Schools, safety and gun laws | Jan. 6, editorial
Officer's presence is reassuring
My children attend a Hillsborough County school that has had an armed officer on campus since they starting attending more than two years ago. It has never bothered them to see a police officer on site; in fact, quite the opposite. The officer takes the time to get to know the kids and teaches them about safety, strangers, etc.
As a parent, I think it is great to see officers interacting with the children on a personal level. I don't worry about children having a reaction to seeing police officials on campus; rather, I find it to be more difficult for the parents. I admit that I was initially bothered by it at my children's school, but that was a very temporary feeling. I am thankful that the officer is there, and we all look forward to seeing him every morning at school.
Jennifer Keith, Ruskin
Putting people to work
I hope it is clear to all St. Petersburg residents that your elected officials are truly working together to put you back to work. The St. Petersburg City Council will vote this week to put real teeth in a local hiring ordinance that will give opportunities to the many residents presently unemployed or underemployed who need to go to work. The ordinance draft is not a perfect document and, like anything new, will be reviewed in time to be sure it fits the intended purpose. But it attempts to meet two important objectives.
First, it mandates a requirement that contractors bidding on city construction contracts, where the project value exceeds $2 million, include a participation percentage of at least 25 percent of all hours worked be performed by unemployed or underemployed workers. Next, it requires all construction contractors and subcontractors to make a good-faith effort to employ indentured apprentices for at least 20 percent of all hours worked.
These goals will never be utilized on a volunteer or good-faith basis and must be outlined clearly for all contractor participants to follow. City officials should be commended for their efforts to create and enhance job opportunities for those who live and pay taxes in the community.
William L. Dever Jr., president, Florida Gulf Coast Building & Construction Trades Council, Tampa
Congress couldn't be worse — could it? Jan. 4, commentary
What about Democrats?
As a columnist, Gail Collins certainly has a right to express a political viewpoint. But this article is replete with Republicans named as examples of bad statesmanship, without a single Democrat. Why is she dismissive of the misdeeds of those of one party and not of the other?
In fairness, she could have mentioned these Democrats: Charles Rangel being censured for ethics violations; Anthony Weiner resigning from Congress over explicit photos; Jesse Jackson Jr. resigning his House seat amid a federal ethics investigations; and Sen. Harry Reid's lying about Mitt Romney paying no taxes for 10 years.
Republicans as well as Democrats should be held accountable.
Anthony Comitos, Palm Harbor
Florida polluters protected | Jan. 4, editorial
Protect pristine places
It is apparent that Gov. Rick Scott is giving gifts to industry by deregulating businesses while garnering campaign funds to support his next election campaign. With his public poll numbers so low, he must turn somewhere.
The problem is, he is turning to industries that would destroy Florida for profit and greed. We don't have mountaintops to remove, but we do have many pristine properties in Florida and they should remain just that.
As indicated in this editorial, the most senior and experienced staff members were terminated. This would lead one to believe that those who are left are quaking in their boots. Please remember this the next time you vote for someone to govern Florida.
Don Mott, Largo
Band-Aid for our gun plague is no remedy Jan. 5, Sue Carlton column
Sue Carlton thinks we have a gun "plague." Chair-bound, city-dwelling goody-two-shoes will always think that guns are the problem and that the answer is more rules, laws and regulations to control society's behavior.
As several letter writers have pointed out, guns are not the problem, our culture is. It could be that most people are too young to recognize how American culture has degenerated over the past 50 years.
There are probably many causes, too many to enumerate here, but television ranks at the top. For young people its influence is great. So much of the programming is rude, crude and obnoxious, promoting lifestyles once foreign to American life.
Right and wrong is relative. Beliefs, values and behaviors once thought fundamental and important are trivialized. Individual rights trump everything.
An FBI report for 2011 lists 1,694 murders committed with knives or cutting instruments, 496 murders with hammers and clubs, and 726 murders with hands, fists and feet. Are not these numbers great enough to warrant some new laws and reduce our freedoms even further?
Finally, although the murder of innocent children in Connecticut was a tragedy, I cannot help but think about the tens of thousands of children who have died as a result of U.S. interventions in the Middle East and elsewhere. Certainly we don't do it on purpose, but we know it is going to happen.
Gerald T. Stack II, Lithia
Just one less gun
Thank you, Sue Carlton, for your thoughts on gun control. Particularly moving is the difference one less gun could make. It repeating: one less child finds a gun at home and pulls the trigger, one less gun is in the hands of a mentally disturbed person, and one less stupid argument ends in death because a gun happened to be handy.
If it were my child who was dead, then one less gun could mean everything. It could mean that my child was still alive.
Eileen Flaxman, Wimauma