Bad bills hide more bad bills
Florida’s nanny-state Legislature | Editorial, March 29
Thankfully, the Florida Legislature meets only 60 days each year. Can you imagine how many small-minded things they would come up with if it were a full-time job? Do they spend 10 months thinking up these bad bills? Nope, they outsource it to their special interest donors, like the oil and gas industry.
Big Oil loves to run TV ads with feel-good messaging about how it is investing in renewable energy, while at the same time having lobbyists write bills like SB 856/HB 839 and SB 1128/HB 919 that make Tallahassee the place where renewable energy ideas go to die. These bad bills prevent me and my neighbors in St. Petersburg and Tampa from taking local action to commit to becoming 100 percent renewable energy cities. We don’t want sea level rise to become the worst economic disaster we’ve ever seen. Legislators file dozens of controversial “shiny object” bills (like the anti-protest bill, HB 1, that will likely be declared unconstitutional if passed) to divert your attention away from more harmful legislation like preemption of local government controls that, if passed, will be much more damaging to us in the long run.
Call your representatives and tell them you want consumer choice — that means letting local communities choose — not Tallahassee politicians and high-paid lobbyists.
Gary Gibbons, St. Petersburg
Only elections will change these results
State erodes local control | March 29
I have seen recent articles on what the state Legislature is trying to do to take all control from local governments. I have seen several letters to the editor that make a good case for leaving the local elected governments alone to do their job. What I haven’t seen is any effort, whatsoever, to vote these ego-driven politicians out of Tallahassee. As long as the voters, who can actually get to vote, continue to send these people to the state Senate and House, we the people will continue to get the same result. It’s about time to stop voting for the little R or D after a name and vote for someone who actually cares about the people of Florida.
John Stansbury, Brooksville
The real corrupting influence
Georgia enacts a dangerous cure to a nonexistent problem | Column, March 30
Georgia has just passed a law prohibiting anyone from handing out food or drink to people waiting in line to vote. The stated justification is that giving someone a 50-cent bottle of water is corrupting and could unduly influence the way someone votes. The same politicians claim they are not corrupted or unduly influenced when wealthy donors hand them hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. This obvious contradiction is evidence enough that the voting law is not really about election integrity.
Lee Kasner, Palm Harbor
Who really pays those fees
Should developers pay for police and fire services? | March 30
It is easy to say that the Evil Developer Empire ought to foot the bill for new infrastructure, parks, fire stations and the like. Who doesn’t like a well-landed jab at “evil developers”? But government is using the false narrative that developers foot all increases in these fees. Wrong! The home-buying public does. Our children, whom we would like to stay close to home, are the ones being forced out of the local housing market by rising prices and the drunken sailor fee increases that local governments are pushing. In a pandemic no less! There is a disconnect between local government and the young growing families we hope would be able to afford our Shining City on the River. Unless politicians gain some common sense, I afraid the drunken sailor fee binge will continue. Increased property taxes are next.
Gene Wells, Tampa
Americans killing Americans
Over 43,000 dead. Why don’t we act? | Column, March 29
Regardless of all the rhetoric, no one kills more Americans than Americans. From this nation’s founding, the people already here, not some foreign people attacking our shores, killed the most Americans. Our own Civil War, 1861-1865, killed more Americans than in any foreign war before or since. From our leadership on down, our own policies and practices cause the untimely deaths of many Americans. Don’t forget, the vast majority of those deaths befall people of little means. Based on the statistics, you might conclude this was intentional.
Brian Walkowiak, St. Petersburg
Let’s get those vaccines injected
The homebound get doses of relief | March 29
I am heartened to see that the homebound and field workers are getting vaccines. We need to ensure that the incarcerated are provided with vaccines. They are housed in tight quarters and shouldn’t get a death sentence because vaccines weren’t made available. We also need to provide vaccines for the asylum seekers and detainees at the border.
Debra Jaramillo, Largo