Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Power company bullies community

Citrus reeling as tax hit sinks in | Dec. 1

Corporation bullies community

Citrus County is just another victim of a big private corporation's attempted bullying. Because Duke Energy has more money than the county, it feels it can do whatever it wants.

In Pinellas County, we already pay a nonrefundable tax directly to "lack of Progress Energy" for some future power plant that may not ever be built. Now the company that is taking over for Progress feels it should not have to pay its taxes. If I could quit doing business with these incompetents I would, but alas, they have a monopoly and I cannot get electricity anywhere else.

The Citrus County tax office should open an escrow account and ask all its citizens to send their electric bill payments to the county, and then hold that money until Duke Energy remembers why it exists.

These corporate giants have squeezed all the profit they can out of their own labor force and out of ratepayers. Now they don't even feel the need to pay their taxes. It prompts the question: Should energy companies be privately held when modern life requires access to electricity to secure a certificate of occupation in most municipalities?

Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg

Political reality and Rice | Nov. 30, editorial

Obama should stand firm

I take exception to your editorial suggesting that President Barack Obama should seek an alternative to Susan Rice as secretary of state. The trumped-up charges against Rice by her Republican opponents deserve to be called what they really are: an attempt to force the president to appoint Sen. John Kerry, which would open the Massachusetts seat to a special election wherein defeated Sen. Scott Brown would have another chance to return to the Senate.

When Condoleezza Rice was proposed as secretary of state by former President George W. Bush — in spite of all her mistakes concerning the presence of weapons in Iraq — she was confirmed by the Senate in spite of these mistakes because the senators rightfully believed that Bush was entitled to his choice of secretary of state.

If the president doesn't have the guts to confront the Senate on this nomination, he will disappoint the millions of us who supported his re-election.

Robert Schultz, St. Petersburg

Shared sacrifice is the way ahead | Dec. 1

Glossing over spending cuts

This editorial did a credible job of refuting House Speaker John Boehner's argument that raising income tax rates on the highest earners would stunt economic growth, and of pointing out that any such tax increases must be accompanied by tax reform and reductions in government spending if the country is serious about reducing its large budget deficit.

However, the editorial was far from balanced. First, it chose to dispute a few abbreviated sentences by Boehner, and to ignore his fuller public remarks in which he has accepted the concept of higher tax revenues from high-income earners as a part of a tax reform package that curtails tax deductions. Second, it fails to mention that neither President Barack Obama nor congressional Democrats have so far offered any serious proposals for spending reductions, especially of entitlements, other than vague promises to deal with these issues in the future.

This editorial painted Republicans as unreasonable and glossed over the unwillingness of Democrats to tackle government spending.

Donald Wheeler, St. Petersburg

Find savings in defense

There is a major item missing from the current discussion: the Pentagon budget. Many people who have never spent a day in the military or working with it believe it is anti-American to ever cut military spending. Wrong. The United States spends more than the next six countries combined.

A 30 percent cut in defense spending would almost solve the deficit problem without affecting our global capabilities. Cut troops in Europe, Korea and Afghanistan. Fix the pension and health care costs. Eliminate aircraft and ship programs and 50 percent of the generals who are not needed.

I spent seven years as an Air Force pilot and 10 years as a civilian, selling systems to the Pentagon. Many people with that inside view agree.

Jack Shea, Clearwater

Curran: Sell the public on Lens | Dec. 1

Water pollution

You can't sell what nobody wants, and nobody — with the exception of the Tampa Bay Times and a few elected elitists — wants this lump of water pollution.

Why? It costs money that we don't have; it serves no purpose; no plans exist to show the final, completed project; and the citizenry has been denied a voice at the ballot box.

For comedic effect, the two principals, Mayor Bill Foster and council member Leslie Curran, are behaving like fourth-graders having a slap fight on the playground.

It's time to recognize that the whole project is broken. Put the matter on the ballot and live with the results.

Gary West, St. Petersburg

Bait to lure Bass Pro still too darned big Dec. 4, editorial

Good public investment

How can you assert that the proposed Bass Pro Shops location is "unprepared for development" and an example of "sprawl"? The location is at the intersection of I-75, the Selmon Expressway, Highway 60 and Falkenburg Road. More traffic flows through these major arteries daily than the next three busiest locations in the county combined.

Should we not want these jobs because they're not "high-tech or high income"? Hundreds of thousands of our citizens don't have high-tech jobs; are they unworthy of living here?

The project will immediately provide hundreds of jobs for engineers, architects, pipe layers, heavy equipment operators, concrete masons, framers, electricians, plumbers, etc., for the next 18 to 24 months. They will spend tens of millions on heavy equipment, pipe, concrete, asphalt, drywall, etc. Annual property taxes and sales taxes will be in the millions, on top of the permit fees, impact fees, bed taxes, etc., from the ancillary uses the project will certainly attract.

The county and the citizens will recover the $8.25 million investment before Bass Pro shops makes the first sale.

David Campo, Riverview


Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Updated: 21 minutes ago

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18