Veto Florida Polytechnic | April 15, editorial
Creating new university premature
As Florida state legislators, we are bound by our Constitution to balance our budget annually. For the last several years, we have done so without raising taxes or fees on Floridians. It is our duty as elected officials to uphold the principles of limited government and sound fiscal policy in these tough economic times. Therefore, I must express my opposition to the split of USF Polytechnic into the 12th state university.
Senate Bill 1994, relating to Florida Polytechnic University, would draw funding away from the other state institutions, which are struggling due to our continuous cuts. Additionally, due to the lack of accreditation, I believe this split is grossly premature. The inception of a new state university can only be as successful as the proposal that creates it. If USF Polytechnic is to become an independent university, it should only be done by the benchmarks proposed by the Board of Governors.
This legislation was a hasty attempt at pleasing special interests without consideration for the students attending USF Polytechnic. More specifically, SB 1994 will cause increases in tuition that will be balanced on the backs of our future leaders. During fiscal uncertainty, we need to ensure that incoming students have the funding and tools necessary to lead this state in years to come.
State Rep. Larry Ahern, District 51, R-St. Petersburg
A case of racial divide | April 16
Move beyond talking points
Once again Eric Deggans has addressed the heart of the Trayvon Martin case. He clearly notes the need for the media to stop its excesses and to start attempting to educate all involved in the racial issues. This point was also expressed by Bill Cosby in an interview on CNN. He noted that the bigger question has not been addressed: What was George Zimmerman doing with a gun, and how was he trained to behave with it?
It would be nice if the Al Sharptons and others could step back and start to educate the people they are addressing to look at the root causes of the overall problem and develop programs to address them — not just get people on both sides overreacting to talking points.
Rich Prestera, Treasure Island
Let system work, in public eye | April 13, editorial
Rushing to judgment
By calling the Trayvon Martin death an "avoidable killing," it sounds like the newspaper's mind is already made up. It was a poor choice of words.
William Schiffner, Dunedin
Board speaks out against bigotry April 16, letter
Get to the real issue
In this letter Hassan Shibly mischaracterizes his opponents and puts words in their mouths. In all the proceedings at the Hillsborough School Board regarding this subject, the supporters of the Education Coalition never once asked for a policy "censoring all advocacy groups from visiting our public schools to speak on relevant topics."
We need to put emotions aside and focus on the issue raised by the supporters of the Education Coalition. That issue is: Representatives from organizations who are linked to terrorism do not belong in our schools.
Kenneth Roberts, Apollo Beach
Hillsborough schools stand up for tolerance April 14, editorial
Guest speakers, with limits
As a public school student, I think guest speakers should be allowed in classrooms, but with limitations. Visitors can give students new perspectives on what they are learning, but the speaker should not be allowed to go beyond educating. Speakers should be required to present what they are going to say to the teacher beforehand, and the teacher should verify that what the speaker is presenting is in line with the curriculum.
Visiting speakers must be informed that they are not to persuade, but only to state the facts to the students. Guest speakers are a great way to keep students intrigued and well-informed.
Emily Burk, Seffner
Controversy isn't over
This controversy has not ended. We will continue to contact the School Board and attend meetings until this issue is resolved.
The Times is the one spewing hate by saying we are intolerant of different cultures and using intimidation tactics. We are not about hate at all. I am very tolerant of other cultures, except for terrorists, and there is more than enough information available that shows the Council on American-Islamic Relations has connections to terrorist organizations.
We are not a small group, and as people learn the truth about CAIR, more and more are joining in the effort to keep them out of our schools. We did not demand that Islamic speakers not be allowed to speak in our schools. We demanded that CAIR not be allowed to speak. We even offered up other Islamic groups to speak in our schools that are not known to have ties to terrorists groups.
It's a sad day in America when citizens are vilified for caring about the safety of our children and our country.
Debra Benoit, Tampa
From Obama, smoke and mirrors yet again April 16, commentary
Was it a UFO? Was it a anomaly? Certainly it was a rare sight.
An op-ed article by a true conservative, Charles Krauthammer, graced your paper on Monday.
It does my heart good to know that you are actually aware of any conservative opinion writers. It is a rare occurrence for you to print any other opinion than what liberals have to offer.
Rick Rager, Hudson
A vote Obama has to recoup | April 16
Look at the whole picture
If I were in Ed Marke's shoes, I would think twice about voting Republican. It took eight-plus years of Republican rule to get us in the mess we are in today, but he expects President Barack Obama to get it cleared up in less than three years. This is unrealistic.
I am not in agreement with all of the president's actions, but when you look back to all the blockades he has run into with the House Republicans, you really have to think twice.
Celeste Plourde, Port Richey