House brief opposes transit tax | Sept. 5
Let local voters tax themselves
While the Florida Legislature is busy trying to figure out how, why and where to build unwanted toll roads into the middle of nowhere, they have now also decided to play the hypocrisy card and prevent Hillsborough County from improving its own transportation needs. The Florida House of Representatives has filed a brief in support of a lawsuit to try to overturn the transportation tax that 57 percent of Hillsborough residents approved in November. A common platform position for Republicans is that they want self-governance and smaller government, and they want individuals to govern themselves. Yet, when Hillsborough residents voted to improve our transportation system, which is sub-par compared to almost every other major city in the United States when it comes to public transit, Republicans have intervened. Republicans seem to think that local Floridians cannot govern themselves. I call that “big government” and “government overreach.” Who is turning Florida into a “nanny state” now?
Ryan Cragun, Tampa
The toll of new corridors | Columns, Aug. 25
Paving the path less traveled
We don’t need more “roads to nowhere.” We have enough already. It would be interesting to compare the rosy predictions of usage and revenue that were touted to build the Suncoast Parkway with the reality of its usage, especially the section north of Brooksville. You could take a nap counting the vehicles exiting to get to U.S. 19 and not miss many. Dad used to say, “No matter what anybody says, it’s all about the money.” The main proponents of these projects seem to be road builders, internet providers and political empire builders, not exactly an unbiased contingent.
Walter (Buck) Fuller, Bushnell
Weapon registry price tag: $4 million | Sept. 5
Do something about guns
The course is set to continue a do-nothing policy on gun violence and mass murder. Same words. Same direction. Why would we assume anything but the same do-nothing result? With some exceptions, the perpetrators have been young white males armed with assault rifles who kill and then are killed by law enforcement. Let’s all agree the perpetrators suffered from mental illnesses. Let’s further agree that we must take steps to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.
The starting point is universal background checks, followed by national standards for “red flag” laws. Second Amendment rights remain intact. This may or may not have kept this latest atrocity from happening, but we can say at least we tried. At this point, we’re not even trying.
Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport
Global changes may impact hurricanes | Sept. 5
Let’s shift to solar power now
Global warming is real and unprecedented. Regardless of anyone’s belief, fossil fuels do play a significant role in this warming, It is criminal to ignore this by not drastically and immediately reducing use of these fuels. Solar and wind power are available and, in places like Florida, abundant. Many of us may not live to experience the personal miseries of a perishable species on a rapidly heating planet, but some of us have younger loved ones who will. What if people are mistaken in their reluctance to act?
Rodger Lewis, Crawfordville