1. Letters to the Editor

Monday's letters: In plain English, it's called bribery

Buying the House for fun and profit | May 2, John Romano column

In plain English, it's called bribery

Reading John Romano's column, I wasn't the least bit surprised to learn that we, the citizens of Florida, will continue to keep paying ridiculous electric bills that are only due to get much worse. It's no surprise to me that our state House of Representatives, which Romano describes accurately as men without scruples and women lacking spines, has allowed this to go on for the past several years — even guaranteeing these electric companies profit ratios that are obscene, especially in today's economy. What does puzzle me is this. Why in blue blazes is Progress Energy (now Duke) spending $1.5 million on any political parties? I always thought this sort of thing was bribery.

All electric companies are monopolies, pure and simple. I can't wake up one day in Pinellas County and decide to switch to TECO. So why are electric companies allowed to hose us down on their rates, guaranteed to make ridiculous profits (whether they do things right or wrong), and then, on top of it all, are allowed to pay off the politicians year after year, so that we consumers are perpetually hosed down?

You might want to make a note that it has been a Republican-controlled House that has allowed this out-and-out thievery to continue unabated now for the past several years. Is this not an example of corruption at its finest?

Peter Newton, Clearwater

How to reach a grand bargain on the budget April 30, commentary

Budget plan's deficits

I read with amusement the second proposal of Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson for a compromise solution to our lagging fiscal recovery. Unfortunately, the first plan was largely ignored by the Obama administration, and this plan fails to deal with our Federal Reserve System. Until that 800-pound gorilla is addressed by our Congress, nothing structurally sound will happen to improve our future.

Additionally, until Congress puts itself under Medicare/Social Security as we ordinary peasants enjoy, they will continue to collectively thumb their noses at the common man.

Roger H. Oddson, Sun City Center

Florida Legislature

Make them stop

In his book A Parliament of Whores, written about the U.S. Congress more than 20 years ago, humorist P.J. O'Rourke wrote: "The mystery of government is not how it works, but how to make it stop!"

It has become apparent that government at any level in this country serves only itself and the special interests shoveling money at it. "We the people" have been removed from the process. Therefore, the greatest service the Florida Legislature could do for the citizens of the state would be to pass a resolution to never meet again.

O.C. Berkobein, Thonotosassa

Plant may soon slaughter horses and A horse like no other | May 1-2

Shameful business

Your review of War Horse was grand. In it John Fleming speaks briefly about the "primal relationship between humans and horses." Who of us can ever forget our first pony ride as toddlers? We all look in awe at the grace, the pure beauty, of horses on the run. The horses that work with handicapped children form a bond with those kids that few humans are able to do.

Also in the Times was a tiny piece about a horse slaughterhouse that is cleared to begin operations in New Mexico. Imagine these animals that mean so much to all whom they touch being forced into these pens designed not so differently than the death camps of World War II. Think of the fear and panic they will experience in knowing they are being forced into the killing room of this dreadful industrial killing factory. Think of what this says about us as a people that we would do such a thing to horses, as if they were nothing more than some commodity to make money.

Please do what you can to stop this shameful business.

Thomas Maciocha, Tampa

Scott wisely vetoes alimony bill May 3, editorial

People's will ignored

Your editorial praising Gov. Rick Scott for "good governing" and sensitivity toward "an issue particularly important to women" in vetoing SB 718 is very biased and narrow-minded. There are literally thousands of families in this state who feel he made a great mistake and abused his power by executive privilege with a swipe of his pen.

Did you purposely ignore the fact that the bill passed overwhelmingly in the House and the Senate, and that those elected legislators voted based upon their conviction and belief in fair governing for all?

James M. Reed, Safety Harbor

Capitol meltdown | May 1

Health cost is the problem

The Tampa Bay Times, on the front page and the editorial page, has waged a predictable class warfare assault against House Speaker Will Weatherford and his Republican colleagues for refusing a windfall gift from the federal government to fund a couple of years of preventive health care for many disadvantaged Florida residents. However, the Times' argument ignores the reality that the money has to come from somewhere. It doesn't matter who writes the check today — the feds or Florida. The money ultimately always flows out of taxpayer pockets. Sooner or later, Florida taxpayers, along with taxpayers in every other state, will foot the bill.

Moreover, this is a step toward the full implementation of Obamacare. Obamacare is simply a platform to move to a single-payer, government-run health care system with the attendant bloated bureaucracies, rationed care and long waiting times for life-saving procedures.

We do not have a health care crisis in this country. We have a health care cost problem. Health insurance should be limited to catastrophic injury or illness, not routine care. If our car insurance looked like our health insurance we'd have oil change coverage, flat tire coverage, lost car key coverage and probably parking ticket coverage as well. Zero competition in a government-administered single-payer plan will only exacerbate the problem.

Initiatives like tax-exempt health savings accounts, tort reform, immigration reform, elimination of state mandates, more private sector competition (especially across state lines), and less big government regulation would go a long way towards resolving this economic issue.

T.S. "Mac" McDonnell, St. Petersburg