Choose a party and participate | July 11, letter
Voters must think for themselves
The writer has the argument backward. If there were no political parties, there could be no allegiance to their singular philosophies or platforms. The very existence of parties ensures separatism, extremism, deadlock, cronyism and (by definition) partyism.
As more voters move to no party affiliation, the parties will be forced to moderate their extreme positions or risk losing their candidate to the competition. Remember, 74 percent of voters are not Republicans and 68 percent are not Democrats. Each party is a minority unto itself. Instead of trying to convince me that your party is right, convince me that your candidate is right. Do not believe that party voters select the primary candidates. The party machines select the candidates, and the party voters can select only from among whom the party bosses offer; this process is no different from picking the lesser of evils at the general election.
Nonparty voters fully embrace the political process as defined in the Constitution — a Constitution that specifically excludes any reference to political parties. I encourage every voter to join the ranks of nonparty voters and proudly show the world that you can think for yourself without relying on a party.
Let each candidate state how he or she stands on each issue. When the majority of rank-and-file politicians become nonparty, the political structure of Congress will become what the Founders intended. Until then, nothing will change.
R.K. Brameyer, Tampa
Future of cruising | July 13, editorial
Protect aquatic treasures
Rearranging Tampa Bay to accommodate the ever-increasing size of already extra-large cruise ships is not a good idea because it will have an adverse impact on our natural resources and is too expensive. To tear down our good Skyway or to build a ship terminal on the west side of the Skyway causeway is just not a thoughtful business decision and is not taxpayer-friendly. Boca Ciega Bay and Pinellas County are aquatic preserves as established years ago by the Florida Legislature and were the first of the now 41 preserves located around Florida's coastline.
These preserves were established as a result of the abuse of our waterfront. For the sake of our residents and visitors, as well as the commercial and sport fishing industries, we must protect our aquatic assets. It is good business to do so.
If the Port Tampa Bay developers want additional cruise business, they should focus on the smaller cruise ships or boats that provide upscale service.
Roger Wilson, Seminole
Try another location
It seems everyone has tunnel vision on this issue. It's either raise the bridge or build on the barrier islands just west of the bridge.
Why not take a page out of the Orlando/Port Canaveral playbook? It's an hour-plus drive either renting a car or waiting for a bus to get from Orlando's airport to the port. What about looking at somewhere between Palm Harbor and Bayonet Point? This area would make it possible for passengers from the south Pinellas beaches, Clearwater Beach or Tampa to reach the port as quickly as from Orlando to Port Canaveral. The boost to the northern Pinellas County and Pasco County economies would be enormous. If the three counties shared the port's cost and profits, it would be a win for the entire bay area.
Bob Spencer, Dunedin
The tunnel solution
Newport News, Va., came to mind when thinking about the problem of bigger cruise ships accessing Port Tampa Bay. This is where the U.S. Navy berths its Atlantic Fleet, including aircraft carriers, with no bridge clearance worries.
The solution is a tunnel. Today's tunnels are precast concrete, floated into place and ballasted (sunk) into a dredged channel. With no seismic issues, and relatively soft limestone rock beds, Florida seems like an ideal candidate for a tunnel. The tunnel need not traverse the entire span, only that portion wide enough for ships to pass. I'd be curious to hear the negatives of this approach for Tampa Bay.
Edward Sweeney, Spring Hill
Border influx triggers blame game | July 14
Quarantine the arrivals
This orchestrated invasion of children from Central America requires a drastic response. For the protection of our own citizens, our processing centers need to include a quarantine area. It is irresponsible to disperse these illegal aliens to different parts of the country without concern about their health and the possibility of communicable diseases.
From quarantine, the sick and others attempting to sneak into the country using mass migration as a cover should be deported. The United States is the only country in the world that would allow this fiasco to continue to this dismal point.
Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole
Shucking: It's a living | July 13
This article makes it sound like Homosassa is a destination point for slugs, losers and druggies. There is a community here of decent, hard-working property owners and taxpayers who live here because we love the serenity, pristine environment and lack of busy roadways. There are also a large number of retired professionals who choose to move and reside here for the same reasons.
Linda Taylor, Homosassa
Fund new technologies
I was saddened to see the July 10 vote in the U.S. House on appropriations for energy and water development. The Republicans of the House voted, nearly unanimously, to increase the amount of our tax dollars given to fossil fuel research. This bill increases funding by $31 million to a whopping $593 million. We all know how rich the fossil fuel industries are — why do they deserve our tax dollars for further research? How is this a conservative principle of market-based economics?
An amendment to this bill was defeated that would have increased the tax dollar funding for "renewable energy and energy efficiency programs" by $111.6 million and decreased funding for fossil fuels research by $161.9 million. If any industries need tax help, these innovative ones do.
Susan Darovec, Bradenton