Train plan about developers | June 21, letter
Train will boost development, jobs
All Aboard Florida is a subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries, a highly successful freight line that owns much of the track right-of-way that will be used for this project. It is building a passenger rail line between Miami and Orlando with its own funds. There is absolutely no cost to the taxpayers.
The plan is to run hourly trains between the two terminal cities with intermediate stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. While not meeting the standards for high-speed rail, the trains will run at 100 mph, fast enough to complete the 230-mile journey in under three hours.
The economic development and job creation brought about by this project is a gift to our state. The letter writer complains that the company cannot fill 16 trains in each direction each day and will soon be out of business. I'm certain that the backers of this project have done the market research to justify their investment.
My hope is that someday, All Aboard Florida or a similar enterprise will build a new rail line connecting the Tampa Bay region with South Florida.
Jim Jacobs, Tampa
Emmert defends NCAA at trial | June 20
College or training camp?
I always assumed colleges were for education, but now they seem to be training camps for athletes. Most athletes are in class only because the NCAA forces them to attend. Now they want to be paid to play.
Every year thousands of real students are turned away because of a lack of classroom space. One solution is to pay these athletes but treat them for what they really are — paid athletes — and keep them out of the classroom and on the ball field where they belong. Open all those classrooms to real students who want one thing: an education.
Larry Tokar, Clearwater
300 U.S. troops to aid Iraq | June 20
Echoes of Vietnam
For those of you too young to be alive in the early '60s, the announcement by President Barack Obama to send military advisers to Iraq for the express purpose of training Iraqis is chillingly reminiscent of how we started in Vietnam. Obama was elected on the platform of change. Have we forgotten, or has he?
Mick Puleo, Zephyrhills
Religion at root of strife
Much has been written about the horrors in the Middle East. All kinds of theories have been forwarded. However, the fundamental basis for this mess is religion.
I wish people would recognize that religion has been, and always will be, a leading cause for mass atrocities. Sunnis vs. Shiites, Jews vs. Muslims, Catholics vs. Protestants and a hundred other denominations all think they are the chosen ones.
Gary Silvers, Largo
Lack of choices hurts democracy June 24, editorial
Birth of an aristocracy
What terrible news for our democracy, especially in Florida. Forty-six lawmakers will automatically be re-elected because no one signed up to run against them, and in three political battles in Pinellas County, the children of former elected officials are running and may well win due to name recognition.
We are quickly becoming a society run by an aristocracy. At the presidential level, we have the wife of a former president probably running against the brother and son of former presidents.
Our forefathers thought that elective office would be a part-time job and that the legislators would then go back to their real jobs. In our country, being a legislator is for life and then passed on to an heir.
Roger Gambert, Palm Harbor
Opponents are persecuted
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage. While some Americans have argued that redefining marriage doesn't affect them, many are finding out that same-sex marriage is about more than they thought.
People are being persecuted and losing their jobs because of their belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Craig James was fired at Fox Sports, a CEO of Mozilla was forced to resign over a donation to California's Proposition 8, and a reality show of twin Christian brothers was canceled due to their beliefs on marriage.
Bakers, florists and photographers are being persecuted, bullied, fined and forced to go to discrimination training.
If the federal government can force wedding vendors to go against their religious beliefs, what else might be forced upon Americans? Apparently there's an agenda to silence, persecute and punish anyone who disagrees with same-sex marriage or homosexuality.
Is this what Americans want for our nation? Is this part of President Barack Obama's "transformation" of America?
Diana Gilbert, Niceville
Sheriff fires major over affair | June 20
Punish both offenders
The Pinellas County sheriff indicated to the Times that "I have not and will not tolerate such reprehensible conduct by any agency members."
The report indicates that the female involved in the affair with the major is a member of the Sheriff's Office. There is no indication that she was fired. She is equally culpable and should receive equal punishment.
Arnulfo Silva, Palm Harbor
Florida ranks low in long-term care | June 19
Caring for an elderly parent
My wife and I are caring for an elderly parent. We would like to remind those who have become caretakers for their family members to stay positive and seek help from many of the elderly care organizations available in Florida.
First I would recommend that any long-term caregiver consult with an elder law attorney.
For working caretakers who might have to take off time at their jobs, check to see if your employer falls under the Family Medical Leave Act. I did this while caring for my mother. Fortunately, I work for a great employer. I was able to take some time under the leave act because my wife and I are caring for a parent.
Joseph Rowe, Tarpon Springs