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  1. Letters to the Editor

Thursday's letters: St. Louis is a good example for bay area transit

Published Apr. 12, 2017

St. Louis trip to 'reset' TBX | April 9

St. Louis a great transit example

I wish the Florida Department of Transportation's local office success in finding that St. Louis is a perfect example of how a city transportation system should run. I was privileged to visit St. Louis a few years ago and found the Metro Line the best way to move about town. From a short hop on at the airport to within less than a block of the Union Station Hotel, there couldn't have been an easier trip by car, cab or bus. You can buy a day trip ticket to a week's pass; the system moves within short walks of every tourist stop, hotel and special event location.

I was impressed in the efficiency as well as the friendly folks who use it daily. The drivers are cheerful and accommodating if you're not sure where to get off and then later where to get back on. Plus, the view along the line is the best way to see a city with no driving distractions. There's always plenty of seating, with no standing necessary.

Such a line could easily be implemented along the Pinellas Trail, and now that the trail is extending to Tampa, there couldn't be a more qualified system to emulate. Good luck, guys, and bring back a great transportation plan.

Harriet Browder, Clearwater

After a great pain, where is God? | April 9, Perspective

Grappling with sin, death

The essential message of Christianity is redemption. In ancient Israel, the redeemer was the person who accepted to pay the delinquent debts of a family member and prevented his imprisonment and that of his family. In the Christian vision, all human beings are enslaved by the sin of their progenitors and need redemption from these unpaid debts to avoid perpetual enslavement to self-destruction.

Even if one considers the story of original sin a myth, nobody can deny the profound truth that in our genetics, in our behavior, and in our emotions we carry the weight of our parents' mistakes.

Jesus indicated three ways to redemption: the first is the refusal to respond to violence with violence, and to build a dam to the wave of destruction implicit in violence; the second is to act as a lightning rod to the hate that causes violence and to exhaust the power of worldwide hate; and the third is to use our own very injuries as a means of redemption.

In my little personal experience, the depression I inherited from my parents was the scourge of my early life, which led me close to suicide. That same depression has become a most valuable asset in my profession, as it allows me to accompany patients dying from cancer without fear through the trajectory of their death.

Modern culture, sprouted from the Enlightenment, holds that we can overcome suffering and death on our own. Though this delusion has miserably failed, as the genocides of the last two centuries clearly show, this culture prevents the sick from embracing faith as the only effective and lasting medication for their ill.

To justify his atheism, Albert Camus addressed the problem of evil in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus: "If evil exists despite God, God is not almighty; if God generated evil, God is not good." I agree that evil cannot be explained, but I believe that the Christian God provides redemption from evil. If somebody offers you a life line while you are drowning, you take it without asking what caused the flood about to submerge you.

Lodovico Balducci, Tampa

Amendment 2

Follow voters' will, or else

Members of Florida's Legislature should relearn the meaning of "elected representative" as it applies to someone elected to public office in each gerrymandered district of this state. Amendment 2 passed by a majority of voters in every county in Florida. No exceptions. That means that each "representative" is in Tallahassee to "represent" the will of the voters who voted for medical marijuana.

Slow-playing implementation and/or creating inane and arbitrary rules that intentionally make participation difficult are deal-breakers for Florida voters. Aside from the cost to the state for the inevitable lawsuits, I am reminded of what Wilford Brimley's character asked another Justice Department employee in the movie Absence of Malice: "Elliot, what did you figure you'd do when you left government service?"

So those Florida legislators who have lost their understanding of what they signed on for better start thinking about the future, because your voters are not at all happy. It's your call.

Robert Gilliam Sr., Odessa

Why cops shoot | April 9

Headline went too far

Your headline "Why cops shoot" is utterly disgraceful. It conveys the message:

"Many or even most cops shoot, and if you'll just buy this paper and read our article, we'll tell you why."

If you said, "Why some cops shoot" that of course would be more fair — but it lacks sensationalism, so it wouldn't sell as many papers, right?

Your headline contributes to making the environment more dangerous than it really is. It oozes agenda.

Stan Dubin, Clearwater

What's become of the American dream? April 9, commentary

When the dream was real

Like Peggy Noonan, I remember the 1950s and early '60s. In citing a few plausible success stories, she mirrors Republicans by leaving out the important role of government in creating a large American middle class.

It was then that government first began to protect the rights of minorities. It was also a time when the United States built millions of new classrooms, the interstate system, huge dams and aqueducts in the West, etc. Of course, it was equally true then that the marginal income tax rate on the top 1 percent was over 90 percent and inheritance taxes on huge estates were massive.

Republicans act as though dismantling government assistance and protections will restore the American dream. They conveniently forget the history of the mid 20th century when the American dream — a more egalitarian one — was at its peak.

Tony Branch, Madeira Beach