Longest wait to vote: Hispanics, study says | June 29
Educating the voters would help
I am a strong proponent of giving everyone an equal chance to vote. We must ensure that the polling stations are adequate to handle the number of voters who want to vote. However, I find some question in the statistics that you present in your article.
In Miami-Dade County, 73 minutes passed, on average, between close of polls and when the last voter in line cast a vote. In Broward County, which has a larger white voter base, the average time for the last voter in line to vote was 25 minutes.
I think a more meaningful statistic would be the average time per voter to cast a ballot.
If the average is higher in Miami-Dade, then voter education should be increased. Voters should be encouraged to complete their sample ballot at home and come to the polling station prepared with that information.
If the average time is the same, or near the same, then we need to add more polling stations in Miami-Dade.
Daniel Pennisi, Palm Harbor
Save the Pier? That's fiscal foolery June 28, editorial
Base Pier policy on the facts
Parsons Brinkerhoff analyzed the Pier. In 2005, the City Council amended the Intown Redevelopment Plan to include the Pier project: replacement of Pier approach ($22.2 million); replacement of Pier head structure ($12 million); replacement of Pier head retail ($6.1 million); restoration of structurally sound inverted pyramid structure ($4.3 million); and design/permitting administration of $5.4 million, totaling $50 million. This is where the $50 million Pier project originated. (The 2011 council deleted the specific line-items from the redevelopment plan.)
The Pier Task Force suggested widening the bridge from 100 feet to 150 feet. Neither the Southwest Florida Water Management District nor the Army Corps of Engineers would approve of this because they limit reconstruction to the footprint to protect the Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserve. The city's $87 million estimate was derived from this never-to-be-allowed widening of the bridge.
The inverted pyramid is a significant city real estate asset. It is structurally sound. Furthermore, independent engineers have estimated that the bridge can be replaced and the inverted pyramid building renovated within the $50 million budget. Moreover, a newly replaced bridge and renovated building would reduce or eliminate the subsidy. City staff had advised the City Council that the city made a profit from the Pier leases when the costs associated with maintaining the bridge were removed.
Facts should be the basis for all city decisionmaking. Here, the citizens of St. Petersburg have a significant investment in their Pier. They should have all the facts and have a vote on whether their Pier should be demolished or renovated. Of course, I thought it would be fiscally prudent to obtain voter approval prior to spending millions of dollars on the controversial Lens design. A year ago I asked for this vote. So now we find ourselves facing the Aug. 27 vote where we will see whether Mayor Bill Foster and City Council wasted $3.8 million on Maltzan's Lens.
Kathleen Ford, candidate for mayor, St. Petersburg
New energy standards may be hard on Florida | June 30
Future is with solar
The world's largest and first solar boat to circumnavigate the globe is from Germany, a country with very little oceanfront access. Meanwhile in Florida, the nation's most nautical state, inland trains powered by fossil fuels continue taking center stage in so-called enviro-friendly transportation discussions.
Germany has indigenous coal and relatively scarce year-round sunshine, while Florida has no coal and abundant sunshine. Why aren't we developing solar vessels here? No wonder the German Planet Solar boat is moored in Boston right now. There must be a lot of solar and alternative energy research occurring in the progressive collegiate community in Massachusetts.
Perhaps this could be a focus of the new Florida Polytechnic in Lakeland, in conjunction with waterfront USF St. Petersburg. Who knows, we could have a totally solar public ferry servicing our bay if this were to happen.
Rand Moorhead, St. Petersburg
Longest wait to vote: Hispanics, study says June 29
Don't make it about race
The headline and most of this article seem to point to some form of discrimination, until you've read more than 10 paragraphs and get to the parts about "poorly trained poll workers" and "ill-prepared precincts," and one of the experts from MIT states "the places where minority voters vote tend to have long lines. In those places, even white voters have long lines."
So, let's train the poll workers and better prepare the precincts, and not try to make this, like everything else these days, into some kind of racial issue.
Peter Ford, St. Petersburg
Deen loses Sears and Kmart | June 28
Would someone please explain the double standard being applied to Paula Deen and Alec Baldwin? I'm not a fan of either of them: Deen, because I hate to cook and am incredibly bad at it; Baldwin, because he's seriously annoying with a big ego and an obvious anger management problem.
Deen admits that she used a racial slur years ago. Her entire business crumbles and she is vilified. Baldwin, on the day after the Defense of Marriage Act is struck down, tweets a vicious homophobic rant against a British reporter. The result: dead silence from sponsors, networks, the LGBT community and the media.
Why are we destroying one person and giving the other a pass?
Carol Williams, Riverview
If Arizona, why not us? | July 1
My answer to the question of why Florida does not follow Republican-controlled Arizona in the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare is simple: ambition. Both Gov. Rick Scott and Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford are very ambitious men. And they are playing politics with the uninsured in Florida, as well as the Florida economy, to keep in lockstep with the tea party.
Dorsett Bennett, Lutz