TBO.com, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather
Friday, Aug 01, 2014
Letters To The Editor

Letters to the editor: Too many differences

Published:

Too many differences

Regarding “Listen to a mother’s plea” (Our Views, April 5): The Tribune recommends that Hillsborough School Board member April Griffin and Superintendent MaryEllen Elia “put their hard feelings aside and find common ground that can result in positive changes.” As an observer and participant in school district politics for a number of years, I find this a difficult ask. During my 2012 run for school board, I was asked by the editorial boards of both papers whether I would support keeping or dismissing Elia. My reply was “that depends on how well Ms. Elia is able to work with a new board — one that does not blindly support her; rather, one that will challenge and question her.”

Two years later, we have been given ample opportunity to observe that phenomenon. The election of Cindy Stuart removed one of the automatic Elia supporters and changed the voting dynamic. Elia has not responded well to this. She has done nothing to increase transparency. She has accused board members of conspiring against her (open-mic-gate). She has gone around the board on the issue of armed security in elementary schools. She refused to respond in a meaningful way to board member Stacy White’s request for data on post-Gates Grant funding of the dreadful EET program.

Most recently is the revelation that Elia claimed no knowledge of the tragic, senseless death of Bella Herrera. Her claim appears to be that senior staff — for example, Cathy Valdes, then facilities director in charge of transportation — did not inform her of the event. If this is true, Valdes should have been fired. Rather, she was promoted to deputy superintendent.

There are altogether too many questions to “put aside differences.” There is something rotten in this school district, and the smell leads to the administrative center.

Michael Weston

Tampa

Can’t have it both ways

Despite Joe Henderson’s hand-wringing (“Here comes more money in politics,” Metro, April 3), I’m skeptical that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to remove the individual biennial cap on political contributions is going to make a bit of difference. Just how many people are there who have bumped up against the former $48,600 limit? The really big money flows into campaigns through PACs and similar unregulated organizations, not via personal checks.

It’s also ironic that Henderson laments the lack of politicians who will break away from their party/money apparatus and vote their consciences. But when a group such as the “tea party Republicans” do just that, he and other columnists are quick to castigate them as extreme, far-right whack jobs who should be shunned. You can’t have it both ways.

John S.V. Weiss

Spring Hill

7 million holes-in-one?

It is amazing that out of the 45 million Americans who had no health insurance, hitting the magical figure of the “targeted” objective of enrolling 7 million into Obamacare actually occurred, and it seemed like it happened as the clock hit midnight on the deadline day, March 31 — according to the people who are managing the numbers. This is as close to reality as North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un getting 13 holes-in-one the first time he played golf — according to the person who was keeping the card. But maybe Kim didn’t happen to forecast that as his targeted goal, while President Obama did. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just my age that makes me so skeptical.

Jim Able

Hudson

Art, music could be history

No wonder education is failing when university professors in the United States are making comments such as art and music are more important to a country than the military. Don’t they realize that without the military you would not have any art or music, because some strong country will come in and take over?

Robert Fohrmeister

Clearwater

Personal responsibility

Regarding “Woman wins fight for backup cameras in cars” (Metro, April 6): I understand how traumatic an accident like this is. I saw on the news that horrible tragedy where the dad backed a mower over his daughter and cut off her feet. The news indicated the government was going to require mower manufacturers to put some type guard on the mower.

I also am reminded of the lawsuit in which a man picked up a small push mower by the side to lift it over the curb while it was running. He cut the end of his fingers off and sued the manufacturer for not labeling the mower properly, and won. My point is, when are we going to recognize our responsibilities for our actions and quit looking for blame when a serious accident happens? I once had a college professor state that there was no such thing as an accident — “just two objects trying to occupy the same place at the same time.”

I have had backup cameras on the cars I owned, and I have found them lacking. I use them as a tool, but I still have the responsibility to look around and ensure my immediate area is clear before backing.

Charles Harris

Tampa

Comments