Tampa airport connection
Light rail is the best bet for TIA
The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, which is charged with operating Tampa International Airport, has studied rail feasibility since 2005. We recognize the importance of providing both light rail connectivity to the citizens of the Tampa Bay community and the importance of connectivity with the high speed rail system for our passengers. We have considered rail in our future planning as a smart way to grow. We know that rail connectivity will provide a higher level of service for all airport users and the best possible service to the community.
Several airport supporters have expressed concern about our ability to maintain our competitiveness as part of Tampa Bay's economic infrastructure, if we do not bring high speed rail to the airport.
The reality is that a light rail transit system provides the greatest benefit as a transit alternative serving the entire community and maintaining our connectivity to the downtown high speed rail station.
After completing the 2005 airport master plan, the Aviation Authority conducted a "Conceptual Planning for a Transit Station and Access" study which was completed in 2007. It provided key information on how to preserve a transit right-of-way to our existing and future terminals. Our goal was to avoid on-airport development that would prevent a future transitway connection. The reserved corridor is designed to handle a transit system which is capable of significant grade changes, tight turns and quick acceleration, which are attributes of light rail.
The great news is community efforts have determined light rail is needed and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority is completing the alternative analysis for the first segments of the light rail system. The authority requested HART include the airport in its initial implementation of the "Westshore to downtown" alignment, as we believe it is essential to have connectivity to the high speed station in the downtown area to maintain our position and grow. In fact, we strongly agree with the efforts of HART and the Metropolitan Planning Organization, both of whom have determined light rail and improved bus connections will best serve the community.
We are ready and prepared to serve the entire Tampa Bay community with improved transit alternatives and connectivity to high speed rail.
John Wheat, interim executive director, Tampa International Airport
Opposition is a mystery
I just cannot grasp the reasoning of the people who are against Arizona's new immigration law. Illegal is illegal. If you allow people to not follow laws, what is the sense in having any?
Illegals cost our taxpayers an insufferable amount of money. There are problems with gangs, health care, nonpayment of taxes, the prison population, crimes, job losses — the list goes on ad infinitum.
A loophole that should be closed is the anchor-baby fiasco. Just because someone who is here illegally has a baby on U.S. soil should not automatically give the baby U.S. citizenship allowing the parents to remain here with the child. They broke the law and are now being rewarded for it.
Unless the reason against the Arizona law is to be able to stuff the ballot box in the next presidential election, I just don't get it. If you want to immigrate here legally, that's fine. If not, stay where you are.
Dennis Condon, Palm Harbor
Beware the lame duck | July 23, Charles Krauthammer column
GOP attitude is destructive
What an unbelievable hypocrite is Charles Krauthammer. He says a lame duck congressional session "would be an egregious violation of elementary democratic norms."
He is conveniently forgetting about the Republicans in the Senate expanding the use of the filibuster beyond all historical norms to block democratic votes on even the most routine issues. Talk about an egregious violation of elementary democratic norms.
When your political enemies will do whatever it takes, no matter how egregious, to create your "waterloo," you have to do what's needed to get a fair up or down vote.
Krauthammer then goes on to say he can't believe anyone would be that dishonorable. Believe it. Just look at the majority of Republicans in the House and Senate who are doing everything in their power to sabotage our country's economic recovery because they know come November, bad economic numbers mean fewer votes for the party in power.
This is not putting country first, this is pure partisan politics. Their party-first tactics do more damage to our democracy than any socialist, Marxist, communist (or whatever "ist" they're calling the "Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda" these days) tactics ever could.
Todd Weaver, Safety Harbor
Digital demagogues | July 23, Daniel Ruth column
The liberal spin
Daniel Ruth should read his own comments while looking at himself in the mirror. He would see a bloviating propagandist looking back at him. We know that he is only writing for liberal entertainment, but he should at least base his rantings on some degree of fact, especially in regard to his defense of the White House and the left wing media and their actions in the Shirley Sherrod situation.
The White House had already fired Sherrod (i.e, asked her to resign) by the time anything was reported by anyone including Fox News. It is the fault of the White House for reading blogs (we know there are some pretty unfactual blogs out there on both sides), and of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for not investigating further. But since the NAACP had already launched their attack on the tea party people days earlier and stirred up a lot of needless emoting, the White House was looking to do damage control. They jumped the gun. Pure and simple.
And it doesn't erase the truth when people like Ruth try to put a humorous spin on it and do the usual that the liberals do: blame it on somebody else.
B. Howerton, Largo
Stokes fights cash woes | July 22, story
Better screening needed
It was disturbing to read that one of the new interim members of the Tampa City Council, Curtis Stokes, defaulted on a very large loan and faces foreclosure on multiple properties.
It seems to me that more due diligence should have been given to the manner in which these interim candidates were chosen. After all, even though temporary, the new interim members will have a voice in guiding the city in the coming months. Choosing City Council members should be a more thoughtful process than a version of speed dating.
Deborah Green, Sun City Center
To solve our fiscal problems
Regarding the financial woes of the nation, I have two suggestions, either one of which will solve the problem.
First option: Assess a low rate of taxation, a mere one-tenth of 1 percent, or one mill, on the financial transactions processed by Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the largest financial clearinghouse in the country. In 2007, DTCC processed over $1.8 quadrillion in transactions. Taxed at 0.1 percent, in that year DTCC would have remitted over $1.8 trillion to the national treasury, approximately half of the current federal budget. Problem solved.
However, singling out one player for such treatment would be unfair, un-American, and unconstitutional. So please consider option two: assessing the same low rate of taxation to all transactions of value in the economy, without exception. One dollar per thousand, every single time will generate revenue in the trillions, potentially enough to fund the entire federal budget and lower the national debt while eliminating the need for any other method of taxation.
A Universal Exchange Tax of one tenth of 1 percent is transparent, painless, fair, and constitutional. UET is easily implemented at little cost, will immediately have a positive impact on our national financial crisis, and will ensure that all participants in our economy contribute equitably to the needs of our nation. Go to universalexchangetax.com for more information.
There is enough money to fix our budgetary issues without placing an undue burden on anyone. We just need to make the change from piecemeal and unfair methods of taxation to one that works for us all. Support Universal Exchange Tax.
Larry W. Scruggs, Tampa