Scott: Step up force, not aid | April 12
Don't send troops near Venezuela
Sen. Rick Scott proposes using the U.S. military to force humanitarian aid through to Venezuela. Where have we seen this movie before? The U.S. economic sanctions brought about the need for aid. We have essentially cut off any access by Venezuela to its own dollars, which has crippled the economy and caused hyper-inflation.
Both Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio say that the Maduro government is a threat to U.S. national security. How so? Should the most powerful military in the world worry about an attack by one of the weakest? Perhaps Venezuela is hiding WMDs or has a nuclear bomb-making facility that Donald Trump secretly knows about? President Nicolas Maduro is no choirboy, but the U.S. government is okay with a host of far worse despots around the world. The U.S. track record of using our military to overthrow governments that we, and our military-industrial political donors, don't like has not worked out too well, especially in the Middle East and south of our border. Can anyone name one country that is better off because we used arms to "help" them? The United States has more people living in poverty than the entire population of Venezuela. Perhaps we should use our military to bring aid to them before we fight to bring some token trucks to Venezuela and start another war?
Thomas Maciocha, Tampa
'Complete streets' not a hit | April 12
What's 'complete' is the mess
The main north-south traffic arteries through downtown St. Petersburg are Fourth and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. streets. King Street between 30th Avenue N and Fifth Avenue N has become an obstacle course. Main traffic routes need more lanes, not fewer, as the city grows. The idea to clog east-west traffic on First avenues N and S is a terrible idea. Turn Central into an arcade if you must, but enhance major traffic arteries, don't clog them. Here are some ideas. Install smart traffic lights everywhere so that if no traffic is waiting, the light stays red. How many times have you wasted time and gas ("climate change," anyone?) waiting for a light with no crossing traffic.
Change parking meters to three hours for free, then charge. Malls flourish, in part, because parking in downtown is a problem and expensive. Widen King Street between Fifth Avenue N and 30th Avenue instead of restricting it. There are thousands of new taxable units downtown. The city should build infrastructure with that money. Is this not common sense?
Wade Hoy, St. Petersburg
Investigating isn't spying | Letter, April 12
Surveillance is still spying
I find the Left's indignation about Attorney General William Barr's statement that spying did occur on the Trump campaign totally baseless. A FISA warrant was used to secretly conduct physical and electronic surveillance of persons associated with the campaign. The question is not whether spying on U.S. citizens occurred, but was the FISA warrant and subsequent spying legally justified? Given the many questions about the FISA warrant and its origin, it is important that those questions are answered and Barr is the person who should conduct that investigation. Everyone should be concerned with unjustified federal government spying on a political campaign of an opposing party, for if that occurs our democracy will be dead and we will be living a Putin-esque world where opponents are regularly spied on, imprisoned or murdered.
Ronald Hall, Lutz