Not just numbers | July 26
Decisions that can deepen poverty
Your feature story in Sunday's paper about the number of children living in poverty in our metro area is heartbreaking. No child should have to endure that. However, when reading stories like this — and they seem to be plentiful — I can't help but wonder how people with little or no job skills, who can't support themselves, think they should have children.
I realize it's not PC to mention it, but some facts are worth pointing out. Ashley Corbett's situation in terms of earnings capacity surely is not new. However, she has a toddler and is pregnant? No mention of a father contributing anything. She very likely couldn't support herself under the best of circumstances, so why is she adding to her problems by having children? We taxpayers are no doubt paying for their medical care and the considerable hospital bill every time she gives birth.
When I got to the part about Flavio Irizarry, I was sadly not surprised at his situation, either. But again, how does one find himself with six children and making barely $12,000 a year? These are obviously only two examples of countless others in this area and the entire country. The problems run much deeper than reacting right now to poverty and the plight of these unfortunate families. How about some birth control and foresight before one gets to this point?
Jim White, Tampa
Fast lanes facing backlash | July 5
Upgrade is key to economy
The "Tampa Bay Express" project proposed by the Florida Department of Transportation will be critical to both the enhancement of the region's transportation network and the ability of Port Tampa Bay tenants and customers to move cargo efficiently to market. This project calls for the addition of express lanes on Interstates 4 and 275, allowing for traffic to flow quicker and smoother.
In business, time is money. Traffic congestion across the country costs Americans $124 billion in direct and indirect losses. This number is expected to rise to $186 billion by 2030. All of which causes American industry to underperform.
The FDOT understands the impact that an inefficient transportation system can have on the economy. The department has a long record of success, as well as being a valuable strategic partner of Port Tampa Bay. In January 2014, the FDOT finished construction of the I-4/Selmon Expressway Connector, a project that has fundamentally improved traffic flow in an out of Port Tampa Bay. Like the I-4/Selmon Expressway Connector, the "Tampa Bay Express" project is a legacy project that will deliver generational benefits.
Port Tampa Bay is west-central Florida's largest economic engine, generating $15 billion in annual economic impact and supporting in some fashion over 80,000 jobs. The regional roadway network is already nearing capacity, presenting a significant limiting factor in attracting new cargo and businesses to the port if major improvements to our system are not made.
The community needs to be unified in its support for the "Tampa Bay Express" project, recognizing that the economic vitality of the Tampa Bay region will be negatively impacted if the project does not move forward.
Paul Anderson, president and CEO, Port Tampa Bay, Tampa
A top climate scientist's alarm at sea level rise | July 26, Perspective
I commend the Times for the article by Eric Holthaus about how the research findings of a group of 16 top scientists indicate much more rapid sea level rise than previously expected. They predict the glaciers melting 10 times faster than expected and causing a sea level rise of 10 feet in as few as 50 years. The 2 degree centigrade atmospheric warming limit that was thought to be safe may not be, and it will take massive reductions in carbon pollution to avoid exceeding it.
My only wish is that your article had run at the top of the front page instead of deep in the Perspective section. The front page article on whether Trump is good for Bush or not is irrelevant because both of them would obstruct efforts to address carbon pollution and global warming. The country's next president needs to lead in mitigating fossil fuel pollution.
Guy Hancock, Largo
Group wants open voting | July 22
Break the parties' grip
I agree with the petition for open primaries in Florida. While the "top two" option is not the best, it is far and away better than the system in place.
I have seen letters and heard arguments about the status quo. Looking deeper, it appears that these people have a stake in the game. They like excluding voters. They want their Democrat or Republican to keep control. They do not want people who think beyond the label D or R to speak and be heard. They seem to believe that their respective "leadership" knows best.
Florida's past few Legislatures have been slapped down so many times by the courts, up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court, but they bring it on themselves, and the independent and no-party-affiliation voters suffer.
The Legislature is redrawing voting districts because the fine folks picked by the "leadership" decided that the state Constitution did not apply to them. They were/are above the law.
Give every voter a voice in all primaries, as much as it galls the established parties, and amend the Constitution for open primaries. The sitting Legislature will probably ignore it anyway, or at least until a judge orders them to comply.
John Stansbury, Brooksville