Facing up to financial reality | May Letter of the Month
Victims of 'vulture capitalism'
Describing Mitt Romney as a good businessman in the Letter of the Month is a travesty. Newt Gingrich created a YouTube in which he called Romney venal and coined the term "vulture capitalism" for Romney's ruinous business tactics.
I know, because my own business was a victim. Kay Bee Toys, headquartered in the bucolic Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, had been in business 106 years, operating profitably, with 8,000 employees and 1,300 stores doing $1.1 billion in sales. KB Toys was socially conscious and refused to sell toy guns for children. Romney's Bain Capital bought KB Toys, immediately took on $120 million in debt, and used it to buy back its own stock and to pay Romney an $86 million bonus. The business was soon shut down, dumping thousands out of work. Romney needed a cover story for the disaster he imposed on local lives. He said that he was not personally involved and that he was only doing the employees a favor by "harvesting" the business.
My service business depended on KB as its main customer. It is gone now, too, along with 70 workers.
KB Toys, and my business, were just more lambs ready for slaughter in Romney's view.
Allan Ardis, Wesley Chapel
As a 64-year-old Army veteran, political enthusiast and former excited voter in the coming presidential election, I have hit a brick wall with what I'm witnessing by both party's candidates.
Never in the 41 years that I have been eligible to vote have I been more disgusted with the declared candidates for the office of president of the United States. I'm being forced to vote for the "lesser of two evils" and that has put this country in peril.
It is the egotistic mentality that many people display that has caused the never-ending saga of partisanship, lobbying and back-door dealmaking that has seen the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the middle class get stuck with all the bills.
I am sick of political lies. I am sick of the political pork. I am sick of the mudslinging, and most especially sick of the infantile arguments that end with the defeated opponent supporting and cutting a deal for a job in the administration of the person who moments earlier was an arch-enemy.
But it doesn't really matter. If you like a candidate, he or she always gets a pass. If you don't like a candidate, he or she can do nothing right. It's childish and immature. That's why I dread Nov. 8. In the end, our country will be left with the carnage of many people who will be unhappy — maybe even my friends who voted for the other candidate.
Mike Merino, Tampa
Trump donation nets complaints on Bondi June 9
A scammers paradise
Gov. Rick Scott is always talking about all the new jobs Florida has gained under his leadership. I feel a lot of the credit should go to our attorney general, Pam Bondi. We are a national leader in scams such as identity theft, skimmers, auto accident fraud and Ponzi schemes. Bondi has now advertised that for a $25,000 donation she will not investigate, let alone allow an indictment, for a scam.
Robert Spencer, Dunedin
Pam Bondi provides a textbook case of how not to behave as attorney general. Taking an illegal political contribution from a Donald Trump family foundation while his "university" was the subject of a fraud investigation her office was considering joining would have been bad enough. But requesting a donation from him personally during that time frame goes way beyond the pale.
Her consultant's admission that she was "unaware" of complaints about Trump University "filed before she requested the donation" doesn't do much to inspire confidence about her fitness to hold office. Her decision to reject suing Trump, made just weeks after she received a donation from him, reeks badly of a conflict of interest.
Stephen Feldman, Apollo Beach
Storm proves sewers lacking | June 9
Fix failing infrastructure
For the second year in a row, there was a sewage release into ecologically challenged Tampa Bay. At least this time, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman alerted us to this unfortunate lack of planning and preparation. Last year, boaters in the bay who swam in the waters that day were put at risk.
This is the last straw with this administration. At the very least, the bike-share program should have been put on hold and an environmental impact study be initiated with that money. Instead, we have more denial and inaction on our aging infrastructure, more emphasis on unbridled growth with skyscraper condos going up along with large restaurants crammed in the Pier uplands area.
How is all this building and growth going to impact an already stressed and failing infrastructure? Do we need another major crisis before we get some commonsense action?
Ivylyn Harrell, St. Petersburg
Is U.S. media biased in coverage of Israel? June 5, Bill Maxwell column
I commend Bill Maxwell's article. The answer to the question asked by the headline is clearly yes.
Thanks to the advent of social media, more people are acquiring a balanced perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a recent poll, over 70 percent of millennials and 43 percent of Democrats support the Palestinians over Israel. The BDS movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) that targets Israel's occupation of the West Bank has also grown in support nationwide.
The U.S. mainstream media has unwittingly supported the last vestige of colonization in the world, represented by Israel's continuing occupation of the West Bank and its discriminatory and racist policies against Palestinians. If the media would just tell the truth without bias, it could play a positive role in bringing about a just and peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Pilar Saad, Tampa