Panel rejects couple listing | Jan. 25
A vote for regression, intolerance
I recently moved to Hillsborough County and have spent the better part of the last year bragging to friends and family about how proud I am of my new home.
That pride was shattered by the Hillsborough County Commission's rejection last week of a domestic partnership registry. I could not be more ashamed of this community. The four "no" votes were a step backwards — signaling regression, hate and intolerance. History will mark these commissioners' place alongside the bigots and extremists of other eras.
The fight is far from over, and in the end we will win. Good and right always do. The four commissioners had their chance and failed. But now we know where they stand and we can move forward.
Kaitlyn Little, Tampa
Panel rejects couple listing | Jan. 25
Inclusion is good business
On the same day that the Hillsborough County Commission was meeting with the principals of the Tampa Bay Rays, a vote to allow county residents a domestic partnership registry was being defeated. The Rays should remind the commission that the Rays is an inclusive organization and that this vote is not in line with those values.
Twenty years ago, the NFL informed Ye Mystic Krewe that the NFL would not tolerate having the Super Bowl associated with an organization that was not inclusive. So too should Major League Baseball and the Tampa Bay Rays remind the county that there are consequences to its acts as well.
Jeff Thofner, Tampa
New 'fluoride four'
Hillsborough County commissioners need only look across the bay to see where this decision will lead them.
I am not sure how to rank the stupidity of this vote compared to the fluoridation vote in Pinellas County, but the end result will be the same: Luddite commissioners looking for a new job come election day.
Leonard C. Silva, St. Petersburg
Beyond the bay | Jan. 25
Things are looking up
Based on the continued positive economic news that the stock market is up, the housing market is up and unemployment claims are down, it is apparent that President Barack Obama's economic policies are effective.
The Times reported that the number of Americans filing for unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in five years. Do we remember how grim everything looked when Obama took office in January 2009? It is amazing what he has been able to accomplish these past four years, especially considering the amount of vitriolic opposition he has faced.
Everyone should contact their congressional representative and insist they work with instead of against our president. If he can accomplish this much with the considerable opposition he has faced, imagine what he could accomplish if the House and Senate worked with him. United we stand, divided we fall.
Mary Bright, Tampa
Let vote pick PSC board, bill says | Jan. 25
Step toward reform
Marking your ballot to choose a legislator is like buying a lottery ticket. Chances are you're going to end up with a loser. Occasionally, very occasionally, the voter lucks into a winner. So it is with Rep. Dwight Dudley and the bill he filed allowing voters to pick Public Service Commission members.
Except when the commission was populated with several of Gov. Charlie Crist's appointees, the PSC has leaned probusiness. Recently, thanks to a very compliant Legislature and an abundant amount of utility company campaign cash, the PSC has become a wholly owned subsidiary of the state's power companies. How else can you explain a state government that allows utility companies to extort money from ratepayers to pay for repairs to a nuclear power plant that the power company itself caused? Or to pay for a nuclear power plant they have no intention of building?
Putting in place a PSC that will honestly represent both the citizens of our state and its utility companies will be an almost impossible journey. Overcoming entrenched political influence, a Legislature that welcomes back-slapping lobbyists, and fast campaign dollars won't be easy. But it appears we have a few public servants who, at last, are willing try.
Gary West, St. Petersburg
Jindal to Republicans: Stop being 'stupid party' | Jan. 25
Denying science isn't smart
It was disingenuous of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to tell the Republican Party to "stop being the stupid party" when he himself is contributing to the stupidity. The possible presidential candidate believes that "intelligent design" should be taught in Louisiana's public schools alongside evolution, and that human activities have little impact on global warming. So here we have a science denier calling his own party stupid.
Jindal is a well-educated Rhodes scholar. What a pity he is using his many talents to pander to the right for money, power and votes instead of advancing established science for the betterment of mankind.
Stephen Feldman, Valrico
They bear witness | Jan. 28
In this article, the second paragraph is somewhat misleading, noting that Auschwitz prisoner "Phil Gans emerged nearly two years later, liberated by U.S. and Russian soldiers."
As much as I am grateful to the American people for liberating Germany from Hitler's fascism, it is not correct that U.S. soldiers participated in freeing the Auschwitz death camp on Jan. 27, 1945. It is the Soviet army that must be given credit for liberating Auschwitz.
Ruth Defoy, St. Pete Beach
Transportation is key to progress | Jan. 25
We're too spread out
In a recent letter, Jeff Danner, the chair of PSTA, refers to our neck of the woods as a "metropolitan" area. If you Google that term you will find that metropolitan is described as having a densely populated urban core. And indeed, when you think of metropolitan areas — New York, Washington, Los Angeles — that's exactly what they have.
And in those places, the effort and expense to build a robust mass transit system makes perfect sense — to reduce what would be a paralyzing vehicular traffic situation. But can someone point to where such a high concentration of population exists in Hillsborough or Pinellas counties? Without that densely populated urban core, Danner's vision for light rail doesn't seem worth the cost to local taxpayers.
Mark Grosenbaugh, Tampa