Not worth it
In response to the article “Rays exploring move to Tampa” (Business, April 16), I want to tell Rays owner Stuart Sternberg (and Mayor Bob Buckhorn) to leave it. Supporters of professional sports tout the financial value these teams add to the community. It’s always about the money, most of which goes into the pockets of the owners (like the Glazers). I do not want one penny of my tax dollars to support another professional sports team, stadium or the required infrastructure.
Professional sports and the outrageous salaries (and behavior) of the players have, in my opinion, far surpassed the point of diminishing returns compared to the financial value they add to the community.
In addition, since living in Tampa for over half a century I have seen Tampa grow in more of a haphazard manner rather than in a well-planned, strategic manner, resulting in overcrowded, congested streets that cause one to have to travel circuitous routes, such as in and around Channelside, to get from one side of town to another. Therefore, I can just imagine the additional congestion on I-275 and surrounding roads that a proposed stadium near downtown would cause on game day.
No surprise here
Regarding “School funding fight flares” (Metro, April 15): U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor is outraged that the lion’s share of the construction budget for schools is being apportioned to charter schools over public schools. Buried deep in the article, however, we find that this piece of the budget is a very small and that public schools have access to billions.
Castor, appearing in front of Wilson Middle School in Tampa, railed that Winston needs major renovations, but when asked a simple question — what are the needed renovations? — she didn’t know. Interestingly, neither did the school district’s spokesman. They do know they need $3.6 million, though, according to the school district’s five-year plan.
Now that’s rich.
It is no surprise that a big-government liberal would think more taxpayer money is needed for just about anything, but you would think her preparation for a speech would be more detailed than reading talking points probably prepared by a staff member.
Maybe Tribune reporter William March can do a follow-up and research how much money has been spent per student in Florida over the last decade. If that shows an increase year over year, then maybe we need to see how the money is being managed.
‘A historic day’
March 31 marked a historic day for Florida when Gov. Rick Scott signed the Florida GI Bill as the first piece of legislation to become law as “Chapter 2014-1, Laws of Florida.” Approved by unanimous votes in both the Senate and House, this law serves as a tribute to our active armed forces and its veterans. This action is a resounding testament to why Florida is now acclaimed as the most military-friendly state in the nation.
A heartfelt thank you is extended to legislative leadership. We are very proud of our own dedicated legislator, House Speaker Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel, and our Panhandle partner, Senate President Don Gaetz, who together championed this bipartisan bill. A special thank-you is extended to our area legislative delegation, which joined arms in promising support to our military and our veterans and their families. And kudos to the Florida Defense Support Task Force, our Tampa Bay Defense Alliance and countless other military and community associations and business partners for their tireless support and advocacy.
Education is at the forefront. The Congressman C.W. “Bill” Young Veteran Tuition Waiver Program anchors the state’s educational cornerstone to support veterans. Now honorably discharged veterans will pay in-state tuition immediately upon acceptance to our universities or colleges. This will be a huge draw for out-of-state veterans to come to Florida. The Tampa Bay area will welcome them with open arms.
The law also includes special legislative intent to assure that children of military families will be provided a high-quality education, and it encourages military commanders to work with the education commissioner to increase student achievement, which may include charter schools on military bases.
This law further prioritizes preferences in hiring by state, local, regional and public education institutions for veterans, the reserves and National Guard, as well as the parents and spouses of service members who died in combat. Also, the law encourages the private sector to replicate similar hiring practices.
Our state is strengthened by its 61,000 active-duty military personnel, 12,000 National Guard members and, foremost, with the 1.6 million veteran families who call Florida home. We in the Tampa Bay area are thankful to all the courageous men and women who are put in harm’s way to protect our freedom.
Ukraine gave up its nuclear arms for recognition of its independence and national sovereignty by Russia. Current events there make us realize what a foolish move this was. Of course, our president thinks we should give up our nuclear defenses, too. Makes one think a bit, doesn’t it?