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Tuesday's letters: Crony capitalism at its worst

Nuclear plant deal: late, limited | Aug. 2, editorial

Crony capitalism verging on fraud

The announcement by Duke Energy that it is abandoning plans to build the Levy County nuclear plant only confirms what all of us captive customers of the Progress/Duke cartel have known for years: We have been padding their shareholders' portfolios for absolutely nothing in return. The nuclear cost recovery bill passed by our "free market" Republican Legislature is crony capitalism at its worst, and arguably criminal fraud.

So what can we captive customers do to return some of the pain they have caused us? We can vote out anyone in the Legislature who supported this fiasco and/or who refuses to pledge to repeal it during next year's session.

Doug Robison, St. Petersburg

Nuclear plant deal: late, limited Aug. 2, editorial

Remember at election time

Let's see if I correctly understood the deal.

Progress/Duke Energy decides to build a nuclear plant. Instead of borrowing money, like any other business does, they brilliantly decide — with the enthusiastic help from Tallahassee, where a solid, veto-proof majority of Republicans rules — to make customers pay in advance to finance their project.

With problem after problem plaguing their ill-conceived project, Duke decides to give up. But not only do they keep the money that we, the consumers, paid for energy we will never get, but they will continue to receive 10 percent interest on the money invested in this abysmal failure ($2.5 billion is not pocket change) — money that was ours.

The very instant they decided to put an end to this costly nonsense, they had the gall to propose to build a natural gas plant, using the very same devious scheme. And why not? After all, our legislators, also known as "public servants," are eager to please this generous benefactor.

And let's not forget that corporations also are persons, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. Don't worry, the Republicans don't forget it. My only hope is that, coming November, the good people of Florida won't forget either.

Simon Amann, St. Petersburg

No purses at Bucs games | Aug. 1

Transparent nonsense

The National Football League and the Raymond James Stadium management will reconsider the rule allowing only "clear bags and clutches" when the men have to carry sanitary items in their clear bags or pockets.

Barbara Uberoi, Tampa

Florida education system in turmoil Aug. 2, editorial

Political interference

Exactly when was it that Florida's education system was not in disarray? From the administration of Gov. Claude Kirk in the 1960s, when teachers walked out on strike, to Tony Bennett's departure, there has been only one constant theme creating education's continual and perpetual crisis. Back then it was money and now it's accountability, but the same theme underlays both.

The sad fact is that we continue to allow the Florida Legislature to play politics with education. Not since the Florida community college system was designed and deliberately implemented by Gov. LeRoy Collins has much thought gone into any level of education in this state.

Today's issue is accountability, a term which may have been originally sensible but no longer. The people who run education can't apparently apply common sense to school grades because they believe we, the people, won't understand the obvious commonsense proposition that when you raise standards (Common Core), there will be a time lag before testing for those standards catches up.

Leaving aside Tony Bennett's political transgression in Indiana, none of this debate makes any sense. If you want a common national standard, then testing for that also has to be national. Why else have a national standard except to measure how Florida performs compared to other states?

Only in Florida would we allow the Legislature to pad grades or call for not implementing the testing that goes with Common Core. But that's Florida politics, isn't it?

Peter D. Klingman, Tampa

'Stand your ground'

Crime has declined

The Times has developed a comprehensive listing of several hundred "stand your ground" cases since the law was enacted in eight years ago. What the list does not and cannot include are the incidents that did not occur due to the passage of both the concealed carry and "stand your ground" laws.

PolitiFact has recently noted that the violent crime rate in Florida is at a 40-year low. Much of the decrease has occurred since these laws were passed. According to FDLE statistics, in 1992 the violent crime rate in Florida was 1,200.3 crimes per 100,000 population. In 2012, the rate was 492.6, a 59 percent decrease. For anyone to characterize Florida as the "Wild West" is an insult to our citizens.

Using the same FDLE violent crime statistics from 2006, the first full year of the "stand your ground" law, to 2012 shows that the number of violent crimes is down 27 percent and the rate per 100,000 population is down 30 percent. Still, there were over 93,965 violent crimes in 2012. Maybe more attention should be focused more broadly at continuing to reduce these cases.

Joe Wareham, Tierra Verde

Immortal | Aug. 4

Over the top

Let me first congratulate Warren Sapp on being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, the coverage of this event by the Tampa Bay Times was too much.

Immortal? What did he do? Save the world? Invent a new vaccine? Broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians? Let us keep things in perspective. The coverage was completely and inappropriately overblown.

David A. Cimino, St. Petersburg

How violent is too violent? | Aug. 3

Wrong messages

I was appalled reading about the Hunger Games camp in Largo. I don't think this is the right message for children. One boy says, "I cannot wait to kill you." Another boy got stepped on. This is disgusting.

What are these people thinking? If I had children, I would rather teach them how to get along in life. To show a kid how to abuse and maim others is out of the question.

Linda Valentino, Seminole

Tuesday's letters: Crony capitalism at its worst 08/05/13 [Last modified: Monday, August 5, 2013 5:40pm]
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