An asymmetry of peace | Sept. 9
Settlements show real intent
Israel's consul general, Ofer Bavly has, from time to time, enjoyed editorial space in the St. Petersburg Times, explaining how Israeli society and government are trying very hard to institute the elusive "two-state solution" with the Palestinians. In his latest column he states that Israel is determined to reach a peaceful, permanent settlement.
I find his propaganda unconvincing, particularly in light of the constant establishment of Israeli settlements. On Sept. 1, the Times showed a map locating numerous settlements in the West Bank alone. How are the Palestinians to establish their own country when an overabundance of Israelis are constantly infiltrating their land with the purpose of permanent Israeli settlement? Palestinians are denied building permits, construction materials and many other rights for self-determination.
I believe that the Israelis are simply bowing to international pressure to show some sign of compromise when, in fact, they have no intention of ever allowing the Palestinians to be free to enjoy the benefits of free enterprise and the pursuit of happiness in their own state. Israeli negotiations are an appeasement and a smoke screen while settlements continue to weaken any eventual two-state possibility.
The United States' policy of unconditional financial and political support for a government that denies millions of people their rights for over a half century should be re-examined.
David Hewitt, Parrish
Misinformation thrives in immigration debate | Sept. 13, PolitiFact
They're still illegal
Amazing, the amount of verbiage liberals employ to obfuscate issues.
There are two reasons why Arizona passed its anti-illegal immigration law: 1) Illegal immigration is, by definition, illegal, and 2) The federal government is impotent at dealing with it.
Whether there are beheadings in the desert, baby drops, higher crime rates, depleted social services, terrorists crossing the border along with Mexicans, drug mules running supply lines, or whatever, is irrelevant. The fact that people are breaking our laws by entering our country illegally is sufficient reason for Arizona's actions.
The "root causes" that spur illegal immigration are obvious. Mexico is a corrupt, crime-riddled, Third World country. It is no wonder people who live there want to flee. That does not give them leave to break our laws.
We need to support rather than vilify Arizona. They are providing us law enforcement our federal government will not.
David Highlands, St. Petersburg
A drain on revenue
The idea that government jobs are the same as private sector jobs cannot go unchallenged.
Any unnecessary increase in government jobs, federal or state, is bad. Likewise a government job reduction is good. This is why: In business, jobs are paid for with sales income. Government jobs are paid for with income revenue, tax or borrowed. Therefore every new government job is a potential tax increase and every government job reduction is a potential tax reduction.
This country is now in unsustainable debt. Do we need even more taxes or do we need more people to spend the disposable income that isn't taken by higher taxes?
Leonard DiNardo, Seminole
Benefits of rail transport Sept. 12, commentary
Long wait for jobs
Gary Sasso, chairman of Moving Hillsborough Forward, had his opinion published in the Times on Sunday. In it he said a curious thing about rail:
"It will create tens of thousands of quality jobs."
Apart from temporary jobs for out-of-town consultants and construction workers, he specifically mentions "… new jobs in service and retail …" This means that after construction is completed, the "quality jobs" that remain for Hillsborough County are store clerks, hotel workers and restaurant help — few of which are likely to be well-paid, full-time or come with benefits.
So when can residents expect these "quality jobs" to show up as a result of Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan's downtown Tampa Choo-Choo? Not until years after the project is completed. Estimates are that it will take years of planning and as many as 10 years to build out. Businesses will only start to think about locating or expanding along the rail lines after the thing is up and running.
So if you are expecting to get off unemployment any time soon, while you may be paying a 14 percent increase in your sales tax, how long can you wait?
There are many other, better ways to get people back to work — now.
Let the voters decide.
Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach
Promoters won't discuss flooding Sept. 10, story
Lesson in disappointment
Shame on the parents of the young fans who showed up to watch the Jonas Brothers concert at the 1-800-ASK-GARY Ampitheatre, The article in the Times talked about the outrage of these folks because the concert was canceled due to flooding of the venue.
These adults had a perfect opportunity to teach their kids a valuable life lesson and they blew it. Our children need to learn that life is full of disappointments. If kids can't learn to accept the smallest of hardships in life, how in the world will they ever accept the really tough stuff life has in store for them?
When you consider the poverty and everyday struggles that so many in our own community face, perhaps it would be best to remind the fans just how lucky they are. Better yet, when the money is refunded on the tickets, why not donate it to a worthy cause?
Joyce M. Clay, Largo
United Way has new agenda | Sept. 13, story
Kudos to the United Way for setting priorities that focus on children and families. Some years ago I decided to just give to only a few charities that focus on parent education and supportive services for the most vulnerable families. The results show healthier children, fewer children entering foster care and improved school performance for the target population.
That's really more bang for the buck!
Alice P. Williams, Sun City Center
From start to finish | Sept. 6
Thank you for an outstanding article and photos on Busch Gardens' KaTonga. My family has enjoyed this part of the theme park for as many years as KaTonga has been presented. We have taken friends; we have recommended it to others. The costumes, the voices, the sound effects have been meaningful to us. We are sorry to see it leave.
Each time we went to Busch Gardens, we just had to see KaTonga. For us, this outstanding show was Busch Gardens.
Robert Hassall, Clearwater