House rolls out plan for gaming | March 3
State doesn't need more gambling
House Leader Dana Young's plan to revamp — check that, substantially expand gambling is not good for Florida. Just look at the ghost town Atlantic City has become. Those who failed there want to pollute our state.
We are Florida, the Sunshine State; we love tourists and provide them with good clean family fun. We don't need corporate gambling. The Seminole Tribe's casinos are as much as we can stand. Why give revenues away to a carpetbagging bunch when the tribe is doing fine? And certainly not for a measly 35 percent of gross gaming revenue. Nothing less than 65 percent should be allowed.
Young has a chance to shine for us this session. That is, if she doesn't sell out to the Atlantic City carpetbaggers. Tell her no to substantially expanding gambling in Florida.
Gene Wells, Tampa
Florida school testing
Don't shut out volunteers
I am a pediatrician, and my wife and I are active volunteers in our grandchildren's schools. We strongly oppose the school policy of no visitors or volunteers on statewide test days. This has turned into almost two months where we, along with other volunteers, are forbidden to lend support to overworked and unappreciated teachers.
My wife volunteers once a week in the cafeteria helping kindergarten and first grade with their lunches, where they must stay seated for a half an hour.
For schools that proclaim a desire to have the best interest of children, this policy promotes the detrimental anxiety and stress that are harming our state's young children. We vigorously request professional advocates for children to speak out against this ridiculous policy.
Dr. Duane Rommel, Oldsmar
$1B game of chicken risks help for poor March 3, John Romano column
Hurt by health loophole
Thanks to John Romano for telling it like it is. As one of the hundreds of thousands of people in the "loophole," it is hard for me to fathom that a group of politicians who basically bought their way into office and are provided with health insurance like none other, even though they can well afford it, can totally ignore their constituents whether they are in the loophole or not.
Instead of setting up the system they promised as an alternative, they totally dropped the ball. Kudos to organizations like Clearwater Free Clinic and their supporters, who take no government money, only donations, to help the uninsured that our legislators ignore.
David R. Colton, Largo
Court shouldn't gut health subsidies March 3, editorial
Follow the plain language
The Times seems to have forgotten many key facts about the Affordable Care Act. Recall that every single word of this 2,000-page act was written by Democrats, in secret. As Nancy Pelosi candidly told us, "We have to pass the bill so you can see what's in it." And Jonathan Gruber, perhaps the lead architect of the bill, told us on multiple occasions that the text at issue, whether state exchanges could dole out subsidies, was a deliberate scheme to kneecap Republican governors and legislatures — to co-opt them into being agents for Obamacare and Medicaid expansion.
Democrats were practically giddy at their own cleverness. But they didn't count on the states saying no, calling the bluff, and courts are obligated to follow the plain language of statutes. Any other path leads to chaos and arbitrary interpretation of all laws.
Raymond Baker, St. Petersburg
Contrasts mark the new session | March 4
Testing is not teaching
As the legislative session in Florida begins, I urge our legislators to vote their consciences this year and use common sense concerning the extensive testing in our Florida schools. This is being referred to as "toxic testing," and the effects are being felt by everyone.
Our educators are suffering from low morale. Testing is not teaching. Actual instruction time is lost because of preparation for the test and administering the test. Parents are frustrated; they express their concerns to deaf ears. Students are stressed knowing the high stakes. It has been reported that students have vomited on the tests.
This year the FCAT has been replaced by the Florida Assessment Test. The new test was not trial tested in Florida. It was tested in Utah, where 60 percent of the students failed. Florida was not ready for the test as evidenced by people involved telling the Legislature to hold off and wait until we were ready, and the computer glitches the first day the test was given.
To our Legislature: How many of you put your children through this? How do or would you feel as a parent? If you were an educator, how would you react? It is time to listen to the people involved, the people you represent.
Marilyn Warner, Clearwater
Risks on the rails
I think the president made a mistake by vetoing the Keystone pipeline bill. The oil will continue to be shipped by rail, which will endanger communities when accidents occur; witness the recent overturning of tank cars in at least two incidents and the resulting catastrophic damage.
Bill Meservey, Bayonet Point
Gasparilla Festival of the Arts
Our family has attended the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts since its inception. After the heavy rains on Saturday and the muck that resulted on Sunday, consideration should be given to moving the festival to a location where weather would not be such an issue. Vendors who were not on pavement were at a disadvantage because many attendees would not venture into the mud to get to them. The festival should be moved back to the street where it was for many years.
Sue Maurer, Palm Harbor