Seven districts revised | Aug. 12
New map looks like the old map
I took the former map the Republican-led Legislature had drawn up and superimposed the new map they were boasting of redrawing and found that the differences were almost imperceptible save District 5, which still looks like a misshapen winding road.
The fact that some Democrats voted in solidarity with the Republicans in a show of support for Corrine Brown is indicative of their wish to cling to power wherever they can rather than trying to actually compete and gain seats in a state that voted for Barack Obama in the last presidential election.
It is shameful that Florida continues to be seen nationally as a joke politically.
From the old hanging chads to the awkward governor-led attempts at voter suppression to the gerrymandering of the state to ensure one-party dominance, the fact that the Democrats, or at least some of them, would align themselves with the systemic abuse of unfair districting leaves little hope this problem will go away any time soon.
Chris Curley, Sun City Center
Ads don't bode well for public service role | Aug. 12, editorial
You wrote critically of my son's campaign mailer pointing out that his opponent was an appointee of a governor who, from the many negative pieces from your presses, you disdain.
Recall, if you will, how Gov. Rick Scott has packed the Judicial Nominating Commissions. Previously you wrote that Norman Cannella Jr. has nothing to offer as a candidate for the bench. I suggest he offers a choice. The people of Hillsborough did not choose Christopher Nash. Scott chose Nash. Should not the electorate be informed? Furthermore, you were not pleased with a picture of me in a flight suit standing next to an United States Navy F4 Phantom, which appeared in a previous mailer. I am pleased and proud I served in the U.S. Navy for 21 years and retired as a commander. My son, the candidate, is proud of his father and his father's service to our country. Is it not you who are playing "press politics?"
Norman S. Cannella Sr., Tampa
State is leader in efficiencies | Aug. 10, letter to the editor
Duke boss is confused
Duke Energy Florida president Alex Glenn's letter on the successful and effective state policy on energy conservation incentives is a bit confusing, or maybe Duke Energy's president is the one confused. After just under 300 words on how good those policies work, we are asked, "Why provide non-cost-effective incentives to people to do what they were going to do anyway?" He assumes, without any foundation, Floridians would have made those adjustments if there were no incentives. I ask the better question, "Why change policies that have worked so well?" We should add to those energy conservation policies, such as increasing solar usage, and not take away the policy incentives Floridians are benefitting from now.
Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg
Who benefits from a Tallahassee capital?; Duke eager to build, not buy, power plants | Aug. 10
Still a backwater
There were two great articles in Sunday's paper about Florida politics and neither one dealt with Charlie Crist. The first was about the study published in the American Economic Review Journal stating that capital cities located in remote parts of the state tend to be more corrupt and less influenced by the people of the state than capital cities located where a majority of the citizenry lives.
The other article was another great expose by Ivan Penn about how Duke Energy is again abusing public trust by enriching its shareholders as it is poised to run roughshod over the Public Service Commission. Duke wants to build its own gas-fired plants as opposed to purchasing power from established private market energy generators in the state. The investor owned utilities are the only entities in Florida that can buy electricity from generators like these gas plants, and guess who gets to name the price and conditions of that transaction?
Both of these articles show how Florida politics are still mired in 19th century thinking. It is not a coincidence that the IOUs are among the largest financial contributors to the political machine in a capital that runs on Old South traditions.
Jeremiah Rohr, St. Petersburg
A fix won't be easy
At least Congress has finally taken some positive action. But the solution of throwing more money at a problem has proved problematic in the past with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Many of its problems stem from the breadth of its responsibilities. By providing medical services for all veterans including non-service-related conditions, its mission has expanded beyond its means to deliver timely care. Many veterans use the VA as their only medical caregiver, thus the staff and facilities need ongoing infrastructure investment, not just a stop-gap funding infusion.
The VA as with any large bureaucracy becomes ingrained and protective of itself. This situation is not only limited to federal agencies but works its way through all levels of government, major private sector businesses such as the auto industry and its recent flurry of recalls, the financial markets and the collapse of the economy, and religious organization covering up abuse. By replacing the secretary of the VA, the CEO of a bank, or abusive clergy some positive changes may take place, but until the culture of the organization is turned to a mission of service delivery and away from self-preservation and rewards, problems will arise again. In many of these large bureaucracies, the permanent staff will just wait for the next change in leadership or sufficient time to pass since the last scandal.
Dale Gottschalk, Hudson
Atheist's call for moment of silence is historic appeal | Aug. 8
Silence is golden
Bravo to the Largo City Commission. Although I question the necessity or appropriateness of invoking God or any other manifestations of God prior to a meeting, I do applaud Joe Reinhardt for invoking a moment of silence to clear one's mind and organize one's thoughts.
Perhaps the world would be a better place if everyone did that before speaking.
Elvina Bergmann Kallett, St. Pete Beach