Prescription for change | Oct. 21, letter
Terms limited via the ballot box
Recently you published a column by Adam Goodman advocating term limits and then a letter from a reader supporting his position. Here is why I think set term limits are a bad idea:
First of all, we already have term limits. They are called elections. Every two, four or six years, our elected leaders may come before the people and ask to be returned to their positions. If the voters see fit to do so time after time, then the result, good or bad, is their responsibility. If these leaders are so bad that they have to be limited, then we the people need to vote them out. If we don't, well, it has been said that we get the government we deserve.
Secondly, I may feel my representative has been doing an excellent job over time. Nevertheless, if he is limited out, then my right to vote for the candidate of my choice has been arbitrarily removed. This does not sound much like democracy to me.
Thirdly, it has been said by many that government ought to be run more like a business. And while fresh ideas are always needed, can anyone think of a successful endeavor whose business model is to remove experienced employees after a set period and replace them with inexperienced ones?
Finally, the primary rationale for term limits seems to be that a politician who knows he won't be around forever will do a better job representing the people rather than listening to the special interests. I think the opposite is true. A "lame duck" legislator is far more likely to be swayed by special interests who can perhaps offer him a lucrative position when his term in office is done, rather than listen to his constituents who can no longer return him to that office.
We have had term limits in Florida for a while. How has that worked out?
Michael Ross, St. Petersburg
Fired school official files suit | Oct. 20
Poor example on board
How does a woman like Susan Valdes get elected to the School Board? Isn't a School Board member supposed to be an example for the students of Hillsborough County? Using the language she is quoted as using in this article should get her removed from the board. And certainly if she can't be removed she should be voted out at the next election, and I for one will certainly spread the word.
Using the f-word toward another member is pure trash, and I don't even know what the p-word she uses is. It's time to get rid of Valdes.
Ann Anderson Urbanski, Tampa
Divide shown in Kelly's comments | Oct. 22
Official response fell short
As a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division during the Korean War, I can easily understand why Sgt. La David Johnson's widow could have been upset when President Donald Trump allegedly said her husband knew what he signed up for. This comment, even if made in good faith, can easily be legitimately interpreted as a heartless, uncaring remark.
No phone call or letter from any president can help the grief of a Gold Star family. What a Gold Star family deserves is that the nation mourns their loss and has an unwavering gratitude and respect for their sacrifice and that the family shall always have our continued support.
As for John Kelly's part in this episode, I will forever respect his and his son's great contributions, even though while carrying water for Trump he chose to unfairly attack Rep. Frederica Wilson to protect Trump. But when Kelly agreed to become Trump's chief of staff, he knew what he was signing up for.
Tom Meyers, Tampa
St. Petersburg mayor's race and the unknown price tags | Oct. 21, editorial
Janet Echelman is a world-class sculptor making huge-scale, soft fabric art that contrasts handsomely with the cold facades of buildings around the world.
She is from the Tampa Bay area. Yet the Tampa Bay Times is trying to keep her out of consideration for a much-needed focal point for St. Petersburg's downtown Pier, at a time when this city's artistic growth (in all the arts) is burgeoning.
The illustration on your editorial page last Saturday leaves readers clueless as to the impact of her work. To truly see how her art would impact our area, check her out on YouTube and Ted Talks.
Mary Ann Marger, St. Petersburg
Ornery cats find a niche | Oct. 22
The subheadline in this article on the working cats program uses the phrase "nastiest felines" to describe these homeless and forgotten animals. But just because cats hiss and swat at humans from behind cage doors does not mean they are "nasty."
Felines that are not accustomed to being around humans — or those that have been abused by them — at first often react this way. But as the article reveals, these cats soften once they are given friendship, patience and a home.
Next time, let's save the words "nasty" and "ornery" for those creatures that truly deserve it. You can find them prowling Twitter.
Deborah Van Pelt, Tampa
'Fake' news is not always fake | Oct. 22, Perspective
Sorting fact from fantasy
PolitiFact editor Angie Holan raises an interesting and concerning issue when it comes to verifying what one hears/reads/sees in today's "news." As avenues for communicating continue to proliferate, differentiating "fact" from "fantasy" becomes even more challenging for the average news consumer.
Social media has significantly increased the challenge. As I have cautioned my students for close to a decade now, "Do not assume that what you see or hear, regardless of who the source might be, is true. Crosscheck your information. Verify the source of that information. Just because the purveyor of that information is in a position of supposed power and knowledge does not automatically mean that individual is correct in what he or she is proposing. Caveat lector."
Kirk Hazlett, Riverview