Monday, February 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Vote on pier makes city look silly

Voters sink Lens | Aug. 28

Vote on pier makes city look silly

Sadly, I must offer congratulations to the backward-thinking obstructionists who succeeded in stagnating our downtown pier development for who knows how many years. With no alternate plan and absolutely no concept of what public/private work projects mean to cities like ours, this group succeeded in convincing 19 percent of the registered voters that the Lens was not a good idea.

Having lived in St. Petersburg for most of my adult life, I have seen other forward-thinking people get projects done, in spite of being heavily criticized. Without these people, the Vinoy would have been torn down, I-275 would never have been built through St. Petersburg, Beach Drive would still be empty and the Howard Frankland Bridge would still be two lanes with a yellow line down the middle.

Our system asks that elected officials make decisions. That's why we put them there. Allowing a fraction of the citizenry to overrule a well-thought-out process makes little or no sense.

Now we will sit for years while the next artistic fight takes place. I, for one, think that makes our city look silly.

Scott Stewart, St. Petersburg

Voters sink Lens | Aug. 28

Focus on the water

The next pier could become something better than the Lens. Try a mix of restaurants, food trucks and bars (open-air and air conditioned along part of its length), with paths for strolling or biking, space for some real shops, and wet slips for charter businesses like dolphin viewing cruises and bigger boats to tie up for the day or a few hours.

Florida is about the water and doing things on it. Places like that are getting rarer. The Lens concept is too tame. What gets attention is something that has a multitude of things to do and see for almost everyone. And you can still wrap all of this in fancy trim if you must make an architectural statement.

The combination of these things elsewhere has worked. The piers and river walks in San Francisco, Monterey, Savannah, Charleston and Seattle are huge draws and places I want to go back to.

Bruce Clark, Tampa

Back to the future

The Lens was voted down. So be it. But we absolutely must replace that thing that is an eyesore.

The two structures in the St. Petersburg area that make all jaws drop are the Don CeSar and the Vinoy. Look at the photos of the original structure on the pier in the 1920s. It was breathtaking, it should be re-created, and it should be pink.

Nancy Moore, St. Petersburg

Rubio weighs in on Syria | Aug. 29

Tired of endless war

Sen. Marco Rubio's comments regarding Syria show, yet again, that he doesn't get it. The people of the United States, including increasing members of his own party, are tired of an endless state of war, as well as U.S. military involvement in the affairs of other sovereign countries.

Why Rubio feels the need to identify and arm every possible group that may be friendly to the United States today, but may in the future use these very weapons against us, is beyond me.

We need to learn from our continued military mistakes and act only when our country is directly affected.

Chris Curley, Sun City Center

Obama blames regime | Aug. 29

Unintended consequences

We always provide reasons for our military actions, regardless of how tenuous or deceitful they are.

In Vietnam, it required the questionable Gulf of Tonkin incident for President Lyndon Johnson to fully commit us to war against North Vietnam. In Grenada, President Ronald Reagan claimed that American students were at risk — this, despite the fact that Grenada is in the British Commonwealth and Margaret Thatcher herself urged Reagan to reconsider.

In Iraq, among the disastrous consequences of that war, millions of Iraqis fled, and a large percentage of them went to Syria. What effect this has had on Syrian politics is not clear, but the struggle between Sunni and Shiite is historical and endless. We seem to be so little guided by history and so artfully by short-range political expedience that we are often tragically confronted by unintended consequences.

Rodger Lewis, Crawfordville

$15 minimum wage

It's a starting point

First, you're not supposed to support a family on minimum wages. The idea is to earn enough before starting a family.

Second, one's minimum wage job is a beginning point, not a permanent station in life. Even Walmart promoted 170,000 workers last year, and most of their store managers started out in low-wage positions.

Third, what would a $15 wage do to the costs at McDonald's and other fast-food companies? Obviously, to remain profitable they'd have to raise prices significantly, or their stock price would tumble. Besides hurting millions of shareholders — many of whom are employees — the reduced cash flow means fewer dollars to build more stores, and thus fewer new jobs.

Based on today's weak economy, such a drastic increase in costs would be an inflationary nightmare, ultimately affecting everyone.

Peter Ford, St. Petersburg

Feds won't target legalized weed | Aug. 30

The right decision

Marijuana activists are celebrating the latest news that the federal government will not target Colorado and Washington's legalized marijuana laws.

A Pew Research Center poll conducted in March found that 60 percent of Americans think the federal government should not enforce federal marijuana laws in states where its use has been approved. The federal government is doing the right thing by backing off. It has the right priority by focusing on prevention of marijuana sales to minors, keeping revenue away from organized crime, and not raiding the marijuana dispensaries.

Floridians should pay close attention to how the federal government handles these new guidelines, because in 2014 Florida voters may have the opportunity to make the state the 21st to allow the use of medical marijuana.

Devin Wittcoff, Tampa


Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Challenges in Hillsborough foster care

Foster failures under scrutiny | Feb. 10Challenges in foster care systemNo young person deserves to be treated as shown in the Ch. 8 segment on Youth and Family Alternatives Inc., an Eckerd Connects subcontractor. It is difficult to fathom how th...
Published: 02/12/18

Saturday’s letters: We’re all just trying to get home, one zip tie at a time

I detest Trump, but a ‘redneck’ fixed my Prius with zip ties | Feb. 3, Ruth Mayer columnWe’re all just trying to get homeLike columnist Ruth Mayer, I too am trying to find my level ground, my level-set. I too have held a tremendously deep resentm...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18