Utility charge likely to stay | Aug. 3
Expose friends of utility charade
Let's at least give state Rep. Mike Fasano credit for honesty. When asked about the likelihood of the huge welfare payments given to power companies being repealed, he responded: "The power that Florida Power & Light and Duke has in Tallahassee is just too overwhelming." You mean if you bribe enough politicians to pass laws that make sure you earn a profit at the expense of taxpayers you won't be held accountable? What a surprise.
But we can all rest easy: Gov. Rick Scott's mouthpiece, John Tupps, has assured us, "We are confident that the Public Service Commission will make the best decision for Florida consumers." Yes, along with Duke Energy's pronouncement that such taxpayer support of their profits will help them "move forward with planning Florida's energy future and focusing on what we do best: providing affordable, reliable and sustainable electric service 24/7," we can all sleep better.
Yes, the PSC, which is top-heavy with utility-friendly appointees of Scott, and power companies making a profit off the public are looking out for us and want to save us money. I feel all warm and cuddly knowing how much they care.
So the prevailing opinion is nothing can be done, we have to keep giving them money, and it's just too hard to fight them and change the law? How about we vote out any of the 150 legislators who voted for this charade, publish the names of all who have gotten the largesse of power companies put into their campaign and personal coffers, and insist that the law be changed.
And it's interesting that one of the supporters of this bill was a politician named Marco Rubio, who preaches fiscal conservatism while giving taxpayer money to profit private enterprise. Let's not forget these people.
Charlotte Schiaffo, Tampa
How violent is too violent? | Aug. 3
Wrong lessons at camp
And we wonder at the spectacle of the recent school bus beating. How could the horrific violence between kids reach such epic proportions? Now we have a clearer picture. Our kids don't stand a chance with camp counselors organizing games of such intense force. Summer camp should relax and re-energize students for the coming school year, not distort their idea of how to deal with their peers.
Norma McCulliss, Palm Harbor
20 years prison for risk to kids, The skinny, How violent is too violent? and Sin city goes to confession | July 30-Aug. 3
Within the last 10 days in your newspaper, we've read of (1) a male puppeteer sentenced in a child porn case, (2) women willing to pay $180 for bird poop facials, (3) children going to summer camp to learn how to kill each other and (4) a pope attracting up to 3 million youth to hear about helping the poor and making better choices.
We live in a country of free will. I suggest it's time for all to pay a lot more attention to No. 4!
Joanne B. Walker, St. Petersburg
Jail smuggling plot foiled | Aug. 2
Questions for the jailers
The real story behind the Tampa Bay Times story of smuggling contraband into the Pinellas County Jail is how the inmates conceal the items once inside.
We understand that the inmates have access to tobacco and lighters at the commissary store, making it hard to differentiate those from outside contraband. Wouldn't you think that marijuana would stand out in this secure environment, either in its solid or gaseous form? Can the inmates also buy 70-foot nylon cords at the commissary? Are there random and frequent cell checks for contraband? There are lots of questions that those in charge need to be asked.
Charlie Rutz, Clearwater
Speaker didn't disclose | Aug. 3
It should come as no surprise that Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford did not disclose certain information regarding his financial holdings. He is just following today's playbook for politicians. Most of them are in the game for their own gain and could care less about the people they are elected to represent.
True leadership is about doing the right thing whether it is required or not. Weatherford's statement that his spouse's financial information has no bearing on him is a bunch of hogwash. I've been married almost 25 years, and my wife's financial holdings are a big part of our lives. I'm tired of politicians like Weatherford using excuses and doublespeak to explain their financial interests.
Alan Roberts, Largo
Beach blanket thefts spike | Aug. 2
Thief caught in the act
On Sunset Beach recently, I was the only person in a particular area, but there was a beach chair with a backpack laying against it.
The owner was nowhere to be seen. And then the would-be thief appeared. He alighted on the chair before reaching for the backpack. He pulled the pack over by a zipper and checked to see if he could get into the pocket. After trying for a while, he became frustrated and left.
It was a large crow. That crow seemed very familiar with backpacks and was not happy being unable to steal a potential snack.
The nearest garbage can had to serve as a substitute. Watch out for crows.
Roberta Rhodes, St. Pete Beach
Russia gives 1-year asylum to Snowden Aug. 2
Enjoy your stay
So Edward Snowden, wanted in the United States for spying, gets to stay in Russia. Having just returned from Russia and seeing with my own eyes what it is like to live there, I wish him a very long stay.
He can live in one of the many Cold War-era apartment buildings that are crumbling to the ground or ride on the broken-down public transportation network.
He can observe the many rules on things that are "forbidden" — things Americans take for granted. Smile at a stranger and they think something is wrong with you. A wonderful place to stay away from.
It has its bright spots, but they are far outweighed by the negatives. So, Snowden, enjoy your stay. You will miss America with each passing day.
Anthony Abbate, Valrico