Immigration bill's economic benefits | June 20, editorial
Rose-colored view of immigration
The Times' description of the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the immigration bill as "rosy" is correct. Take off those rose-colored glasses and even a cursory reading and analysis of the summary of bill S 744 should raise enough flags to suggest that this analysis is not as positive as the media reporting suggests it is, especially on the question of amnesty for the millions of underskilled and undereducated illegals here now.
The CBO makes it clear that it doesn't have much of a clue as to the real impact of this bill: "Ascertaining the effects of this (policy) on the economy and the … budget … is highly uncertain in the short run" and even less certain in the longer term.
I believe that is what most people call a "guess" and certainly not near enough assurance to risk the future education and employment opportunities of our American children and grandchildren.
The bill is much more than an attempt to legalize the 11 to 20 million illegals here already. According to the CBO, "The supply of labor would increase primarily" because the bill "would loosen or eliminate annual limits on various categories" of legal immigration.
When the report indicates an increase of 10 million people by 2023, that is in addition to the 11 to 20 million illegals here now.
Passage of this bill will not end well for current Americans.
Tom Waldbart, Wesley Chapel
Sweat deal, but not for consumers June 19, editorial
Food stamp image, reality
Thank you to for your editorial regarding the true price of sugar subsidies to the consumer as well as the cost of cutting food stamps. Consumers see prices rise at the grocery store and may not truly understand the reasons for higher food prices. Also, the economic changes of the past few years have made more people aware of how quick the trip can be down the slippery slope of job loss and reduced wages.
The terrain is always rougher and slower on the way up the mountain, and assistance is warranted. As your article pointed out, most SNAP recipients are working families. With this fact in mind, it was a low moment on the House floor when approved amendments to the farm bill, HR 1947, included drug testing and harsh work requirements. A disconnect exists between who the recipients of SNAP are and the vision some lawmakers have of the recipients.
In the end, the House farm bill was defeated and some who voted against it did so because the cuts to SNAP were not deep enough. Both the House's proposed bill and the Senate's less severe bill illustrate a growing disparity in ideologies.
Barbara Drake, Tampa
When a city caves in to complainers June 23, Tim Nickens column
Too interested in 'iconic'
Tim Nickens hit the nail on the head. "It's foolish to try to design grand public projects by voter referendum. Art, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder."
It was at the point where practical planning for a Pier replacement shifted into an art project that the process that brought us the Lens broke down. A commissioned citizens' task force worked diligently to set reasonable and appropriate guidelines for replacing St. Petersburg's Pier, a historic entertainment and tourist attraction, which, over the years, became an iconic symbol for the city.
Moving on, we got too hung up on the notion of "iconic," and the historic role of the Pier got lost in the quest for artistic symbolism. The Eiffel Tower was built as an entrance arch to a World's Fair. It was intended to last just 20 years. The St. Louis Gateway Arch was built as a memorial to the western territorial expansion of the United States. Conceived in 1933, the project took some 35 years to finally evolve. Both endured difficult challenges and controversy, but emerged over time to become true icons.
The referendum on the Lens is not the end of the world. Our own iconic Pier survived the defeated Pier Park referendum in 1984, but downtown St. Petersburg still blossomed with greater stability, vitality and pride than ever before.
Fortuitously, a Waterfront Master Plan, still in its infancy, is underway. St. Petersburg's leadership has a fresh opportunity to honor the work of the earlier task force and properly consider the Pier area in its broader context as the centerpiece of our iconic waterfront.
Marty Normile, St. Petersburg
Ruskin's rough times | June 21
Let Ruskin be Ruskin
With over 17 years of life in Ruskin, I can say that there is going to be a lot of traffic at the intersection of State Road 674 and I-75 in the early morning and late afternoon when the Amazon facility is opened. It is going to be more difficult to get to Sun City. When we moved to Ruskin in 1996, the traffic was minimal and you could be the lone car at the Big Bend Road traffic light.
Ruskin has always attracted people with an independent streak. At one time we even tried to break away from Hillsborough County. Who needs planners and politicians?
We now have a new college with Hillsborough Community College. We are getting a new hospital on Big Bend just outside of Ruskin. The tragedy of the overdevelopment in Ruskin is because we attracted developers who did not understand our community.
John Ruskin was a genius totally misunderstood in America. His brand of "socialism" was in fact quite enlightened.
Personally, I am not happy to see our core values eroded. We do not need another Brandon.
George M. White, Ruskin
Editorial cartoon | June 22, Clay Bennett
The smell of scandal
Clay Bennett obviously believes that the Fast and Furious, NSA, IRS and other scandals swirling around the White House have no basis in facts. Perhaps it's for two reasons.
First, President Barack Obama and his Chicago cronies (Eric Holder, Valerie Jarrett, Rahm Emanuel, etc.) are so good at covering up for each other, as in Obama protecting Holder from a congressional subpoena of Fast and Furious documents.
And then there's the media, which have largely ignored the aroma of dead fish coming from Obama's White House (and the Justice Department, NSA and IRS). If even half the scandals that have erupted had arisen during a Republican administration, the networks and the newspapers would be leading with it every morning and evening, and the Tampa Bay Times' editorial board would be at the White House gates with torches and pitchforks.
Kenneth R. Gilder, St. Petersburg