Time to Recast Fla. Map | Aug. 10
Lawmakers are to blame
Back when Florida legislators were pretending to seek input from their constituents about how congressional and legislative districts should be drawn, I was one of many who testified we wanted maps drawn as required by the Fair Districts Amendments. I will admit to being angry, accusing them of taking care of Republican incumbents and ignoring those they claimed to represent.
I am still angry. Floridians have lost three years of fair districts and $8 million in tax money while Republican legislators broke every rule in the book to try to assure their own success at the ballot box. The Florida Supreme Court has told them the congressional districts they drew are illegal. Yet Sen. Don Gaetz had the gall to say, "Some people will not be satisfied until they win in the courts what they cannot win at the ballot box." He knows perfectly well who is responsible for this costly mess: he and the other Republican lawmakers.
Mary Louise Ambrose, Belleair Bluffs
Legislature welcomes help with redrawing district maps | Aug. 7, column
Don't lecture voters
I cannot express my amusement regarding the column by the leaders of the Florida Senate and House, instructing the citizens who wish to make suggestions regarding redistricting about all of the requirements that must be met. Hypocrisy and self-serving arrogance come to mind, but they are not strong enough. "How dare they lecture the citizens of Florida?" seems fitting.
The legislators chose to violate the Florida Constitution by drawing a congressional map that would serve their political and personal interests, not the interests of the state they are supposed to represent. After they got caught by the Florida Supreme Court, how dare they even think about giving us a lecture on the proper way for us to propose changes? If they had followed the guidelines they now propose, we wouldn't be spending hundreds of thousands in state dollars to correct their transparent attempt to deal from the bottom of the deck to maintain power.
Dudley Clapp, St. Petersburg
Missing votes while chasing votes | Aug. 9
Rubio uninformed on Iran
It is disturbing that Sen. Marco Rubio has decided to publicly attack and denounce President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the negotiated Iran nuclear deal. It is particularly so when he has missed a closed-door session for all senators on the deal, skipped a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on implications of the deal for the Middle East and skipped a private briefing with the International Atomic Energy director. Rubio's opposition smells of politics and is not about America's security. He could at least have the decency to act like he is making an informed, nonpolitical decision instead of so blatantly telling us he is not.
Valerie Barnes, Tampa
Falling fund a district slipup | Aug. 8
Read the budgets
The district budget for Hillsborough County schools is featured in at least one public board meeting a year and is always available for citizens, employees and the School Board to examine.
As a retired teacher and administrator of this wonderful school district, I can say this with certainty. There is nothing hidden. This is why I am absolutely amazed at the statements from School Board members and senior staffers who were unaware of the depletion of reserve funds. School Board members who are unable to read and comprehend the annual and interim budget reports should carefully consider why and take action to correct this.
I hope each of you takes responsibility for this instead of looking for a scapegoat. Classroom teachers are not the only employees who are accountable for their actions.
Margaret B. Griffin, Belleair
Animals in danger
So a swimmer in a Central Florida river ignores the warnings of a posted sign and the calls of other swimmers to turn around and insists on swimming in an alligator habitat. Because he defended his territory, that alligator is killed.
Because Floridians cannot learn to secure their trash receptacles to deter animals, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservations Commission — despite overwhelming opposition by Floridians — votes that trophy hunters can slaughter innocent bears.
The ignorant, careless Floridians triumph over the welfare of their native species again.
Laura Einstandig, New Port Richey
Protect Planned Parenthood
Valuable services at risk
U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, has introduced a bill to strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funds for health services for women — including cancer screenings, birth control services, well-women exams, and prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.
There is a wonderful Planned Parenthood health center in St. Petersburg. It is shameful that Jolly wants to strip the women in his own district of these valuable health care services.
Wendy Sears Grassi, St. Petersburg
Last chance to get it right | Aug. 9, editorial
Regarding the Fair Districts constitutional amendments, you dared Florida legislators to play games again with redrawing congressional districts. If they do, then shoot the demand for an independent redistricting commission over their bow.
Doug Hicks, Tampa
Theater attacker had blast materials | Aug. 7
A real horror show
I used to go to the theater to see scary movies. Now it is scary to go to the movie theater.
Linda Reed, Tampa