Wednesday, June 20, 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


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...
Updated: 2 hours ago

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

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18