Regarding Douglas MacKinnon’s column July 31, “Israelis wish Kerry would just go away:” MacKinnon seems to suggest that neither the president of the U.S. nor his secretary of state has any right to make critical statements about Israeli policy. Israel is, by far, the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid at about $3 billion annually — a fact Mackinnon conveniently ignores.
We, the U.S. taxpayers, are funding the deaths of over a thousand Palestinian civilians. That entitles the president of our country to make comments about Israeli policy. I doubt that when Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel referred to the Obama administration with comments such as “leave us alone,” he meant for us to take our $3 billion in annual aid with us. No government deserves a blank check — not our government and not the Israeli government, either. The U.S. is morally obligated to hold Israel accountable when civilians are being killed with aid and weapons stamped made in the USA.
Regarding “Obama’s policies are putting American firefighters at risk” (Adam Putnam, Other Views, July 30): Damn the EPA!
The Environmental Protection Agency must do some good. However, I am convinced it does more harm to the economy, causes more unemployment, even endangers lives and has no idea of the unintended consequences of its ridiculous rules and innumerable regulations.
If Sen. John McCain had not intervened, the $150 million worth of old military equipment would have been destroyed, rather than allowing firefighters access to much-needed equipment. This is but one example of the Obama administration’s numerous agencies and their multitude of regulations that are suffocating our people and gradually taking away our freedom.
Carl D. Brannan
Regarding “Shimberg, Snively and Meckley for School Board” (Our Views, July 18):
As a currently elected official and former financial auditor, and through my experiences as a PTSA officer, I have the qualifications to analyze complicated financial information. I have negotiated collective bargaining agreements. I have worked with other government organizations. I have volunteered throughout the community. I have the experience of having four children in traditional public schools and working with the school district to implement rigorous academic programs, such as STEM and Bank Street.
Student achievement, accountability to taxpayers and maximizing resources are the areas that I intend to address. As a school board representative all decisions I make would be based on the question, “How does this program, policy or spending improve student achievement?” I believe that parents and community members deserve to be informed, know how their money is being spent and how their children are being taught. I intend to be accessible and available to parents to address comments and concerns and implement changes where necessary. I intend to serve as a resource for state legislators and meet with them to discuss what works in education and what is not working well.
Alison McGillivray Fernandez
The writer is a candidate for the Hillsborough County School Board, District 6.
Regarding “Our Pasco Commission picks” (Our Views, July 22):
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to respond to your recent endorsement of my opponent. I also want to thank you for saying “Wells is an appealing candidate.” My stance on the Ridge Road extension is either to build it or kill it. This has been prolonged for far too long, which has cost the taxpayers of this county millions of dollars, and there is no reason why. It’s about public safety, and the extension has a potential for saving lives in Pasco County.
I have lived in Pasco County for over 35 years and have seen changes — some good, some not so good. I grew up in a politically active household and saw firsthand that one leader can make a difference. My view is that Pasco County has always enjoyed strong leadership. Now, with the retirement of two senior members of the county commission, it is time for new leadership attuned to the needs of us all. I am prepared to provide that leadership. I am ready to go to work. I pledge I will never let you down.
New Port Richey
The writer is a Republican candidate for Pasco County Commission, District 4.
I would like to publicly thank two remarkable judges from Hillsborough County’s 13th Judicial Circuit for their outstanding presentation at the recent judicial conference in Orlando.
I was privileged to assist Circuit Judges Martha Cook and Greg Holder in presenting a segment regarding maintaining courtroom decorum and reining in out-of-control attorneys and litigants. The public needs to know they shared their wealth of knowledge and courtroom experience with over 200 judges from across the state. I was deeply honored to be in the same room with such dedicated jurists.
The topic of proper courtroom decorum is always in the public’s eye. The good citizens of Hillsborough are well-served by these top-flight judges.
Richard A. Howard
The writer is a circuit court judge in the 5th Judicial Circuit.