A dirty deal, but you can stop it | Feb. 4, Howard Troxler column
Speak out to defend public counsel
The Office of the Public Counsel is charged with the great responsibility and honor of representing the people of Florida in utility-related matters. Given the power and influence of the utility industry and the necessary and essential public services that they provide, the role of the public counsel is certainly important and crucial to the people of Florida. The current counsel has performed admirably and effectively — perhaps too effectively for some of our colleagues.
The recent and historic victory by the public is refreshing, especially at a time when hardworking, everyday Floridians can't seem to catch a break. We share Howard Troxler's outrage and urge that legislative leaders in Tallahassee allow public counsel J.R. Kelly to continue his representation of the people of our state. We think it is vital for honest and effective public servants to hold office and to be empowered with the necessary autonomy to be effective and to earn the people's trust.
Finally, we're always appreciative when Howard Troxler draws attention to the failings of our state government. However, we think it is imperative to not attach blame to all legislators for the actions of a few. We're working very hard to be part of the solution, to represent our constituents and to be advocates for good government.
We encourage all Floridians to contact their legislators and to be heard loudly and clearly on this issue of importance.
Rep. Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg; Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg; Rep. Janet C. Long, D-Seminole; and Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg
Microfinance champion deserves recognition
As donor nations help Haiti recover and rebuild, an important tool could provide maximum impact. Microfinance —small loans to very poor people — is already in many Haitian towns and the capital through Fonkoze, the Haitian branch of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Fonkoze has mobilized to bring in money from Haitians working abroad who want to send funds home to their relatives.
Even before the earthquake, Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, co-sponsored a bill (HR 2000) to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Mohammed Yunus, the father of microcredit and founder of Grameen Bank. By awarding the Gold Medal to Dr. Yunus, a Nobel laureate, Congress would honor a man who has literally done a world of good. He would then address a joint session of Congress, bringing more public awareness to microfinance, an internationally acclaimed device for helping people lift themselves out of poverty.
Unfortunately, a number of our local representatives have not endorsed HR 2000, including C.W. Bill Young, Kathy Castor, Gus Bilirakis, and Ginny Brown-Waite. It seems pretty much like a no-brainer when you consider the last person to receive the award was Arnold Palmer. And while I love, honor and admire Arnie, his impact on the world is not in the same league as that of Dr. Yunus. I hope our representatives will see their way to signing on.
Ken Schatz, Tampa
Rules on food aid waste time, money Feb. 8, story
Protecting our jobs
The opinion expressed in by Christopher Barrett as quoted in Susan Taylor Martin's article reflects the opinion that American workers are too expensive to hire, safety and environmental regulations too onerous and that we should not protect our workers from foreign competition.
If we reflect on events of the recent past (and perhaps our future as well) we see that exporting jobs is one factor that led us to the state we are in. I hope Barrett doesn't intend for this to be our epitaph.
John Chico, St. Petersburg
How liberals see us: a nation of dim bulbs Feb. 5, Charles Krauthammer column
What common sense?
Columnist Charles Krauthammer's snarky dismissal of liberals as arrogant and patronizing because they refuse to comport with "the bedrock common sense" of the people says more about "the people" than liberals.
The fact is when it comes to "common sense," at least in the political domain, people are often wrong. Common sense kept blacks "in their place" for decades. It was common sense that a "woman's place was in the home." Common sense was that a loss in Vietnam would topple all of Southeast Asia and that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. It has been common sense that homosexuals should be shunned until Americans discovered one was their daughter.
At every step in Western civilization's progress toward a more humane, just and rationale society, going back hundreds of years, conservative popes, kings, moguls, politicians and pundits like Krauthammer have fought a rearguard holding action. If it weren't for progressive thinking we'd still be living in the Middle Ages, when mental retardation was God's punishment, kings were divine and the Earth was flat.
Marty Moore, Port Richey
Rubio bows to hard-liners, stiffs Florida Feb. 7, editorial
Your editorial asks, "Just whom does Marco Rubio want to represent in the U.S. Senate?"
Marco Rubio's idea of excluding illegal aliens in the U.S. Census is solid social policy and sound economics for the benefit of legal Floridians. That is the group Rubio wants to represent and knows supports him.
Corruption of the U.S. political system and bureaucracy starts with overcommitting to spend. As proved by former success in getting welfare excesses killed (well, some excesses), it was the realization that the money train was being derailed and terminated.
Counting illegals in the census implies not just that the feds should spend so much, but that the feds can spend so much.
Our current national debt and the rate at which it increases daily proves the feds wrong on both points. They shouldn't, because they can't, without looting taxpayers of their incomes.
And suggesting that Gov. Charlie Crist is a "clear thinker" on such issues would be laughable if it weren't so unaffordable, as were Crist's "clear" thoughts that delivered voting privileges to felons.
Rubio is not only guided by U.S. constitutional provisions in his position on illegals, but also, I believe, a wistful hope for implementation of a commandment that instructs, "Thou shalt not steal from legal taxpayers and then overborrow when theft isn't enough."
George Makrauer, The Villages