1. Letters to the Editor

Sunday's letters: Cultural assets play key role in Tampa's Channel District

Published Nov. 17, 2012

Filling Tampa's middle ground | Nov. 11

Cultural assets play a key role

This article on the Channel District's future provides a clear assessment of the southern end of Tampa's downtown, its challenges and opportunities. As plans for surrounding properties unfold, I want to ensure that the Tampa Bay History Center and other cultural attractions in downtown remain an integral part of the conversation.

The History Center draws families and tourists to the Channel District to learn about our region and our changing urban landscape. While here, visitors get a firsthand look at Tampa's working port. They also learn about native people who fished on the shores of Tampa Bay thousands of years ago and conquistadores who sailed here in the 1500s. In telling these stories, the History Center links the Channel District's past with its future as a mixed-use neighborhood where residents can live, work and play.

Now approaching our fourth anniversary, we're part of a growing set of downtown cultural attractions that includes the Florida Aquarium, the American Victory Ship, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, the Glazer Children's Museum, the Tampa Museum of Art, and the Henry B. Plant Museum, all situated along the Hillsborough River and the soon-to-be-completed Riverwalk. Together, these cultural assets draw more than 1 million people to downtown annually and provide an opportunity to position Tampa as a multiday destination for cultural tourism.

Museums, along with cultural venues like the Straz Center for the Performing Arts and the Tampa Theatre, have been at the forefront of downtown Tampa's rebirth and will play a key role in its continued evolution.

C.J. Roberts, Frank E. Duckwall president and CEO, Tampa Bay History Center, Tampa

Pinellas County Commission

It was an honor to serve

The opportunity voters gave me to serve as a Pinellas County commissioner has been an honor. Pinellas residents sent me to office in a challenging time. Successes were achieved.

Over the years a common thread among Pinellas residents is that they enjoy living here because of our environment. I am grateful to be part of a commission that opened a new park, Eagle Lake, and added hundreds of acres to the Brooker Creek Preserve. These are actions our great-grandchildren will be able to enjoy.

Our commission has dealt with reducing revenue and reprioritizing our government and its services. We are a smaller, more efficient government. More importantly, we created a strategic plan so we can move forward.

Our two new commissioners will have their hands full, but I'm confident that they will make decisions in the best interest of Pinellas County. I have been in office and out of office over the last decade. I know that caring about Pinellas doesn't require an office or title, it just requires caring. I look forward to joining with others working to make Pinellas an even greater place to live.

Neil Brickfield, outgoing Pinellas County commissioner, District 1

Obama the dealmaker | Nov. 14, commentary

Wrong focus

David Brooks' column is two years too late and aimed at the wrong party. In 2010, President Barack Obama extended the Bush tax cuts for two years and offered a deal with large budget cuts. Guess what? The GOP turned it down.

The Republican Party has not changed its views on working with the president to solve the issues, so in all fairness, Brooks should rewrite his article and put Republicans where he has Obama.

Richard Gentile, Tampa

Three want special panel on Benghazi Nov. 14

Consider the source

John McCain said Susan Rice, possibly the next secretary of state, was "not too bright" (she is a Rhodes scholar). This from the man who selected Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.

Susan N. Walzer, St. Petersburg

Not qualified

If Susan Rice was sent to tell a false story on five different talk shows and she believed the story she told was true, then she should have resigned her job as ambassador on principle because she was set up to be a dupe for the administration. If she told a story that she knew was false, then she is a liar.

Either way, she is not qualified to be secretary of state or U.N. ambassador.

Ken Leiser, Seminole

Romney: President used 'old playbook' Nov. 15

We're all in this together

Mitt Romney just can't seem to keep his foot out of his mouth. How can he say that forgiving college students' loan interest and trying to make sure we have health care are gifts that President Barack Obama gave away to win the election?

Doesn't he see all of us as Americans and want to do the right thing accordingly? I'm simply amazed at the very wealthy, like Romney and Donald Trump, when they insinuate the president is giving the country away. If a country doesn't help the people who live in it, what does that say? What kind of country would we be?

Daniel Orsello, Tampa

Romney still driving wedge

It is time for Mitt Romney to show his American loyalty by supporting President Barack Obama. It is disappointing to see a former presidential candidate whining untruths about why Obama won the election. I and millions of other Americans voted for Obama not because of "gifts," but because Obama has been effective in foreign affairs, is the first president to get a health care law passed, and is not caught up in the ego of the 1 percent.

By continuing to try to divide America, Romney reveals his true self.

Esther Kirk, Riverview

Internet game cafes plan to drop lawsuit Nov. 13

Free to choose

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman said, "We had too many of our elderly and disabled, and our veterans, that were going to these places. They've been spending their savings and pension checks."

Didn't they work their whole life so they could have money to spend as they choose? They go to a Internet cafe, spend a few bucks, get a free lunch or dinner, and have some entertainment, usually with friends. Isn't this better than sitting home alone?

Another thing to consider in closing these businesses is that 10 or more buildings will be empty and 100 or 150 people will be in the jobless line.

Joni Dunn, Spring Hill