Madeira approves projects | June 17
Voters' wishes ignored again
Once more, elected officials have ignored the voters. This time it was the Madeira Beach Commission, which rejected a petition to schedule a referendum to repeal a proposed zoning ordinance that permitted increased height and density for two proposed developments. More than 1,000 voters, two-thirds of the number of voters who voted in the last election, exercised their right to petition their government by simply asking for the commission to let voters decide the future of their city.
This is not the first time voters' wishes have been ignored. Ten years ago, the Treasure Island Commission voted to increase height and density five days before a citizen-initiated referendum was scheduled for a vote to impose limits on those increases.
Eight years ago, the St. Pete Beach Commission sued citizens who attempted to add charter amendments that would have permitted voters to approve increased height and density and to repeal the city's flawed comprehensive plan.
These three beach community commissions not only ignored the voters' petitions but acted to increase height and density in the face of petitions that were intended to limit those increases.
Eventually, the mayors and commissioners in Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach were unceremoniously ousted, but only after citizens were forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in litigation costs in the cities' losing efforts to place developers' interests above those of the residents.
This time, Madeira Beach commissioners ignored the will of the voters and violated the terms of the city's charter. Years of litigation will follow and, once again, the voters will have to rely on the courts to impose the rule of law on another beach community commission.
Fortunately, all of our beach communities have citizens who are willing to spend their time, money and collective efforts to fight for their rights to require elected officials to simply follow the law.
Kenneth L. Weiss, Treasure Island
Orlando mass shooting
More violence isn't answer
Seddique Mateen might as well blame radical Christianity for the loss of his son and of the lives he destroyed in Orlando. He could also blame the cowardice and the greed of Republican legislators and Republican-controlled state legislatures that associate with the National Rifle Association leadership.
To serve the merchants of death to whom they pledged their allegiance and sold their souls, the NRA's champions of lies propose to combat violence with more violence, to eliminate gun-free zones and to transform the whole country, including the kindergartens, into an O.K. Corral where assault weapons in lieu of rudimentary handguns will provide a more rapid and complete destruction of human lives. And they claim with a straight face that their proposals will enhance the safety of the American citizens. They may as well claim that cigarette smoking prevents lung cancer and recreational sex prevents unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
My prolife credentials are beyond reproach. Many times I have decried abortion, embryonic stem cell research and IVF. As a lifetime prolifer, I wish to disassociate my cause from that of individuals who promote the indiscriminate sale of assault weapons and even the sale of handguns without appropriate background checks.
Lodovico Balducci, Tampa
Hunt down alligators | June 17, letter
Don't overreact on gators
Every year, several dozen children drown in swimming pools in Florida. Should we close all swimming pools? Of course not, even though we'd save many lives by doing so. We also don't need to go on an alligator-killing campaign.
Fewer than 25 people have lost their lives as a result of alligator attacks in almost 70 years since records were first kept. The death of a 2-year-old child is tragic, and there are things we can do to improve safety. Don't feed alligators. Don't taunt or tease them. Keep small children and pets away from the water's edge, especially at night. The appropriate agencies should post more signs warning people about alligators. Let's not overreact.
Bob Luce, Tampa
Uber's limits on pricing unclear | June 17
What about the taxis?
Please run a companion piece that makes it clear what the cabbies will be charging during evacuations. Will they be required to charge a flat rate for an evacuation? Will they be required to provide a quote up front as to what the charge will be during an evacuation? Will taxis be turning off their meters and charging a flat fee?
If any of the answers are no, it seems the cabbies will benefit from the meter ticking away while sitting in traffic during an evacuation.
Let the consumer, not the Public Transportation Commission, decide if Uber is a viable option.
Lauri Slater, Tampa
Some see red over LGBT flag | June 18
To the Hillsborough County employees who are troubled by the flying of the LGBT flag because it purportedly offends their Christian beliefs and creates a "hostile working environment," perhaps you should explore the Scriptures a little more closely. These so-called "Christians" should embrace the teachings of Jesus, who taught tolerance. The only "workplace problems" that are being created here are those of bigotry, intolerance and hatred. Maybe you should focus on solving those instead.
David E. Krahl, St. Petersburg
Adventure in the Everglades | June 19
A memorable trip
Myself, Aaron Freedman and my grandson, Logan, were on the Everglades paddle with Terry Tomalin and his son, Kai. The respectful manner in which the younger Logan was treated was wonderful to see. That deference to a young person was quintessential Terry and a big reason the trip was such a fun adventure. Thank you, Terry.
George Stovall, St. Petersburg