Letters to the Editor

Why is Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin White being targeted?

White's campaign cash goes to family | Oct. 15, story

Why is Kevin White being targeted?

I have come to realize and accept the fact that I am henceforth and forevermore going to be subject to the constant scrutiny and the watchful eye of the St. Petersburg Times.

This article I thought was a bit over the edge. Not only do I not see a problem with paying family members who work on my campaign, but your own elections legal adviser, Ron Meyer, stated that "it's not illegal to use campaign money to pay relatives if they are actually doing campaign work."

And that's exactly what they were doing. My two children, along with a host of other supporters, were out campaigning and gathering the required amount of petitions and signatures needed for me to get on the 2010 ballot. I have also taken the liberty to look at other local elected officials' campaign finance reports and see family members listed throughout their reports as well. Why was I singled out for this? We all know it's legal and permissible, so why is the Times casting aspersions?

As for Anthony Torres, my nephew by marriage, it's very unfortunate that he indeed had a troubled past as a teenager. He has since turned his life around, gotten married, started a family and is currently enrolled in college. Torres was looking for a part-time job and because of his past criminal history — as with many others in our community — no one wanted to give him an opportunity. I needed dependable part-time help, so I offered Torres a position and he gladly accepted. He has since proven to be an invaluable asset to me and my campaign, especially dealing with my Hispanic constituents.

Regarding the issue that I sublease a part of my business space to the campaign: This is a perfectly legitimate expense as well. I pay fair market rent for my Kennedy Boulevard office, and my campaign pays for the share of the space it uses.

Rather than continue to browbeat me and assassinate my character, let's concentrate on trying to resolve some of Hillsborough County's most pressing issues such as affordable housing, foreclosure prevention, our homeless situation and getting people back to work.

Kevin White, Hillsborough County commissioner, Tampa

White House: Fox News not news Oct. 19, story

Liberal media paved way for conservative media

As a candidate, Sen. Barack Obama treated news organizations differently according to the degree to which they supported him and the Democratic National Committee positions. Journalists of critical organizations found themselves denied access to seats at press events or on press transportation. As president, he and his people have shown increasing hostility toward critical online and cable commentators to the point now where there is a coordinated effort in the administration to somehow characterize Fox News as not showing "news."

Constitutional and traditional freedoms of speech and of the press argue otherwise. The reason our founders enshrined these freedoms is specifically to keep public servants and government honest, responsive and informed. The conservative press is performing as part of the body politic. The rest of the press … ?

As a candidate and as president, Obama has gotten a pass or outright support from the overwhelming majority of news/commentary outlets, be they print or broadcast/cable. (Are not "commentary" and editorial opinion legitimate and protected activities?) Hence the critics do stand out.

The urban-based, liberal, we-know-better press establishment has dominated the newspapers and air waves for 40 years. We went from Walter Cronkite, whom you could trust, to Dan Rather, who reported national events through a Democratic Party optic to the point he manufactured materials against a president. Is it any wonder that the rest of us would take advantage of the opportunity to see and hear current affairs and commentary closer to our own points of view? The liberal press gave birth to the conservative press.

Linus Upson, Hernando

White House: Fox News not news Oct. 19, story

A needed news source

The statements from Anita Dunn, White House communications director, are typical left-wing rhetoric. While Fox News does have a conservative bent, where else are conservatives to go for their news? Certainly not MSNBC, the official Obama propaganda network.

Martin Horne, Treasure Island

White House: Fox News not news Oct. 19, story

Look who's talking

On Monday, you quote former White House political shark Karl Rove commenting about the White House's accurate portrayal of Fox News as pushing a point of view. He said, "This is a White House engaging in its own version of the media enemies list. And it's unhelpful for the country and undignified for the presi­dent of the United States to so do."

What unmitigated hypocrisy. Now I understand what a bizarre world he must believe in. Am I the only one with the memory of seven years ago as NPR, PBS, CNN, NBC, Reuters, ITN news reporters complained they were not getting press passes, phone calls returned, access to press conferences? Rove's boss in the White House did exactly that back at the beginning of his reign. Rove's agenda back then was to give Fox unlimited access to senior White House officials and reporters who put out the spin he was spinning. The rest had to mute their criticism or be cut off entirely.

But that's what we expect from a political operative like Rove in this corporate-controlled country.

J. Steele Olmsted, Tampa

Young Hamlet's agony | Oct. 10, Charles Krauthammer column

Military excess

The issues of Afghanistan buildup and President Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize are neatly combined. If Obama had told his war-hungry generals to jump in the lake, the prize might be justified. But, as we now know, that is not his style. He wavers, he compromises, trying to please all sides. But really, it's hard to think of a policy more wrong for America than nation-building in Afghanistan.

Not only do we need to rebuild our own nation, which is in the worst economic straits since the Great Depression, we also need to break the stranglehold of the military-industrial complex on our government. Fifty-four cents out of every tax dollar we pay goes to the military, while equally important indicators of national strength like education, health care, consumer and environmental protection, go begging. More and more we resemble the Holy Roman Empire, bankrupted by sending its legions into many far-flung lands.

The same neocons who sold us a bill of goods on Iraq are at it again — exaggerating the threat, ignoring the human cost. Charles Krauthammer, predictably, is prowar. He never saw a war he didn't like. But most Americans are not psychotic or deeply vested in the war business.

The main beneficiaries of a heavy-footed U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, ironically, would be the Taliban, who would gain local support, and al-Qaida, which could raise more funds to finance terror attacks. And the big losers? The American — and the Afghan — people.

Bret Raushenbush, Clearwater

Don't blame Obama | Oct. 11, letter

He's in charge

The letter writer does not understand why President Barack Obama is blamed for our conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's quite simple: He is the president and commander in chief of all of our armed forces. It doesn't matter if he started these conflicts. They became his responsibility the moment he took the oath of office.

That's the way our government works. Keep in mind he now has the power to end these conflicts with just the stroke of his pen, pretty much the same way President George W. Bush got us into these conflicts.

And to steal a quote from someone else: "War seldom determines a clear winner or loser. It just determines who's left."

Dan Humenansky, New Port Richey

Why is Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin White being targeted? 10/20/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 7:59pm]

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