Wining, dining on TIA exec's agenda | Sept. 1
Support campaign to add flights
I read the recent Times article on Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano with great disappointment. This attempt at "gotcha" journalism was not necessary, was inappropriate and had no purpose being on the front page of the paper.
A year ago, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce identified an increase in international flights as a major goal for our community. A few months later, Lopano and his team arrived in town and quickly passed us, encouraging us to follow their expertise and partner with them to achieve success. We have been running alongside Joe and his team since the day they arrived. This team is focused on the goal of bringing more direct, nonstop connections to the travelers in Tampa Bay and west-central Florida. This effort takes time, hard work and relationship-building to succeed.
Building business relationships requires an investment. It's easy to get caught up in the cost of a meal, but you have to also take into consideration the return on that investment — one additional international flight could bring an additional $154 million of economic impact and over 1,200 jobs. For an airline to commit a multimillion-dollar jet to Tampa, they have to be confident that the service will be a success. The business strategy approach the authority team takes is proving to be the right strategy as more airlines are willing to talk about possible increased service at TIA. Time will prove the success of this strategy, similar to the new increased service to Puerto Rico and Cuba.
This increased service cannot be possible without meeting with the key decisionmakers. How does it help our chances to have an article criticizing the airport staff for simply doing their job and meeting with airline executives? The Greater Tampa Chamber applauds the airport for their aggressive approach and we encourage them to keep up the hard work they are doing for a better Tampa Bay.
Bob Rohrlack, president and CEO, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa
Wanted: patriotic CEOs to stop corporate moochers | Sept. 2, commentary
Enemies of the economy
After reading this article, it will be a wonder if we don't have a revolution here. And we should. There are apparently 25 rogue corporations in this country paying little or no taxes, while hiring employees abroad and setting up "more than 556 subsidiaries in tax haven countries."
They are more than "moochers." They are self-centered despoilers of our economy.
If we don't change the rules, if we don't change the tax code, we shouldn't expect these CEOs to suddenly become patriotic — that's not the essence of capitalism. And that's what it comes down to: What kind of country do we want to have? Business that respects its citizens or business that is in an all-out war for profits? If it's the latter, then we can expect never-ending cultural turmoil or worse.
Erin Scarlett, New Port Richey
Melted bodies will soon go down the drain Sept. 2
Still seems wrong
All chemistry aside, there is something very wrong with melting down human bodies and injecting the waste into our water treatment system. Would the director of the funeral home like to spray this water with its "harmless amino acids" on his home lawn where his children play? I'll bet not.
Robert Freeland, Riverview
Obama blocks new air quality standard Sept. 3
Obama hurts environment
It is shameful that President Barack Obama refused to update the smog standards and made the announcement before the holiday break when most people failed to take notice. This was not only a win for business and right-wing detractors, it is damaging to the environment and our health, and the upgrades could have created more jobs.
Up to 12,000 people per year could die from increases in asthma and other lung and respiratory disease. Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to pollution-related asthma.
Tea party logic would have us believe that less regulation is good. But environmental protections are needed and are good for the economy. Updated standards would reduce health care costs and compel companies to invest in technology and infrastructure to reduce pollution. That, in turn, would create new jobs right here in the United States, not jobs that get outsourced overseas.
Republicans will continue to push for rolling back even more standards and laws. We are at the breaking point on pollution, and we cannot cave in to businesses who violate the Clean Air Act. These standards need to be revised.
Shannon Kitson, Tampa
Chief of change | Sept. 2
Have you seen Rick Scott's makeover? He's convinced me that he's a changed man — just a regular guy who lives in Naples in a $9 million mansion. For a while there I thought he was an arrogant, narcissistic, overbearing, self-serving, money-driven politician. Who says the shirt doesn't make the man?
Apparently his overpaid publicist Steve MacNamara thinks so as well. That fresh white smile as apposed to that corporate hit-man cold stare is a nice touch too. He looks like a real nice guy. Let the snake oil sales begin.
Randy St. Clair, Pinellas Park
Janssen says she's owed more | Sept. 3
Enough is enough
After her dismissal as Pinellas County school superintendent, Julie Janssen was lauded for her graceful exit. But she cannot leave well enough alone. She is asking, via her attorney, for more than $138,000 in lost retirement benefits that she views as being rightfully hers in the term of her contract.
Where is the Janssen who is in it for the kids? After receiving a severance package of nearly a quarter-million dollars, Janssen still has her hand out for more from a severely financially crippled district. Maybe the kids can start handing over their lunch money in response to such financial bullying.
Pinellas schools need to move forward with a plan for success, and this continued pickpocketing of the system's highly limited financial coffers is not helping. It would be far more valuable than $138,000 if Janssen were to preserve the pride with which she exited the district and quietly move on to focus on her self-proclaimed commitment to children, not dollars.
Dara Vance, Clearwater
Sprint Cup drivers skip White House visit Sept. 3
Disrespect for office
NASCAR is wrong to allow drivers to skip ceremonies at the White House. The disrespect is to the office, not the man himself. It does not matter the party affiliation.
Jonathan Decker, Clearwater