Algae bloom is toxic for state | July 3
Official neglect led to algae crisis
It's no accident that large stretches of the St. Lucie River have turned bright green. The disgusting algae bloom that's killing sea grass and suffocating porpoises, sea turtles and manatees is only the latest evidence of Florida's derailed mission to restore the Everglades to the life-giving, water-cleansing River of Grass it once was.
Equally disgusting is how the Florida sugar industry and state water managers are suggesting blame for the bloom should somehow fall on the shoulders of the conservation groups working to restore the Everglades and protect the estuaries.
And Big Sugar's eager accomplice in Florida's failure to avert this long-brewing environmental debacle is Gov. Rick Scott, who — while declaring a state of emergency for Martin and St. Lucie counties — was quick to blame the feds for the green blight. That is the same Scott who walked away from former Gov. Charlie Crist's proposal to purchase land from the sugar companies to provide for increased water storage — the kind of investment in the Everglades that would provide the outlet needed to safely drain excessive water levels from Lake Okeechobee.
Despite the efforts of Scott and state water managers to place the blame on nature, this is a very unnatural disaster. Earlier this year, for example, the South Florida Water Management District proclaimed that efforts to protect the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow were somehow to blame for the high-volume discharges from the lake into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers and their estuaries.
The St. Lucie algae bloom is just the latest reflection of Florida's choices. And until the state buys the land that is necessary for water storage, there will be no solution. As currently designed and operated, the system will never handle high flows from the lake.
Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director, Center for Biological Diversity, St. Petersburg
Algae bloom is toxic for state | July 3
In our state, we let agricultural interests, especially Big Sugar, police themselves and allow excess fertilizer to impact our lakes and streams. Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades have been seriously damaged for many years due to greed and neglect.
As this runoff reaches the Atlantic Coast, it is swept northward by the Gulf Stream. How can anyone be surprised that a combination of climate warming, a senseless environmental policy, a massive increase in new lawns and paved areas, as well as rampant governmental corruption and ineptness is causing "guacamole-thick" algae blooms in our waterways and on our coasts?
Please remember this when you vote. Jobs and economic enrichment are important, but they are not the only marks of responsible management.
Fred Prince, Tampa
Key Reeves hearing set for February June 30
Each time I read that we are still having a conversation about whether or not it is okay for a person to shoot another in a theater for either texting or throwing popcorn or whatever was bothering this person at the moment, I get the sense I am living in an alternate universe. Do we want to be in a place and time when these little irritations (and that's all they are) allow us to make our fellow humans targets for our momentary bother?
Even more than the issues of terrorism or faulty presidential candidates who appeal to base instincts of fear and its partner, loathing, this idea that we can act on whatever our hate du jour is without any consequence causes me more concern for my children's safety than any other potential dangers.
Pam Siglain-O'Brien, Palm Harbor
Politicians have failed
It's easy to see why the establishment in Washington is so apprehensive about a Donald Trump presidency. These parasites masquerading as conservative Republicans cannot stand someone making waves in the party and whose principal aim is to restore the basic American tenets, so horribly lost in the past 20 years. These career politicians have found a home in the nation's capital and wild horses couldn't drag them away from this gravy train.
What has been largely overlooked is that the voting public has lost confidence in our electoral process. No longer can we envision our vote really counting. No longer do we have a voice in politics. The party hacks tell us that only they can act properly on our behalf. They tell us that this last nine-month charade of debates served no purpose except to raise millions for their already overflowing coffers. So far everything they've said has taken the average voter completely out of the picture.
It's time to recall the Declaration of Independence's words about governments deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and "whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it."
Roger H. Oddson, Sun City Center
Think before you leap
The fallout from Britain's vote to leave the European Union should serve as a warning to those who support Donald Trump. What motivated the Brits to leave the EU is also motivating those who favor Trump and want to stick it to the establishment.
Many British voters now regret voting as they did because they failed to anticipate the political and economic consequences of their decision. They inadvertently put their country's future in limbo. They gave in to their feelings of being shortchanged in the global economy, of being threatened by an influx of aliens and of being disregarded by their country's leadership.
While understandable, their feelings are not a sound basis for making momentous decisions. Far-reaching decisions are best made with sober reflection, not gut reflex. In November, let us opt for sober reflection and serious regard for consequences.
Ernest W. Bartow, St. Petersburg