Nice parting gifts: $51.7M | July 13
Employees' benefits are earned
This article should have run in the editorial section, not the local section. It tries to pit state public workers against the private sector. To begin with, the "payout" is not a gift but compensation as outlined in the contract of employment. Although the article attempts to portray these payouts as being large sums of money, the average amount comes to a little over $1,800.
For the typical state employee making $32,000 a year, this is just three weeks of accumulated sick leave. Isn't it prudent for a worker to have that much time set aside for emergencies: a sick child or spouse, an accident, a personal illness?
Furthermore, stating that many senior managers receive "end-of-services bonuses" larger than the annual salary of many state employees is meant to suggest that public sector benefits are out of control. Maybe the article should have compared these "payouts" with the top earners in the private sector.
As the country goes through a great economic hardship, is it productive to set worker against worker? If we follow this regressive ploy we will move the workforce back to where we were a hundred years ago. Instead, we should all be striving to see that everyone is compensated fairly for the work they do.
Rick France, Tampa
Bad idea for Florida | July 13, letters
Ideology over practicality
The letter writer misses several points in lauding Gov. Rick Scott's cancellation of high-speed rail. Years of work had already gone into this project. The right of way was in place. Several companies were ready to submit bids. The Florida Department of Transportation study, which Scott did not wait for, found the Florida project would be profitable from year one.
Our federal tax dollars would have been invested here rather than other states. Scott's decision was not rational, it was ideological.
Jeffrey Harper, St. Petersburg
Debby leaves $20M tab to fix beaches July 12
He can't have it both ways
Can Gov. Rick Scott explain why he would accept federal funds for beach renourishment and federal funds for Everglades cleanup, and not accept federal funds to help so many of our citizens who are in need of medical care?
He can't have it both ways, and yet his supporters seem blind to his pick-and-choose governing.
Karen Fireman, Seminole
World in a snap | July 14
The captions under two photos on Saturday bear a closer look.
First: "Pakistani children enjoy cool water from a waterfall." Children, yes. But they are all boys. Do you think a young girl would be allowed to cool off there?
Second: "Spanish bullfighter Alejandro Talavante performs with a bull." Performs? He is torturing the poor animal.
Margaret Kickliter, Palm Harbor
Do search right — or do it over | July 14, editorial
Conducting another search for a new Pinellas County school superintendent is a waste of time and money. Why would any "well-qualified candidate" want to come to a state whose governor and legislators hold education in such low regard? I can think of only one person who would have been well qualified: Sisyphus.
Bruce Lowitt, Oldsmar
Pills sold by doctors cost more | July 14
Keep looking into loopholes
More and more doctors are looking to increase their revenue stream and will do so if the regulations allow. The problem lies not with the physician but with a lack of regulation, lack of oversight and lobbyists spending millions in contributions to keep these wasteful loopholes in place. Good job on exposing the result. Keep at them.
Ray Charles, Brooksville
Report rakes Penn State | July 13
Outside investigation is key
If anything can be learned from the Penn State scandal, it is that for the truth to be found, it must come from an outside investigation and not from one by the organization itself. It is for this reason that, if the people of Pinellas County are to have confidence and trust in the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, an investigation by an outside agency is a must regardless of who wins the sheriff's election.
Douglas de Vlaming, Largo
Next uniforms will be made in USA, Ralph Lauren vows | July 14
Why are we acting like such hypocrites about Chinese-made U.S. Olympic uniforms? Where were you when you first heard about the uniforms? Driving in your Japanese-made car? Listening to the news story on your Chinese-made radio as you were cooking in the kitchen with your Chinese-made appliances? Or maybe you saw it on the evening news, viewed on your Chinese- or Japanese-made TV.
I could go on, but why, due to the worst corporate tax structure in the free world, have we let this happen? Maybe it is about time we not only demand the U.S. Olympic Committee buy American but we start with ourselves.
Mike Tardif, St. Petersburg
Rate scandal deepens in U.S. | July 15
I am shocked, shocked to learn some large international banks manipulated the LIBOR rate to unjustly boost profits. This is another chapter in the ongoing story of such banks serving themselves, the public be damned.
Lawyers will have a field day with class action lawsuits. Politicians will chastise the bankers but gladly accept political donations. Fines will likely be levied on the banks, the cost of doing business, but it's unlikely any bankers will be held personally responsible.
Meanwhile, the public has and will continue to pay through questionable mortgage and investment rates. Rather than relying on a rate calculated in London, outside the purview of U.S. authorities, the rate should be calculated in New York and verified by onsite banking regulators or audit firms. This is not rocket science and the problem can be readily fixed — if the will is there.
Paul McCarthy, Largo