Stop this mistake | March 1, letter
Stop bellyaching and lend a hand
I was delighted to read recently that the Tampa Bay Times quoted the president of the Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg, Bill Ballard, as happy, even if only for a fleeting moment, with the city's plans to reopen the Columbia Restaurant at the new St. Petersburg pier.
However, sadly, it appears that the Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg have withdrawn to their usual state of discontent. In his letter, Ballard picks apart and finds fault in the pier advisory task force's decisionmaking process and indirectly accuses the highly qualified architectural team of Michael Maltzan of not knowing their stuff.
Maltzan heralds from the esteemed Rhode Island School of Design and Harvard University. He articulated his ambitious, bold plan to build a new pier for St. Petersburg eloquently and succinctly last week at the Dalí Museum.
I would request that Ballard and his group offer up solutions and help the city move forward with this project rather than constantly crying foul. I fear that the never-ending siege of fault-finding from this bellyaching bunch will scuttle the plan for the new pier and leave St. Petersburg with a graveyard of red yard signs and no pier.
The concerned citizens have badgered the mayor, council members and design team and accused them of not listening. By partnering with the Columbia Restaurant, it is clear that this is untrue. They are listening, and modifying the design to suit the needs and requests of the people and making adjustments to ensure we have a structure that will be both iconic and functional.
St. Petersburg needs a new pier and deserves a new pier. The world is not flat and this no longer a sleepy retirement town. Concerned citizens, either contribute to making the new pier great by lending a hand, or get out of the way.
Anthony Sullivan, president, Wowstpete Inc.
Lawyer tirelessly supported causes Feb. 21, Epilogue
A life of accomplishment
I didn't know Charlie Hounchell (my loss), but I would have liked to. What an amazing human being. It's apparent that all of the members of our community have lost a great citizen.
As I read his biography (good job, Andrew Meacham), I was astounded at the goodness and generosity of this man. The fact that he was an openly gay man who had come to terms with his sexual orientation was just one part of his personal and public story.
As I read about his life and accomplishments, I couldn't imagine why anyone would judge Mr. Hounchell to be morally depraved or a threat to society. As a former pastor, I only wish that the world was populated by more Charlie Hounchells and fewer religious bigots.
John R. Gallo, Ruskin
More aid going to Syria rebels | March 1
Focus on home needs
It's no wonder we the people are losing faith in our elected leaders. They tell us we can't keep spending money we don't have, so prepare to face the effects of the sequester budget cuts.
Now they tell us that they are going to send $60 million to the Syrian rebels. I feel bad for the rebels, but I feel worse for the people in this country who will be hurt by the sequester cuts.
Getting involved in a foreign country's civil war — especially this one — is a black hole with no end. One faction is supported by Hezbollah and other radical Arab groups. Another is the more moderate faction whom we are supporting. Right now both factions have a goal in common: bringing down Bashar Assad. Once that's accomplished, the civil war will continue between the two factions. Just look at what's happening in Egypt.
We need to take care of our own before we get involved in other countries' affairs.
Jerry Cappello, Holmes Beach
Sides dig in on the budget March 4
Fix it, don't ax it
Why is it so hard to use common sense in the fight over spending and taxes? If a program is too costly yet is needed, fix it, don't ax it. If your car doesn't start, do you junk it and buy a new one? No, you fix it.
The same is true for revenue. The commonsense approach would be to ask what cuts in taxes and loopholes would be best for the economy. If a tax cut is given to a middle class family, and the savings are put back into the economy, common sense tells me that money is put to good use. If you give a tax cut to a millionaire who takes a large portion of that and puts it in an offshore account, that money just sits there and does nothing to boost our economy.
If you take trillions of dollars out of our economy, all the spending cuts in the world won't help.
Richard Gentile, Tampa
Police chief delivers dose of reality March 1, Daniel Ruth column
Serve people, not NRA
After reading Daniel Ruth's column, it seems apparent that politicians like Lindsey Graham are more concerned about protecting the NRA as opposed to our precious children and the citizens of this nation.
We would hope that the politicians in Congress and our state legislators remember that they have been elected to protect the citizens of this nation and not just the NRA.
Ruth Samuel and Jack Perlman, Palm Harbor
Florida's elections: under repair March 1, commentary
Insulting to minorities
Janet Cruz's article repeats the mantra about unfair elections and the need for easier registration, more early voting days, Sunday poll openings, etc.
Does anyone else perceive the demeaning concepts underlying these arguments? Assuming that minorities are unable to meet basic standards is insulting to these same minorities.
An obvious truth: A citizen who desires to exercise his or her right to vote will do so. If a person cannot make it to the voting poll during one of the many available options, it is because of apathy.
Marilyn Renner, Dunedin
Benedict retires with Vatican under cloud March 1
Departure deja vu
Not to ruffle any feathers, but this article, accompanied by a photo of Benedict being whisked away by helicopter while throngs waved goodbye, seemed eerily reminiscent of Richard Nixon's departure not so long ago.
Randy R. Mann, St. Petersburg