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Friday, Jan 18, 2019
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Letters To The Editor

Letters to the editor: Real estate development driving transit talk

Driving transit

Regarding, “This time we need to connect the dots” (Other Views, March 15): Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe employs tiresome sleight of hand to push for expanded transit, specifically light rail. For example, he cites the “record transit ridership for 2013,” while failing to mention that New York City subways alone were responsible for more than 92 percent of that increase. According to The New York Times, the growth in subway ridership resulted from “falling unemployment” and not any transit enthusiasm among millennials. U.S. Department of Transportation statistics show that from 1980 to 2011 passenger miles traveled on highways grew by 59 percent while transit passenger miles grew only 36 percent. So despite all the subsidized light-rail lines built in the U.S. over the past 35 years, people are increasingly choosing cars over transit. If Sharpe really wants to “connect the dots” he should drop the happy talk of “a vibrant and diverse transportation network” in favor of a discussion of why real estate development drives all economic development and transit proposals in the Tampa Bay area.

Tom Rask

Unincorporated Pinellas County

Recall cigarettes

GM’s recent recall of some of its vehicles for defective safety belts is a proper thing to do since it has reportedly caused more than 300 deaths over the past several years.

What I don’t understand is that there is another, more serious defective product on the market that has caused millions of deaths and millions more serious health problems, such as cancer, which has been known for about 50 years when the surgeon general announced findings in 1964 that cigarettes are harmful to humans. By far, cigarettes are the most defective product on the market and yet the tobacco companies are not only allowed to sell this defective product but also are allowed to spend millions every year to promote the defective product. It’s time the U.S. government recalls cigarettes.

J. Collister


Raining on parade

Does everything in this country have to be politicized? The mayors of Boston and New York said they were sitting out the annual St. Patrick’s Day parades because the LGBT community was not permitted to carry signs to promote diversity. It’s a parade! Aren’t we bombarded enough during everyday life about diversity (or anything else for that matter)? If you read or watch the news (no matter the media), I’m sure you have been exposed to the benefits of diversity, whether you agree or not.

I am aware of the LGBT community; in fact, my former neighbors were married in Canada. They were invited and attended several of the Christmas parties my wife and I threw. There was no mention of diversity. We all just shared the spirit of Christmas.

Can’t we just enjoy the day for the sake of the day?

Lew Prichard


Armed teachers

In response to the letter, “Move ’em out” (Your Views, March 16): I would like to remind the letter writer that besides the NRA there is the Gun Owners of America, Independent Firearms Owners Association, National Association of Gun Rights, Gun Owners Action League, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms and many more organizations for the preservation of the Second Amendment. There are many people who write our legislators in regard to firearms legislation and related issues. To blame the NRA and accuse it of running the state is asinine. Then the writer adds, “gun-toting school teachers is a recipe for disaster.” Really? With proper training, arming teachers is an effective tool that will make people think twice before coming into a school. My granddaughter would be safer.

Stephen Burchett


USF’s mediocrity

USF President Judy Genshaft is quoted as saying, “It is hard to tolerate mediocrity ... especially with a university that is on the move upward.” My belief is she needs to look in the mirror. USF is not, nor will it ever be, UF or FSU, and that is OK. The two most recently fired coaches, Skip Holtz and Stan Heath, ran clean programs. Neither was a mediocre coach, which is the implication from Genshaft. Both represented USF well in the community. In the two revenue sports, football and basketball, USF should compete at the 1AA level, not the 1A level, for multiple reasons. This logic is supported by paid attendances at football and basketball home games for the past five years. The community’s feelings about Genshaft are mixed. Many view her as polarizing, out of touch and not capable of leading USF. The USF board needs to take a hard look at Genshaft and her senior staff.

Genshaft needs to ask herself if she has been the catalyst for this self-described mediocrity. Many will say she is the problem.

Dick Powers


Minimizing risk

Whether Russia goes into Ukraine, or Crimea breaks away from Ukraine, should not be any of our business. Why would we risk nuclear war except to literally protect our shores like the Cuban Missile Crisis? The U.S. can ill afford to go looking for fights every time someone is in trouble. I am worried about a bomb going off in a public place where my family least expects it, not Russia invading North Carolina. Let’s keep a closer watch on our own ports and borders.

John Mannone


Weather Center