Scott's drug test overreach | May 31, editorial
A solution in search of a problem
Every time I think Gov. Rick Scott cannot surprise me with another bad decision, he does it again. He continues to waste state government resources by pursuing drug testing of state employees after the courts have repeatedly ruled against him. His crusade is a solution in search of a problem.
We have a serious health problem with abuse of legal prescription drugs, where he should be focusing resources. A possible rational explanation is that he is trying to create lucrative work for friends in the drug-testing business.
The governor received maximum benefit from the "innocent until proven guilty" basis of our legal system when he led the hospital company that paid the largest-ever fine for Medicare fraud. In an affront to presumed innocence, he wants to drug-test innocent state employees who have given no cause for suspicion.
Guy Hancock, St. Petersburg
Fresh appeal for bay area tourism June 1, editorial
Back to the drawing board
What came to my eye on the new tourism logo was a skull and crossbones. Also, "crossed keys" do not say "welcome," they say "do not enter." Are we to be associated with pirates? Not exactly a friendly bunch.
If we are to be compared with Orlando, let's highlight what we have that they don't: beautiful coastline, great theater venues and museums, and don't forget our airport, one of the best in the country. Tourists will come here for what we are, not for what we were.
Merrily Jackson, Trinity
Really? Visit Tampa Bay's new name and logo are "sensible" and "thoughtful"?
Doesn't anyone notice that the new logo looks like a warning label for poison control? Hideous, actually.
Craig McGill, St. Petersburg
Politics blocking help to hungry May 28, editorial
Feed more of the hungry
This editorial on food aid reform was a perfect snapshot of how politics can overshadow commonsense reforms. The current U.S. food aid system is incredibly outdated, requiring the United States to ship food overseas to countries in need. The process is inefficient, lowers the value of food produced by local farmers, and negatively impacts fragile local economies.
President Barack Obama's proposed reforms allow for more flexibility in getting food to the hungry through local purchases and cash vouchers. This means feeding 4 million more hungry people each year and ensuring that the food reaches hungry families on average of 2 ½ months faster.
For eight years, I have been an advocate at the poverty-fighting organization CARE, which gave up millions of dollars in federal funding each year in order to take a stand against these inefficient practices in our food aid system. I urge others and our policymakers to also take this stand, help support impoverished communities, and ultimately save more lives.
Dawn Nagy, Orlando
Why can't the Tampa Bay Times follow the adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? I miss the original TV Times, which contained story bits, movie descriptions and a small crossword puzzle, among other things, and all bound together. I have learned to tolerate the loose papers of the current TV Times, which I accept as necessary to keep down costs, much to my chagrin. So when I read that the TV Times was moving from Sunday to the Saturday edition of the Times, I was particularly annoyed because I am a Sunday-only subscriber.
Having the TV Times on Saturday is a great discourtesy to loyal Sunday subscribers. I dare not think of what else you will change in the future.
Deborah W. Earney, New Port Richey
Duke Energy owes more on tax bill, appraisers say | May 31
Appraisal on shaky ground
As a former certified commercial appraiser, I read this article — particularly the comments by the Citrus County outside appraisers — with interest. As appraisers, I'm sure they are familiar with the definition of market value, which is a price on which a willing and knowledgeable buyer and seller would agree upon.
There are basically three ways to arrive at the value of a piece of real estate: market comparability, income and/or cost. Because this is a unique property, you can forget about finding comparables, and since the property is not operable it is not capable of producing income.
This leaves cost. Apparently the outside appraisers are using this approach. My problem is, what does the cost of this nonoperable monster have to do with what anyone would pay for it? You could very easily argue that this property has a negative value. If it can't be economically repaired and it has no alternative use, where is its value other than perhaps scrap?
The article quotes one of the appraisers who tried to compare this plant's valuation to a house value. If you follow this incorrect logic, you might ask what happens to the value of sinkhole houses — do their values increase after a sinkhole problem has been discovered? I think not.
I understand the county's desire to preserve and even increase its revenue from this property, but I believe they are basing their argument on shaky ground.
Harry Spicer, Weeki Wachee
Pair: Port undercut us | May 31
Languishing in litigation
As a Tampa citizen, I am disappointed to see how the Liberty-Port Authority negotiations have played out, and am especially disappointed in the manner that the Port Authority ended the negotiations abruptly and without fair warning. Here was an opportunity to have a bright, talented group of investors with a clear vision, a proven track record of successful projects, and longstanding ties in the community revitalize Channelside and enhance the Channel District.
Instead, the port will be spending a great amount of money on what looks to be endless litigation while Channelside languishes. I urge the Port Authority to reconsider their position and, at the very least, give the Liberty group a chance to address the port's concerns.
Linda Scarritt, Tampa