Enforce county codes
I am delighted that city of Tampa code enforcement has decided to take a proactive role in cleaning up blighted areas. Too bad the county doesn't feel so inclined.
With all the abandoned homes here in Brandon, there are derelict pools, overgrown lawns and dangerous dead trees in abundance. Numerous reports made to the county fall on deaf ears. Emails to code enforcement officials are met with replies of how understaffed and overworked they are. Reports made to open code violation cases are closed the day after filing.
I guess they use the county's drone airplanes to satisfy themselves that the code violations are without merit. One wonders exactly what they do at Hillsborough County Code Enforcement.
As a proud resident of Tampa's historic Seminole Heights neighborhood, as well as a home renter in this redeveloping area, I've been carefully observing the ongoing conflict and unfortunate housing issues surrounding local businessman Hoe Brown.
Regarding Brown's lapse of judgment on how he oversaw his rental properties, it was, by his own admission, inappropriate, which ultimately caused him to be thrust into the media spotlight and brought about his unfortunate resignation from the Tampa Port Authority board, where he had served with distinction.
However, with the media's seemingly ongoing effort to paint Brown as the "evil villain," I ask your paper, as well as those who have cast Brown in the same light, to consider there is a much broader issue that relates to this overall problem and shouldn't be placed on his shoulders entirely.
Judging from the photos, it's an unfortunate fact some individuals obviously have forgotten some old basic lessons of how to keep themselves sanitary, as well as maintain a clean house, regardless of the physical status of their environment. Was it Brown's personal responsibility to be their housekeepers? Despite their personal economic plight, they're adults, and they should know better, or you would want to believe so.
I'm not defending Brown. But it is my contention that he took the matter very seriously and is making the necessary changes to resolve the problem.
We should realize that if the disgusting and ghastly results from just one day of the mayor's clean sweep is any indication, this problem is far more pervasive than just one landlord. And as for the "rah-rah" statement from Mayor Buckhorn, perhaps the "going in, kicking butt and taking names" should be directed to our code enforcement division and city council for not finding the legal teeth and additional manpower needed to keep our city clean.
TampaWhy non-English ballots?
I read "How Hillsborough tripped on the Voting Rights Act" (Views, July 21), and I'm confused. Only U.S. citizens are eligible to vote in our elections. The published criteria for naturalization requires that: "In general, applicants for naturalization must demonstrate an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage." So, why should it be necessary for Hillsborough County or any other entity to print ballots in other than English?
John S.V. Weiss
On road to Detroit?
Is our nation heading toward Detroit and possible bankruptcy if the federal government does not stop borrowing more money?
Detroit was booming in the 1960s, but last week was forced to file bankruptcy, as it is $19 billion in debt. The 20,000 city workers are expecting their pensions to be paid in full but have been told there will be cuts down the road. Municipal bondholders will be the losers, as they are holding approximately $10 billion of the debt.
The workers in Detroit are also the losers, as 12 million vehicles were made in China by GM last year instead of being made in Detroit. Outsourcing has consequences, but our government has made no move to equalize the playing field with China.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder admitted Detroit has ignored its problems for too long, and there was no choice but to limit pension payments. Does this sound familiar? The U.S. government is in debt $17 trillion and is still continuing to borrow money. Not only is it borrowing money, the Federal Reserve is printing $85 billion per month to pump up the economy. The value of our dollar is decreasing, and we can't do anything to stop them.
Our government has taken money from our Social Security Trust Fund to the tune of billions of dollars, and all we have are worthless IOUs in a lockbox. And President Obama is once again going to ask Congress to raise the debt ceiling sometime this year. The answer should be not now and not ever. If they have to close down the government to keep it from borrowing more money, so be it.
Our only hope is to elect conservatives in 2014 who will refuse to board Obama's runaway train toward bankruptcy.
Who's to blame?
It's a sad state of affairs when the judicial system and the laws are more harsh for a dog that bites than they are for violent career criminals. A dog bites someone and is labeled a dangerous dog. If he bites again, he is euthanized.
Four good people would be alive today - two Tampa police officers, a clerk at a 7-11 and the manager of a Family Dollar Store - if three killers had been in prison. All three criminals have rap sheets longer than your arm, yet the courts slap their hands and set them free after serving minor sentences.
Lions and tigers are kept behind bars for the public's safety, and the same should apply to all violent criminals. How many good people need to die before things change? Who's to blame - the laws or the judges giving lenient sentences?
LutzBoth sides presented
Thank you for publishing a fair-sided article ("Civility, bullying and same-sex marriage," Views, July 14). As pointed out in the article, disagreement with your opponents does not make you phobic about anything. Otherwise, any traditional marriage would be considered packed full of phobias (a little humor!). Thank you again for printing both sides of the issues.