Help choose August Letter of the Month
Letters to the editor offer a significant contribution to the discussion of public policy and life in Tampa Bay. To recognize some of that work by our most engaged readers, the Times will select a letter of the month and the writers will be recognized at the end of the year.
Help us choose from the nominations for letter of the month for August 2013 by visiting the website listed below by Friday. Read through the three letters and vote on the ballot at the bottom of the web page. We will choose the finalists each month based on relevance on topical issues, persuasiveness and writing style. The writer's opinion does not need to match the editorial board's opinion on the issue to be nominated. But clarity of thinking, brevity and a sense of humor certainly help.
To see the three August nominees and vote, go to www.tampabay.com/opinion.
Electric bills may rise $11 | Aug. 31
Executives cleaning up
The utter gall to request customers pay more is beyond my comprehension. I have done some research and was appalled to discover the compensation (base pay, bonus, stock awards and "other") paid to several of the executives at TECO in 2012.
John Ramil, president and CEO, was paid $4,209,890 total compensation. His bonus and non-equity incentive compensation totaled $631,074 or 84 percent of his base pay. Gordon Gillette, president, was paid $1,595,167 total compensation. His bonus and non-equity compensation totaled $852,777 or 62 percent of his base pay. This is outrageous to say the least.
TECO officials need to be held accountable for the manner in which they run their business. They should not be allowed to gouge their customers by paying extravagant executive compensation and then ask for more funding. TECO needs to tighten its belt and look for ways to cut costs internally and become more efficient.
Unfortunately, there is little doubt that the Florida Public Service Commission will approve the increase, and once again the consumer has no say. It's not as if we can choose another electric provider.
Jean Incerto, Tampa
Scott jabs at Crist, taxes | Aug. 31
Invest in Florida
So what is Gov. Rick Scott's new idea for going forward? Another round of tax cuts, of course. Despite the reality that tax cuts have damaged the middle class for the last 30 years and contributed to severe income inequality, and despite the understanding that tax cuts in the good years have led to massive deficits in the bad years, this is the Republicans' only mantra.
There has been no legislation on gun control or health care, and nothing at all to benefit education. Wouldn't it be a much better idea to invest in education, rebuild infrastructure and reduce state college tuition, rather than simply benefiting the wealthy with another round of tax cuts?
Christopher Radulich, Apollo Beach
On Syria, eight questions | Sept. 1
Keep money, troops home
Thank you for running the article by Max Fisher about Syria. I am a Democrat, but this time I agree with the Republicans who are opposed to the United States taking action now. For us to jump in alone and drop a few bombs will not make anything better for those people.
Please start a poll — ask the citizens of Florida whether they support the idea of U.S. intervention or not. Then our lawmakers can know how to vote when they meet in Washington.
I know a lot of people who share my views on this subject, and I think most people simply do not want to get into a war in the Middle East now. We want our troops to come home. And I would like to keep our money here, too.
Dorothy Roper, Dunedin
Aid to understanding
I'd like to thank you for the article in the Perspective section on Syria.
The format you used, providing the eight questions and answers, gave the reader some understanding of the current crisis in the Middle East, and also provided information regarding past problems — how and why we become involved even though we are so very far away.
I have been trying to keep current on these issues and find so much of it overwhelming.
I'm also hoping that teachers in our school system will be using this material in the classroom to help provide the basic understanding of this crisis we are currently dealing with in order to encourage the students to continue to follow these very important current events in history.
Doreen Pirnik, Valrico
Redraw the maps
After reading eight questions on Syria and then David Brooks' column, it appears that the genesis for most, if not all, of the problems the world is experiencing in the Middle East can be traced to the borders established by the colonial powers as they relinquished control after World War I.
It would seem that a solution, needless to say not easy, would be to hold a conference of all the principals in the area and redraw these lines more along the established religious sects.
Of course, this solution would lead to some disruptions, but as it stands now no group in the Mideast seems to be happy with the status quo.
James Donelon, St. Petersburg
Punishment for atrocity
I was totally against any U.S. intervention in Syria — until I turned the page and saw all those dead children lying there without a mark on them. If the president wants to bomb those responsible for that atrocity, he has my blessing.
John Waitman, Palm Harbor
The forgotten worker
America has two holidays that act as bookends for the summer season: Memorial Day and Labor Day.
On Memorial Day we remember our war dead, and rightfully so. Memorial Day is alive and well.
Labor Day is intended to recognize the people (most of us) who work for a living. But what happened to that idea? You don't hear a peep about honoring the people who built the nation's roads, cars or other products.
If "innovation" and "free market" are magic words, then "worker" and "labor" are dud words. As we value ownership and inheritance more and more, we value actual work less and less. Labor and workers are just the losers in the musical-chairs game of capitalism. Labor Day is now an excuse for a mattress sale, and nothing more.
Scott Cochran, Tampa