
Esther M. Espinosa, Jacksonville
Talking, not listening
As I was watching the presidential debate, I was turned off by the fact that one man running for president was telling another man, already president, to basically "shut up and listen — I'm not done talking."
Mitt Romney was also rude to the moderator. He just has to be heard — he does not have to listen.
Rachel Metivier, Palm Harbor
Prices and politics
I wonder where Mitt Romney gets his information. He said the cost of living has risen since Barack Obama took office. If that's true, why have seniors had no increase in Social Security for the past two years and this year will get only a 1.7 percent bump?
Dominic Grillo, Dunedin
'Trust us' | Oct. 16
Owners call the shots
The responsible officer for policy at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is not the head coach or any other hired employee. It is ownership.
The gold standard example was set by Myra Kraft, wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who in 1996 interfered in the operation of their team by objecting to the drafting of a player who had a history of violent behavior toward women. Mrs. Kraft issued a press statement saying, "Our team is not going to be a place where thugs come to earn a million."
I agree with the Times position that this "welcome back" to Aqib Talib reflects very poorly on the character, as well as the decisionmaking, of the head coach and other executives, but it could only occur with the permission of ownership.
Thomas Fredrick, Port Richey
Vinik's buys stir stadium rumor pot | Oct. 13
Where will we park?
It's hard enough to find parking spots when there's an event at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Now there's talk of putting a baseball stadium there?
So on a Saturday or Sunday, you could have a Times Forum event, and a Rays game, and cruise ship passengers coming and going. Where is everyone going to park?
Michele Maro, St. Petersburg
Act to stop domestic violence Oct. 15, commentary
Columba Bush states that we need to act to address domestic violence. She also states that we live in the greatest country in the world. When individuals think that we live in the greatest country in the world, they do not feel the need to change. This society faces many problems in addition to domestic violence. For example, the World Health Organization ranks the United States as No. 37. The OECD ranks the United States as No. 14 in education.
Arnulfo Silva, Palm Harbor
Libya attack haunts Obama campaign Oct. 13
The liberal and media chatter that the Republican Party is politicizing the Libya situation is simply another digression from the real problem — that of dishonesty in reporting the real situation to the American public and the United Nations. Claiming the horrendous act was caused by a video days after all parties were aware that it was committed by terrorists is reprehensible.
Flying to Las Vegas for a fundraiser when four Americans were murdered is deplorable. Having Hillary Clinton taking the "blame" the day before the debate isn't politicizing? Apparently Mitt Romney is supposed to remain quiet about the Libya situation so the president can campaign on real issues — like Big Bird.
Gayle Sheline, Palm Harbor
Tax gains like ordinary income Oct. 17, letter
Seniors rely on investments
The recommendation that capital gains be taxed as regular income is persuasive but for one fact. The letter uses millionaire Mitt Romney as an example, but many retirees rely on investments currently taxed as capital gains for living expenses.
Henry Wells, Treasure Island
Resignation in order | Oct. 17, letter
Look to history
The reader thinks Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should resign because of the terror attack in Libya. Who resigned after the Marines died in a terrorist attack in Lebanon under Ronald Reagan? How about after 9/11 under George W. Bush?
Susan Walzer, St. Petersburg
State leaders want ethics reform | Oct. 17
Just say no
So legislators are suddenly worried about how the voters view them. Given the length of the constitutional amendments up for vote, I'd like to make this easy. Since they came from our legislators and not the public, just vote no on every one of them (except perhaps the last), and as for all incumbents running for re-election: Vote them out.
Charlotte Morales, Tampa