Minimum wage hike generally win-win | March 10, commentary
All would benefit from increase
While the U.S. House busies itself passing the umpteenth repeal of Obamacare, the real issues affecting American citizens get zero attention. If all U.S. workers were able to live above the poverty level, and women were paid on a scale equal to men, everyone would benefit.
Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would cut the need for public assistance to those workers who have full-time jobs yet still live below the poverty level. It would also cut the national debt, as well as put more money in circulation that would go to buy more goods and services, which in turn would create the need for additional jobs.
Opponents say raising the wage would hurt small business. But if a business owner is burdened by paying a higher wage, the price increase he would have to pass along to customers would be minimal and hardly noticed. And I don't believe any large retailers would be put out of business.
Congress needs to work on programs that benefit the American people, not just special interest friends.
Charles Bayer, Redington Shores
Red-light cameras out | March 7
What price a life?
This article reveals the strongest motivating fact for removing the red-light cameras is loss of revenue.
My question for the mayor and the six City Council members who voted to remove the cameras: What is the worth of a life lost as a result of a red-light runner?
I would like them to picture themselves standing before the surviving family members of a victim who was killed or maimed by a red-light runner and explaining to them what they think this victim's life is worth.
On another note, I believe the length of yellow lights should be realistic and fair. But drivers who enter and pass through an intersection with a completely red light should receive a hefty fine. Intersections with red-light cameras should be changed from time to time to different locations to become an even stronger deterrent.
Aila Erman, St. Petersburg
Following too closely
People should stop blaming intersection rear-end crashes on red lights. Most drivers tailgate. There should be a two- or three-second distance between cars depending on speed. This is what is creating the accidents.
Another thing I immediately noticed after moving here from New York City: yellow lights that are too short.
Stanley Oring, Tampa
Corps protects resources
On a day people from across the state traveled to Tallahassee to voice their concerns about Florida's appalling water-quality problems, one politician attempted to hijack this public concern and direct it toward empowering the state to commit even greater environmental abuses.
State Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, released a statement saying, "I am asking Congress to remove the Army Corps' sole jurisdiction over Lake Okeechobee releases."
Negron's attempt to evict the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River and the St. Lucie River water-control structures is a deceptive maneuver aimed at convincing Floridians that the solution to our state's water problems is to get rid of the Corps.
The truth is the exact opposite.
For the past several years it has been only the Corps of Engineers that has worked to introduce some balance into water management decisions. The Corps has listened to Caloosahatchee Estuary advocates and sent much-needed lake water westward in the dry season to moderate estuary salinity levels. By contrast, Florida agencies have failed to implement "shared adversity," whereby cities, agriculture and the environment all share the hardships brought on by too much, too little, or too dirty water.
If we allow Negron to get rid of the federal "adult in the room," Florida politicians will have greater power to make our water problems even worse. They already have the inclination.
Bill Bucolo, president, Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida,
The article "A chilly welcome" in the current issue of the Economist calls Pinellas County "a flashy region of mobile home parks, 'senior living' complexes, golf courses and strip malls." It seems that after all our efforts at image-building, we really haven't come very far beyond the green benches.
Palmer O. Hanson Jr., Largo
Proposal could lead to packed court March 8
Let voters' voices be heard
What company would yield the appointment of directors or auditors to the departing management team? What an absurd way to implement the will of the people. This amendment should instead clarify a preference for the most recent word of the electorate. Isn't that the whole idea of elections?
If we don't allow the implementation of new policies by handicapping new administrations, we disable our ability to make positive change. Magnifying the voice of the failed party hobbles the ability of the system to work. Elections matter. Let the new leader appoint the new court.
R. Muhlhan, Palm Harbor
The orange, endangered | March 9, Perspective
Threat to Florida citrus
Thank you for this great article. The orange is a big part of Florida's history, and the threats to it have worried me for years: the Mediterranean fruit fly, canker, winter freezes, droughts and now citrus greening.
The Florida Department of Agriculture has been aware of this devastating disease since it first appeared in Florida in 2005. Yet I have not seen one word from our Department of Agriculture (now under Adam Putnam) on the importance of finding a cure, or how to combat it. Second, what became of the $10 million Coca-Cola was going to spend replanting? Why not put the $10 million toward research? To replant without a cure is "fruitless."
Linda Martin, Odessa