Flexible, sensible design to build on | Jan. 21, editorial
Put focus on pier's land amenities
This editorial is surprisingly optimistic given that the winning design fails to solve the community's well-documented criticisms of the existing pier building: The walk is too long; the sun shading is inadequate; the integration with downtown poor; and the budget for the complete scheme is more than double what has been set aside.
The good news is that the Maltzan team was the best choice among the finalists. The bad news is that the City Council is being asked to approve a scheme that does not solve these most essential requirements for the design.
Refining the likely $150 million scheme will do nothing but water down the Lens concept. My thought: Forget the over-the-water "tiara" and focus on the delightful solution the Maltzan team proposed for the 20-acre on-land component of the design. That scope of project may be affordable and provide downtown with the urban statement it needs.
Jerry Li, South Pasadena
Florida GOP primary
Gingrich's ethics deficit
The big news as we head into the Florida primary is Newt Gingrich's surge in the polls. That surge seems to have been enhanced by his bellowing denials to CNN moderator John King in response to his ex-wife's allegation that he asked for an "open marriage." Where have we heard this kind of "I did not have sex with that woman" denial before?
As House speaker, Gingrich spent untold congressional man-hours and public funds pursuing the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying and denying having an affair. At least Clinton eventually came clean. Newt is still bellowing denials.
I am a conservative, but Gingrich's lying and denials make him seem unprincipled, opportunistic and manipulative.
Robert Beatty, Tampa
Leave personal life alone
Newt Gingrich's win in South Carolina was described as the primal scream of the Republican Party. I agree. America is tired of the dirty politics and the media's support for such tactics. Republicans are still angry about what was done to Herman Cain and dragging Gingrich's vindictive ex-wife out two days before the primary stunk.
Most Americans do not care who candidates have sex with. Many great leaders have been womanizers.
Jane Fulmer, Sebastian
God may have forgiven Newt Gingrich for his "indiscretions," but do voters really want a first lady in the White House who had a years-long affair with a married man?
John H. Rindahl, St. Petersburg
10 questions from Florida for the GOP candidates | Jan. 23, editorial
Rising to the occasion
Congratulations on a fine and overdue editorial.
Although I sometimes think your paper is weak in critical coverage areas — international news, entertainment and related arts and, most especially, horticulture and botany come immediately to mind — occasionally you really do rise to your claim: Florida's Best Newspaper, indeed, even one of the best in the nation. Today is such a day.
H. Alton Lee, Gulfport
Debate missed key issues
Congratulations on the excellent editorial highlighting the key issues that merit attention heading into election day. Too bad the debaters Monday night in Tampa ignored them — including Social Security — for the most part.
What we need now is an identification of specific proposals to lift us from the present malaise. As a Florida senior, I am concerned about economic security and the future of Social Security, which has become a favorite target of politicians.
Instead of hurting needy seniors, why not strengthen Social Security, for instance by increasing the payroll contribution base to, say, $250,000 and reducing benefits to wealthy seniors?
Who among the presidential contenders will focus on similar concrete measures, rather than bashing each other and our president?
Mukunda Rao, Tampa
Clinics serve vital function | Jan. 23, letter
Objective diagnoses needed
I understand the letter writer's concern about the automobile PIP bill that requires accident injuries be treated first in a hospital emergency room within 72 hours. This procedure will obviously clog the ERs.
However, under our current PIP system, many people complaining of injury often go to their attorney first, who refers them to a chiropractic clinic. The injury is then often diagnosed as a subjective, soft-tissue one.
I speak to this problem as someone who began my career in the insurance industry 47 years ago as a claims adjuster. We would see the chiropractic clinics providing extensive treatments to patients in order to increase the amount of settlements. Insurance companies would then settle cases in order to avoid high defense costs and juries that would see the defendant as the "deep pockets" insurance company.
We obviously need a better system to handle PIP injuries, and just maybe emergency rooms are the best means of obtaining a necessary, and early, objective diagnosis.
Robert K. Reader, Clearwater
Safety first on cruise ships | Jan. 21
Not feeling very safe
Your editorial states that under U.S. cruise ship protocols, passengers attend a mandatory briefing on security procedures before leaving port. We returned to Miami on our cruise ship the same day that the ship in Italy had its accident.
It was then that we started to question how we were briefed. We were told to appear in one of the nightclubs on board, where a crew member demonstrated how to put on a life jacket. We were stunned that that was all the information we received. In past cruises, we all had to try on a life vest and went to our muster stations on the balcony next to where the lifeboats were.
This time, we never knew how to get down to where the life rafts were or even what floor we had to get to. They wanted us to return to the nightclub in case of an accident and be led by a crew member. The accident in Italy shows us that would be a huge mistake. It's everyone for themselves.
Safety procedures need an awful lot of improving.
M. Davis, New Port Richey