1. Letters to the Editor

Saturday's letters: End the campaigning and compromise

Published Nov. 16, 2012

This article mentions that "the president would stay on the campaign trail" to pressure Republicans.

The election is over; and so should "campaigning" be over. The country has elected representatives to do their jobs. Air Force One is expensive to operate, as well as causing disruption at airports with scheduling of normal flights. There is no further need to gather large crowds and appear on TV.

Congressmen and women should do their job to represent the people who elected them. They left to "campaign" well in advance of the election, leaving farmers hit by the draught hanging without any aid, along with several other issues not resolved. Maybe their recesses should be shortened or else canceled if issues are not resolved.

Compromises are required on all issues. Maybe raising taxes on people who earn over $500,000 yearly instead of $250,000; fining corporate outsourcing; closing loopholes; and, especially, less mention of "entitlements" when referring to monies earned and contributed by workers (Social Security).

"C" should stand for compromise and cooperation by all parties, not campaigning.

Lois D. Hawkins, Dunedin

Local hiring plan a loser | Nov. 15, editorial

Plan will boost employment

As a longtime subscriber to the Times, it disappoints me to read an editorial in which opinion is based on erroneous information. As a member of the Jobs Committee of FAST (which has spent three years working on a local hiring ordinance), I am also angry. An honest statement of opinion should be based on the facts.

First, the ordinance only applies to city construction projects. The ordinance does not require 50 percent of hours be worked by St. Petersburg residents — it requires 50 percent of hours to be worked by Pinellas County residents. So any resident of Pinellas County should have no difficulty being hired.

Sarasota County already has a similar initiative in place and it has been extremely successful (nor has it hurt St. Petersburg, since people in construction here seem to be unaware it even exists). Contractors there have found this type of local hiring initiative helpful, because the city of Sarasota has coordinated with community organizations to create a pool of prescreened, qualified individuals. Instead of having to hunt for employees, contractors can go to a ready-made list. Also, to say that the city would be burdened with checking the residence status of workers isn't true. Contractors already know their employees' residences via information required for W2 forms and for payroll.

In an economy where local pockets of unemployment still stand at 13 percent, the speculation that contractors would not bid on city contracts based on this ordinance is doubtful. And the ordinance only applies to city contracts of $2 million or more — the city had only six contracts of that size last year. While 8 percent of the city's budget going to small business is an improvement, that is not going to provide many local jobs.

I want to walk down Beach Drive and see a new city pier being built by local hands — not by people from Miami-Dade County who will take their pay back there to support that economy. I want St. Petersburg to put its money back into this community, and I want people to have the facts when learning about the local hiring ordinance that I support.

Martha Brinsko, St. Pete Beach

Is 'the jungle' a coyote haven? | Nov. 16

Animal control problem

Coyotes have set up strongholds in my Clearwater neighborhood. Cats are disappearing from our area. Small children and dogs are threatened.

A coyote walked up my street in front of my house a couple of days ago. It looked quite healthy and well fed.

I now always have to carry pepper spray when I walk my dog. What a way to have to live in a formerly safe, leisurely neighborhood.

The position of animal control and governmental agencies is that this is not their problem. If someone wants to remove a coyote (or many), one must hire and pay for a trapper. Are you kidding me? What are our taxes paying for?

I don't think that these agencies, or the public at large, are fully aware of how widespread and dangerous this situation is.

Do some research about how coyote populations have exploded and you will be appalled.

Jackie Johnson, Clearwater

Petraeus scandal

Defense waste is real issue

If the concern is national security, we are being distracted by the media with the David Petraeus scandal from where attention should be paid.

The real threat to the security of our country lies in the budget negotiations currently taking place in Congress. Our country is at risk when our economy is unstable, our infrastructure is crumbling and when we are not fulfilling our commitment to meeting the needs of our children, elderly, veterans and all those who are struggling to make ends meet.

If we continue to support a Pentagon budget of $700 billion that encourages waste, fraud and abuse, we face a security risk far more serious than anything being played out in the spotlight right now. We must cut the Pentagon budget — the United States will be safer abroad and more secure at home with a better balance in federal spending priorities.

Karen Putney, Tampa

Can a movie be far behind?

It's only a matter of time until the movie comes out about David Petraeus and mistress. So, to help out the filmmakers, here are a few titles that could light up the marquees: "Apocalypse Wow," "Last Tango in Tampa," "From Here to Insecurity," "Sleepless in Kabul," "General Strangelove."

Ray Brown, Tampa

Tampa sisters had trouble before scandal Nov. 14

Solid journalism

This investigative piece on Jill Kelley and her sister was a very solid piece of investigative journalism. Your reporters, Ben Montgomery and Amy Scherzer, clearly put a lot of time and effort into the piece. They are to be commended.

John G. Henderson, Alexandria, Va.

Manufacturing workers | Nov. 14

We need apprenticeships

This article describes the shortage of mid-skill manufacturing workers. There are as many as 600,000 unfilled jobs of this type. It explained how many companies have shown little willingness to invest in training workers to fill these positions.

There is a great need for apprentice programs similar to ones found in Germany and Switzerland. Large American companies must be given incentives to create more of these apprenticeship programs. Our country is falling behind in manufacturing and we must do more for our young people who are not college bound.

Joe Cortellini, Clearwater

Stock market

A selfish selloff

I'm tired of Wall Street honchos and the 1 percent of wealthiest Americans punishing the average American voter who didn't vote for Mitt Romney by continuing to use their influence by "selling off" stocks.

This artificially negatively impacts the market so that "average" people like myself who might have voted to put the president back in office will suffer financially.

It's like someone sticking their thumb in your eye because you don't agree with them and then saying, "So there!" Pathetic.

Gary Aldrich, St. Petersburg

Secession petitions spreading | Nov. 14

Let's work together

The citizens in the 40 states who have so much fear of our future as a nation that they are requesting that their state secede bring back memories of an incident that occurred in the latter part of World War II.

It was a very sad scene at the high cliffs of Okinawa. Based on what the Japanese civilians and military were apparently told would happen with the American invasion, many Japanese had so much fear of the future that they committed suicide by jumping off the cliffs, sometimes with their children in their arms.

For us it is senseless to have such fears and think of secession. As responsible citizens, we should speak up and explain our reasoning. At the same time, we should listen to others. We must set our objectives for creating an America that we all can accept, even though it is not everything we want.

But please, let's not jump.

Donald W. Chandler, Clearwater

There's the door

Treason is giving aid and comfort to our enemies during wartime. Since we are at war in Afghanistan, the attempts of some people in Texas and other Southern states to secede from the union are acts of treachery, especially when the secessionists intend to take the territory with them.

These traitors should start packing and move to North Korea, Iran or Syria, countries more in tune with their political thinking.

Bill Fanning, Hudson