tampabay.com

An agenda we can do without

By (Letters)
Published March 10, 2006


Re: The governor's agenda, editorial, March 8.

Gov. Jeb Bush is determined to get another $1.5-billion in tax cuts so that his cumulative total will top $20-billion? I consider myself to be an average Floridian - middle age, middle income. Like most Floridians, the only Florida taxes I pay are sales taxes and property taxes. Like most Floridians I still pay the same sales taxes as when Jeb Bush was first elected, and I pay a great deal more in property taxes. Who got these billions in tax cuts? Not the average Floridian.

Gov. Bush considers private school tuition vouchers to be a "moral imperative"? My daughter has spent six years in private school and the past two in public school. The public schools are every bit as good or better than the private school was, with one exception. The private school had no more than 26 students per class, while some of her public school classes have as many as 40 students.

If the governor really wanted to be remembered for improving education, maybe he should have endorsed the class size amendment instead of trying to sabotage it.

Paul Starr, Treasure Island Education realities overlooked

I believe that Gov. Jeb Bush's State of the State speech has left many citizens of Pinellas County very confused as to his intentions. He speaks of saving the voucher system again which the Florida Supreme court has already struck down. He speaks of $1.5-billion in tax cuts, and further education reforms.

But then we open the Wednesday paper to the headline in Section B. that says $16M in cuts take a human toll. We have to wonder if our "education" governor is in touch with the realities of the education problems in the state. Is there really a need for $1.5-billion in tax cuts when hundreds of people in all walks of life are losing their jobs?

Gov. Bush needs to use the millions that are being spent on FCAT tests and put the money into the public schools for solutions to the problems teachers put up with every day. If he would talk one-on-one to teachers and find out what they really need to keep their classes productive, they wouldn't need voucher schools, or boot camps.

June Einboden, St. Petersburg An election year ploy

So Jeb Bush wants to give property tax rebates of $100. This is an election year and apparently he hopes that that will help elect some of his cronies. What an insult! Can our vote be bought for $100? The saying is that every person has his or her price, but is ours that low?

I notice that this goes to property owners, whose lives will not be changed one bit by $100, but not to the poor who could use that money.

If I receive a check for $100 I shall use it to support a political candidate who cares more about the real problems of Floridians.

Lucy Fuchs, Brandon We already decided on term limits

Re: Protester to legislators: Leave term limits alone, March 8.

Kudos to Max Linn (president of Florida Citizens for Term Limits) for keeping some focus on this subject. The voters clearly chose eight-year limits in 1992. Why don't our state legislators concentrate on the business they are elected/hired to do: protect Florida's waterways and environment, keep insurance affordable, eliminate fraud and frivolous lawsuits and call a halt to overdevelopment? Stop telling us what "we" want. There's no reason at all to see this issue on the ballot again.

Robyn Dalton, Largo Abortion and choice

Re: We just can't let women choose, by Molly Ivins, March 8.

Even an ardent pro-lifer like myself must concede that Molly Ivins has a point. After all, if a government has the power to keep a woman from having an abortion, the same government, under different circumstances, might compel her to have one, as it is already happening in China.

But even if I set apart moral and cultural considerations, I find Ivins' argument wanting on two accounts. First, free choice requires full information. And for a physician like myself it is puzzling why we have to mention all possible, even rare, complications to a patient before getting her/his consent to life-saving procedures, while these rules don't seem to apply to abortion.

Second, and more important, the ability to make a choice does not mean by itself that the choice is free. Not even Ivins would argue that prostitution or suicide are free choice. If the story of Michelle, reported by Ivins, is true, that the majority of women choose an abortion because they live in a society that does not allow them to raise their children, that abortion sounds to me as the ultimate form of coercion and discrimination for poor women and their babies.

Lodovico Balducci, Tampa A trivializing label

Re: College kids accused of church fires, March 9.

The article under this headline seemed to me to be balanced reporting. I was surprised, however, by the characterization of the three young men as "college kids." They might be college students, and they do seem to be childlike in their behavior (to put it nicely). But they are adults, and now charged with a crime. To call them "college kids" trivializes them and bolsters the assertion that their actions were a "joke" or "prank."

Janet R. Burnett, St. Petersburg