Scott still fighting openness | July 2, editorial
Getting public records not cheap
Access to public records should be a public right. But it shouldn't be free — that is, paid for by taxpayers.
Handling requests for public records is an expensive exercise. There are built-in costs: paper, copy machines and, most of all, personnel time that would normally be devoted to other budgeted job activity.
The example in the editorial regarding the $10.50 charge for "thousands of public records" actually must have cost more. Just 2,000 copies at 1 cent per sheet would be $20. Then add toner, electricity and researcher and/or operator time.
The other cited charge of $788 for "one week of e-mails" might not have been unreasonable or excessive. Freedom of information is not just done at the press of a button.
Moreover, frivolous or petty requests — which are legion — add to freedom-of-information costs.
Obtaining such information must be at the user's expense, as is already the case for most extra public services.
David Derrick, Pinellas Park
Scott still fighting openness | July 2, editorial
Poor example at the top on government openness
It does seem that Gov. Rick Scott is behind in releasing records, and the cost does seem a little high. I hope the process improves and the cost decreases.
But this is of minuscule concern. Where were you when President Barack Obama said he was going to debate health care on C-SPAN and didn't? Instead, 2,000 pages were written and passed without many Republicans and Democrats reading the bill. Democratic Rep. John Conyers, a lawyer, said he needed lawyers to help him understand the bill. Democrat Nancy Pelosi said, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."
Obama ran his campaign on transparency. I guess he doesn't believe in change after all.
Phyllis Lasorella, Palm Harbor
Let the sunshine in
What is Gov. Rick Scott hiding that he is willing to circumvent Florida's Sunshine Laws? With his integrity already in question (Medicare fraud), you would think he would want more transparency, not less.
Marcy Bouchard, New Port Richey
Poker buoys track's drop | July 2
Job cuts equal profits
Republican politicians insist that decreasing corporate taxes (more money in the owners' pockets) will result in a hiring increase. However, to listen to Derby Lane greyhound track president Vey Weaver, the opposite seems true.
Weaver says eliminating 50 staff positions last year enabled the track to be more profitable, despite the downturn in parimutuel wagering and the stagnant economy. One can assume more layoffs are imminent if future profits are threatened.
Well, at least some folks are doing well financially. If only we all were so lucky to inherit a greyhound track/simulcast center/poker room.
Michael Henry, Bradenton
Gov. Scott says he'll run again | July 3
Funny kind of love
The funniest thing I read in the July 3 issue was the fact that Gov. Rick Scott apparently said repeatedly that he loves people.
Who are these people? Not the old and handicapped, whose benefits he has destroyed; not the teachers and other public workers whose salaries and status he has diminished; not the unemployed, who are still waiting for those thousands of jobs he promised. He certainly does not love the people who care about the environment and what makes Florida the beautiful state it is.
When people love people, they act in ways that help and support them. Scott should learn that his own manufactured letters and robo-calls will not take the place of really helping Florida's people. Give us some real love, Mr. Scott.
Lucy Fuchs, Brandon
In the 15th century, China, then the superpower of Asia, sent Zheng He on voyages of discovery with a fleet many times the bigger than Christopher Columbus'. By the middle of the century the Ming Dynasty had recalled Zheng He and burnt the fleet. Thus began the inward-looking period of stagnation in China that lasted 500 years.
In the 20th century, the United States created a fleet of spaceships for voyages of discovery. By the early 21st century we, too, have begun to look inward, and that fleet is either destroyed or headed toward museums, with society looking backward toward days of glory. And we, too, are stagnating.
Ian MacFarlane, St. Petersburg
The dollar we refuse to spend | July 4, commentary
Do away with dollar bills
Dale McFeatters laments the refusal of the American public to use dollar coins despite the many economic advantages that coin use would have. I agree with him completely. But the answer to the problem is ridiculously simple: The U.S. government needs to stop producing dollar bills. End of problem. Why the government is not taking action on this is beyond me.
While they're at it, maybe they should also stop producing pennies, each of which can sometimes cost more than a penny to produce (depending on the cost of the metals). Cash registers would simply be set to round up or down to the nearest nickel. To me, pennies are a nuisance anyway. I either don't have enough or I've got way too many. And without them clogging up my change purse, I'd have more room — for dollar coins.
Carolyn Klema, New Port Richey
U.S.-Taliban secret talks are reported | July 2
The United States is secretly talking and negotiating with the enemy while our soldiers are risking their lives. It is demoralizing to fight under such a commander in chief as Barack Obama. The Taliban will never capitulate until they either win or are crushed. They must be laughing at us and know that our resolve is weak. What a lousy way to fight a war.
Greg Katz, St. Petersburg