Unfair tax policy hurts Floridians | Jan. 22, editorial
Don't give politicians more to spend
This editorial is nothing more than an unpaid advertisement for the free-wheeling, free-spending Democrats in Tallahassee to continue their reckless spending despite reduced tax revenue from the recession.
This policy does not hurt Floridians, who can save countless dollars on needed and wanted items. Florida homeowners and taxpayers who suffer from a reduced income, take immediate steps to cut out the unnecessary items and instead do as the newly elected mayor of St. Petersburg, Bill Foster, suggests, concentrate only on what is "needed."
If a traveling Floridian stops in Georgia and buys a new camera, or a new computer, the state of Florida realizes nothing in taxes. But if a Floridian buys the same item on the Internet from an out-of-state vendor the state would like a piece of the pie. Will the next step be that if Floridians buy anything from another state, in person or on the Internet, they will be forced to pay state sales tax? Impossible, you say? I think not.
This is nothing more than politicians finding a new tax to replace a dwindling one. But rather than admit to a new tax, the political spin here is that it's going to help the Florida retailers and be good for Floridians.
Donald H. Kennedy, Largo
Bad for consumers
The tax you propose in your editorial would be unfair to the consumer since it would be the consumer paying it and vendor collecting it, probably with a processing fee.
Many companies with local outlets already pay the tax for online purchases. I usually buy online because I cannot find the product locally. Online outlets will usually have my size in the style I want, while locals don't. And that's not to mention the cost of gas from driving around seeking the product.
The online price may be greater because of the delivery charge, so in many cases its an availability issue. In a few minutes, I can find my item online, pay for it, and have it delivered to my door, which would otherwise take me an afternoon of shopping and lugging.
Richard Dornblaser, Clearwater
Queer theory class draws protest Jan. 22, story
A university requires academic freedom
David Canton's protest of the queer theory course being taught at University of South Florida is no surprise. He continues to insinuate his point of view into events and issues that do not conform to his narrow view of values and morality. USF senior vice provost Dwayne Smith has responded appropriately by stressing a core value of the university is to respect intellectual diversity in an environment where ideas are explored. If a university is to thrive it must first and foremost be about academic freedom. To be swayed by one group's public opinion would eventually destroy the integrity of a university.
The queer theory course being taught by assistant professor Sara Crawley is an elective, senior-level course. Among other things, it introduces students to queer theory and feminist theories of sexuality and explores how societal norms often impact the way we live our lives.
This apparently offends David Canton, and he persuaded 2,500 members of the Florida Family Association to send identically worded e-mails to USF administrators. It is frightening to think one person could convince so many others about an issue that they obviously did not explore for themselves.
Perhaps a university education allowing for diverse ideas, exploration of theories and personal research might have provided them with the ability to write their own e-mails of protest.
Eleanor Cecil, Tampa NOW, Lutz
Queer theory class draws protest Jan. 22, story
Opening student eyes
David Caton and the Florida Family Association are irrational in the criticism of the queer theory course at the University of South Florida.
The title of the course may be repulsive to some, but it is faulty to simply criticize without looking past that to the content. Queer theory goes deep into the theories behind gender and sexuality, and is not just about "gays." People are afraid of differences. This has been proven throughout history.
Women's studies courses were hard to come by in the past, and when they were first introduced into higher education, the reaction was similar to that caused by the queer theory course.
It is necessary that USF offer and maintain courses such as women's studies, queer theory and African history in order to open students' eyes to the real world around them. That is one of the aims of higher education — broadening perspectives.
There are gays, there are blacks and there are even whites. Courses like this help overcome the deeply rooted stereotypes associated with such groups.
Sarah Torrens, Tampa
Contractor to stop Bible references | Jan. 22
The wrong message
Is it just me, or does the fact that a maker of rifle sights putting Bible references on a device used by the military to help kill people validate Muslim fears that the United States is involved in an anti-Muslim crusade?
Why would any true Christian put Bible references on a killing machine? This seems to be the antithesis of true Christian doctrine, although I am no expert, and don't claim to be.
This kind of behavior can only increase the calls for jihad from disenfranchised Muslims. Maybe someone on your editorial staff can explain this to me.
J.R. Sedley, Gulfport
Tampa legend still feisty at 90 Jan. 20, Sue Carlton column on Sam Gibbons
A man of vision
Sue Carlton's column highlighted many of the achievements congressman Sam Gibbons accomplished in his life.
While he can point to numerous pieces of legislation that bear his mark, those of us in the Tampa Bay region who provide hospice care are especially appreciative of his advocacy of the Medicare hospice benefit. Without Gibbons' steadfast commitment to this legislation, many of our nation's senior citizens would face the end of their lives in uncertain and unsure situations.
In 2008, the Medicare hospice benefit allowed approximately 6,000 patients in Hillsborough County to have their medical, social, emotional and spiritual end-of-life care needs met in safe and comfortable surroundings. Patients and their loved ones were able to face the challenges of life-limiting illnesses with support from medical professionals and trained volunteers providing compassionate and comprehensive care.
On behalf of the staff and volunteers at LifePath Hospice, I would like thank Sam Gibbons for his vision for strong and reliable hospice care for seniors and to wish him a happy birthday on this significant milestone in his life.
Joan Strohm, chief clinical officer, LifePath Hospice, Temple Terrace
A sensible vote for cleaner water | Jan. 21, editorial
Urgently needed action
I commend the Pinellas County Commission for listening to the reasoned voices of educated and concerned citizens of Pinellas, and voting to enact this fertilizer ordinance. It will still allow golf courses and vegetable gardeners to fertilize. And cities can opt out of the ordinance if they so choose.
Restricting the amount of phosphorus and nitrate will begin to help overburdened waterways in dealing with the excess nutrient levels which are turning many of them into oxygen-deprived and lifeless entities.
This was a reasonable but urgently needed response to a real problem confronting not just Pinellas County, but a majority of Florida's inland and coastal waters.
Let's hope that other counties, most notably Hillsborough County where I live, will take heed and soon follow Pinellas' lead on this much needed action to help clean up our state's waters.
Ronald Thuemler, Florida master naturalist, Tampa
Schools get tips on AP classes | Jan. 23, story
A new meaning
It appears that AP no longer stands for Advanced Placement but rather Almost Proficient.
Dianne Franz, Palm Harbor