St. Petersburg mayor's race
Long and short of it: Stay course
I can count on my two hands (and maybe one foot) how many times over 40 years that I have disagreed with a Times recommendation of a candidate. But I am voting for Rick — Kriseman, not the other one. I voted twice for the other Rick, and he was a good mayor. But he had his shot, and the short Rick deserves another term.
The big stain on Kriseman's record was the sewage dumping after heavy rains. No doubt about it, sewage dumping can leave a big stain. But something happened between the August primary and the November election that the Times recommendation of tall Rick fails to take into account. St. Pete had a visitor. Her name was Irma.
It's true, the hurricane gave us a glancing blow. Power outages caused suffering, and many folks from St. Pete left their homes, only to be stranded on long gas lines, or in towns where the storm hit worse. And sure, there are plenty of fallen trees as a reminder.
But, hey, Irma sent no sewage in the gulf to speak of. If she had, you know the Times would have mentioned it. Moreover, I think the city did damned well for itself: neighbor helping neighbor, city workers working hard, first responders — including journalists — all working for the public good.
The city of St. Petersburg has a lot to be proud of — before and after the storm. We have become a caring, creative, progressive city that is a model for the nation. Why in the world should be swap the new Rick for the old one? When in doubt, I consult that great Republican Abraham Lincoln for wisdom: "Don't swap horses in the middle of a stream." Or a hurricane.
Roy Peter Clark, St. Petersburg
Test athletes' character
This letter is addressed to all educators, coaches and athletic directors. In view of all the disciplinary problems caused by high school and college athletes, it is past time to begin to de-emphasize sports and begin to emphasize education. Before recruiting an athlete, coaches should first consider character, criminal record, educational achievements and last, athletic ability, and then we would see more athletes like Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow rather than the eight football players at the University of Florida who have been suspended and are facing third-degree felony charges for credit card fraud.
In addition, athletic directors should hire coaches with great character like Dabo Swinney, the Clemson University coach who puts faith and loving his players ahead of winning, which will, and has, created a winning team.
Chuck Graham, Pinellas Park
Ban would save lives
The Washington Post found to be true Sen. Marco Rubio's statement of 2016: "None of the major shootings that have occurred in this country over the last few months or years that have outraged us, would gun laws have prevented them."
And, indeed, Rubio had shown his conviction by voting against an assault weapons ban in 2013 and steadfastly resisting any action on gun control. There is, however, a tragic flaw in his statement involving the dimension of time. The federal assault weapons ban of 1994 was allowed to expire in 2004. The weapon of choice for recent mass shootings is the assault weapon, and there is a compelling probability that these were acquired after 2004.
Let's start by reprising the ban with the knowledge that we are saving lives in the future. Following that, we can enact the many other commonsense actions that will reduce gun violence and gun suicides without infringing on rational liberties.
G.T. Kaszer, St. Petersburg
Don't infringe on our rights | Oct. 9, letter
What about victims' rights?
After reading this letter, I feel the need to respond. One of the paper's main stories earlier this week was about the injuries, rehabilitation and cost the victims of the Las Vegas shooting will face. They will live the aftereffects of the shooting for years, and many for the rest of their lives. Where are their rights?
Stephen Paddock bought his weapons legally, as well as the bump stock that allowed him to alter his military-grade weapon into an automatic rifle. We have become aware of how many he purchased and the amount of ammunition and the planning that went into his rampage in recent days.
Once again we have conservatives like the letter writer voicing our Second Amendment rights. No other civilized countries in the world have the lax gun laws we have here. Instead of having reasonable and logical gun laws that protect us, those representing us have continued to make it easier to have assault weapons, carry guns openly on the street and into public areas, and purchase multiple guns with no background checks.
The letter's closing words are chilling: "We should not infringe a fundamental constitutional right because of the horrible actions of a few. It may seem like a high price, but the alternative is much worse." Really? The alternatives of having background checks on all guns bought and prohibiting military-grade guns from being sold are worse?
Allowing the NRA to continue to hold our country hostage to its views is unacceptable. We all need to stand up and say enough. We will remember those of you who do nothing about this horrendous problem and vote you out of office.
Marilyn Wirth, Largo
Duke cut tree budget pre-Irma | Oct. 9
Trim your own trees
In the article, a homeowner complains that Duke Energy didn't trim his tree and that contributed to the power outage. Here's a thought: They are your trees. You're responsible for them. How about you trim them? Be a responsible homeowner.
Don't get me wrong. I'm glad Duke has a program to keep the lines clear and they've done a pretty good job in my neighborhood, but to blame them for not keep your trees trimmed is crazy.
Jim Main, Seminole