Global Partnership for Education
How to work across party lines
We suggest a New Year's resolution for Congress: Work together across the aisle. Four Tampa Bay representatives — Gus Bilirakis, Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist and Dennis Ross — have done just that in co-sponsoring a bipartisan statement of principle on education. It supports the Global Partnership for Education, a successful public-private partnership dedicated to education in the world's lowest-income and most fragile countries.
Education is a human right, and millions of children are being denied that right when governments fail to provide teacher training, school facilities and access. Special thanks to our local representatives for not getting lost in the quagmire of Congress. We urge them to reach out to their colleagues for more signatures.
Roseann Santella, St. Petersburg
Linda Schatz, Tampa
Floating pier art has $3M price tag | Jan. 2
Heed weather hazards
First, let me admit I am very impressed with the artwork of Janet Echelman and in no way do I want to disparage the efforts of our city leaders to create a pier of world-class standing though public art.
The rendering of this art in Times shows a beautiful piece suspended with cables atop the pier, lighted for grand effect at night. My thought seeing this was, What are they thinking? Hurricane Irma is hardly a distant memory, and there are climate predictions of even more severe storms. Then why spend upward of $3 million for a "blow-away" piece of art that even if it were to survive such a storm, is surely guaranteed to suffer damage to its framework and possibly total destruction if allowed to remain in place?
Additionally, the cost to take down the art before a storm and to resurrect it afterward would also be a burden on our city's taxpayers. The "feasibility experts"? Where are they from, and what part of hurricane, squall, waterspout did they forget to look up? Artwork for this project should require deep considerations of the location and the investment of taxpayers' $3 million for the entire projected life of the pier, not just the term of this administration.
Thomas Cook, St. Petersburg
Kim wants Koreas to talk | Jan. 2
Time for negotiations
Last year, South Korea elected a leader who ran on a policy of talks with North Korea and less U.S. influence. He won easily.
As our president continues his childish behavior toward the North Korean "Rocket Man," this "Rocket Man" is reaching out to South Korea for possible talks. South Korea knows that they are in range of a nuclear attack, so they, wisely, want to talk to their threatening neighbor. It's time for a deal.
Robert Clifford, Tarpon Springs
St. Petersburg hopes to revive plaza — again
Farmers market can work
While in Baltimore, I had the pleasure of shopping at the amazing downtown Lexington Market and was told that there are numerous farmers markets throughout the city. It's the first thing that came to mind while reading the article about the challenges with finding the right tenants for Tangerine Plaza.
An upscale supermarket didn't work there, and it's no surprise that Walmart didn't either as their fruits and vegetables are not really that low-priced, nor is their meat. Farmers markets offer high-quality produce, meats, cheeses, spices, etc., at the lowest prices in town. St. Petersburg has grown enough so that we could support a year-round farmers market.
The city administration would probably not object to continuing the rent subsidies so that vendors can keep their prices low so that we all benefit. Tampa has just started an urban farming initiative and, again, this is something that our present administration would probably embrace. A farmers market and an urban farming program go hand in hand. Spin-off businesses happen, too, like restaurant supply stores and restaurants with the freshest ingredients around, purchased at the farmers market.
Unless a Sav A Lot or an Aldi opens at the plaza, there will be another failure. A farmers market is a magical place where the rich and poor alike shop and buy. A farmers market would be a place people would go out of there way to patronize. The conditions couldn't be more ideal.
Ivylyn Harrell, St. Petersburg
A stellar season
The University of Central Florida Knights football team had a perfect season, winning 13 games including the Peach Bowl. I am extremely proud that this Florida team did so well this season. So why did I have to look to page 7 of the sports section to find the write-up of the Peach Bowl win? Granted, columnist Tom Jones doesn't think much of UCF's abilities (as mentioned in his column), but there are plenty of us here in the Tampa Bay area who support and appreciate the team. The Peach Bowl was a great game, well-matched in spite of Auburn's 10-4 season. So next year, how about a little more support for this Florida team?
Catherine Smith-DuGay, Tampa