1. Letters to the Editor

Thursday's letters: Solar amendment aims to deceive

Published Sep. 14, 2016

Amendment 1

Solar measure aims to deceive

Congratulations to Florida's electric utilities for accomplishing a feat that virtually no one thought possible. They have united such politically diverse groups as the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida, the Republican Liberty Caucus, the League of Women Voters and the Florida Christian Coalition behind a single issue. All these groups agree that utility-backed constitutional Amendment 1 is bad for Florida families and bad for Florida's environment.

The sad thing is that this amendment may very well pass. It masquerades as a pro-solar and pro-consumer initiative. Many voters who read the amendment and support solar power development will be tricked into voting yes because of the deceptive way that the amendment is worded. The reality is that Amendment 1 would place the utilities in control of virtually all solar power generated in the state. It would stifle market competition.

The Sunshine State can and should be a leader in solar power generation. This can only occur if Amendment 1 is defeated. Vote no on Amendment 1 in November.

Mike Hepburn, Apollo Beach

Spills hit 81.5M gallons | Sept. 10

It ought to be a crime

Why do we allow our governments to pollute the environment? St. Petersburg is demolishing a perfectly good Pier and building another; Tampa is spending $15 million on a new park; Clearwater has a huge aquarium — all with public money they do not have.

But not one of the three can control their effluent. If this was a private company, it would be criminal. It should be criminal for the cities as well.

Greg Vonderh, Wesley Chapel

CDC chief warns of dwindling Zika funding Sept. 10

Time for help at home

The fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is having a funding crisis is appalling. Our country has traditionally reached out to generously support other countries through USAID grant initiatives. We have been able to propose initiatives to fund $32 million to defeat malaria in Myanmar, $30 million for a Nigerian education crisis response, $9 million to improve citizen security in Mexico, and even $750,000 to promote tourism in Albania.

These are only a few examples of our generosity to others, and I am proud that we reach out to support global needs. However, it may be time that our own problems need to be given funding priority.

Janet Burt, Brandon

Change of climate | Sept. 11, Perspective

Climate is always changing

The climate may be changing, but it always has done so. The phrase "the effects of man-made climate change" is spurious and based on politics rather than science. The planet has been a water world and an ice cube and will be both again in the fullness of time. How can reasonable people claim that something that has happened before when man was not a factor be so certain of a completely different cause this time around?

The Earth has been warming since the end of the last ice age, but scientists need grants and leftists need a club with which to bash industry and handicap it versus leftist command-and-control economic systems so as to make them even remotely competitive. And for some reason, the steps we need to take are never required of other countries far behind us on cleaning up and cutting emissions.

I'm sick of the "settled science" trope — as if any science is ever settled. A poll of neurologists finds 70 percent extremely concerned about Hillary Clinton's health. Settled science suggests she should withdraw.

Dwayne Keith, Valrico

Voter ID

Court's baffling decision

In a 2-1 decision last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia blocked three states (Kansas, Georgia and Alabama) from requiring residents prove they are U.S. citizens when registering to vote. Have these judges lost all common sense?

Would these judges allow a person to vote with them by just swearing they were a qualified member of the court? Of course not. So while not allowing votes within their ranks by unverified people, the same court now wants us to allow unverified people be allowed to cast votes in far more important elections. These judges are hypocrites.

Since when should a person swearing they are a citizen carry the same weight as proving through documentation they are a citizen?

Charles Gordon, Brooksville

Overhaul drug, policing policies | Sept. 10, letter

Wasted money, ruined lives

Libertarian leader Kevin O'Neill was spot-on with his call for overhauling our draconian drug laws. I am a former police detective, and I've made hundreds of drug arrests, mostly for marijuana offenses. I am also a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a police group that believes drugs are bad, but the war on drugs is worse.

Every year, the amount spent on the drug war nationwide totals over $40 billion. In 2008, over 1.8 million Americans were arrested for nonviolent drug offenses. America has 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of those incarcerated in the world. Two-thirds of all of those incarcerated for drug offenses are black or Hispanic.

The Republican Party increasingly seeks to make drug laws more and more draconian, at a time when public opinion increasingly favors legalization of marijuana. We do enduring harm to those we arrest for these nonviolent crimes. Students cannot get federal college assistance. Public housing is denied because of marijuana offenses. And of course blacks and Hispanics who are convicted are denied in many jurisdictions the right to vote, thus effectively disenfranchising them from their own country.

It is time to end the war on drugs. Drugs are bad; the war on drugs is worse.

Richard Craig, Dunedin