Saturday, June 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Lens, as built, will exceed $50M

New pier gets green light | May 18

Lens, as built, will exceed $50M

I admit that my opposition to this arises primarily from the nostalgia in seeing the old Pier replaced. But my position is based on more than nostalgia; it's based on my 30 years working in the Miami-Dade County Planning Department as chief of research and the de facto economist for the county's administration. One of my tasks was to gather information on how other areas carry out large public and private projects — stadiums, large public buildings, public housing, monuments, etc.

One of the biggest problems is when a project is pushed forward with a cap on expenditure. The new Pier will almost surely cost more than $50 million. Something can be built for that, but it won't be anything like the Lens design. Putting in more money or accepting something cheaper are the two options.

During design and construction, when it is most obvious if the cost limit will be bumped into, options should be considered.

Charles Blowers, Clearwater

New pier gets green light | May 18

A lens to murkiness

The Lens would be a great idea in an area with clear water and schools of colorful fish such as the Bahamas. The new Pier, though, will be a lens to nothing but murky bay water.

Most of the City Council members seem happy to be associated with a fatally flawed idea, but to protect his professional reputation, the architect should withdraw his "Lens to nothing" design rather than see his image ruined forever by a failed design.

Bruce Matern, St. Petersburg

More reason to protest | May 19, letter

Best peacemaker: weather

Letter writer Chip Thomas worries that protesters won't be able to get "close enough" to delegates and media at the Republican National Convention. How close is close enough? To squirt people with urine from squirt guns or to spit on them? How about adequate proximity for the Occupy crowds to turn Channelside into an Oakland-style war zone on national TV?

Local Democrats are already scaling back previous plans so as to give our "guests without hotel reservations," as described by one City Council member, a parking structure or the like for shelter from the elements along with water and portable toilets. Are Democrats who control Charlotte, N.C., doing likewise for tea party groups? Our climate in August is our best ally for keeping mayhem to a minimum. I like and respect Mayor Bob Buckhorn, but he'd be smarter to ban umbrellas and tents rather than licensed firearms if he truly wants peace.

Dwayne Keith, Valrico

Choosing speakers is tricky task | May 19

Colors of persuasion

Once again Aaron Sharockman and now Adam C. Smith can't help but inject their political bias and racial inferences into a story. They say the GOP highlights its diversity "even if the audience inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum is overwhelmingly white." Isn't it true that almost every convention, except perhaps the NAACP's, is overwhelmingly white? This same statement was used by Aaron when he reported on Sarah Palin speaking at the Villages. I'm waiting to read about their saying that the Democratic Convention is overwhelmingly white, which it will be.

Nelson Crowell, Weeki Wachee

Board bickers over unity | May 19

Truth comes out

Jodie Tillman's article finally offered some light on what had been a dark series of articles on the Hillsborough County Children's Board, including allegations of mismanagement, a maligned staff, a toxic work environment and a divided board. In several articles, Tillman painted a portrait of a tax-funded organization in chaos, possibly mismanaging funds, and a leader out of touch with the needs of her organization.

The truth appears to be the opposite of the characterization of the organization and of Luanne Panacek, the CEO. When unhappy staffers and individual board members, who have issues with the CEO, are allowed a public voice in a series of newspaper articles, the CEO's job becomes impossible. The board's communication must be with the CEO.

Panacek is a well-known and highly respected professional with a vision and a heart for meeting the needs of children and their families. She is an extraordinary leader with a wealth of experience as a child and family advocate who is motivated by high ethical standards. In an economic downturn, resources are limited; the needs of children and families are not. She has been providing leadership in trying to maximize the value of the public resources available, and she has been doing this while being publicly attacked.

The board needs to get its own house in order and function on the basis of credible information about the leadership and the staff. It must now act in a way that creates a clear perception that professionalism trumps self-interested politics.

James Paul, Temple Terrace

Psychiatrist rights a wrong, with an apology to gays | May 19

Breaking the silence

As a gay person, the debt of gratitude I owe the Tampa Bay Times is hard to overstate. I'd say most of us gay folks expected to go to our graves accustomed to and resigned to the deafening hush in society about the true nature of our existence. May 19's paper is witness to the honor and respect citizens can get when principled, caring dialogue is permitted.

John Meros, St. Petersburg

FCAT

Teachers' lax standards

We continue to hear the cries of pain regarding the FCAT system. As a School Board member in Ohio in the early '60s, I was the recipient not only of an excellent public school education but honored to be a member of the board. What happened between the '50s, when a graduate of a public school was prepared for either industry or higher education, and now? Whose fault is it that we now have fallen behind the rest of the developed world in educational achievement? There is plenty of blame to go around, but our children did not suddenly become too dumb to teach.

If professional educators had addressed this problem in the '70s, we would not have to worry about kids' inability to read or to fill out a job application. Instead we took the easy way out. We promoted children from grade to grade whether they could read or write. We undereducated the teachers themselves.

Teachers, I don't minimize the problems you face every day. But I do criticize the results of your work. You gave up the responsibility of in loco parentis. You buckled to the demand for grades without effort. A grade of D now passes in many places, what used to be a C is now a B, and what used to be a B- is now an A. If the profession starts applying standards of the not-too-distant past, there will be no need for the FCAT.

Richard Dimberio, Brooksville

Comments

Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18