Today's Letters: The bus system in Tampa is a bust
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published April 8, 2007
The "duh" factor of mass transit April 5, Howard Troxler column
Tampa's current bus system is more of a hindrance than a help in getting around. I'm sure the designers thought they were being efficient when they thought of the current design, which a sort of "hub and spoke" system. There are three hubs where buses all meet to discharge and take on passengers.
Unfortunately, nearly everyone must go to a hub before they go anywhere else. This adds time to every trip.
I drive my car to work every day, a 9-mile trip that takes about 20 minutes. I have ridden the bus, but I must take up to three buses and it takes at least 75 minutes riding time, and 20 of those minutes are spent going to, waiting at and leaving the Netpark hub.
I can spend 20 minutes in my car vs. 75 minutes on a bus, twice a day. Would you switch? I don't think so. Most people wouldn't. Personally, I just haven't got the spare time!
Sharon Joyner, Tampa
Faster buses now
We can have fast transit within our city and surrounding neighborhoods without waiting for tomorrow.
Paint a regular bus as though it was going fast (stripes flowing down the side of the bus). Find the route to be traveled - preferably a straight run, like Dale Mabry or Florida Avenue.
Equip the buses so that the drivers can change traffic lights to green, in the bus drivers' favor, for at least three blocks in front of the bus. Have streets approaching and crossing these routes lined with signs indicating "Fast transit crossing ahead." The traffic signal should be two red lights, one above the other, to draw further attention to the fast transit street.
Also equip the bus with a bell that is loud, clear and different and operated by the driver. Fill the newspapers with news items and full-page ads introducing the new system. Include TV and radio announcements, advising everyone of the new system.
The cost of this would be petty cash compared to any system a committee would propose.
Hartley Steeves, Tampa
Yes, the Earth is undergoing another global-warming period. No one is disputing that fact. However, if we bother to do the research on this topic, it will show that during the last million years or so, mountain glaciers formed on all the continents and then melted and receded a number of times - the latest being the glacier that covered the upper Midwest in the United States some 10,000 years ago. These natural fluctuations of the temperature occurred long before man started polluting the atmosphere with industrial waste.
Moral of the story: Mother Nature will raise and/or lower the world temperature in her own time frame - with or without the aid of man.
Gene Traxler, St. Petersburg
Too many people
While environmental problems are at the forefront of our concerns, especially global warming, not enough importance is being placed on the exploding population throughout the world. This seems to be a taboo subject.
By all estimates the growth of the world's population will skyrocket to approximately 9-billion by the year 2050. The Third World countries will get hit the worst by all indications. This could lead to potential conflicts because of the depletion of resources. The developed world must address this major issue along with the rest.
Jack Levine, Palm Harbor
The housing hiss
In 1665, Jean Baptiste Colbert wrote:
"The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing."
It sure looks as though we have a lot of "hissing" going on in Pinellas County. The housing market has tanked and valuations are way up over the past five years, resulting in county and city spending at an awesome rate. People are afraid to move locally and lose the 3 percent Save Our Homes tax cap. Has that stopped municipal spending? No.
I'm a 51-year resident of Florida and my answer is to look out-of-state for properties. There are a lot of bargains in south Alabama and Georgia with reasonable taxes and insurance. Florida is going to lose residents. And that's a fact.
William Alexander Martin, Dunedin
What a deal
A $578,000 going-away present April 5, news brief
I would like a better explanation of why Lawrence Davenport got severance pay when he voluntarily left his position at Florida Atlantic University, despite his contract stating he would not be entitled to it if he quit.
FAU president Frank Brogan's explanation that "we thought it best" is pretty lame. Davenport's severance pay of $578,000 for barely a year's work reminds me of Jeb Bush's gift of $300-million worth of tax breaks to get 300 jobs. Nice pay if you can get it.
Gerry Custer, Port Richey
Help these veterans
Homeless veterans outnumber supply of beds April 1, story
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Sun City Center is outraged that our veterans are not receiving the care that they need and deserve. If this government can send our citizens into harm's way virtually all over the world, then it can and must fund the Department of Veterans Affairs to take care of these veterans after they return home.
No amount of money can take care of the physical and emotional scars from which many returning veterans suffer.
If indeed there are 195,000 homeless veterans and if current news stories are correct about substandard VA hospitals, then Congress has an obligation to act quickly to provide more funds to the VA.
The nonprofit and interfaith groups working hard to address the needs of homeless veterans should have the support of a bipartisan Congress to effectively take care of this critical situation.
It is time for all Americans to move beyond the facile rhetoric of "support our troops" and insist on fast and generous support to those who have borne the sacrifices inherent in our wars.
Lester Parkhurst, president, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Sun City Center
Latitudes April 1
Thank you so very much for the wonderful articles on Toronto in the Latitudes section. I enjoyed them thoroughly, and being from Toronto I found them very informative.
My hope is that every American who reads the articles will plan a trip to Toronto to have a look at this very special city.
Carmela Nistico, New Port Richey
Vote it in
Backers renew push for approval of ERA March 28, story
Congratulations on being one of the important newspapers now catching fire on the reignited Equal Rights Amendment effort across the nation.
The Equal Rights Amendment, which barely missed passing by 1982, says:
"Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." It has nothing whatsoever to do with wild claims by special interest groups that dwell in the 1940s.
The ERA merely reflects the simple moral American value of equality for all, regardless of sex. That's both sexes, as men file a great many sex discrimination cases each year, too.
Why should just three states stubbornly hold hostage the nearly 75 percent of the country that ratified the amendment 30 years ago?
Why not just vote it in, Florida legislators?
Sandy Oestreich, president, Florida's Equal Rights Alliance, St. Petersburg
[Last modified April 7, 2007, 23:04:41]
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