Three billionaires against Trump
Donald Trump boasts that he will "make America rich again" by utilizing his expertise as a billionaire businessman, yet three highly successful billionaire businessmen, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Cuban and Warren Buffett (two of them far richer than Trump), say that Trump, as president, will make America poor again and they support Hillary Clinton.
Bloomberg attacks Trump's integrity and calls him "a con," Cuban attacks his economic plans and calls him inept, and Buffett mocks Trump's repeated bankruptcies. Why would such brilliant and successful billionaire businessmen support Clinton, when Trump's tax and estate plans strongly favor their riches and Clinton's most certainly do not? It is because, in stark contrast to Trump, all three billionaires are also renowned philanthropists who, by giving massively to charity and by speaking their minds against their own financial interests, truly do place America first.
In stark contrast, Trump is not known to be a philanthropist and his tax returns, which he refuses to disclose, would probably prove it — or much worse.
Arthur Pitchenik, Miami
Dirty dealings will cost Wells Fargo $185M Sept. 9
Make the fines bigger
Wells Fargo was fined $185 million. While that is a large sum, let's put it in perspective. In 2015, Wells Fargo had net income of $23 billion. The fine totaled 0.8 percent of its income, or less than $200 for every customer they defrauded. Until we get serious about fining these institutions, I fear their behavior will not change.
Steve McCarver, Dunedin
What we owe to the future
Extreme weather events and the effects of sea level rise challenge our coastal infrastructure with increasing frequency. We cannot simply ignore the consequences of climate disruption and hope that they just go away.
The ecosystem of Tampa Bay was healing more quickly than expected from decades of abuse in the 20th century. Sea grass was recovering and scallops were returning. It will take time for the impact of massive sewage discharges into the bay to be measured and assessed. But we know that healthy water in Tampa Bay is essential for a healthy economy around Tampa Bay. The cost of protecting our coastal ecosystem is an investment in our economic future.
Florida is morally, ethically and legally bound to protect the natural beauty and biological diversity of our region. To allow human activities to pollute or destroy the natural wonder of Florida is to default on a debt to future generations.
Fortunately, many solutions are not only affordable but will actually save money. We can change building codes to improve energy efficiency. New buildings should include gray water systems that reduce demand on our potable water and sewer systems. We can plan development around efficient, lower-carbon transportation systems rather than allow chaotic, random growth. Solar power can cost less than power from the grid, especially for commercial and government buildings that are largely operated during daylight hours. The return on investment from LED lighting is reported to be as little as a few months.
The money we save from improvements that reduce carbon pollution can be directly applied to hardening our infrastructure against the inevitability of future extreme weather events and the relentless onslaught of sea level rise, while reducing and eventually reversing the role of man-made carbon pollution in driving climate disruption.
But the first step toward recovery is the admission that we have a problem. In this regard, the citizens of Florida are by and large far ahead of the government of Florida, something to keep in mind when we go to the polls in November.
Kent Bailey, chair, Tampa Bay Sierra Club Group, Thonotosassa
Frustration rises with sewage toll | Sept. 14
Pay for the damages
The BP oil disaster sullied the gulf waters and caused economic damage to St. Petersburg and Tampa, and because of that both cities received millions of dollars in settlements.
Now Tampa, St. Petersburg and other cities have irresponsibly sullied the local saltwaters with millions of gallons of overflow sewage and economically damaged those who make their living from these waters, such as local fishing guides. All these cities fully knew that their sewage systems were not adequate for these types of rain events but did nothing substantial to remedy the substandard systems.
BP was financially accountable for their oil spill to St. Petersburg and Tampa, and now it is time that St. Petersburg, Tampa and the other sewage dumping cities are held financially accountable for their sewage spill.
James Wisner, Tampa
Truth on Catholic teaching
The full-page ad that appeared last week by "Catholics for Choice" misrepresented Catholic teaching as stated in the Catholic Catechism and affirmed by all our popes as well as Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Public funding for abortion is not and has never been a Catholic social justice value. The ad does not speak for the Catholic Church or understand its teaching. Abortion is an intrinsic evil, according to the Catholic Church.
The church has many services to compassionately help women who choose not to raise a child they have conceived, from offering adoption services to pregnancy centers to help them through the pregnancy and afterward. There are even healing programs like Project Rachel to help women who have had abortions. There is not just the woman to consider here. There is a baby. We must never forget that reality.
Gail Whiting, Tampa