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  1. Opinion

Florida’s government needs watchdogs to guard contracts

Here’s what readers are saying in Tuesday’s letters to the editor
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers remarks during Clay County Day at the Capitol in Tallahassee. [STEVE CANNON | AP]

Government needs oversight

DeSantis tells state: Review contracts | Feb. 22

This is an appalling scandal. The idea that taxpayer-funded programs designed to provide support for women in distress were abused in such a flagrant manner is troubling, and there must be accountability. Who’s to blame? Obviously, culpability starts with the perpetrators, most especially Tiffany Carr, the former executive director of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, who profited from multimillion-dollar paychecks from contracts funded by taxpayers. But the responsibility does not stop there. The state is also to blame as a careful read of this article’s headline points out. Gov. Ron DeSantis is ordering his departments to “review contracts”?

Excuse me, why do Florida departments need to be told to “review contracts”? Isn’t that their job? I fear Tallahassee has been too focused on eliminating state jobs in a years-long effort to reduce taxes, regardless of consequences. No one wants too many bureaucrats, but bureaucracy has a valid place in governance, and having enough employees to keep tabs on major contracts sponsored by the state is critical. I’ll not blame DeSantis, who hasn’t been around long enough, but it would be hard not to point a finger at former Gov. Rick Scott. He famously decried state employees and worked to eliminate as many state jobs as possible. Over his eight years in office, it’s proven to be too many. Right-sizing government is good. Paring government to the bone opens the door to the kind of scandal documented in this fine article.

Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport

Give me a candidate

The 2020 election

In this Feb. 19, 2020, file photo, from left, Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday, in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC. [JOHN LOCHER | AP]

I am a conservative Never-Trump voter. I didn’t vote for President Donald Trump in 2016 (I voted for Hillary Clinton) and won’t be voting for him in November. The trouble is, I am uncertain for whom I will be voting. I have two options: vote for the Democrat or a third-party candidate. Friends lecture me that a vote for a third party is a vote for Trump. That may be the case, but there are potential nominees for whom I cannot vote. I could (and would) vote for Joe Biden. I could (and would) vote for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg. I will not vote for Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Democrats are going to need help from people like me to make Trump a one-term president. Give me someone I can vote for. Please.

Greg Malone, Tarpon Springs

No place like a new home

Too many of us not a good thing | Letter, Feb. 24

Here, Mani Schafer, left, and Scott Stephen unload their moving truck after moving from New Mexico to the former St. Andrews Russian Orthodox Church, which they bought, in Childs Park in St. Petersburg in 2011.

As Yogi Berra once quipped, “No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.” People flock to Tampa Bay for the same reason the letter writer did: It’s a great place to live. The writer goes on to suggest that we “deal with the population growth.” I have been told that it is very nice in Arizona.

David Campbell, Seminole

‘Irreparable harm’ for whom?

State loses felon voting appeal | Feb. 20

Protesters gathered outside the federal courthouse in Tallahassee on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, while a federal judge heard arguments for an against the the Legislature's bill implementing Amendment 4. [LAWRENCE MOWER | Times (2019)]

Gov. Ron DeSantis argues that “irreparable harm” will occur if felons who have completed their sentence can vote without having paid all their financial obligations. For those of us who are unaware of how the current law has protected us, it would be helpful if he would make clear exactly what “irreparable” harm has been prevented. In so doing, he could defend the decision to spend tax money to litigate this decision.

William Sacco, Tampa