The GOP left me | Dec. 16, commentary
She should have seen it coming
As a liberal, I've enjoyed Paula Dockery's columns for the Times since she left politics. I often finish her pieces asking myself, "She seems like a thoughtful, reasonable person of conscience. What in the world was she doing as a Republican legislator in Tallahassee?"
I respect her dismay for what the GOP has become, and the domestic jihad it wages against the poor, women, people of color and, lately, facts and political dissent. But when she made her choice to sign up, the party had long since shown its colors as the protector of the rich and the ground force of capitalism at any cost, including the perversion of democracy. The GOP might not yet have been the party of Trump and Bannon, but it was squarely that of Lee Atwater, with Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove on deck. But I get it; a red wind was coming to Florida's Capitol, and she had a career to start.
Dockery has my sympathy and often my ear, but if she'd heeded history when she was picking her home team, she might not today be looking back as someone who helped make the mess we're in.
Andrew McAlister, Temple Terrace
The GOP left me | Dec. 16, commentary
Working toward better life
The Democrats have long suppressed job growth by ensuring that all prospective workers are provided all the "entitlements" that effectively make staying at home monetarily more attractive than actually working.
Now Democrats are pushing for a higher minimum wage, arguing that these newcomers must have an adequate wage to support a family. The minimum wage was never meant to support anyone but the worker, and then only while he or she continued an education to vault into a better position and start thinking about supporting a family.
It's appalling to look at a family today, with everyone going their separate ways and those lucky enough to have a job seeing no escape to a better future. To them, it's much better to fall back on unemployment insurance, visit the food bank and hang with their friends than to work to gain the experience to advance to better-paying jobs.
Americans, we can do better!
Roger H. Oddson, Sun City Center
U.S. ties Putin to hacks | Dec. 16
Stretching the facts
It seems typical of most of the media that any misstatement that will bring attention is okay to publish. This headline says the United States tied Vladimir Putin to computer hacks, and yet in the very first line of the article it states that the Obama administration "suggested" that Putin personally authorized the hacking. "Suggested" and "ties" are quite different.
Today, it seems that all media are more concerned with attention-grabbing headlines rather than doing research and publishing the actual news. This goes for both sides of the aisle.
Vern Von Werder, Largo
Experience should count
It seems the choices for Cabinet positions come down to personal accomplishments and contacts, not necessarily governmental experience. While this may constitute some people's idea of "draining the swamp," it leaves many others unsettled.
For instance, Ben Carson for housing secretary? Based on what? Having raised himself up from meager beginnings? It's a nice story, but how else is he qualified? It isn't just Carson. How is Steve Bannon qualified? Rex Tillerson and others? What have these men, and women, done to gain our trust and confidence?
Since I drove a 40-foot-long bus through Manhattan traffic for 25 years, with nary an incident, maybe I'm too qualified to submit my name for consideration as secretary of transportation?
Allan A. Love, New Port Richey
Respect the three branches
As state leaders begin shaping their agendas for both the coming legislative session and the soon-to-be-named Constitution Revision Commission, a discussion of a proposal to impose term limits on all judges has arisen.
Term-limiting judges greatly concerns the Florida Bar and should concern all Floridians. The three, co-equal branches of our state government require that we have a fair and impartial judiciary free from political influence or persuasion. We also need judges who have the experience and temperament to deal with the many complex issues that confront our citizens today.
The shared goal of ensuring that each branch respects the sovereignty of the others is a fundamental concept of our democracy. Florida's comprehensive constitution revision process also provides a critical reminder that all three branches must be empowered and protected to serve every Floridian in the spirit in which they were designed.
As we enter a new year that will be filled with challenges and opportunities, the Florida Bar looks forward to working closely with the Legislature and the Constitution Revision Commission to ensure that all branches of our state government are productive and responsive to citizens.
William J. Schifino Jr., president, Florida Bar, Tallahassee
Pier's ballooning budget | Dec. 16, editorial
Focus on the essentials
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman should be more concerned with the needs of the city of St. Petersburg than in leaving a monument to his legacy — the pier. Our sewage system is in dire need of repair yet he wants to spend $14 million on enhancements to the new pier project.
Mary Ellen Reichard, St. Petersburg
Howard Frankland bridge plans, in Legos Dec. 15
Loved your Lego-animated explanation of the DOT misdirection concerning the Howard Frankland bridge. Now if you could do something similar with Lincoln Logs explaining the 2016 presidential campaign, we'd all be grateful!
Vince Piccolo, Largo