Today's Letters: With our new governor, lots of reason for optimism

Published April 15, 2007

Crist curtails my rants, raves April 8, Bill Maxwell's column 

Like Bill Maxwell, I have taken great pride in never voting for a Republican. Like Maxwell, I have voiced frustrations about how the common people of our state have been ignored by a Republican leadership. Like Maxwell, I have found Gov. Charlie Crist to be something different.

In the same Sunday newspaper, sportswriter Marc Topkin pointed out that at the Devil Rays home opener, Gov. Crist may have been the "giddiest person in the ballpark." A friend and I attended the first half of the game and retired to Ferg's for some wings. That friend suddenly said, "There's Charlie." I looked up and saw our governor joining the crowd. Enthusiastic he was.

Unlike Maxwell, I was able to shake the governor's hand and tell him that he was the first Republican for whom I have ever voted. He asked my name, asked about me, and talked about how much better the Rays were going to be this year. He signed my 2007 Rays hat.

I agree with both Gov. Crist and Bill Maxwell that there is a lot of reason for optimism. The Rays will be better, but far more important is that Gov. Crist's people-oriented leadership will make our state much better for all. So far I am liking having "less to rant and rave about each morning."

Dave Gerber, St. Petersburg


A new trend?

As a retired person, every day is a good day for me. Bill Maxwell's column last Sunday made life for me even more enjoyable. I too have been asking myself, "Is this governor for real?"

I don't know any Bush-type modern- day Republican who isn't mean-spirited, politically vicious and could not care less about working class people. Gov. Charlie Crist appears to be different. I salute the governor for his compassion and common sense. Restoring civil rights to ex-felons who have paid their debt in full for their crimes is the right move.

I shudder to think: What if the candidate for whom I voted had won? Would this matter even be on anyone's agenda in Tallahassee? I think we all remember the matter of Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee. True justice never was realized.

Is there a new trend going on in Florida? In addition to Gov. Crist, we have another good Republican among us, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker.

Jim Yates, St. Petersburg


Duke case's lesson 

In recklessness, Nifong not alone April 13, editorial

Thank you for the most responsible and level-headed assessment I have seen by a major media outlet of the recently dropped rape case against the Duke lacrosse players.

It is always easier to take a position once the facts are known, but still courageous and proper of you to point out the lesson it holds for all of us, particularly those who see the world through a collection of stereotypes and act wrongly as a result. In particular, the Duke faculty and staff who rushed to judgment along with a self-interested and abusive prosecutor may hopefully be a bit wiser and more open-minded in the future.

For me, a 1991 alumnus, Duke's failure to stand behind its own students in the face of little factual evidence is probably the most disappointing aspect of the events. In any event, your sensible coda to the tragedy is welcome.

John Rollins, Tallahassee


Proper punishment 

Our deadly love affair with the gun April 8, commentary by Cynthia Tucker

Cynthia Tucker's antigun tirade fails to mention that Arthur Mann, who shot his ex-girlfriend to death in CNN's headquarters earlier this month, had a lengthy criminal record, including murder. Mann was released from prison after serving only four years of a 10-year sentence, a terrible example of a killer released to kill again.

This liberal journalist uses this CNN murder as an argument for gun control. I think it's a better case for life in prison or the death penalty.

Larry Bachnik, St. Petersburg


Surviving Bush 

Conservatives bailing out on "Quayle in cowboy boots" April 8, Philip Gailey column

I have to ask: Why has it taken so long? It is ironic that the very folks who pushed his agenda are the ones bailing out. After all, as they say, with friends like these ... The future of this disastrous presidency was obvious to me with the stealing of the 2000 election.

I can't identify one positive thing that has come out of this administration. Frankly, the issue isn't W. anymore but addressing how the country will survive him. I had always believed that our Constitution was strong enough to survive even the worst politicians. I may have been wrong in the case of George W. Bush.

It appears we are in the backstretch of a flawed and dangerous presidency. Both the Democrats and Republicans share responsibility for this administration's actions. The challenge is to focus on the nation's needs and stop the hand-wringing about an incompetent president. That will take bipartisan cooperation. It's about time.

Marc Yacht, Hudson


It's a great country 

A name matters more than ever April 8, Robyn Blumner column

When I was young and I whined about something all the time the way Robyn Blumner does about President Bush, my parents would have warned me that I'd better get out and do something else before they gave me something to really regret.

Blumner's venomous tirade ignores that fact that America still offers everyone the best opportunity for anyone to advance himself or herself. We have the best colleges and universities, a government founded on the principles of capitalism that encourages people to invest in themselves and their communities and constitutionally provided freedoms that enable us to pursue our dreams.

Circuit City had to make some changes because their business model isn't as effective as their competition's. If they kept doing the same thing and expected better results that would have been stupid.

If Blumner were only able to view America objectively, she would see that it is still the greatest nation on Earth. If only someone or something could motivate Blumner to do something else.

Bob Lowe, Clearwater


Unequal opportunity 

A name matters more than ever April 8, Robyn Blumner column

Thank you, Robyn Blumner. Although I enjoy reading all of the Times, I always save Blumner's column for last, and this one is a perfect example of why.

As one of the few "hard knocks" graduates who have done fairly well over the years, I could easily become sickened by the Jenna Bush book offer, but I cannot afford to miss too much work, or the cost for the health care.

Mike Meyer, Safety Harbor


Stop teen drinking 

No escape April 8, Floridian story

After reading this article I was heartsick and outraged. I felt both families have had to suffer for their daughters, and Jessica Rasdall will serve a life sentence in her heart through guilt for the rest of her life. The lives of both young women have been lost through drunken driving, which is far too common in our society.

What sickens me is several times in this article it is mentioned that all these teens go to Ybor City to the clubs to drink and they are served! I feel the Tampa police better start cracking down on this issue, and these clubs better hire some better doormen, ones who actually check IDs.

It's age-old tradition for teens to want to drink. It's up to the adults to stop them, whether it's a parent or a bouncer.

I pray Jessica Rasdall finds her faith and strength to take her punishment and rise above all this, to regain her life so that two beautiful, intelligent women don't die from this tragedy.

Mary Rich, St. Petersburg