Don’t give away the state’s water
February letter of the month
Yet another example of elected officials shrugging off the wishes of their constituents and doing whatever they want. This time they are literally giving away a million gallons of water a day from Florida’s aquifer. Seven Springs and Nestle will pump, bottle and sell Florida’s life giving commodity and never pay the state, county or city a penny. If everyone is all about running government like a business, shouldn’t they first charge for the product? But instead they are giving it away. These representatives need to represent, or get out of the way for those who will.
Christina Aikman, St. Petersburg
The Russell-Jagger courthouse?
Debate persists on naming courthouse for late prosecutor | March 5
I understand some wish to name a building after the late Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe. I knew Bernie personally for decades and respected him a lot. He was a modest, humble servant of the people who only wanted to do the right thing. He would be offended, I think, to learn he was being given an honor I know in my heart he believed should be shared by two others — Bernie’s beloved mentor State Attorney James Russell and Robert Jagger — America’s first post-Gideon Public Defender. Together, for decades these two lions of the law carved out a modern Florida criminal justice system that became the role model for other jurisdictions all across this country. Some may be too young to know this, but I am old enough to know what names truly deserve to stand as a symbol of where we all came from as a community: Russell-Jagger.
Michael Tewell, Palm Harbor
Don’t hit the wall before the finish
Texas, other states ease virus rules despite warnings | March 3
I remember the inevitable “wall of pain” that would await me and other marathoners nearly at the finish of our 26.2-mile trek. In a marathon, “hitting the wall” is when you feel as if you just can’t take another step. It’s the moment when your body is hurting and you start to tell yourself that you just can’t go on. Governors of Texas, Mississippi and Alabama are hitting their own wall of pain regarding continuing prudent adherence to COVID-19 restrictions when we are nearly at the finish of the race. In the marathon one either steps off the course or digs deep to continue to the finish. Digging deep can be painful, but it’s what we must all do to finally eradicate this deadly disease.
George Chase, St. Pete Beach
Not so open
After Trump, a DeSantis bump | March 5
Gov. Ron DeSantis recently bragged about Florida being an oasis of freedom in these times of COVID-19 restrictions. Hmm. I visited the state capital recently and couldn’t visit either Capitol building because they were closed “due to COVID.” Other state facilities were closed as well. The governor’s mini-Trump act is disheartening and disingenuous.
Ines Parrish, Winter Park
Spend the money that’s been collected
County to refund sales tax money | March 3
It appears the Hillsborough County Commission plans to refund $502.3 million in sales taxes for transportation (and counting because the tax is still being collected). The question is how to refund the money and to whom since not all of it was paid by county residents, as if the latter distribution were not hard enough to equitably figure out. A bigger question is why the refund? The Florida Supreme Court said it is the commission’s job to decide how the funds should be distributed, but was silent on what to do with the money collected. Instead of trying to refund the money, why doesn’t the commission decide how it should be used to address the county’s pressing transportation needs while a new ballot initiative is prepared for the next election, rather than waiting another two years to address those needs?
Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center
I’ll pay for a pothole
County to refund sales tax money | March 3
I voted for the increase in the county sales tax for transportation. Apparently Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White doesn’t travel on Tampa’s roads. I don’t want a refund. Please use my share to fix a pothole somewhere.
Bob Orf, Tampa
Talk and action but little light
Double dose of confusion | March 5
Have we ever had a governor who traveled so much, talked so much, said so little and kept so much in the dark? Why do we have this guy?
Steve Brewster, Dunedin
A wall is better than a fence.
Crash victims drove through border fence | March 4
I believe that anyone should be allowed to come to our great country as long as it is done legally. Thirteen people lost their lives trying to illegally enter our country. This is a tragedy that could have been prevented by having a wall instead of a fence. A country without borders is no country at all. One final thought: What if these had been terrorists and they made it through?
Mark Khan, Tampa
History is history
‘America is back,’ but Europe has moved on | March 1
It seems a little harsh for the German official to say we will never forget you elected Donald Trump. Are we supposed to never forget that Hitler was originally elected to office before being named Fuhrer?
Carlos DeCisneros, Tampa