1. Letters to the Editor

Tuesday's letters: Selective reporting of the facts

Ex-Detroit mayor sentenced | Oct. 11

Selective reporting of the facts

I applaud the Times for launching a new project that will widen the scope of your trademarked Truth-O-Meter. But perhaps before you launch this new effort, you should apply your patented Truth-O-Meter to your own reporting.

The Truth-O-Meter was Page One news on Friday. As I turned the page, there was an article on Page 2 entitled "Ex-Detroit mayor sentenced." Not really a surprise, given the sorry state of the city of Detroit, which is currently in bankruptcy.

What struck me as odd is nowhere in this article did you mention the political party of Kwame Kilpatrick, who was sentenced to 28 years in prison. He is a Democrat.

So I went online and read several other articles about his sentencing. I was astounded to find several other articles about the sentencing that included that fact as part of the reporting.

Here is what I found at the website for CBS News, hardly a "right-wing" organization: "Kilpatrick, a Democrat, quit office in 2008 in a different scandal that was extraordinary at the time but seems similar compared to the sweeping federal probe that has lead to the convictions of more than 30 people."

Here is what you reported: "Kilpatrick quit office in 2008 in a different scandal."

Notice what is missing?

There is no question there are lousy and corrupt politicians in both the Democratic and Republican parties. What galls me is your selective reporting of the facts about this.

Mark Mandula, St. Petersburg


Truth or consequences

Thank you. It's about time. Back in the day, many politicians needed their statements or claims fact-checked because of errors made by their staffs in forwarding unchecked talking points provided by their party bosses or by one of the many ideological "think tanks."

That's obviously still the case, but now, with so many bloggers or talking heads also publicizing these same talking points or claims without first validating them, it's much more difficult for the "average" reader or listener to believe anything heard or read.

I applaud your paper for undertaking this additional endeavor. All that's needed now are legal consequences for all these people not telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Don Hinderliter, Sun City Center

Evidence often ignored

Although I applaud your decision to start fact-checking the pundits, I remind you of the 2012 quote from Mitt Romney's pollster, Neil Newhouse: "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

Some factions choose by design to ignore facts and let their own conjectures and fabrications serve to placate their audience. To point out inaccuracies will just bring the same response.

Curt Clark, Spring Hill

Officer fired, charged with welfare fraud Oct. 11

Fix Tampa police

The rule of law in Florida is in jeopardy. A police officer stands accused of stealing food stamps.

It is time for some heads to roll. Why? Because confidence in the honesty and reason of Tampa police officers — yes, all of them — is now in question.

You have to wonder: How many of them did how many crimes and have not been caught? I don't care if the answer is zero: There is now doubt. Guilty people could walk because of the reasonable suspicion that guilty people arrested them.

Chief Jane Castor should go. I'm sure she did her best. It wasn't good enough.

Alan Jude Murley, Tampa

Senate leads shutdown talks | Oct. 13

Running up the debt

About the only good thing with Obamacare (other than kids staying on a parent's plan and the pre-existing condition clause — both of which could have been accomplished without a government takeover of health care) is the inclusion of a method to at least help pay for this trillion-dollar boondoggle. I am speaking of the tax on medical devices.

Now, delaying this tax is one of the compromise points. Neither Congress nor the administration has the guts to pay for anything. They will just negotiate this tax out and add another trillion dollars to the debt. A lack of fortitude and the medical supply lobby win the day.

Bill Byrd, Seminole

Florida backs flood lawsuit | Oct. 11

Looking out for whom?

Gov. Rick Scott refused to fight to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid. He refused federal funds for expanding commuter rail in Florida. He rejected "navigators" to assist Floridians wanting to get health insurance. Socialism, he scoffs.

These three programs primarily benefit the poor and working-class people in Florida.

However, when the federal government wants to stop the subsidy for flood insurance, which is a big benefit to the wealthier residents of the state, he has his attorney general join a lawsuit against the government for the subsidy.

At least we know whom the governor is looking out for.

Kenneth Holder, Lutz

Citizens hamper powerful developer | Sept. 7

Oversight alive and well

I was disappointed with this article, which implied that local scrutiny over land use matters evaporated in 2011 along with the Department of Community Affairs. The article even cites a former county commissioner and past Department of Community Affairs director who misrepresented the process. They say the old state growth management agency would not have allowed the controversial Longbar Pointe project to reach the public hearing phase.

But the article and its sources are off base; the development review process has not changed on the local level. Today, just as before, a local landowner presented to the county a set of changes he thought would make his project more successful. Those plans were carefully reviewed over a number of months. County commissioners largely sided with our planning staff by approving one set of the amendments and rejecting the other.

Those changes are now in Tallahassee for an appropriate review by the state, after which time they'll be returned to Manatee County for final consideration by our board. In other words, local land use oversight and regulations are alive and well in Manatee County.

Ed Hunzeker, Manatee County administrator, Bradenton