Who's to blame for costly debacle? | Robert Trigaux column
Tarnished job, golden parachute
How can former Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson not be held accountable? Or affect his future earnings with a salary of $4 million at the government-run Tennessee Valley Authority?
And, to put a real shine on his dismal work at Progress Energy, Johnson will receive exit payments of $55 million. Ain't that pretty? Most mere mortals showing this performance would be gone and forgotten. It baffles me to think what management on both sides were thinking. Not only did Johnson receive a golden parachute from his old management, he got a golden bridge to his new TVA job.
Even if the ratepayers had nothing to say about Johnson's payout, they will be directly responsible for his malfeasance and the financial mess he left behind. What an epitaph!
This may turn out to be a good thing — a scary nuclear plant possibly replaced by a natural gas-burning plant.
Jack Bechtold, New Port Richey
Duke pulls plug | Feb. 6
Invest in solar and wind
Duke Energy made the right decision Tuesday to permanently close the Crystal River nuclear power plant, which has been a tragic financial drain on many Floridians. Now Duke Energy must not continue this financial drain by building a new ultra-expensive nuclear power plant in Levy County, exposing residents to unnecessary environmental and public health risks.
As we approach the second anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and its continuing negative impact on the economy, the environment and public health, building a nuclear power plant in Levy County doesn't make sense. We need to learn from Fukushima, and Chernobyl before that. Good jobs can be found in cleaner sources of energy, like solar and wind, which are good for public health, good for the environment and good for Florida.
Dr. Lynn Ringenberg, Tampa
Taking aim at bullet buyers | Feb. 1
Idea makes sense
As a 13-year-old interested in the gun control controversy, this article on background checks for ammunition caught my eye instantly. I personally think that it's much needed. It won't cause much of a difference in gun stores; if the article is correct, it should only take about four minutes for a background check to be completed. If people can wait in line to make a bank deposit, they can wait four minutes to buy bullets.
Also, this could reduce gun violence without violating the Second Amendment. Instead of something like banning or placing heavy restrictions on firearm purchases, restricting the purchase of ammunition still gives us the right to bear arms while reducing gun-related violence like mass shootings and gang activity.
Of course, there will always be straw buyers, who will buy guns, ammunition and alcohol for other people, and that will be hard to stop, but for now, background checks for ammunition is a great idea.
Luke Christu, Oldsmar
Sense a threat? Speak up
I'm really tired of the seemingly unending gun control debates. It's not about the number of guns or bullets but the human beings utilizing them. Guns are inanimate objects that do not spontaneously kill people without human control. Certainly gun owners need to be responsible for the security of their weapons. But perhaps we need to get over our discomfort and reluctance to deal with mentally or emotionally disturbed people, get involved, and produce a solution to the problem of school shootings and other gun-related violence and deaths.
If you feel a person may have a problem that could escalate into violence to another, rather than ignoring it and looking the other way, tell someone who may be able to help the situation. Do something constructive. To quote Albert Einstein, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
Sally Biggs, St. Petersburg
Teachers sign up for free weapons class Feb. 5
More guns isn't answer
If you arm all the schoolteachers, who will protect the students from them? From what I have read, there is no plan to screen every teacher at every school for mental illness. There is no guarantee that the screening would be effective even if it was done.
In the end all you have done is bring yet more guns within shooting distance of more children, and we all know how well that turned out at Sandy Hook.
We have to abandon the notion that the problem of gun violence can be solved by more guns.
John Chandler, Largo
Nurses who would do more | Feb. 4
Shame on legislators
Florida legislators are living in the Stone Age as far as their opinions of some medical practices go. First they decide that legitimate massage therapy and acupuncture are no longer to be considered alternative medical treatments. Now they want to remove some of the responsibilities a nurse practitioner has spent years perfecting.
Having firsthand experience with NPs over the years in another state, I can authoritatively say that an NP is every bit as knowledgeable as an MD. They have more time to spend with their patients than an MD may have, they make house calls, are just as reliable in writing prescriptions, are able to take blood and urine samples and a host of other duties. Of course they defer to an MD to make a diagnosis, but their input into a patient's care is invaluable. To treat nurse practitioners as less medically competent is an insult to their abilities. The Legislature should be ashamed of itself.
Patricia Lowden, New Port Richey
Official crafts a Rays option | Feb. 5
No crying in baseball
I'm sick of this entire stadium fiasco. Rays owners want a new stadium. Guess what? You have a new stadium built with our tax dollars. The location is wrong? We heard nothing of the sort when you proposed a stadium 14 blocks east on the waterfront. Why was that location so much better?
I have a wonderful idea. Rays owners, pay off your lease and build a stadium with your own money wherever you like. You need to stop crying and start marketing your team. How about $5 third level seats on weeknights? How about marketing to church groups and big condo complexes? I don't see any creative solutions from your end, just whining. The Bucs can't even sell out eight home games. So if Tampa works for you, have at it. Build your own facility and stop crying.
Craig Costa, St. Petersburg