Monday, November 20, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: New districts don't serve community


Senate districts all set | April 28

Districts don't serve community

Citizens expected, and voted for, better state Senate districts than those that were approved.

As a homeowner in south St. Petersburg, what do I have in common with residents in east Tampa, Progress Village and urban slivers of Bradenton? Is there any legitimate justification for lumping the poorest communities in Tampa Bay into one district? These communities are separated by a relatively large body of water. To traverse this district requires going through another district, over a bridge, and paying a toll over another to enter a different county.

For my part, I share the public roads, parks, beaches, gas stations and a struggling downtown with residents of exclusive Tierra Verde, the downtown condos and St. Pete Beach. But when it comes to sharing my concerns with my state senator on local matters, I'm given an 813 number to call. How can it be called good democracy to allow state representatives to ignore and pass off a significant block of local voters to another representative? How can we expect Sen. Arthenia Joyner to successfully campaign for our community needs when her district has no practical geographic continuity?

Even worse is Rep. Kathy Castor's congressional district, which, like the state Senate lines, essentially paints a label on south St. Petersburg that reads: "Your opinion doesn't matter on this side of the bay." Creating poor districts from a smattering of isolated communities with no other common trait condemns our representatives to a poor-issues agenda, protects representation for the rich and isolates them from the voting power of a certain group without regard to our equally vested interest in community success.

Let's call this new map what it really is: a voter segregation map. Its borders represent factors no more complex than sectors of the haves and the have-nots. This practice is harmful to our sense of community, and it is a shameless disregard for the democratic process.

Jeff Mathers, St. Petersburg

War crimes verdict: guilty | April 27

American connection

The conviction of Charles Taylor for war crimes in Liberia and in Sierra Leone brought back memories of my trip to Liberia in 2009. The country has strong ties to the United States, having been founded in 1822 by freed American slaves.

The country is now in a state of peace, albeit fragile, and has been united, to a great extent, under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the only female president in Africa. Much work and rehabilitation remains for the country, however, after the atrocities and war crimes committed by Taylor, its former president.

There is no electricity except when generators run in government offices and in some homes. There is no municipal water system; the country survives on bottled water and outside wells. The boy soldiers who are now young men need to be educated; the market women who kept the country fed during the Taylor years need to have agriculture assistance and education.

Because this African nation, unlike any other, has such a strong history forged through people from the United States, we should all pay attention to its progress now that Taylor has been convicted of the horrible crimes he committed against the people of Liberia.

Susan Zwieg, St. Petersburg

L.A. riots at 20 | April 29

King is not the hero

I noted with dismay that the media is making a hero of Rodney King on the anniversary of his confrontation with the law.

If you are looking for heroes in this incident, choose Bryant "Pooh" Allen and Freddie Helms. Never heard of them? Allen and Helms were passengers in Rodney King's car that night. The reason most people have never heard of them is because both Allen and Helms did everything the police told them to do. No story there.

If Rodney King would have acted responsibly that night like Allen and Helms did, no one (except the Los Angeles criminal justice system) would have ever heard of him. And 54 people would still be alive, 2,300 people would not have been injured, 3,100 buildings would not have been damaged (half of them destroyed), and $1 billion dollars would not have been lost through fire and looting. Sorry, Rodney King, you are no hero.

James S. Woodrow, Bradenton

Unemployment insurance

Too many hurdles

Being out of work is hard enough. Bills are tight; jobs are scarce. To even get the unemployment you qualify for, you need to jump through all kinds of hoops. They repeatedly have you make trips to the One-Stop Center, which is far for some people, and the trip accomplishes nothing.

Every two weeks, you have to go online and give them the names of 10 companies you've contacted, five from each week. You can't claim your weeks early and if you're out looking for work all day and get home after the time limit, you could lose your unemployment benefits. This system is hardest on the people who are actively looking for work.

Why do they make it so difficult to collect a check that you've paid into for years? I understand that people abuse the system, but is all this necessary?

Joey Schneider, Tampa

Florida GOP fights penalty | April 29

Republican hypocrisy

Florida Republican Party chairman Lenny Curry has pushed for the national GOP to bend the rules, again, and not punish the state of Florida for breaking its own rules, again.

"If you push on a wall long enough eventually you get a way to go around it or over it," he said. Is this the message that the GOP wants to send to the country? Don't like the rules? Ignore them. Get penalized for doing so? Push back until you get your way.

Is this any way for a national party to behave? The entire argument of the state GOP flies in the face of taking personal responsibility for one's actions. What blatant hypocrisy.

Christopher Jonathan Gerber, St. Petersburg

Rubio may be losing ground in veepstakes April 29

Lack of experience at top

I'm just guessing, but I believe it's a safe bet that those quoted in the Times who question Sen. Marco Rubio's experience to be a vice presidential candidate voted for President Barack Obama.

I find it ironic that these people would question Rubio's experience, when in fact if they want to find a politician with absolutely no leadership or executive experience, they need to look no further than the Oval Office.

Frank S. Fischer, Spring Hill


Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers

Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14Stop laying blame on teachersI am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. Sh...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Nov. 17

Questioning fees draws snarky responseYou are probably aware of the new Pasco utility fees that became effective last month.Under the dubious title of "convenience fee" for making utility payments by credit card or e-check, Pasco Utilities adds $2.75...
Published: 11/15/17

Dollars need to stay at home if south Brooksville is to survive

As a member of the Moton High School Class of 1967, I grew up a poor but very happy child because of the love given to me by all. So all I had to do was be a child and not rush to be an adult.There were many black businesses along a four-block area o...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/18/17

Wednesday’s letters: Generosity makes all the difference

National Adoption MonthThe difference generosity makesAs a football coach, I always had to be ready to overcome unexpected challenges. With injuries, crowd noise and especially weather, the game plan is always adjusting to overcome adversity.Our stat...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17

Monday’s letters: Moore is not fit for public office

Woman: Candidate pursued her as a teen | Nov. 10Moore is not fit for public officeIt is sad that Roy Moore, a self-professed religious man, is running for a Senate seat when he is clearly unfit for any job involving the public for so many reasons...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/13/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t fall for the tax cut ruse

Tax billDon’t take your eye off the ballThe rush is on. The Republican Congress is rushing to pass a modest tax cut for the middle class while giving corporations a massive tax cut. While taking away some of the tax deductions from ordinary taxpayers...
Published: 11/10/17

Sunday’s letters: End greyhound racing in Florida

Tom Lee wants to phase out greyhound racing | Nov. 8Put a stop to this cruel industryKudos to Sen. Tom Lee for shepherding a constitutional amendment to end greyhound racing in Florida. Greyhounds forced to race live in misery and frequently die ...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/10/17